Hopeful

I have hope because I have faith in Jesus.  The One who conquered death can transform me.

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Yes, you can

 

English: Bull riding, Walcha Rodeo.
Image via Wikipedia

Children’s Hospital Heroes: Rebecca Shumaker.

 

We focus on our limitations.  We say there is no way that we can change the world.  We look at our limitations and say that we are confined.  Yet the truth is that with God all things are possible.  Rebecca Shumaker is living her possibilities.  She is a 16 year old girl with some health issues that require her to be in a wheel chair.  She is also a stock contractor.  She has bulls that are bucking bulls and competing.  She is living her dream.

Her parents are helping her with this dream.  Her dad says that faith is the key to life.  So, who are you helping?  Is there someone who has a vision that you could assist?  Is there a child in your community with a dream?  Use the skills that you do have to help change the world for at least that person.  Reach out to others.  Pray for them to have a dream.  Pray for them to realize their dream.  Pray for them to experience the transformative power of hope in Jesus Christ.

What about you?  Do you have a dream?  Do you have a vision for something more than you life now?  If God has given you a dream, why aren’t  you pursuing that dream?  What is holding you back?  Sometimes our fear of the unknown holds us back.  Sometimes other people hold  us back.  Do not be afraid.  Nothing is impossible with God.  Just ask Rebecca.

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Prediction or Participation

We are predictors.  We like to believe that we can guess outcomes before the real ending.  We hypothesis on situations, movies, books, sporting events, relationships, illnesses, and a host of other things.  The truth is that we really do not know what the end result will be.  Life constantly offers twists and turns of events that leave us shocked and surprised at the turn of events.  We don’t know what the end result will be until the end.  We may have a good idea, but it is only an idea.  We have to wait until the end to see how things really end up.

As I watched the Profession Bull Riders (PBR) event final from San Antonio, I was getting sleepy.  I had decided that Guilherme Marchi had won the event.  After all, there were only two other possibilities.  Each of those riders had to ride their bulls in order to win.  I did not really expect either rider to ride for the full 8 seconds.  I was wrong.  Reese Cates rode his fourth bull for the weekend, which was way beyond his usual performance.  It looked like he might win the event.  Then, Shane Proctor rode his fourth bull for the weekend which not only allowed him to win the event, but it broke the slump he had been experiencing.  I certainly did not expect such an exciting ending to the event.

Life has a way of throwing all sorts of surprises at us.  We do not know what is around the next corner.  Things can turn around.  They can get better.  There is always hope.  Reese Cates and Shane Proctor had to believe that they could ride those final bulls of the evening.  We too have to believe that the outcome can be better than some of the predictors who say that things will not turn out well. Trust that God can see a way when there seems to be no way.  Never give up until the end.  After all, a prediction is just a prediction, it is reality that counts.

Staying the Same

'Change, Grow, Evolve' photo (c) 2008, Robert Nunnally - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Transformation is something we talk about a lot.  We talk about transforming the world and ourselves.  We believe that are job is to change ourselves and the world.  We remind ourselves of Jesus declaration, “see, I am making all things new.”

Yet, often our response is that we are fine, just the way we are.  It is them over there that need to change.  I am fine.  They all need to realize my way is the best way.  We pray that they will be changed, but we are fine.

Or, we have a feeling of hopelessness.  We think that we are just to set in our ways to ever experience lasting change.  We think that we are too headstrong, or stubborn.  We think that there is no way to change because we have been on the same road for so long that there is no way to make a turn.

Alone, we probably cannot change on our own.  Change and lasting transformation is difficult, if not impossible.  Even when we know that the change will make us and our lives better, it is a challenge.

 One way that we are able to experience change is when we are a part of a supportive group or community.  The group offers us encouragement, challenge, hope, resources, and other intangibles That help move us forward.  This is one odpf the reasons we gather as Christians.  We gather because we do believe tha change is possible because all things.

New Life

Thinking about Jesus, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, I realize how much we all need new life and re-birth in this life. we need to know that there is always a new possibility for us. It is not hopeless. Just when they thought that there was no hope for Lazarus to be resurrected (since he had been in the tomb for three days), Jesus showed up and brought him back to life. Jesus showed up for Lazarus and is there for us as well. We must turn our eyes on Jesus for new life rather than looking at the limits around us. We must be willing to see the possibilities. Don’t worry about the doors that have been closed, look at the opportunities that are in Jesus. After all, if Jesus can bring Lazarus back from the grave after three days, imagine what Jesus can do for you. If you would like to read the passage, it is found here.