Tikkun Olam: Repairing the World

Tikkun Olam is Hebrew for repairing the world.

It’s Holy Week, Holy Saturday in fact. Yesterday Jesus died at the cross of Calvary. Tomorrow he will ride and leave his tomb empty.

Tikkun Olam. This is all I can think of. Why is this lil old Christian girl citing Hebrew words?

Tikkun Olam began as a verb “to make straight” in the Hebrew scripture. Rabbis have used this phrase, this saying in their legal discussions in the Talmud.

I am currently moved and inspire to write about how Jesus came in to my life in order to Tikkun Olam me. He set me straight, he saved me, he repaired me when I was broken, weak and in need. Thank you ABBA Padre.

Kaballist followers referred to Tikkun Olam as a concept of cosmic repair in the Middle Ages.

Today, some use the term Tikkun Olam in reference to social activism – to heal the world.

The Hebrew verb TKN (Tikkun Olam) is only found four times in the Scripture. Which means to make straight, establish, arrange, or repair.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, we see the verb TKN mentioned 3 out of the four times mentioned in scripture.

Before we get into those scripture let’s speak about the book of Ecclesiastes.

Purpose and Teaching:

The author of Ecclesiastes puts his powers of wisdom to work to examine the human experience and assess the human situation. His perspective is limited to what happens “under the sun” (as is that of all the wisdom teachers). He considers life as he has experienced and observed it between the horizons of birth and death — life within the boundaries of this visible world. His wisdom cannot penetrate beyond that last horizon; he can only observe the phenomenon of death and perceive the limits it places on human beings. Within the limits of human experience and observation, he is concerned to spell out what is “good” for people to do. And he represents a devout wisdom. Life in the world is under God — for all its enigmas. Hence what begins with “Meaningless! Meaningless!” (1:2) ends with “Remember your Creator” (12:1) and “Fear God and keep his commandments” (12:13).

With a wisdom matured by many years, he takes the measure of human beings, examining their limits and their lot. He has attempted to see what human wisdom can do (1:13,16-18; 7:24; 8:16), and he has discovered that human wisdom, even when it has its beginning in “the fear of the Lord” (Pr 1:7), has limits to its powers when it attempts to go it alone — limits that circumscribe its perspectives and relativize its counsel. Most significantly, it cannot find out the larger purposes of God or the ultimate meaning of human existence. With respect to these it can only pose questions.

Nevertheless, he does take a hard look at the human enterprise — an enterprise in which he himself has fully participated. He sees a busy, busy human ant hill in mad pursuit of many things, trying now this, now that, laboring away as if by dint of effort humans could master the world, lay bare its deepest secrets, change its fundamental structures, somehow burst through the bounds of human limitations, build for themselves enduring monuments, control their destiny, achieve a state of secure and lasting happiness — people laboring at life with an overblown conception of human powers and consequently pursuing unrealistic hopes and aspirations.

He takes a hard look and concludes that human life in this mode is “meaningless,” its efforts all futile.

What, then, does wisdom teach him?

1. Humans cannot by all their striving achieve anything of ultimate or enduring significance. Nothing appears to be going anywhere (1:5-11), and people cannot by all their efforts break out of this caged treadmill (1:2-4;2:1-11); they cannot fundamentally change anything (1:12-15;6:10;7:13). Hence they often toil foolishly (4:4,7-8;5:10-17;6:7-9). All their striving “under the sun” (1:3) after unreal goals leads only to disillusionment.

2. Wisdom is better than folly (2:13-14; 7:1-6,11-12,19; 8:1,5; 9:17-18; 10:1-3,12-15; 12:11) — it is God’s gift to those who please him (2:26). But it is unwarranted to expect too much even from such wisdom — to expect that human wisdom is capable of solving all problems (1:16-18) or of securing for itself enduring rewards or advantages (2:12-17;4:13-16;9:13-16).

3. Experience confronts humans with many apparent disharmonies and anomalies that wisdom cannot unravel. Of these the greatest of all is this: Human life comes to the same end as that of the animals — death (2:15; 3:16-17; 7:15; 8:14; 9:1-3; 10:5-7).

4. Although God made humankind upright, people have gone in search of many “schemes” (for getting ahead by taking advantage of others; see 7:29; cf. Ps 10:2; 36:4; 140:2). So even humans are a disappointment (7:24-29).

5. People cannot know or control what will come after them, or even what lies in the more immediate future; therefore all their efforts remain balanced on the razor’s edge of uncertainty (2:18;6:12;7:14;9:2).

6. God keeps humans in their place (3:16-22).

7. God has ordered all things (3:1-15;5:19;6:1-6;9:1), and a human being cannot change God’s appointments or fully understand them or anticipate them (3:1;7;11:1-6). But the world is not fundamentally chaotic or irrational. It is ordered by God, and it is for humans to accept matters as they are by God’s appointments, including their own limitations. Everything has its “time” and is good in its time (ch. 3).

Therefore wisdom counsels:

1. Accept the human state as it is shaped by God’s appointments and enjoy the life you have been given as fully as you can.

2. Don’t trouble yourself with unrealistic goals — know the measure of human capabilities.

3. Be prudent in all your ways — follow wisdom’s leading.

4. “Fear God and keep his commandments” (12:13), beginning already in your youth before the fleeting days of life’s enjoyments are gone and “the days of trouble” (12:1) come when the infirmities of advanced age vex you and hinder you from tasting, seeing and feeling the good things of life.

To sum up, Ecclesiastes provides instruction on how to live meaningfully, purposefully and joyfully within the theocratic arrangement — primarily by placing God at the center of one’s life, work and activities, by contentedly accepting one’s divinely appointed lot in life, and by reverently trusting in and obeying the Creator-King. Note particularly 2:24-26; 3:11-14,22; 5:18-20; 8:15; 9:7-10; 11:712:1; 12:9-14 (see also any pertinent notes on these passagoes link can be found in footnotes)

Outline of Ecclesiastes:

• Author (1:1)

• Theme: The meaninglessness of human efforts on earth apart from God (1:2)

• Introduction: The profitlessness of human toil to accumulate things in order to achieve happiness (1:3-11)

• Discourse, Part 1: In spite of life’s apparent enigmas and meaninglessness, it is to be enjoyed as a gift from God (1:12;11:6)

• Since human wisdom and endeavors are meaningless, people should enjoy their life and work and its fruits as gifts from God (1:12;6:9)

1. Introduction (1:12-18)

1. Human endeavors are meaningless (1:12-15)

2. Pursuing human wisdom is meaningless (1:16-18)

2. Seeking pleasure is meaningless (2:1-11)

3. Human wisdom is meaningless (2:12-17)

4. Toiling to accumulate things is meaningless (2:18;6:9)

1. Because people must leave the fruits of their labor to others (2:18-26)

2. Because all human efforts remain under the government of God’s sovereign appointments, which people cannot fully know and which all their toil cannot change (3:1;4:3)

3. Because there are things better for people than the envy, greed and amibition that motivate such toil (4:4-16)

4. Because the fruits of human labor can be lost, resulting in frustration (5:1;6:9)

• Since people cannot fully know what is best to do or what the future holds for them, they should enjoy now the life and work God has given them (6:10;11:6)

1. Introduction: What is predetermined by God is inalterable, and people cannot fully know what is best or what the future holds (6:10-12)

2. People cannot fully know what is best to do (chs. 78)

3. People cannot fully know what the future holds (9:1;11:6)

• Discourse, Part 2: Since old age and death will soon come, people should enjoy life in their youth, remembering that God will judge (11:7;12:7)

• People should enjoy their life on earth because their future after death is mysterious, and in that sense is meaningless for their present life (11:7-8)

• People should enjoy the fleeting joys of youth, but remember that God will judge (11:9-10)

• People should remember their Creator (and his gifts) in their youth, before the deteriorations of old age and the dissolution of the body come (12:1-7)

• Theme Repeated (12:8)

• Conclusion: Reverently trust in and obey God (12:9-14)

Now that we have an overview on Ecclesiastes, back to references of TKN:

Human endeavors are meaningless:

“What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered.”

Ecclesiastes 1:15 NLT

The author has described that we humans do not have authority to fully make things right, make things new, or repair. We are limited.

“Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?”

Ecclesiastes 7:13 NLT

Who are we? Can we really fix something that God has made, created? Allowed to happen? God has his reasons for why things go the way they do. We have to accept what we cannot change, we have to accept in our limited abilities and capabilities of the flesh. We do not have the power God has. We do not have God’s abilities.

“Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them.”

Ecclesiastes 12:9 NLT

We have to reverently trust and obey God.

““When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before.”

Daniel 4:36 NLT

In Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream, Daniel interprets it and Nebuchadnezzar‘s dream came to pass., he then exalted and glorified the lords name. Nebuchadnezzar was restored, straightened and renewed. TKN.

Consider what God has done: Who can straighten [Takkan] what he has made crooked?”

In the book of Deuteronomy we see where the concept of Justice and moral duty to society originates:

“Let true justice prevail, so you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

Deuteronomy 16:20 NLT

In the book of Amos we find a Hebrew prophet who condemned Israel’s disregard to Widows, orphans and foreigners in his time. Here he uses this reference towards doing what is rightness, to denounce Evelin, to love what is good, to turn towards justice for all the living.

“Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed. Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.”

Amos 5:14-15, 24 NLT

Now that we have see. Peace, and setting things right or repairing with the Hebrew word Tikkun Olam, then came the concept of repairing the world peace. The Zohar, a book of Jewish mysticism, first appeared in Spain in the late thirteenth century. The author used tikkun olam to describe the cosmic benefits of when a Jew performs mitzvot.

A mitzvot is a commandment, referring to precepts and commandments commanded by God. According to the Torah there are 613 commandments. In the Bible we have 10.

Now back to the book Zohar, out of this book and cosmic benefits of following the commandments a new philosphy of thought emerged called kabbalah.

This new philosophy is birthed in the concept of how through the fall of Adam, the universe was “ruptured” in both the physical and spiritual realms.When a Jew carries out the mitzvot cosmic repairs are made in the invisible spiritual world. The benefits then “flow down” into the physical world and slowly repair the damage done on earth by the sin of Adam.

We know that through the fall of man in genesis, sin was born. Satan became the prince of this world. Willing and able to deter, destroy, manipulate all of God’s creation.

Kabbalist state with their philosophy of cosmic destruction due to the fall of man that God’s presence was scattered in the same way a clay pot is shattered and the shards scattered. These pieces were called “divine sparks.” Famed Kabbalist Isaac Luria (1534-1572) explained that the Jews were dispersed throughout the world in order to “elevate” these sparks and restore the unity of God’s presence.

As Christians we know that yes the fall of Adam and Eve birthed sin, yet the death of Jesus restore us, heals us, Tikkun Olam: Repairing the World, not the physical world but spiritual world.

For centuries Jews waited the arrival of the messiah, so a new Jerusalem can be formed, Where their king can ride up and rule for all eternity. The prophecy has been mentioned throughout the scriptures of hour our savior would come, live, be mistreated, pay for our sins and ride back up. (Isaiah 53).

Jesus did just that. The spiritual world is saved. Jesus repairs our hearts. Jesus repairs our souls, Jesus repairs our mind, Jesus repairs where we will spend our eternity…. as long as we believe in him, follow him, trust in him.

“The fact is, it was our suffering he took on himself; he bore our pain. But we thought that God was punishing him, that God was beating him for something he did. But he was being punished for what we did. He was crushed because of our guilt. He took the punishment we deserved, and this brought us peace. We were healed because of his pain.”

Isaiah 53:4-5 ERV

The phrase “tikkun olam” remains connected with human responsibility for fixing what is wrong with the world. It’s a trait that comes from within. People whom are passionate about fixing this world are invested in grassroot initiatives, working for the people, to stand up against anyone whom do not do right by the people. These people do community activism, work in social justice, some go into politics, go into health care, the legal system and even ministry, so that in the areas they believe and are passionate about they too can do right for the people. The problems of this world can be jeweled and mended if we all take the appropriate steps towards salvation. To love each other wholly they say the Bible reaches us. To respect one another as the Bible reaches us.

Jesus came to this world mend our hearts, save this world, to repair this world from the sin caused by the down fall of mankind. Jesus came by dying in our place for our wrongdoing, thereby wiping our slate clean and giving us shalom (peace)with God. Jesus is our Tikkun Olam, but what he comes to repair, is not this physical world but the spiritual world. Our battle is a spiritual battle. Our journey here on earth determines our spiritual journey.

Yet here we are today, Holy Saturday, and you are probably wondering where I am going with all of this.

When Jesus died at Calvary, his followers, his disciples were mourning, they felt broken, they were in pain. Some were probably questioning was this really the son of God? Some were probably questioning will he return? Some were just in pain. Loosing a friend, especially at a young age is never easy. They had to silently wait for what was to come next, while they mourned.

Put yourself in the place of Jesus ‘ disciples.

‘I just lost my teacher. I just lost my mentor. I just lost my friend. I just lost my best friend. I just lost my brother. I just lost my son, he was only 33.’

Let those words sink in for just a few seconds.

Have you ever lost a teacher you highly regarded and respected? A mentor who guided you? A close friend? Your best friend? Your brother or sister? Your son?

His disciples were in pain. Yes they believed his teachings. Yes they lived, breathed, witness and spoke of the miracles of Jesus, yet here, in this world, in this flesh, they were still in pain.

When someone dies, no matter how they die, at first it’s hard to accept that they are no longer with us in the flesh.

Recently I lost a dear friend. It was a freak accident in my eyes. In the eyes of the Lord, it was time. I do not need to know the why, the reason, no matter how much I question what did happen, how come he died, I have to accept that God has his reason, and his reason is not mine to know. Yet this death, hurt me, shook me to the core. This death shattered my home to a million pieces. This death caused pain we didn’t know exist. We lost a friend, a brother, a best friend, a teacher.

The pain was raw.

The pain was real.

The emotions were indescribable.

We have all lost someone.

Take these feelings and apply them to the disciples.

I was broken with my losses.

They too were broken.

We also become broken when we sin.

The day after the crucifixtuon of Christ , they too mourned. Their pain, their feelings were raw. Their anguish was real. They were broken. Despite their faith, despite knowing that the prophesy needed to be fulfilled, they were broken and in real pain, the same pain you and I feel when we loose a loved one.

Today, I can think of Tikkun Olam, Jesus repairing the spiritual world. Today in mourning, broken, in pain over the loss of our savior, channeling the pain the disciples must have felt today, I find hope, comfort and peace knowing tomorrow he will rise. Tomorrow he fulfills the prophesy. That tomorrow he proves that he is the messiah, that my sins have been forgiven, that he paid my debts. That I shall praise and worship his name because he has allowed me to have an opportunity to enter the gates of heaven. I have found the Golden Ticket…. my ticket is Jesus. He has repaired my world, he has repaired my spiritual battles, he has healed everything that was broken in me.

Jesus repairs. Jesus heals. Jesus mends. Jesus is my Tikkun Olam: he has repaired, straightened and healed me.

Thank you Lord for sending your only son to be our sacrificial lamb. Thank you for having him take my sins upon the cross. Thank you for allowing me salvation through your son. Lord this act has allowed us salvation. Allowed us a bridge and relationship with you. To be able to feel your spirit. To be touched by the Holy Spirit. To be loved and inspired by the Holy Spirit. To grow with you in our spiritual journey so we can join you when our time comes. Lord I know things will happen, temptations and test will come, the enemy will try to break me, but you have already repaired me. Today over two thousand years ago, the disciples mourned the passing of Jesus, tomorrow we shall rejoice and celebrate that we worship the one true living God. Amen

References:

https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/issues-v20-n03/tikkun-olam-repairing-the-world/

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/tikkun-olam-repairing-the-world/

http://bible.com/116/ecc.1.15.nlt

http://bible.com/116/ecc.7.13.nlt

http://bible.com/116/ecc.12.9.nlt

http://bible.com/116/dan.4.36.nlt

http://bible.com/116/deu.16.20.nlt

http://bible.com/116/amo.5.14-15,24.nlt

http://bible.com/406/isa.53.4-5.erv

https://www.biblestudytools.com/ecclesiastes/

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While we were still sinners….

bible.com/406/rom.5.8.erv

Think about the ultimate sacrifice God has made for you. He sent his son, to pay for our sins, even before you and I were born. Jesus was our sacrificial lamb. He has redeemed us. He died so we too can join his father our lord one day in heaven. He died so we too can receive salvation.

He rose from the grave to fulfill a prophesy, a promise from God. To show God’s love, compassion and grace. To show that God wants all his children with him, saved in heaven. Not subject to be lost in the catacombs of hell, not to be destroyed by the enemy. The lord gave us free Will, we freely choose whether we want to accept him or not. Our choices determine if we can achieve salvation.

Jesus death at the cross of Calvary is not something to be taken lightly. His whole experience, the torment he had to undergo, the suffering, the beatings, the tears, the agony of his flesh, the name calling, the shouts, the hatred that many had towards him. He went through all this so we, you and I shouldn’t. He paid our debts, so when you make it to judgement day, you can go debt free. All you have to do is believe and accept our lord as your lord and savior.

All you have to do is start anew. Repent, believe, follow Jesus. Follow him with all your heart and soul.

Pray with me.

Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

If you decided to repeat this prayer and repent of your sins and receive Christ today, welcome to God’s family. You are now my brother or sister in Christ.

Now, there are a few things you need to know to grow closer to Christ. Build your relationship with God. As a way to grow closer to Him, the Bible tells us to follow up on our commitment.

• Get baptized as Christ has commanded us.

• Tell someone else about your new faith in Christ.

• Spend time with God each day. It does not have to be a long period of time. Just develop the daily habit of praying to Him and reading His Word. Ask God to increase your faith and your understanding of the Bible.

• Seek fellowship with other followers of Jesus. Develop a group of believing friends to answer your questions and support you.

• Find a local church where you can worship God.

Good luck on your spiritual journey.

May God Bless you.

Darkest before Dawn

The night is far gone, and the day is near. Let’s therefore throw off the works of darkness, and let’s put on the armor of light.
– Romans 13:12
This saying just means that things will get worse before they get better
Our world can be a very, very dark place. As the years pass, as social norms changes, as political views change, as people become more tolerant or accepting to certain things, as time passes it appears to be getting darker.
We are living in a culture that is less moral than in previous years. Violence and Hatred is increasing. Racism and discrimination are being shed in to the light at a more rapid pace than ever before thanks to social media (I do not blame social media, I am just stating that due to access of social media, there are more means to share, display and cause awareness to what is going on).
No matter what we do, right now it seems very, very dark. What is morally and ethically wrong, it seems is right. Religion and the principals of good is seems to be wrong.
Looking back at the saying: “It is always darkest before the dawn!” If any of this is remotely true, then knowing that we are currently living in a dark world, which appears to be getting darker by the day, then we should find hope that after the days get darker, the dawn will shine bright among us.
As the world gets darker, we should seek comfort and get closer to Christ. Each passing day our goal should be to get even that much closer to God than we were yesterday, last week, last month, last year, an hour ago, a minute ago even a second ago.
The light from God is coming closer. With each unethical, immoral act, with each biblical principal ignored, we know that we are just one day closer to the demise of the enemy.
So what do we do until the beacon of Christ’s light fully shines upon the earth again? We are to pray without ceasing. We are to live with hope, we should rise before the dawn praying, preparing each new day to be ready to compete with the darkness around us. We are to remaing trusting, loving, faithful, diligent, we should be beacons of light here on earth setting an example until Christ’s time comes.
Even in our personal lives, when we are suffering through trials and tribulations, though those moments feel dark, murky and frustrating, our faith and hope in Christ liberates us from our trials. Our faith, patience, diligence and prayers are our solutions to get us out of our darkness. In our Personal circumstances we also see the that it is darkest before the dawn. Whether you want to admit it or not, there is hope in knowing that though things are getting darker, we shall rise up at the coming of dawn.
Father God help me to continue to stay centered and focused in you. Help me to stay grounded in you despite what challenges we may face. Despite the changes of society. Help me dear lord stay as a pillar of light, an example of your grace, so when the dawn arises i to shall rise with you. Lord, help me to continue to find comfort that though things are getting darker, there is hope at the end of this long road ahead of us. I put my faith and trust in you my lord. Amen.
ray: Lord, help me embrace the hope of Your return and spread Your light amid the world’s darkness.

Happiness

The world is looking for happiness, yet they are looking for happiness in all the wrong places (wealth fame etc).

This was from a peice of a recent sermon by Pastor Hagee.

I was listening to his servie in my living room and this struck out.

He referenced Luke 12;15 [15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”]

We can easily get carried away with our possessions and our quest to happiness in life.

Trust me I know.

I tend to get so fixated on my “projects” that sometimes even though for those brief moments of joy, I get carried away and end up with a surplus of items.

I like to craft with my kids.

My kids have found an affinity to making things.

So what do I do, I buy a cricut.

I turn everything in to a project.

I want to make them everything.

home made cards, home made banners, home made party decors, home made holiday decor.

(I have spent and saved uniquivocally the same amount lol).

My kids have found an affinity in painting.

So what do I do, I order canvases galor, paint, stencils and paint brushes

So what do I have? An Art gallery in their bedroom preserving those few minutes of happiness in self reflection and creativity.

I like to read.

I like to read themetaically.

So what do i Have? a mountain pile of books to read, and a kindle/nook devices filled with books at my disposal to read.

I get lost in my books, I get transfixed in my books, I get happy reading.

Yet I have enough books to donate to a few libraries.

We are always looking for happiness… even in all the wrong places.

Our happiness should come from reading the word. Our happiness should come from our faith trust and love in God. Our happiness should come from praising God. Our happiness should come in praying. Our happiness should come from when our prayers our answered. Our happiness should come from the good deeds we do. Our happiness should come from God not the other places we use as temporary moments of happiness.

Father God I thank you for the sermon you had purposely allowed me to listen to. I know I to use books and other means to find temporary happiness. They are just that, temporary happiness. Nothing can bring me joy and happiness the way you do my lord. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for the never ending joy you give me. Amen.

.

Giving credit to whom credit is due

Giving Credit To Whom Credit Is Due By Darla Noble from Daily Bible Inspirations

Two men claimed to have developed a particular variety of apples. One of them was being untruthful, but which one? It wasn’t until the judge asked the men to explain the process they used to develop this new fruit that he knew who was telling the truth…and who wasn’t. The man who deserved credit for his ingenuity and hard work spoke passionately and in great detail. The other man’s explanation was vague, lacked important details, and he misused terminology even a novice botanist would know.

We never have to have a single doubt as to the Giver of life and all that we have. It is God. We never have to have a single doubt as to who the Creator and Master of the universe is. It is God. We never have to have a single doubt as to who cares for us, protects us, comforts us, and showers us with His amazing love and immeasurable blessings. It is God.

Give thanks to God always for these amazing gifts!

Pray: Thank you, God for who You are, for Your mighty power, and Your amazing love. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

Questions for reflections from the article and my feedback:

◦ Today’s verse tells us to honor God with thanksgiving when he delivers us from our trouble. What trouble has God delivered you from?

Recently (two days before thanksgiving) our car broke down. Perfect timing too right?(sarcasm). Yet that experience though financially painful (not only did we need to replace the engine but we needed a car to get around so had to get a rental), but it was stressful around the holidays when one is trying to get gifts for loved ones. The week before Christmas, 3 weeks after our car broke down, our prayers were answered and God delivered us from this trouble. We were humbled, we were thankful, we were grateful. Our beloved pastor, not knowing the extent of our financial burden, but suspected, was moved to give us a monetary Christmas gift when we needed it the most. We didn’t tell anyone how much was needed to last the week, we didn’t tell anyone we had nothing, no food, no gas money to refuel, we were trying to keep faith and knew it would work itself out. Correction God would help us work it out.

◦ How did you express your thanks to him for doing so?

In our car fiasco we thanked God first, then in an emotional breakdown my husband thanked the Pastor with tears of gratitude for the help he provided us with. Aside from the Pastor my family who knew to an extent what we were dealing with as far as car rentals and cost of repair helped tremendously. We thanked each and everyone one of them, starting with praising God, for moving these hearts.

◦ What are you thankful for?

Make a list and then take the time to say thank you to God for each specific thing.

What I usually do is have a mental checklist of what I am thankful for. In my prayers I tell God specifically what I am thankful for. Father thank you for waking me today, thank you for the fresh of breath air that I breathe, thank you for my spouse, thank you for my children, thank you for my parents, thank you for my siblings, thank you for my in-laws, thank you for my nieces and nephews, thank you for my church, thank you for……

Father you know my struggles, you know my pain, you know my triumphs- because they are your triumphs as well. I thank you for all that you’ve done and continue to do for my family and I. We will forever glorify your name dear lord. Amen.

From Struggles to Hope.

Romans 15:13
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Below is a devotional associated with this verse from Daily bible app.
One of the things my great-grandma and I had in common was our tremendous love for flowers and plants.
So when she passed away a few months before my husband and I were married, I took some cuttings from a few of her plants so I could start my own to remember her by. The most special one of all was her heirloom tea rosebush. I took the cuttings home to my Granny so we could plant and tend to them until they took root…if they took root.
They did and by the time John and I said “I do”, the tiny bushes were ready to plant. Over the span of thirty-seven years those bushes have been moved four times and numerous cuttings have been taken from them to be shared with others. But on this last move the bushes had to remain in buckets for several months…something they don’t tolerate very well.
When I was finally able to get them in the ground I was nearly certain they wouldn’t make it. I was heart-broken. I know it sounds silly, but I prayed for those roses to survive. They seemed to be just sitting there doing nothing, but when I returned home after teaching in a Bible camp for a couple of weeks, I ran out to check them and…they were getting new leaves!!! They were growing!
Those rosebushes remind me of many things: My sweet great-grandma, my enormous and loving family, and the fact that even when things seem dead or hopeless, God knows better. With Him there is always hope and always joy if we will let Him cultivate it in us and trust in His timing.
Pray: God, let me see the good in all things in my life. Give me the courage to trust You to always know what is best. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Journal
What hurt do you need God to heal you from?
How has God used a difficult or painful situation in your life to bring about good and hope?
These Journal questions were at the end of this devotion. Now I read this devotional a few weeks back but i saved it and I kept going back to it because I can relate so much not just to the story, but these questions.
I have been hurt, we have all been hurt. At first I didn’t channel my hurt appropriately.
I didn’t go to God to heal me from my pain and anguish. I ran.
I have spoken about it in previous posts.
Yet after some time, after My kids, I used my pain to openly talk to others complaining about the same pain I once had.
4 years ago a friend of mine and I were discussing infertility.
At that point my oldest son was 2 and half.
During her venting she said to me, you don’t understand my struggle, you have a cute, doting toddler at your whim, I have nothing.
She was right, I did have my 2 year old. What she didn’t know was the years of suffering, miscarriages, pain, loss in hope, depression, medical procedures and tests that I have endured to get where I got.
I had decided to make lifestyle choices prior to getting my son.
I had to recenter myself and focus back in Christ.
I made dietary changes.
I made life changes.
I made spiritual changes.
I did the ultimate prioritizing in my life and eliminated toxicity from it.
I shared my struggle.
I shared my burdens.
I shared my stories of miscarriages.
She was shocked.
I may have said it in previous posts, but I rarely open up to people and share my stories and my struggles.
So I got outside my comfort zone and she was inspired.
She went ahead and decided to make some changes.
She decided to loose weight.
She decided to change her diet.
She made life style changes.
She also made spiritual changes.
She omitted toxic people in her life.
She got pregnant a few months after.
Ironically around the same time I did.
Though she found out about her pregnancy before I even suspected about mine.
Our kids are two weeks apart.
She needed that pep talk.
She needed to recenter herself with Christ.
She needed to make some changes in her life.
She needed to do her part like I did, for God to do his.
This is an example of how my hurt, my pain, my trials brought good, joy and hope, not just in my life but in hers.
Father God I want to thank you for your love. I want to thank you for my trials and my tribulations. Everything that I have been through in life has only brought me closer to you. Everything that i have been through has only made me stronger. Every form of suffering which you have healed me from have brought joy, good and hope to others. Sharing stories, sharing our difficult moments, can be of a blessing and inspire hope to others. Our trials and our life experiences are not merely our own, but for others so that they too can learn from them and be inspired to grow closer to you. Father you are an amazing teacher and healer, I thank you so much for all you do. Amen.

Arise

"Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you."

(Isaiah 60:1, NKJV)

The Glory of the Lord has risen within you. The glory of the lord gives us the strength to rise and shine the light the lords has given us.

We all have gifts/ talents that were given to us by his good grace. These gifts and talents were given to us for us to grow and use in his glory. They are provided to us so that we can rise up from our circumstance in the flesh. They were given to us so that we can shine in his holy light. It is when we put god first in all of our endeavors, it is when we properly glorify his name, it is when we give him due praise for our success and talents that we can shine like beacons of light in his name.

We shall and can rise up. We shall and can shine bright and let his glory manifest among us. His glory is already with us. All we have to do is wake up, look for it, rise up and we shall shine and be of blessings. We don't have to look far. We don't have to travel the world to find ourselves, we have to search within. We need to look in the depths of our soul, the depths of our hearts. We need to see from within to see what God wants from all of us.

Did you know that the word “glory” in the original language indicates that God’s favor, blessing and splendor is on you in a heavy way.

He has filled us with so much of his glory that it weighs us, its there, in searching for it you shouldn't have to search far, it's there.

Please know that your time is now. It is time to shine bright. It's time to rise. Let that sink in. Let this marinate in your spirit. His glory is with you. It's time to ride and shine because of his glory.

Thank you father for your glory. Thank you for letting your glorify marinate and manifest within me. Thank you for allowing me to rise, so that I may shine. Lord I know I shine because your glory is within me, you placed it there. Many may not realize this my lord. Many may not realize that your glory is with them. I pray for them dear lord, I pray for them dear lord that they may see your glory within them so they too can rise and shine. Amen.