A new hope rising

Do you ever feel like you wake up in the morning and get slapped in the face by the world?

That was me earlier today. So many things hit me that it was clearly an attack from the evil one—the one who seeks to keep me in chains of hopelessness and despair.

Some of the issues racing through my mind were minor concerns in the grand scheme of life. I thought about how I’ve been alienating myself from my social media feeds. (What’s wrong with me that I don’t enjoy FaceBook like everyone else?) Financial concerns entered my mind. I’ll need an updated laptop soon. (How/when will I feel secure at dedicating funds to this before the device completely fails?)

First-world problems, right? My shallowness surrounding me makes my heart sick.

Yet other thoughts are like venomous arrows targeting my deepest fears, dragging me down a downcast path.

I pray for those living in suppressed and controlled countries; for the innocents in war-torn regions of the world; for changed hearts in corrupt world leaders; for the safety and security of my family; for the brokenness in this world to be healed.

But in the next moment—and praise God—his Spirit spoke to me, like a waves upon a perfectly calm, sandy beach. It’s difficult to explain, but when I turned my heart toward his loving kindness, I felt my heavy burdens lifted up. Thankfulness consumed me for all he’s provided me and the full life and promises he’s laid out before me.

My day was transformed from darkness into light. I was filled once again with hope.

For he’s breaking the chains of despair and captivity in my life, day by day, through small moments and big changes, his grace continues to work in my life.

Today’s prayer:

Lord God, thank you for working in my life. I can feel your presence as you help me take each thought captive to you. More and more I want this living water. I surrender my reproach again; replace all that I am with all that you are, with your ways of compassion, thankfulness, and everlasting joy. Transform these anxious thoughts into a vision of your endless blessing and provision; a treasure in heaven that is beyond any worth in this world. I trust you with my life.

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 

2 Corinthians 3:16-18

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25

He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, 
I will be exalted in the earth.” 
Psalms 46:10

Upholding my steps

As I begin my day, continued lockdowns and government suppression in my community once again lie before me.

I struggle to gain perspective. I wake up at night with stirring thoughts running through my mind. I reach for the cross around my neck and grasp it tightly, remembering who I am in Christ and the plans he has for me.

Calmness begins to take hold. I breathe deeply, fully in then releasing out several times. I focus my mind on his grace and everything he has done for me.

I pray for perseverance and strength. I pray for his truth to be revealed in this country, the world. I pray for hearts to be transformed.

Uphold my steps in Your paths, so that my footsteps may not slip.

Psalms 17:5 NKJV

This is a prayer I wrote during another challenging time. I’m so glad God put journaling and studying in my heart.

God, when my anger burns hotly, remind me that you are the only one who truly understands my heart and the only one who can save me from destructive, self-consuming thoughts. 

For as I turn to you, my cloak of indignation and defeat becomes one of capability, worthiness, strength, and contentment. 

In a moment of challenge, help me to know that you always provide a way out, as long as my focus remains on you.  

Reveal to me how this present circumstance and my perception of a broken, corrupt world is inconsequential compared to your insatiable desire for me to follow you.

I cannot comprehend everything that happens to me. Guide me to live this life in lockstep with your precepts, doing nothing in self-deception, cold-heartedness, or single-mindedness.

She is clothed in strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Proverbs 31:25

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

2 Corinthians 3:17

Trust in the Lord, and do good.

Psalms 37:3a