Hope ~ I keep coming face to face with this word all week: in Bible reading, my daily devotional and in an article in a Christian magazine, so I think the Lord is telling me that I need to be in a state of great anticipation for the days ahead. If you were to look up hope in the dictionary it would say, "to wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment" and in terms of Christianity, "the theological virtue defined as the desire and search for a future good, difficult but not impossible to attain with God's help." Boy, do I like that last definition! Just reading it sends my heart soaring as I think on our many reasons for having hope in Him.
We find those reasons in God's Word. A couple of my favorite Scriptures about hope are: "You are my hiding place and my shield. I hope in Your Word." Psalm 119:114 and "For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope." Romans 15:4. Try inserting your name in these verses in place of "I", "my" and "we". I have been doing this lately and how good it feels to say my name aloud and to know in my heart that the Lord is speaking to me personally through His Word in such a special way. I have specifically been quoting Psalm 130:7, "Anne, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love..." Ah, yes Lord, You are good!
Sometimes when we're in the valley, we need to just keep repeating these Scriptures to ourselves often, to keep encouraged and to build ourselves up in the Lord. Today I had an appt. for my annual mammogram. I went through a period of time in the past 2 years where I had to go in every six months to have my left breast x-rayed. It finally came down to me having to have an ultrasound, as they couldn't make a definite determination by looking at the film whether or not anything was there. They could see a "shadow", but it never changed in appearance. I put out a prayer request among friends to pray for me during this time and they faithfully did so. Waiting to go in for my ultrasound on that morning, I anxiously prayed that all would be well. I prayed that should I face bad news, that Jesus would give me the strength to carry on and to rest in Him, my hope and my salvation.
As I thought about all those praying for me that day, I felt God's peace and love descend on me at that moment. I knew that I was in the best of hands; that nothing would happen to me that hadn't first been filtered through Him. As it turned out, all was well and it was determined that it was nothing, but I learned that day and continue to learn that I must trust the Lord and have the certainty and hope in my heart that He will take care of me, no matter what, and that He wants only good things for me. Yes, I knew these things before, but until you really go through something that challenges you and "sets you up" to test your faith in God, you won't know whether or not you will pass the test. And should your strength falter, just ask God to hold you close to Him. He'll hold you in His arms and give you all that you need. Friends, there is always reason to hope.
I haven't had any new Christmas cards to share lately, as I haven't made any in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I'll have some time to do that this weekend. Here is another favorite ornament to share with you. It is a vintage art box ornament that I bought last year. Those of you who know me well know that I love all things vintage and Victorian!