A Safe Place to Hide

I love Peter’s words in 1 Peter 5:6, 7:  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  In these words we find both encouragement and hope for the future.

All of us have anxieties and this passage acknowledges that.  At the same time, however, Peter very clearly tells us what to do with them…cast them on Him.  And the reason?  Because He cares for us!

There are times when the only thing to do is hide.  Well, Peter tells us we have a safe place to hide; under the mighty hand of a God Who can take all our anxieties upon Himself!

The hope for the future is found in that exaltation at the proper time.  God will raise up all those who are found under that mighty hand.

I don’t know about you, but I feel better knowing that.  It encourages me so much to know that there is a God Who loves me this much.  He loves you, too, you know and so do I.

Donnie Bates

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An Example of Hope

Abraham has long, and very deservedly, been held up as a great example of hope.  In Romans 4:18 the apostle Paul wrote:  In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”  He had no reason to hope; no reason from a human point of view, that is.  His reason was his faith.

James wrote that Abraham, in his faith, did not just sit idly by and wait for God to do something for him.  You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God (James 2:22, 23).  When we put these passages together we see that Abraham had faith and he acted on that faith and was rewarded with justification.

Our word of encouragement is that if we have faith, and we act on that faith, obeying the commands God has given us, then we will be justified, too.  Remember, God loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

Hope in Despair

Jeremiah had much to weigh down his spirit.  He lived and prophesied in a time of hopelessness and despair for his people.  His job was to prophesy to the people of God that captivity was coming.  Their way of life was coming to an end.  Yes, there would be a remnant, but the reality was that, in the short term, people’s lives were going to be, at the very least, disrupted.

It may surprise you to know that in the midst of all this despair, Jeremiah was led to write these words, which make up a very popular song of hope:  The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him” (Lamentations 3:22-24).

Today, tens of thousands of people are in despair due to the fires burning not far from where I live.  Watching the news, seeing the destruction and upset lives is heart-breaking.  Our word of encouragement is that God is still God!  In the midst of despair He can still give hope.  Remember, He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

Momentary, Light Affliction?

OK, I know the phrase is Biblical, but sometimes it seems we’re talking about a different kind of affliction; the kind that’s long-term and definitely not light!  Doesn’t it seem as though some of the things that afflict us in life are far from “momentary” and “light”?

The apostle Paul said:  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17, 18).  How is it that he can use terms like “momentary” and “light”?  Afflictions in this life are momentary and light when compared to “the glory that is to be revealed” (Romans 8:18); that “eternal weight of glory” mentioned here.

I know it’s hard, but we have to try and remember that Paul used these terms even when he had suffered so much (2 Corinthians 11:23-28).  Paul endured, and we can endure.  We can endure because God gives us strength to endure.  He loves you, you know, and so do I.

Donnie Bates

Guarding the Heart

Today, I feel at peace.  No, the problems haven’t gone away.  My enemies still lurk out there somewhere, but the fear has subsided.  It has been replaced with peace and contentment.  I don’t mean to suggest that the fear is gone and will never return.  It is a constant battle to control the fear and access the peace, but the peace can be accessed.

What gives me encouragement (and peace) is Paul’s words to the Philippian church:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).  Quite literally the verse tells us that we won’t be able to understand it completely, but the peace of God is real; it guards our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus!  On the other hand, not understanding it doesn’t mean we have no responsibility. Just two verses later he says:  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9).

Do these things in faith and peace will reign in your heart and mind.  Remember, God loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

The Lord My Hope

Sometimes there is no place to turn, but to God.  There have been a few times in my life when I didn’t know anything else to do, but to “let go and let God.”  Some of those times I’ve written about here; others have happened much more recently.  The title of this post comes from Psalm 146:5:  How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God…  Today, I feel that blessing, in part, because of other blessings God has given me.

Galatians 6:2 tells me that we have help in bearing our burdens, and James 5:16 tells me that prayer is powerful.  I’m also thankful for the blessing of good friends I can ask for those powerful prayers to get me through tough times.  Yes, I am blessed indeed!

By the way, these blessings are available to you, too.  I am so grateful for the promises of Scripture.  I am also grateful to those I can call on to pray for me some of those “effectual” prayers of a righteous man or woman.  And I am so grateful that God loves me.  He loves you too, and so do I.

Donnie Bates

Restoration

At the end of that famous Gospel sermon which led to the founding of the church, the apostle Peter was direct in pointing out the guilt of the Jews.  Their response was heart-rending.  Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”  (Acts 2:37).

The realization that one has fallen from hope to hopelessness is devastating.  Several of the psalms describe the effect of sin as taking a physical toll on the body.  We call that stress.

Of course, there is hope!  Peter answered the question of the verse above with God’s plan for restoring the sinner to the grace of God (Acts 2:38).  King David put it this way:  Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones which You have broken rejoice.  (Psalm 51:8).  The rejoicing of broken bones is hope restored.

While we do not want to de-emphasize our responsibility to obey God’s commands with regard to restoration, our point here is that there is hope when all appears hopeless.  Hear the joy and gladness that David longed for and know that God loves you, and so do I!

Donnie Bates