Sunday, December 2, 2012

How is your Hope and Joy Level this Christmas Season?

Hope. Hmmm. Sometimes illusive. Sometimes sure. Sometimes mysteriously just out of reach. Hopelessness can be a dull sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, unidentifiable but it is there.

How about you? Has there been a lack of hope in your life lately? Maybe someone you love is ill? Maybe you are concerned about finances or a relationship has gone south? Maybe the News is getting you down?

Proverbs 13:12   “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life”. New Living Translation

As I was researching this verse I Googled and found this on the Nehemiah Project website: 

“Hope is an anticipation of a desired future.  Hope keeps you going when nothing around you seems to work.  Hope is the heartbeat of future dreams and goals.  When you have no hope, no matter how realistic your goals or how rewarding the promise, you will not continue to persevere.  You will quit.
What causes our hopes to be deferred?  Our hope is deferred when we put our hope in the wrong thing.  Whenever our hope is bound by anything tangible it is at risk of being deferred.  We live in a sinful world and no matter how comprehensive our plans, how righteous our walk or how worthy our goals, they will not always come together the way we envision them or when we plan.  Our hope must always be based on the unchanging nature and character of Jesus Christ.”

Wow. Yes! A resounding Yes!  

Foundations. What foundations do I … do you … base your life on? What do we base our hope on? If our hope to be solid and unshakable as Believers we can base our hope ONLY on our Lord Jesus Christ. The Truth of His Word can be the only foundation … the only grid on which to place our hopes and dreams and goals and to submit to His sovereignty in our lives. 

So, even though there seems to be plenty of hopelessness to go around right now this is the PERFECT time of year to consider our foundations and the very soil we “sink our roots” into which feeds and forms our values, beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, our very lives! Want to go “back” to a simpler time? Let’s you and I go back to the foundations of our beliefs during the Christmas season. Remember the simplicity of Jesus, the Son of God, coming in the form of a baby as the Savior and Messiah of … well, you and I.   

So, if I may … It has been scientifically proven that we cannot mentally focus on two things at once such as fear and trust, joy and hopelessness, anger and surrender, etc.  We are told in Philippians 4:8  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  Instead of focusing on why we are feeling hopeless what about if we CHOOSE to focus on what we are told to in Philippians 4:8? What if we CHOOSE to focus on Jesus (after all it is Christmas season … let’s focus on what we should be year round!J )  What if we CHOOSE to focus on why we are grateful rather than hopeless or what we have to be joyful about rather than why we are depressed or why we are  blessed instead of why we are afraid? Hey! Remember that Blessings Journals we have “talked about” in past editions of Gentle Nudgings?  

(Gift #1: How about buying a special Blessings Journal for yourself for a personal Christmas Gift to YOU? )

Let’s choose to be proactive about CHOOSING Hope, Joy and focusing on the grace of Jesus and all the blessings He has poured into our lives instead of allowing our minds to drift down a lazy (and unproductive) river of hopelessness and depression. The enemy of our souls loves to destroy, depress and discourage. We can CHOOSE to both obey our Lord Jesus and His Word and defend against the enemy by CHOOSING to discipline our minds and our hearts to focus on what is right about our lives and being grateful! 

(Gift #2:  Choose a New Attitude focusing on and being changed by Truth and Jesus starting December of 2012!)   

Simplify your Christmas Season this year!  Give yourself a gift!  Choose to focus on Hope, Joy and your Savior Jesus!  
 2013 can really be a very different year!  How about beginning today!  

Two verses for us to meditate on together as we are reflecting on what you are "reflecting" in life. (from

  1. Romans 12:2
    Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

  2. 2 Corinthians 3:18
    And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
 We get to choose what we think on and if we obey the Word of God. What and WHO we reflect because of those choices is one thing we need to pay attention to as Disciples of Jesus Christ, as His ambassadors. If our hope is in ourselves, other people, work, politics, our health, our figure, our perfectly decorated home or coming up with the perfect Christmas gift, event or card ... we will be sorely disappointed at some juncture. If on the other hand we are transformed by the renewing of our mind by staying in His Word daily, memorizing His Word, choosing to put all our HOPE on Him and being disciplined to stay focused then the JOY that comes from that lifestyle WILL reflect on our faces, in our eyes and authentic smiles!   

 If someone looks, really looks, at us will they say ... Oh!  "She has her Father's eyes"  as Amy Grant's song says? I pray so for both of us!  Let's reflect our Heavenly Father's eyes this Christmas season and more daily until we step into eternity with Him!

Coach Kathleen