HOPE*ann*FAITH

Learning to Live , Again, On Purpose.


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HopeAnnFaith’s 2014 in review: Follow me in 2015!


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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He Gave … He Came …


He Gave ... He Came ... John 3:16-17

He Gave …
He Came …
John 3:16-17

Give … ’tis The Season.

The Greatest Gift of All.

Christmas … a season of giving. I want to tell you a story. So get that cup of tea {or coffee.}, settle in comfortably.

Are you comfortably? Ready? Let’s begin … =)

God gave us, His children, the best gift we will ever receive. He gave us this gift because He loved us so much He sought to reconcile each and everyone of us to Himself.

This is not my story. I copied the biblical version from Biblegateway.com; because I felt it needed to be told correctly. This story is so very important to humanity and it’s been told and retold countless times that I didn’t want to diminish it with my “version”.

I give to you the story of Father’ giving to us, all.

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:11-14

Christ’s Birth Announced to Mary

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JesusHe will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.  Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.  For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary, then went to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also pregnant. They rejoiced in their visit and the magnitude of Mary’s pregnancy. Even, Elizabeth’s child (John, the Baptist) rejoice within the womb.

The Song of Mary

 And Mary sang:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

And Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and returned to her house.

Christ Born of Mary

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife,who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.  Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.  And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.  Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Today, I give you the true story of Christmas. The truth of the season and why we give one another gifts each year at this time. Some would say we are not celebrating Christ’s true birth date, but let me submit to you that it hardly matters to God, the Father or to Jesus, His Only Son, when we celebrate Jesus. It only matters that we celebrate Him and what He did for us …

So this year, I choose to give JOY … Give Joy

The very thing we need here in the earth. The very thing we need here in Hutchland.

JOY TO THE WORLD! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to ALL!

Thanks for reading my dear friends and God Bless You.

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My Journey


Hi. Welcome to Hope*ann*Faith blog where I share my day to day journey.

TuesdayToday I am participating in Tuesday at Ten over on Karen Beth’s blog. {Follow the link in her logo to the left.}

T@T is a word prompt for Creatives, each week where the writers, photographers, artists share their interpretation on a single word prompt. Karen can correct me if I’m wrong here … The prompt she gives us each week is to stir in us a heart post based on our lives and experiences. Karen and Finding the Grace Within blog are all about healing and getting connected. So join us, using any creative style you like and share your heart.

This Tuesday prompt is:    Journey.

So about My Journey. The journey to continuous Hope and Faith.

My Journey is probably my most used Category and Tag on this blog, because blogs are simply a virtual diary of one’s life, and life is certainly a journey.

So much is involved in one’s journey through this life. Mine is no different from yours. However the circumstances of our journeys are unique, giving us the illusion that my journey might be more intense than yours.

I. Think. Not.

There is a misconception among Christians that God will not give us more than we can handle on this journey. This is not true. I believe God does give us much more than we can handle without Him so that we choose Him.

The following scripture is often misunderstood/

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Nowhere in this scripture does it say God does not give us more we can handle. Like I said, I believe God gives us more than we can handle each day so that we will Call upon Him!

My journey has certainly come to a place where my pride {though it often rises to say, “you got this Andrea”} bows to God and I call upon Him daily; many times a day.

My walk, my journey is with God. When I remember to walk with Him, that is.

So if you’re new to my humble little blog here you may have an idea of what my journey is today. Me and mine are being tested in many areas of life these days, hard and simultaneously. We deal with normal things in life like:

Family – Bills – Jobs – Lack of Jobs

But we also deal with some extra things like:

Cancer

Heart Issues

Heroin Addiction

Extended Family Issues that deal with: Age, Mental Illness and other addictions.

Sounds rough, yes?

It is. No doubt, but we rely on God and He has been faithful.

Recently I was reading Psalm 23 … an oft used Scripture for those who are on harder journeys. And I saw something in verse 4 that I hadn’t truly understood before …

A Psalm of David.

23 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;

Our journey is not through the valley of death!

On our journey we travel through the valley shadow of death! A shadow is just an ether … it’s harmless, unless we add fear giving the shadow body and the ability to harm us, because we allow the shadow more power than it is capable of without our permission.

This scripture assures us that God is with on this journey. He is there before we know Him, protecting us. He is there when we decide we are going to do these things on our own, watching over us and waiting patiently until we call on Him for rescue. And He is tangibly there when we trust wholly in His constant presence in our lives and on this journey.

Dear God

Dear God

My journey is a rough one. One that often requires me to pray in a warring fashion against fear, because I refuse to give that shadow any power.

My journey is about endurance, as is yours. We all battle and war and endure, but I encourage you today! DO NOT tolerate that which is not of the Lord.

It is said of journeys:

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~ Lao Tzu

Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time. ~ Lyndon B. Johnson

The only journey is the one within. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

The second two really speak to me on the spiritual level. I truly believe that the journey, though it feels as if it is external, is truly one within. I believe there are tests in our lives that build our faith and endurance . Let me remind you of my beginning Scripture …

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear … though we will be tested beyond what we can bear … because God is faithful and will provide a way out, so that we can endure the test … with His assistance.

God knows the end of our journey from the beginning of His time … we are equal to the challenge of our personal journey in this life; we just need to trust God and rely on Him, then we will not be overtaken.

Because, in all these things we are more than conquerors

through him who loved us. ~ Romans 8:37

Thanks for stopping by and reading. Blessings to you.

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Patience: The Reality of a Believer


PrayerPatience:

Not one of my natural traits. Frankly I am convinced it is not a natural trait for any human, and I’ll tell you why.

Because we ALL have a plan in our head and when that plan is usurped by someone or something we lose our patience; whatever infinitesimal  patience we were born with or taught.

Naturally, humanly, we do not have much patience.

We live in a fast food, right now, instant gratification world; like veritable infants. We want what we want and we want it now!

Correct me if I’m wrong.

Over the last 13 years I’ve learned and studied a lot about patience. Studied my live, other people and God’s word.

Really early in my walk with God I learned NOT to ask for patience … Why, you ask?

I learned quickly that if I asked for patience God would quickly give me an opportunity to use what patience I thought I had. And when I say quickly I mean immediately!

I learned I had very little patience.

The Merriam Webster definition of Patience: :  the capacity, habit, or fact of being patient. (Not very extensive, you see). The people, in the world we live in today, simply have little to no patience; and the definition has little or no information.

The biblical definition of Patience: The quality of forbearance and self-control which shows itself particularly in a willingness to wait upon God and his will. Believers are called upon to be patient in their expectations of God’s actions, and in their relationships with one another. (This is just the first sentence of the page!)

In the last, going on 16 months, one of the trials or tests, if you will, that we’ve gone through as a couple and a family, and as individuals was a testing of our patience.

And today ( or the last week!!!) has been NO different! I have written, erased and rewritten this post multiple times, seriously! Talk about impatient! I have been trying to write this post since Thursday of last week, and that was after pondering where I come from in light of the prompt. Then the weekend changed where I was coming from!

That’s just the way of life. All those desires, wants and needs that we believe are for RIGHT NOW change. Who and what I was last week is vastly different, again, than right now.

Amazing wonderful things happened over the weekend! Our dearest friends and mentors became the Pastors of our church! Big things are ahead in the Kingdom of God!

And others are leaving. Our pastors of the last 4 1/2 years are onto new things in the Kingdom, as are some very important others in my life. It makes the celebration bitter sweet and wears on the patience a bit.

It’s a difficult thing being patient in times of growth and loss. I want the good of the growth to begin and I want the pain of loss to STOP!

Change wears on my patience. It sometimes renders me paralyzed for a short time, like today.

Right now my one overwhelming desire is to know what’s next. I don’t mean with the ministry; we’re on board with the good changes, though they can be overwhelming if I try to think ahead of myself.

Yet when everything happens all at once {and my life keeps doing that} I get the overwhelming need for control!

I feel an uncontrollable need to please the people around me, no matter what they are doing right or wrong [in my opinion] and handle everything I can on my own! In this way I’ve lost my patience today.

In this time of total im-Patience I’ll certainly get things done, but I’ll be exhausted and spent and possibly ill for the next few days. And ain’t nobody got time for momma to be ill!

So how do I stay in that Biblical definition of patience?

I do my level best to remain still and wait for God.

I. Pray. {and I know I’ve exhausted that one, but it’s the only real way to deal with all of this!}

I. Pray.

Intentional Prayer: Sitting still and quiet and praying in tongues. Allowing Holy Spirit to take my petitions to the throne of God untainted by my impatience and control issues.

I. Pray.

God’s word.

Reminding myself and God of His promises of Life and Life More Abundant.

Reminding myself that I am more than a conqueror! Thankfully praising God that He’s given me His peace and that I’m to hand Him my burden.

I. Pray.

Reminding myself that God’s plan for the situation that is causing me to be paralyzed and impatient is far better than anything I can even fathom or devise on my own; and as always, it takes me {too much} time to remember to do that!

God says: “Andrea! Cast your cares upon me, the Lord of your life. My yolk is lighter.” and I say, quietly, even meekly: “But … God, Father … please …”. And He remains patient with me, when I cannot even remain patient for a second for Him when I get this way.

He waits for me …

TO GET STILL, in Him. {It’s the only place I can remain still and at peace, I’ve found. And I think that is true of all of us.}

TO BREATH and wait on God’s PERFECT timing.

Here’s what keeps running through my mind today …

Change … It’s going to happen!
Best to smile and endure until everything feels right again.
Because it’s God’s plan and He knows what’s best.
{Me.}

Jeremiah 29:11-12 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

{You see that in verse 12 of Jeremiah 29:11 there is something to be done while we wait on God. Pray.}

Romans 8: 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

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

Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

So where are you today in reference to Patience? How are you handling your day? Share with us over on Tuesday at Ten at Karen’s place!

Tuesday @ Ten

Tuesday @ Ten


Thanks for reading my chaotic life! I feel comforted by your presence and fulfilled by your friendship. Blessings to you, sweet reader.

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HOPEannFAITH Recommended Reading: Bible Verses Need Context « Janet Pope


I just took a “how to study the bible course”; it was actually a consolidated, quick Hermeneutics class.

hermeneutics
1. The branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation, especially of the bible or literary texts.
How we “read” and “study the bible is vital. When we simply like a verse and decide to memorize it, often times, because it is out of context we lose much of what God is saying to us.

 

And then … we apply it wrong and when things do not work out the way that we “think” God is saying it will, we get angry at God; when all the time we were mistaken as to the meaning.

This article explains this in easy layman’s terms. Because most of us are studying God’s word to apply it to our lives, not for college purposes!

A HOPEannFAITH recommended reading! Enjoy:

Bible Verses Need Context « Janet Pope.


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Dear Lord …


Dear Lord …

Me ... PrayerIt’s me again. Andrea. Here to present my petitions and desires. I know I don’t have to present or ask. I know you are already on these things, but I needed to talk. And I know you already knew that too.

So why do I pray? Speak these epistles of my life to you. Spoken letters of request. Verbal thank you notes for all the blessings in this mess of a life of mine.

I pray because Dear, Sweet Jesus, it’s how I get to talk to you. I pray because it brings me closer to you. Brings me knowledge of you. Prayer is the intimacy of our relationship.

I guess I need to remind myself why I pray sometimes. In this storm it gets confusing and sometimes feels like I keep repeating myself in a desperate beg for some relief.

I pray, because I need answers and only You, Dear Lord, hold these precious treasures of knowing.

I need comfort in this storm that’s been blowing through our lives for the last 15 months. Yet, even as the storm rages and the emotions win their hostile takeover, if I remember and begin to pray my heart is calmed and my mind is cleared. I know this calm is mine in prayer, I just need to remember in the chaos to begin  …

I try to sit still in your presence, but when I cannot, and attempt in my own power to enact some fleshly understanding, you wait patiently for me to surrender to the quiet of Your Spirit. And then you envelope me in Your Mighty Shadow, where I finally rest from my futile efforts, pressing my heart as close to yours as I can.

I sense You in my darkest moments. I hear Your whisper in the swirling chaotic thoughts of those moments; though Your Word says You are not in the storm. And You’re not, but yet, there You are and …

You whisper in my ear … I have not left You child. I AM right here, by your side, My Dearest One. Where I have been since I created you.

And then I can rest, when I’ve heard your voice, and know that in my alone-ness, I am never truly alone.

Love,

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Amen.

STOP!

 

This has been a Five Minute Friday Post … Check out how it works here …


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Trying to Be Still in Overwhelming Circumstances |Few Words Thursday


christmas box

Just this week I participated in a word prompt exercise on Fear, you can read it {here}, if you haven’t already. That was Tuesday. It’s Thursday and what I began knowing was going to be an over full week has become more full! Isn’t it just the way of the enemy to attack just as you think you’ve come to a place of rest. Well as versed as I am in fear, and how I handle, it a whole new version of an old foe has reared it’s ugly head.

Anxiety.

Anxiety about the holiday. Anxiety about the clinical trial. And anxiety about this illness getting in the way of our family’s happiness and joy, especially at this time of year. It’s The Hubs’ favorite season, Christmas!

The research doctor at RCI called about needing The Hubs to have another CAT scan; the original biopsy was not big enough to get what they needed, so they need to start with a CT scan. Well that said, he had a CT scan a week after we saw her, so they used that. This morning the research nurse called about scheduling the biopsy. Next week is out due to his work schedule, so that leaves the week before Christmas.

THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS! I HAVE ABSOLUTELY “0” DONE!

Now anyone who knows me knows that the hoopla around the Christmas Holiday doesn’t usually appeal to me. I’ve never liked the music or the decorations. I do, however, LOVE the meaning, the family and the togetherness with people we love. But all the hoopla … I always preferred to avoid, as in “I” didn’t touch the tree and things like that, the decorating, lighting and background music of the holiday. Let’s just say that the holidays were always  a source of chaos and anxiety, or worse, when I was a child.

The last couple of years (and I mean like 2) I’ve been feeling more “into” the celebration and decorations part of the holiday.

This year I’ve actually been feeling quite festive. Albeit a very new feeling for me.

I know it’s because I am so grateful for my time with The Hubs and our little family here in Hutchland. =)

And who deserves the honor and glory for that “new” feeling? Jesus. Yes, he does.

Then the calls … We were in a holding pattern of perpetual waiting with this clinical trial possibility, and it’s still only a possibility! The holding pattern was frustrating, I was going to call them Monday about where we were; then they called.

Now I’m feeling like that chaos and anxiety are invading again. All of a sudden I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to get this Christmas up, festive and complete with all this going on in the only two weeks we have to do it all in!

Anxiety makes being Still very hard. I have to force myself to pray and trust God. For some odd reason my heart and head are spinning again and I’m having issues getting it under control.

So what to do?

I’m praying in tongues, in my head and out loud. I am thanking God for His hand on and plan for our lives and resisting the urge to beg Him to fix all this.

He will. He is. I know this, but right this very moment I just need something concrete to know that my world isn’t rushing off on some chaotic run away roller coaster!

So I’ll read the bible. I’ll study for the Bible Lesson I’m giving tonight at bible study. I’ll continue to pray and hopefully I’ll be able to get something constructive done today.

I wish, I pray for answers, to know why I’m feeling like this. Why the anxiety after all this time (15 months).

I have a sound mind … I have power and love; everything to conquer this unfounded fear. Now I just need to remember how to use them.

So first, here, I’ll work on my memory verse and meditate on what it means when God is my fortress and stronghold!

Hiding-Psalm-27-in-My-Heart_DoNotDepart

Psalm 27:1-3 (with the Productivity501 tool in front of me.) While praying in tongues. The red is where I had to check the psalm for the right word and the cross outs are self explanatory. (Got that word, or run, incorrect.) The purple is my “commentary”. 😉

1. The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

2. When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. (Thank you Lord! feeling better now.)

3. Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this (God, God’s Word) I will be confident.

{Psalm 27 is such an amazing Scripture to be memorizing at this time in my life. I thank God that I stumbled upon it in my blog hopping!}

In this circumstance of our lives cancer and addiction are certainly our enemies and foes; but I need not be afraid, If God is with me of whom or what shall I be afraid?

Romans 8:28-32

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

God’s Everlasting Love

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

After writing this diary-esque post, I feel better. I think I am just overwhelmed with all of the hubbub around the holiday and this clinical trial. I am purposefully going to keep my mind on the REASON FOR THE SEASON and try to not be overwhelmed by getting it all perfect. Because frankly, this girl has NEVER been perfect, especially around the holidays, nor have I ever striven for such a thing.

I’m going to remind myself that God perfects what concerns me … and I am going to be confident in Him and what His Word says about all of this hoopla!

Psalm 138:7-9

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

 

Christmas is about celebrating our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All the rest of it is just frills that we created to make us happy. I’m going to sit in the hay with my pups and rejoice that Jesus came to save me and that He is working with Father God, right now, to bring about the perfect results for our lives here in Hutchland.

joy

I know my words weren’t exactly few (but I did add full scripture)!

Thanks for reading my diary of woe. It’s wonderful to know you’re here listening (reading, ha.)

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