A healthy dose of hope

Above is a Great Crested Fly Catcher. I saw one of these beauties in my back yard yesterday. Check out the pompom on the top of his head. Photo by Drew Weber, Bucks County, Pa.., Creative Commons, some rights reserved.

So how are you feeling? The losses seem to keep stacking up. Loss of freedom to move around the way we used to. Loss of control over where we can go and what we can do. The loss of work and income for some of us. We miss seeing each other and being together. About now, we can all use a healthy dose of hope.

Where does our hope come from? A traveler asked this same question in Psalm 121:1. It reads, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?”

Some say pilgrims might have sung this psalm on their way to Jerusalem, seeing the hills of the city come into view off in the distance.

Others say David might have sung this psalm while on the run from King Saul, watching enemy armies descend toward him from the hills in the distance.

Either way, the singers found their hope in the same place.

My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.

The Lord will keep
 your going out and your coming in
 from this time forth and forevermore.

Regardless of our circumstances, Jesus is our hope today and for the future. May He deeply encourage us today. 

And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope, 

Finding God’s love and wood ducks in my backyard

We’ve all suffered losses during this time. We can’t move around the way we were used to. We can’t be together at church, and we can’t see our family and friends in person. Some of us have lost jobs. Others have lost loved ones. It hurts. 

And then this morning, I looked out my back door and found two wood ducks sitting in a tree about 15 feet off the ground. Ducks? In a tree? Yes.

While Mrs. Wood Duck nosed around inside a hole in the trunk looking for a place to nest, Mr. Wood Duck perched on the limb above her, watching for anything that might disturb her.  They didn’t appear to be worried about what to wear or what to eat. 

At that moment, the Holy Spirit reminded me that He has our lives in His hands. He knows when we’ll be able to move about again. In the meantime, He’s asking that we trust Him. I took a deep breath and began to sense the peace of Christ. 

At one point during Jesus’ ministry, the crowds asked, “Teacher, what must we do to be doing the works of God?” Don’t you want to know the answer to that question? I do. Here’s what Jesus said (John 6:29). 

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

That’s it? No good works to accomplish first? Surely it has to be more complicated than that. No, it’s not. Placing our faith in the one whom God has sent. Trusting Him to forgive our sins. That’s what Jesus is asking for. Our faith will lead to good works. 

Peter says it a different way in 1 Peter 5:6,7. 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 

We can place ourselves squarely in the hands of our loving heavenly Father, and tell Him what’s bothering us. We can even tell Him what we’d like Him to do about it, and then thank Him that He loves us. We can do that today, right now. 

An encouraging word about Coronavirus

Recently, our pastor, Scott George, was interviewed on the radio. Almost a year ago, his son Austin suffered a traumatic brain injury during a swimming accident. Scott and his family have spent the past eight months first in Miami, then in Atlanta, getting Austin the best possible care. Doctors call his recovery a miracle. The family moved back to Orlando in February, just in time for the onset of the new coronavirus.

During this interview, Pastor Scott updates us on Austin’s health and gives us his perspective to face the weeks ahead of us. You can listen below.