Bible Study ~ Hidden Joy ~ Day 17

June 14, 2011 ~ Day 17

Today Melissa had an excellent post on her blog Melissa Taylor  

Top 10 Ways You Can Choose Hope and Claim Peace

By Melissa Taylor 

10.   Begin by living in the light.  Of course the light of Christ, but also light up your world. Open the blinds. Take a walk in the sunshine.  Turn on some lights in your house.  Listen to music that brightens your mood, not dampens it. Get rid of the misery around you and let light surround you. Invite hope into your life. 

9.  Spend time in God’s Word.  I know Christians tell you to do that all the time.  And you probably wish you had more time to do so don’t you?  I get that, I do.  But it’s true that God’s Word is a “lamp to your feet and a light to your path” (Psalm 119:105) And since #10 instructed you to get a little more light in your life, well then give it a try.  Romans 15:4 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (NIV)  The knowledge of the Scriptures affects our attitude toward the present and the future. (Life Application Bible) Attitude is half the battle in gaining a hope perspective that leads to peace. God’s Word can help. 

8.  Dismiss depressing thoughts quickly.  Be aware of what you are thinking. Do your thoughts tend to be negative, condemning, or gloomy?  Not much room for hope in the company of those characters. Next time you find yourself dwelling on something depressing, stop it!  You don’t want to do that. 2 Corinthians 10:5b, “…We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” (CEV)  So, catch those thoughts, give them up, and listen to Jesus who says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV) 

7.  Here’s a practical one. List 5 things that bring you hope or 5 things you are hopeful for. Read them when you need to. Can’t think of 5?  Then make them up. You gotta start somewhere. 

6.  Don’t give up. “You feel hopeless because you have been using your own power, not because there is no hope.  You feel hopeless because you have been headed in the wrong direction, not because there is not hope.  You feel hopeless because you have cut yourself off from others who could help you and guide you, not because there is not hope…You are not hopeless because there is not hope.  There is hope for you, if you will just persevere long enough to find it.” Stephen Arterburn (from Tammy Maltby’s book Confessions of a Good Christian Girl)   Choose to persevere long enough to find hope. 

5.  Choose to be hopeful even when you don’t feel it.  I struggle with this so I remind myself to choose hope.  I wear a bracelet almost every day that says “HOPE” on it.  I have a Willow Tree Angel of Hope in my den. I have Scriptures of hope posted at my desk at work. I’m choosing hope and hope brings me peace. ****When I’m struggling greatly with this, I get help! I talk to a friend, ask my Bible study gals to pray for me, or when it’s been too overwhelming, I have sought professional help. Do whatever it takes, but don’t live life based on your feelings. They can be so fickle. Choose hope. Live in peace. Don’t settle for less. 

4. Thank God for your trials and hardships.  Believe me, I know that sounds crazy. These next verses give big time purpose to our trials and suffering, therefore offering peace.  Romans 5:3b-5a, “we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us…” (NIV)  I’ve been through many trials where hope seemed lost and these verses have restored that.  And that brought me peace. Take it for your own. 

3.  Take a time out for yourself.  Psalm 46:10 instructs us to do that so we will understand Who is in control.  Remember, when life is chaotic and peace seems far away, get quiet where you can hear God and God alone.

“Be still and know that I am God.” (NIV)

“Calm down and learn that I am God.” (CEV)

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.”
(The Message)
 

2.  Pray hope and peace for yourself.  Like this:

“Lord, when my peace is broken by problems that come, remind me that You are always there caring about anything and everything that concerns me. I want to praise You through the painful places I walk through so I can rest in Your perfect peace.  Thank You for giving me hope and being my peace.  Please help me have hope and peace today.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen    (portions of this prayer are from Prayers to My King by Sheri Rose Shepherd) 

1.  Accept God’s plan for your life.  When you’ve lost hope, you have nothing.  Nothing to look forward to.  Nothing to believe in.  You begin to question if God exists for you or just other people.  This verse tells us very different.  Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God does exist for you.  He has plans for you.  He has a purpose for your life and it is good.  But you have to choose to trust Him.  Choose to accept the hope God offers.  Take it for your own. Look ahead with hope.  As you do, soak in the peace it gives you.  God loves you.  He created you and He had a good reason in doing so.  I pray that you will give Him a chance.  Never lose hope. 

Once when my marriage was on the verge on ending, I asked my husband, “Is there any hope for us?”  He replied, “Just an ounce.”  I immediately took that “ounce of hope” to the Lord and asked Him to multiply it. That was my prayer for the months ahead where we fought for our marriage.  The restoration process wasn’t easy, but because I had hope, I was able to hang in there and claim peace.  Peace that didn’t come from my circumstances. Peace that wasn’t a part of my surroundings. It was inside of me.  It came from God.  I had to choose it and I’m so thankful I did. 

My Notes, Posts and Thoughts 

I once again was beginning to have a rough day, I found myself going back to that place I was at yesterday and knew I needed to snap out of it so I wrote the Bible verses from Chapter 3 in my journal, I started on my Scripture cards and I read through my journal.   

Here is what I posted about my journal entry:

Okay I have been going back through my journal today b/c I could feel myself still in that place I was yesterday. I needed to do something to get me out of it. Here is something I wrote on Holy Thursday this year, a little bit of background (I am Catholic and on Holy Thursday the Priest or Deacon washes the feet of some in the church to represent what Jesus did at the Last Supper) it’s a bit long (sorry, all my posts seem a bit long – don’t know how to whittle my stuff down) 

Tonight’s service was very emotional and at the same time healing for me. I cried through most of it, same words I have heard for years yet tonight I heard it in a way that greatly moved me and it seemed to be the first time I ever attended this service. I felt IT (Jesus’ last night and washing HIS disciples feet) with such awareness and emotion. I understood more acutely what HE, my LORD had done for me. And I reviewed some of my not so Christian days and was ashamed that I thought I deserved better, yet my LORD washed HIS disciples feet and died for me – yet I resent the things required of me or that my life is not as I dreamed, but there is Jesus saying “You are MY child” “You are forgiven by this night” “I love you with an everlasting love” not b/c I deserved it or earned it but b/c HE loves, so that HIS glory can be shown through us being newly made in HIM, by HIM and through HIM. I pray on this night a very heartfelt prayer that I believe began in October 2010: 

“LORD change me, break me, from who I have been and make me into the woman YOU will – remove everything that is not from YOU and make me reborn into YOUR light and love. Gone is the past and all the tears with it. I look forward and I choose YOU LORD. I love YOU and want to serve YOU, so when people look at me they don’t see me but YOU.” 

and from this is my life verse that I wrote that night without even knowing it: 

If there is love among you – all will know you are MY disciples” John 13:35 

Today I was also reminded to take EVERYTHING to the LORD – why I don’t consider that first is beyond me but I will concentrate on doing so.

 

My personalized Scripture that really speaks to me:

Therefore, since Veronica has been made right in God’s sight by faith,

she has peace with God beacuse of what Jesus Christ Our LORD has

done for her.  Because of Veronica’s faith Christ has brough her into

this place of undeserved privilege where she now stands and she

confidentily and joyfully looks forward to sharing God’s glory. 

Romans 5:1-2

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