We keep our Christmas cards in a basket and the kids pick one out each night for us to pray for that family. Last night, one of the kids picked a card out of the basket and I was surprised to see that it was one of our family cards from 2012. It was fun to look at the beautiful pictures of the kids and see how much everyone has changed. I opened up the card and read, “Wishing you the gift of faith and the blessing of hope.” Who knew it was me that would need more faith and hope in the following years. I was given the gift of both and I am thankful. It has not been easy and I have wanted to give up often, but God had another plan.
Yesterday morning, hours before opening that card, I had read Isaiah 7:9 that says, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.” I also read in 1 Timothy 1:4 where it says, “…God’s plan, which operates by faith.” These two verses both have the common factor of faith. Sometimes it is not easy to have faith. Goodness, some might even ask what is faith? Look at Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith is necessary for God’s plan and hope.
Can I ask you, where is it or who is it you are placing your hope? What are you standing on if it is not faith? Yesterday I read these words by Paul David Tripp, “Your life will be shaped by what you place your hope in.” This is such a true statement. For years I stood mostly on faith and hope in Christ, but I added other things in there that helped me feel worthy. And just like the Bible says, because my faith was not firm and my hope was misplaced, I began to fall.
Go back to the book of Isaiah and read chapter 42:8. “I am the LORD. That is my name and I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.” My sin problem did not go unnoticed by God and I am so thankful. He did not leave me to live any longer in this unbalanced state, with one foot in Christ and one foot in this world, that is so full of idols that promise worth. Freedom was found when my balancing act stopped working and I came to the end of myself. None of my go-to hopes were available and I was left with Jesus. Can I tell you that I have never been more full of love, joy, peace, freedom and faith than I am now. The emptying of self and worthless idols gave room for Him. Praise God!
The verse that follows, God clearly stating that He will not share His glory or praise, gives me tremendous hope. “The past events have indeed happened. Now I declare new events; I announce them to you before they occur.” (Isaiah 42:9). I acknowledge my sin. I repent of placing my hope and faith in all things other than the Lord. I have learned MANY lessons and know the lies the world flashes across our eyes and the whispers we hear in our ears, do not last. And now, I am more than ready to be told of “new events” and maybe you are too.
May the only One who came bring, plant and grow faith and hope remind you today of how much He loves you. And may new events be seen coming from His faithful, powerful hand.
*Picture by Corrimages