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Hope Notes 12/13/17

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Dear Friends of Hope,
Not so long ago, I read a devotion by Rachael Olsen that struck a chord with me.  She said, “God gives gifts that are eternal.  He gave the gift of love by sending us a baby in a manger.  He gave the gift of truth by giving us our teacher, Jesus. He gave the gift of eternal life through the crucified and risen Christ.”  We, of course, can never give any gift that would compare to those.  We can never out-give God! Nor will we ever receive any gift that means more or has more impact on our lives. But as I began to mull this over, I realized something.  These gifts that God has given us are meant to be shared.  In fact, we are actually commanded to share the gift of love.  In John 15:12 Jesus says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”  As I’m …

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Hope Notes 12/6/17

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Dear Friends of Hope,
Has this ever happened to you?  You go to bed, promptly fall asleep, and then……..at some ridiculous hour (think 3:00 am), you find yourself wide awake and blinking in the darkness.  Every now and then I fall victim to this cruel joke.  Sometimes for days in a row.   At the exact. same. time.  What on earth is going on?!  It used to really upset me.  And now, while I still don’t enjoy it, I recognize it as a wake up call from the Lord.  “My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” (Psalm 119:148)  I think God beckons us to come close to Him during those midnight hours, to pay attention to the thoughts He places in our hearts and to respond in prayer.   “Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water …

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Hopes Notes 11/29/17

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Dear Friends of Hope,
I have a confession to make.  I am an over-thinker.  I feel like my mind is always thinking.  Thoughts run rampant through my brain even when I’m trying to simply relax and enjoy the moment.  I FEEL like I amt and hen suddenly I realize, “Oh my gosh, I’m thinking again!!” Grrrrrrrr.  Does this ever happen to you?  As annoying as it is to not be able to turn my brain off, it’s really no problem when I’m not thinking about hurtful or negative things.   But then, something will occur, perhaps an argument with someone you love, or an unexpected tragedy, or a hurtful exchange with a friend, and the next thing you know your mind has taken a firm grip on it.  Suddenly, you find yourself held hostage by your thoughts.  They pop up when you least expect it.  Or they scurry around in endless circles …

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Hope Notes 11/22/17

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Dear Friends of Hope,
Last year I bought a pretty kitchen towel to hang during the Thanksgiving season.  It says “Thankful, Grateful, Blessed”.  This year when I hung it up, I stopped to consider the wording.  What exactly is the difference between being thankful and being grateful?  Well, once I began to ponder this, I knew there could be no rest until I’d dug around in a dictionary, a thesaurus, and the Bible to see if I could obtain some answers.  Turns out there is a lot of discussion on this very question.  After sifting through way too much information, I’ve come up with a ‘theory’ that pleases me.  Mind you, this is just my personal view.  The dictionary defines thankful as ‘feeling pleased, relieved, or appreciative’.  Grateful is defined as ‘ being beholden or indebted’ and also as ‘a deep appreciation for a kindness or benefit received’.  Did you catch …

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Hope Notes 11/15/17

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Dear Friends of Hope,
What has the Lord been doing in your life this past year? If you think back, I’m sure you will find many things to be thankful for. It’s good to remember what God has done for us.   Sometimes in the midst of everyday life, we forget that He is always at work for our best, no matter how it may appear in the moment.  We let the day to day annoyances and problems wipe away our peace. We find ourselves struggling to remain joyful.  We feel forgotten.  Burdened.  But then, in the midst of all our struggles, a beacon of hope appears.  God reaches down through eternity and bestows on us the gift of His grace.  Every trial and every blessing that touches our lives has passed through His hands.  We can choose to focus on the trials or we can focus on the blessings.  Always a …

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