All I Want for Christmas

 By Jonni Sliver

Almost exactly 1 year ago a precious little girl came in to our lives. Emily was two years old, a simply adorable little lady who was terrified of everyone and everything. For days the only time she wasn’t crying was when she was sleeping. Bit by bit we won her over. First it was Odette and Neyde, who spent the most time with her, feeding her, bathing her, comforting her wounded heart. Next came two other house moms, and before long all of the Miriam Home family entered her list of people she trusted.

It was pure joy to see Emily grow. We discovered that she is a very bright little girl, with a wonderful sense of humor and an enormous heart. During this last year we saw God restoring Emily’s ability to trust and causing her confidence to grow.

About a month ago I began to hear “the” question being asked of the children in the Miriam Home –“what do you want for Christmas?” It is the same question asked all over the world, and I am guessing most of the answers are pretty similar – a toy, a game, jeans, tennis, music or even (can you imagine) books. But some of the answers are different.  When one of our staff asked Emily what she wanted for Christmas she said “ a mommy and daddy and home of my own”.  She had just turned 3 years old and I thought that was a pretty deep thought for such a little girl! Even though we have known that Emily would eventually go up for adoption, she wasn’t available for adoption yet, and we didn’t know when she would be.

Just two weeks later the judge advised us that he had put Emily on the list available to families waiting for children. A week later we were told that a couple was coming to visit the Miriam Home, to get to know Emily. During the visit they didn’t tell the children why they were there, they just visited with all of the little ones. They came back a few days later, for another visit. This time they asked Emily if she would like to visit them over the week-end. Emily said yes! This precious little lady, who just a year earlier was terrified of everyone, went with this couple for a week-end all by herself!

Emily returned Monday morning telling us she had a wonderful time with her mommy and daddy. She was happy to be back with the people she loves in the Miriam Home but she reminded us daily that this week-end she would be going to her mommy and daddy’s house, and she did. She will be staying for a month with this lovely couple, and the judge will then officially ask if they want to adopt her. The couple has waited five years to adopt. They are in their early 30’s, love the Lord and want a child to complete their family.

Seeing God’s faithfulness in restoring this sweet little girl and answering her prayers may be the best gift I have received all year!

A Certain Hope

by Sarah Nelson

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-4  (ESV)  

Lately I’ve been riding the roller coaster of hope.  A hope that our sons would make it home for Easter (they did).  A hope that one of my children’s neurological exam results would be ok (they were).   A hope that we will be moving in to our fixer upper home on the coast by mid-April (looks very hopeful).   A hope for future medical tests and biopsies will come back negative (a bathed in prayer hope).

There is however one hope that doesn’t depend on circumstances.  This hope doesn’t depend on people.  It doesn’t depend on my works, my efforts, or position.  This Hope is the assurance that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, I will be united with Him in heaven when I leave this earth.  It is not the temporary hope of getting a new car, trip, or career. It is a hope for all eternity.  It is truly the only hope that really matters, in this life we live on earth, and our life in Glory.

We’ve all been disappointed when our hopes for relationships, personal gain, or plans have been dashed.  We can know that the hope God has given us for an eternity spent with Him will not be broken.  Our inheritance is imperishable – it will never die!  Our inheritance is undefiled – it cannot be spoiled or tainted; it is pure!   Our inheritance is unfading – it will never lose it’s eternal value!

Put your hope in the certainty of Christ’s death, resurrection, and return.  May your life and mine shine with the hope He has given to us in Him, and may others see “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”  Colossians 1:27b (ESV)

Praying for Your Pastor’s Wife – Day 20

Ask God to remind her of the hope and refuge God offers her each day. Pray that she
will be encouraged in God, knowing that He is a firm, secure anchor for her soul.

The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed,
A stronghold in times of trouble; And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.  Ps 9:9-10

Why are you in despair, O my soul? 
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
For the help of His presence.  Ps 42:5

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.  Heb 6:19-20

Taken from Revive Our Hearts

Hope

by Lorilee Mundfrom

What does the word “hope” say to you?  I’ve come to love that word, “hope”.  To me, one who has hope has confidence.  A person who is hopeful cannot help but be positive in their outlook.

I have a goal of doing a Scripture word study on the word “hope”.  Do you know how many times the word hope is used in the Word of God? On the BibleGateway.com website, I put in a search for the number of times the word hope occurs in the New International Version of the Bible, and it gave me 174 times.  18 of those occurrences were in the book of Job and 31 of those were in the book of Psalms.  The “weeping prophet” Jeremiah used the word hope 14 times in Jeremiah and Lamentations (certainly some, but surely not all, of those were references to when he had lost hope or the Israelites had lost hope).

Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Lamentations 3:21-22 says, Yet this I call to mind and therefore I havehope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

Psalms 42: 5, 42:11, and 43:5 all say the same thing:  Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

I have struggled on and off with feelings of “hopelessness” in my life.  Sometimes these feelings come because of physical difficulties.  Sometimes they come because of being emotionally drained.  But when I go to the Word of God and find Scriptures like the ones quoted above, I cannot help but find comfort and peace in the Lord because He is my Hope and my Comfort.  He is my Peace and my Salvation.  He is faithful to His word and He is the One I can praise. As I praise Him I find Hope!

Some time ago I was listening to a radio broadcast on my way to work.  The program was about a man who had been a minister of the Word for many years.  When he was age 47 he went through a very difficult time of depression in his life.  He had such a hard time continuing on with his ministry.  But he did because he knew God had called him.  He stated the times before going to church on Sunday morning were probably the darkest times for him.  It was most difficult for him to get the courage to go.  But he did and he found that as he gathered with other believers and worshipped the Lord, and shared the Word of God with them, he was most encouraged and found great hope!  It took time for him to come out of these difficult days, but eventually he realized that when he focused his thoughts on God and the Hope that he had in Him, he was able to get through each day stronger and more hopeful than the day before.

HOPE – what does that word mean to you?  To me it is a confidence that I can have, even when days are hard, that God is with me and He will get me through even the most difficult times.  We don’t know what the future holds for any of us.  But we do have HOPE because we know our future is in His hands!

HOPE – I know Heaven is in my future!  When my work on this earth is done, however long or short that time may be, I have HOPE (confidence)  of going to Heaven, being reunited with loved ones who have gone on before, and seeing Jesus face to face.  This has nothing to do with me – it is all to do with what Jesus has done for me.  What a glorious time that will be!