All in Hope

Don't Waste Your Pain

by Roberta Bonnici

A recent film release, “I Can Only Imagine,” tells the story of one young man’s painful past of verbal and physical abuse, and how that pain became a gateway of blessing to the world. 

One wonders why God gave us the capacity to feel emotional pain. It lurks in the recesses of the mind, disrupting relationships and personal achievement. It poisons memories and lingers far beyond whatever caused it. It stabs the heart. Does emotional pain serve any good purpose? Yes—if we allow God to transform it.

Aaah Spring

by Johnese Burtram

Aaah, spring… Late February teased us with warm temperatures and the definite expectation of spring. But March 2018 blew in with a mighty roar of the lion that shook the atmosphere. Even as we picked up singles and downed branches in our yards and endured the inconvenience of power outages, we continued to nurture hope for change.

New Seasons, New Day

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘“The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”  Lamentations 3:22-24

by Brittany Jones

I love this bright spot in the book filled with lamentation regarding the destruction of Jerusalem. These words almost jump off the page as a reminder that, amid the chaos and brokenness of life, His compassions never fail. These verses have echoed loudly in my ear for many years as I have endured a great amount of pain and heartache. But, because of the Fathers love, none of these things can consume us.   

Advent Blessing

by Johnese Burtram

The Christmas songs, dramas, poems, and devotionals bombard our attention with the blessings of Advent. God’s promise to bless all nations through the seed of Abraham dawned in the fullness of time…she gave birth to her first-born son, wrapped him in clothes, and placed him in a manger…a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. The story, poignant and sweet, also unfolds in harsh and terrible horror when we look beneath the tinseled surface.

A Thousand or More Favors

by Ruth Pabon

Thousands or more times I have felt the favor of the Lord working in my life. First, my father abandoned his wife and four young children.  A neighbor came over and invited us to church. At four years old, I heard the Sunday school teacher say, “God is your father.” Something in my soul ignited with hope and so the process of becoming a child of God began.

Even in Darkness Light Dawns

by Jenn Magnusen

As I mature in Christ it continually fascinates and challenges me how God's ways are not my ways, nor His thoughts my thoughts. And truly, that is probably a good thing for everyone concerned.  He tells us to love our enemies, to rejoice in persecution, to pray for those who come against us.  Even as I strive to take on the mind-of-Christ, God often proves He is the one in charge by answering my prayers in a manner I would not have anticipated or predicted.

Hope

(Psalm 71)
Eva Bridges

The desert sun has melted my joy
And I am left empty and dry
The heat suffocates me, the sand, it burns me
I wonder if I should even try

Thoughts about Waiting. Advent Week 4.

by Johnese Burtram

As is the way of all flesh, pregnancy inevitably ends with a birth.

Joseph also went up … to Bethlehem…

…While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, (Luke 2:4-7)

Mary just knew nothing good could come of this trail ride by donkey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. And she was right. The time came for the baby to be born.

Was she early? Late? Did a midwife attend her? We don’t know.

Pregnant With Joy

by Johnese Burtram

...December 1974 found me working hard on Get Ready for the Coming of the Lord. I was to sing the song of Mary. Mary had grabbed my imagination. I wanted to understand this young Jewish girl, pregnant outside of marriage. How did she feel about this unexpected chain of events?

Pilgrims

by Brenda Burns

The holidays frequently involve pilgrimage – heading over hill and dale to connect with our families. I am also mindful that life itself is a pilgrimage – we are strangers and aliens in this land (1 Peter 2:11).

Finding God in Tragedy

by Linda Shortridge

In March of 2014, my phone rang, breaking the stillness of the early morning. My father screamed my name over and over, intense sorrow filled my ear. ...Panic, then grief, dominated my mind. I felt the turmoil would increase until my brain exploded. As I drove through a late season snowstorm to my Dad’s, I felt the pain and confusion would grow until everything else was forced out of my life.

Finding God in the Dark

by Melissa Tingwald-Alvarez

With my husband off to work and my kids on the school bus, I sipped my morning coffee in the quiet of my living room before heading off to work. Then. It. Hit. Me. Grief, sadness, depression - overwhelmed by life’s circumstances. I felt a darkness engulf me. I sank down on the hardwood floor and cried. I could not put my thoughts into words to form a prayer. Where was this coming from?

Glimpses of Heaven

by Jessica Fortner

Recently my 4 year old daughter shared a vivid story with my husband and me. On this particular Sunday afternoon, while pointing out the living room window, she told us that before she was born Jesus had brought her down to our window and she could see us inside.  He told her this was going to be her home. She told Jesus she didn’t want to come.