Words of Hope

In my morning quiet time, sitting on the chaise lounge on the couch, I noticed the positive messages I have strategically placed around my home. Realizing that wooden plaque messages are getting greatly overdone these days, I am still somehow inspired by some of my choices. The ones I have picked are the essence of what will help move me forward on this journey of life; especially life beyond grief.


Take the message that hangs on the wall at the bottom of the stairs: “Let whatever you do today be enough.” Or, hanging above the thermostat, “Today is a good day for a good day.” Both are gifts from loving friends and family who know me well. After all, I really do try to approach each day with the idea that I will have given my all, and that it will be received well.


It’s my daily quiet time that I realize in my hand, warming me from the morning chill, is the mug with the message, “I run on coffee and grace.” Wow! How awesome it is to realize that God’s grace sustains and moves me forward (with the help of coffee!)


Contrasting messages on the shelf beside me reads, “Today is a perfect day to start living your dreams,” and “Life happens, wine helps.” Tongue and cheek, yes, and so very true for someone who has had to redefine her dreams.


Still, these messages are somewhat clique’. And, although they are not quite profound, in they still represent the way I navigate the challenges of life and the joys in their midst.


You see, these last 4 years it has been these constant quotes in strategic places that have helped me remember that life goes on. Even in the midst of grief, I am waking up, going to work, hanging out with friends, and sorting out a new single life, while searching for new love.


The beast that is grief has a way of placing a grey cloud over life. In the throes of grief, the sun rarely shines. Even the clever wooden words of wisdom fade in importance when the heart is wracked with grief.


So what is a person to do? What did I do, you might ask? I turned to, and still turn to the Light of God that is revealed through prayer and in the words of scripture. There are so many positive and inspiring words in the Bible that guide me like no other expressions are able to do.


One such message in my home is, “Let all you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14) And, Jeremiah 29:1, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


Words are so powerful. God’s words are powerful. They inspire and guide; comfort and conflict; provide peace and share messages of love. For me they join with me on my journey of life and offer the road map of where to go, how to treat others, and ways to honor the Giver of the words.


Just as words have power, so too, the words that we don’t say also have power. A moment of encouragement can go a long way. Yet, when we don’t encourage another, it can tear a person down terribly. Life is full of moments when we wish we had said more or we had said less.


I am reminded of the forty days after Easter. Jesus had been resurrected, and validated His rising by appearing to His followers. When Jesus continued to appear to the disciples, He had some important words to say. In John 21: 1-19 Jesus appears to the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias.


"They have a breakfast of freshly caught fish, and Jesus challenges Peter (vs. 15), “When they finished eating, “Jesus asked Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ Simon replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

This line of questioning went on two more times before Peter (Simon) pledged his life and love to Jesus the Christ.


Jesus knew how important His words were to getting the people to put their trust in God. It is Jesus’ words that have guided my days and shown me the direction to take my life. It is God’s words found in scripture that show me where to journey to live into the life God desires me to live.


The words of scripture, and the prayers I speak, have been pivotal in helping me navigate all aspects of my life. My vocation as hospital chaplain, and the new relationships in my life, are all directed by God’s insightful words. The hollow platitudes found in creative fonts on the internet pale in comparison to the powerful and meaningful words inspired by God.


Trusted people may share words of advice that may seem valuable. God’s words are true. Even as scripture was written over 2000 years ago, the promises made are ones I can count on, and so can you.


Every word that Jesus spoke was recorded in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were intended to build up the kingdom of God. And not just when this life is over but now. I seek daily to live my life on those promises.


FOR FURTHER THOUGHT

It is easy to pull off words of wisdom from social media. Yet sometimes these worlds can lead to a false sense of security as we print or repost these words intended to provide comfort. It is in these times that the words of scripture can take over. God’s promises are true, and for that we can count on it.


While we recognize scripture as the inspired word of God, we also recognize that God is still speaking today through contemporary people of faith. As many have words that draw us closer to God in our walk of faith, it is sometimes difficult to discern God’s wisdom from the wisdom that is of this world.


See if you can determine if these are words of scripture or quotes from another source. Place and “B” by the phrase if you think it is from the Bible. Put an “O” for other, by the phrase if you think it is of this world or from the Bible.


___ 1. “Be a light not a judge; be a model not a critic.”


___ 2. “Many of life’s problems come from two things: we act without thinking or we think without acting.”


___ 3. “Just as you can identify a tree by it’s fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”


___ 4. “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”


___ 5. “Guard your hearts above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”


___ 6. “Peace and comfort comes from within. Do not seek it from without.”


___ 7.”Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.”


___ 8. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”


___ 9. “The side in heart accept commends but the chattering fool comes to ruin.


No peeking! The key is below!


How did you do? If you struggled a bit, pick up the Bible and see how you can do? (Bible Dategoing)


Answers

  1. O-Stephen Covey

  2. O-Anonomous

  3. S-Matthew 7: 20

  4. O-Abe Lincoln

  5. O-Proverbs 4:23

  6. O-Buddha

  7. O-Jimi Hendrix

  8. B-Psalm 90:12

  9. B-”Teach us to bare over days

  10. B” the texture


So many times, when we really think can 5/2 hem for us? thanks!


PRAYER

Loving Lord, guide me in these hard things to give up my independence in all areas of my life in order to follow Your loving words and guidance. I pray that You will continue to show me the way that will allow me to live a full life as Your beloved child. Amen.



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