Really Relating


HOPE in the LORD 05/20/2010

Filed under: Hope,Weary and Worn — Vickey Banks @ 10:20 am
Feeling weary? Looking for HOPE in all the wrong places?
28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
29Hegives strengthto the weary and increases the powerof the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those whohopein the LORDwill renew their strength. They will soaron wings like eagles; theywill run and not grow weary, theywill walkand not be faint.

 *HOPEis a verb here that means to wait, look for, hope, expect waiting to wait or look eagerly forto lie in wait forto wait for, linger for to collect, bind together to be collected.
God understands us far better than we understand ourselves. He knows that on our own we are weary and worn slick from life. We are overwhelmed and embarrassed to be so. Where can we find the HOPE we so desperately need to maneuver through the mess that we are? Ah, from Him, of course! He has all the strength and power we need! He is the Everlasting God! The Creator of the ends of the earth – those ends that include you and me! His resources are inexhaustible! He never wearies and His understanding is infinitely beyond our understanding.
The secret to our soaring vs. sinking is to draw from HIS inexhaustible resources, not ours. We don’t have to muster up enough strength or hope to make it. If we have accepted and placed personal faith in His Son, we have GOD Himself living and breathing inside of us! If we HOPE in Him, He WILL give us everything we need for life and godliness. We have HIS Word on it! Our strength WILL BE RENEWED! We WILL soar!
Oh God, help us place our HOPE in YOU, not in shaky circumstances. You are more than what we need. Help us look at YOU, to You, and for You. Help us look and wait for the sights and sounds of Your Presence with the kind of eager expectation that expects to find You. Oh God, be obvious to and in us. YOU ARE our HOPE.
Are you weary from the circumstances or pace of your life? How can you place your HOPE in God that you might be renewed?

*The NAS Old Testament Hebrew LexiconBrown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius.

SPRINGfever 03/02/2010

Filed under: God's Promise,Hope,Seasons,Spring,Spring Fever,Winter — Vickey Banks @ 6:26 pm

 It’s *spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  ~Mark Twain
Don’t you love that after every Winter there comes a Spring? 
There’s only one thing that gets me through Winter. Seriously. Not Hot Chocolate. Not Christmas. Not cozy fires or freshly fallen snow.
It’s the promise of SPRING. 

That’s what Spring is to me – God’s promise. It’s His rainbow in the sky, promising me that gray and dreary days will NOT last forever. That Hope IS on the way. Literally and figuratively.

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. – Hal Borland
Spring is the future I count on when life gets cold. When fun ceases to happen and reality bites.
Spring is what my heart hopes for. And counts on. Always. Spring is HOPE.
Keep your eyes open…Spring is coming for you too. Hope is just around the corner. The trees are about to burst into bloom!
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. 
Proverbs 13:12, ESV 
What is your favorite season of the year, and why?
*This is the poem that made the phrase “spring fever” famous J.


A Future and A Hope 01/29/2010

Filed under: Circumstances,Future,God,Hope,Pain,Plans,Promises from God — Vickey Banks @ 5:57 pm

“What if things don’t get better?”

That’s the question a hurting friend asked me last week. It was a valid question, considering her circumstances. In a desperate attempt to encourage her, loved ones keep telling my friend what loved ones often say when we’re hurting:

   “Things will get better.”
But…what if they don’t?
I understand her question; honestly, it’s one I’ve asked God before. Like my friend, I live with chronic physical pain. Every flipping day. And some days, well, if I’m honest (and I am), I’m just done. Finished. Worn slick from painting on a happy face, I can’t help but wonder if this is as good as it gets. My weary self wants to focus on all the things I can’t do because of wacked out discs and the potentially grim future ahead. 
Ahhh…but then I remember a precious promise from God, 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD.
They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.”
– The Bible, Jeremiah 29:11
While that might not change my circumstances, it radically rearranges my reality. Because of Him,  
I have a future… I have a hope.
The God of the Bible doesn’t do random. He’s the same God who created the plants before He created the animals and people who would need the plants to survive. He’s a God of logic and order. Along with His profound purposefulness, He is loving and not mean-spirited. That means that as long as He leaves me here on planet Earth, He has good reason. He has plans with my name of them; Plans for my good. A future filled with hope.
You know what?
The same is true for you.

Really Relating
How does it make you feel to know that God has plans with your name on them?

The Miracle of Hope 01/13/2010

Filed under: Challenges,Circumstances,Hope,Miracle,Signs of Life,Transformation — Vickey Banks @ 11:28 am

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, 
it became a butterfly.” 



Have you ever seen a miracle? Years ago, when my children were small, we witnessed the miraculous rebirth of not one, but five caterpillars. Within a week, we watched a group of scrawny looking worms eat their way into becoming a bunch of fat and fuzzy caterpillars. They then hung themselves head down and wove cocoons about their bodies. Up to then, watching them had been fascinating. At that point, however, they became chrysalides and looked like nothing more than hard pea pods.  

Although we eagerly watched for signs of life, it was actually kind of depressing just staring at pea pods for another week. It looked like the party was over. But then…a miracle happened! The lifeless looking pods transformed before our very eyes into breathtakingly beautiful butterflies.
As I look around me now, I can’t help but see people who remind me of those butterflies in the making. Their once eventful lives have been abruptly turned upside down by the challenges of life. Illness, divorce, grief, depression, wayward children, job losses, financial reversals and hormones gone haywire have given the misguided impression that their world is over. But alas, what is going on beneath the surface has the potential to grace our world with a beauty that we are all in desperate need of – the matchless miracle of Hope.
I don’t know what challenges you are facing, but my own experiences of being locked inside my cocoon have assured me that things are not always as they seem. Hope has not gone dormant. Because there is a God, new life is more than possible. You are not destined to inch along like a hungry caterpillar, or to hang around like a dried up pod. You were born to fly.
Please don’t give up. Hang on to God and His promises. Allow Him to comfort and strengthen you like only He can. Eventually, He will transform you into someone whose story reminds others that they too can soar above their circumstances.
There is a butterfly within you. New life and beauty are just around the corner. Go ahead…unfurl those wings! Become all that God longs for you to be.
Really Relating
How has God encouraged you during the challenges in your life?
How has He used your difficulties to transform you from the inside out?