Dare to hope!

“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.”

Lamentations 3:21-22 NLT

http://bible.com/116/lam.3.21-22.nlt

I was raised in a Christian home with 2 wonderful parents! We moved quite a bit and at the end of middle school we landed in a suburb of San Fransisco CA. I started hanging out with new people and my choices lead me down a long and disappointing road of drug and alcohol abuse. I always knew I loved the Lord but my actions did not reflect it at all. I spent many weekends partying and many mornings filled with regret. I asked for forgiveness over and over again and made empty promises of never doing “it” again. Of course my promise was sincere until the next opportunity to party came along. This was a vicious cycle I followed for about 15 years. I managed to give up drugs and turned my attention 100% towards drinking. After all it was legal!

A few years ago I found myself completely immersed in a life focused on alcohol. I used to sit in my garage smoking and drinking until it was time for bed or the booze was gone. I didn’t spend time with my family, and I was not living. I was existing. I knew at that point that was not how I wanted to live my life. I prayed daily and asked the Lord to take the addiction away from me. 

And thankfully I’m standing here today and I can tell you that my prayers have been answered. I have been delivered from the addiction. That said, I have spent a lot of time feeling shameful, regretful and guilty. It wasn’t until recently that I realized I was stuck in a rut. I spent my time reading devotions about shame and sorrow. I connected to songs about the past and deliverance. Then it dawned on me. 

I was still living in the past. I was being robbed of the Joy the Lord intended for me to have! I think this is a very popular tool that our enemy uses against any of us who have experienced lives such as what I’ve described. The enemy wants us to to set up camp in the valley of “I don’t really deserve Gods love”. Well I am not going to fall for that anymore!

As I began to dig into scripture I found that the Lord wanted me to change my focus from my mistakes to His love and mercy. We don’t have to dwell in the past, we are truly forgiven and free!

Has anyone seen the movie 50 first dates? There is a scene in that movie where Adam Sandler goes to visit Drew Barrymore in a mental hospital. He comes across a man named Tom who suffers from having zero short term memory. Tom introduces himself to Adam, asks how Adams doing but before Adam can answer Tom is introducing himself again! This may be somewhat of an extreme example but this is how I imagine the Lord treats our sin after we’ve asked for forgiveness. We ask Him for forgiveness and He forgets. 

So if the King of Kings, the God of all creation can forgive and forget what makes us think we need to keep holding on??

We don’t! And it’s proven repeatedly in His word.

Lamentations 3:21-23.

The faithful love of the Lord never ceases! 

And what about Psalms 118:14? The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.”

And don’t forget Psalm 118:24…This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

My point is this, if we allow ourselves to focus on the negative aspects of our lives, past or present, we run the risk of sliding right into the rut of shame and guilt. Its a dark place.

But we have light – joy, positivity, optimism and so on. This can be so evident in our lives that  people are drawn to us. They are so curious about our outlook that they just have to know how we can be happy in a world such as this. We can give them a simple answer. My strength/happiness/Peace comes from the Lord. He is my Peace; Peace beyond my understanding!

The theme this weekend is Timeless Faith. How does this tie into what I am talking about? 

I feel that through the Joy, Peace, mercy, forgiveness and hope the Lord gives us, we can attain timeless faith. We can see and experience His mercy each and every day!!

No matter what is going on around us,beside us, in front or behind etc. Jesus is IN us! He is IN us!!!! We have the almighty Son of God dwelling in our very being. And we have not only the opportunity but the responsibility to tell others about His amazing love. And through this Love, they too can experience timeless faith and true contentment through life.

“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.”

Lamentations 3:21-22 NLT

Three parts of this key verse.

  1. Dare – dare to take risks. If you see someone looking down, smile at them.  Go a step further and say hello! Show genuine interest in them. When you say how are you, be the person who really cares about their well-being and not just making small talk.
  2. Hope – We have Hope because of the Lord. If there is one tool thats helps us in Life, I think it’s hope. It is one of the most powerful perceptions/mindsets out there. Imagine you’ve applied for a job that you think is a little out of reach, you go into it doubting, you submit the resume doubting. Then you get an email saying they’d like a phone interview. Instantly your mindset changes from doubt to hope. Are you feeling the shift I’m talking about? We can create this perception shift by simply sharing our faith with others. Just imagine the difference we could make in another persons life if we shared our hope!!
  3. Remember – Remember that we are forgiven. We don’t have to dwell in the past. We need to live each day to the fullest, allowing the Lord to use us for His Glory, leading others to a life of Timeless Faith!

2 thoughts on “Dare to hope!

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