Category Archives: Finding Hope

When Tomorrow Comes

The Ninth Life

There have been times when I thought I wouldn’t make it. Times when I thought I didn’t have enough strength left within me to take whatever I was going through any longer. Times when life didn’t seem fair. Times when I wanted to throw in the towel, walk out of the door, and give up. Times when all I could do was cry out to my Heavenly Father, “Help me! I need you!”

But as I reflect, it was during the difficult times that God showed me His compassion and wisdom. Although I could not physically see His presence, He dried every one of my tears with the warmth of His Holy Spirit. He listened with open ears when no one else seemed to care or understand. And, He would always ask me the same question, “If you give up now, what will you do when tomorrow comes?”

My heartfelt…

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Faithful to the Fragmented

Those who have been broken by situations and circumstances will find spiritual encouragement in this author’s post.

A Necessary Pain

Putting refurbished praise to rest, I shovel through the negative emotions, deceptive devices of the enemy, laziness, and distractions and excavate authentic praise. God desires to flow through each of us. He instructed that we are as carboniferous limestones, in that we have permeability. In a spiritual sense, God sees us porous, readily available for Him to permeate through. He is shaping and forming our spiritual selves in the shallow but exceedingly deep waters of our lives.The Author of the Universe desires to flow freely through His people. Researching geology, I was intrigued with the uses and composition of these stones. Interestingly, limestones are comprised of dead aquatic life particles, namely the shells of tiny ocean dwellers.  God already knows that our beings are teeming with dead weight; however, He has various uses for us. These amazing stones are compressed, scorched, produced, and grounded for a myriad of purposes.

“But…

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You Are Not Alone

prisonerYou Are Not Alone                          

Read Genesis 37:1 through 41:57

Robbie waited his turn at the counter. A man there handed him two of everything. The khaki uniforms smelled clean but looked like hand-me-downs. Everyone staying here wore the same clothes—the colors drab, the look depressing.

He searched the hallway, hoping to make eye contact. One person smiled at him but with mocking intent. A lump stuck in Robbie’s throat; moisture filled each eye. He hated this place. He felt trapped, deserted, and afraid. Robbie lived in prison.

While Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden (Genesis 39:20, 21).

Prisons are not designed for hospitality. Some think of them as godforsaken places; rather, they are high on God’s list of ministry priorities (see Matthew 25:36). To God, prisons are places where God’s people can go to reach out to others with the message of His mercy, forgiveness, and eternal salvation.

Challenge for Today: Get involved with a visitation ministry. Those in prisons, nursing homes, and treatment centers need Christian encouragement.

Quicklook: Genesis 39:13–23
—Charles Earl Harrel

Pray that God would enable Christians to speak the gospel with great boldness.

God’s Word for Today © 2008 Gospel Publishing House (used by permission).

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Finding the Fullness of God

Read Ephesians 3:3–5; 14–20.

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:14–19 NKJV).

Dad and MeMy father, Raymond Harrel, enjoyed life because no matter where he traveled, he always envisioned some hidden treasure to find. He didn’t care if he stumbled across an old bottle, a strand of barbed wire, an ancient fossil, a curious-looking rock, or a gold nugget. They were all treasures to him. Searching out the unexpected, the unplanned, the unaccounted, and the undisclosed gave meaning to his life. My father never stopped searching for the unsearchable, and I’m told that a few days before he died, he found the greatest treasure of all—Jesus Christ—the fullness of God.         Picture shows Dad and me

There are many reasons people consider something as unsearchable. Many conclude that unsearchable means unattainable—so they never try. Some believe certain things are rarities—so they underestimate their chances of finding them. Others think the demand is too great, the location too vast, or the equipment too limited—so they quit. Whatever the reasons, don’t let their rationale stop you, or you might miss a rare find or opportunity.

Apostle Paul did not let any reason hinder his search, nor should you. If you are looking for the unsearchable riches of Christ, then keep probing, studying God’s Word. And when you pray, listen for the Spirit’s reply. All the fullness of God awaits . . . and it will not disappoint. In fact, the possibilities are endless in Christ. Paul was never the same after God revealed the riches of Christ in him (see Galatians 1:16). The same will be true for you. Great discoveries influence lives, and so do spiritual finds. But where does one start searching? I suggest higher ground.

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height,
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Higher Ground by Johnson Oatman Jr. (public domain)

Prayer Suggestion: Prayerfully ask God to fill you with all the fullness of His Son, “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV).

—Charles Earl Harrel

Happy Father’s Day!

The King’s Command

Assyrian ArmyRead 2 Chronicles 29:1 through 32:33

The Assyrian army came ready to fight. Their warriors were known for fierceness, brutal torture, and no mercy. The Assyrians feared few people, especially these feeble Israelites and their desert God. They boasted that no city could withstand them. King Hezekiah and everyone in Judah knew their claims were not idle threats. The situation looked grim. A ruthless enemy surrounded their city, while a hidden one besieged their hearts. Even so, a godly king issued his command from the city gate.

Assyrian Army-2Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him (2 Chronicles 32:7).

The Church faces a formidable enemy, too. The Bible portrays him as a raging lion looking for someone to devour. Satan carries a menacing arsenal, including fear and discouragement. He boasts of an invincible army. Nevertheless, God always outmatches Satan. A greater power resides with us because Jesus, our righteous King, has so commanded.

Challenge for Today: Power up with God’s Word and prayer each morning, and then seize the day. Your enemy is already defeated.

Quicklook: 2 Chronicles 32:1–8
—Charles Earl Harrel

God’s Word for Today © 2005 Gospel Publishing House (used by permission)

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War No More

Swords into PlowsharesWar No More

Read Isaiah 1:1 through 5:30

[God] will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war (Isaiah 2:4).

Most countries today are concerned about national security, and with good reason. Disagreements and conflicts abound. Many nations distrust each other, while others simply hate their neighbors. When diplomacy fails, generals gather to discuss war. In some countries, warfare has become a way of life. History records numerous battles, much bloodshed, and many wars.

Our weapons have advanced beyond swords and spears. They are smarter, more effective, and downright devastating. We train soldiers so they can defend our borders and those of our allies. We are proud of their efforts, their sacrifice, yet we mourn the inevitable—warfare is costly and exacts a heavy human toll.

War No MoreIsaiah’s prophecy gives hope to war-torn nations. One day, the divine Judge will come and settle every dispute. Weapons will no longer be used for combat, and we will study war no more.

Prayer Suggestion:  Lord, help me pray that quarreling nations find true peace, a security only God can give.

Quicklook: Isaiah 2:1–11
—Charles Earl Harrel

God’s Word for Today © 2005 Gospel Publishing House (used by permission)

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Wake-Up Call

locusts plagueRead Joel 1:1 through 3:21

The locusts swarmed in like an invading army, creating an unnatural cloud that covered the horizon and dimmed the sunlight. They attacked in waves, and they knew exactly what they wanted. Within hours the wheat and barley harvest disappeared; not even stalks remained. Fruit trees were stripped, vines trampled, and every green pasture devoured. An even worse drought followed. Never had a plague so ravaged Israelite land.

Calamities often strike without warning. They can affect a whole nation or just one family. Their aftermath can leave us impoverished, bewildered, and looking for answers. The prophet Joel knew where to turn.

Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD (Joel 1:14).

Not all catastrophes result from natural consequences. Some have divine origin and carry a message. In Joel’s case, the plague was a call to repent, but God’s reprimand also contained hope: Whoever does call upon Him will be saved.

Thought for Today: Intercession is still the best solution for times of tragedy. Only God has all the answers. Only He offers salvation to repentant people.

Quicklook: Joel 1:2–14

—Charles Earl Harrel

God’s Word for Today © 2005 Gospel Publishing House (used by permission)

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