Monthly Archives: June 2016

My Hope

By Pastor Nikki Ragush

This past week we were able to have our annual celebration for those graduating from high school this year. It is a great tradition that has been continued for years now; it is followed by the attendance of each of their high school graduations, which allows me to reflect on my interactions with each of these youth. Each year we chose a theme verse and this year it was Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Which is very fitting that it is part of the reading for this week. When I reflect during these high school graduations it becomes a time that I also reflect on my life and analyze where I have grown since I graduated.

I am in an interesting stage in my life; I have friends who have graduated several years ago and are on their career track, I have friends who have recently graduated and have no idea where to go, I have friends who look at their future and just see more school, and then I have friends that simply “go with the flow”. Something that stuck out to me this year during grad speeches was the uncertainty that many of these youth face, and the fact that this uncertainty doesn’t have a simple cure.

Throughout our lives it is inevitable that we will continue to struggle with feelings of uncertainty, this may not feel very reassuring however it is reality. I make sure to never tell youth that being a Christian makes life easy, painless, or even always happy. However, there is something that our faith gives us that I believe is impossible to find somewhere else, Hope. It’s such a simple small word, but Hope changes lives. Hope is, believing that there is something greater in the world; people may have hope in a variety of things but hope in Christ transforms lives.

When we have someone close to us become ill, or we lose someone, or we lose our jobs, or something in life happens and we have no clue how to fix it; there is no real solution other than hope. It is not an idea far from us that we can’t grasp onto, hope in Christ is something tangible and near to our hearts when we grow in relationship with Him. For many of my friends and the students I work with I have no idea where there lives with take them, and I can’t give them the information for what step to take next. However, what I can encourage is that no matter the storms that blow in their lives, that they will not be overcome if they throw down the anchor and allow Christ to be the foundation.

Storms are inevitable, trouble in our lives will happen, but the way that we go through those times is our decision; we can chose to try and face the storm and allow it to blow us all around or we can plant our anchor of Christ in the ground and be firmly planted. We will still get knocked around and we may feel discouraged after the trial, however Christ gives us something and someone to always trust.

Hope is one of the greatest things that Christ gives us, because when we have hope we aren’t afraid of the unknown… and most of life is unknown. I’ve had times in where life where things haven’t worked out as I planned however in each decision I had the choice whether to go on my own, or to thrown my anchor down with God. I have made both of those decisions and I know in the future I will run into many more, and I can tell you that the storms are never easy but once they passed (which was not always quick) and I was rooted in Christ I knew I could keep going.

We all have our own battles that we are currently working through, and for some reading this life may feel hopeless. But, there is no physical thing that will fill how you feel there is no switch the just makes a person feel better… people have been searching for the the special answer for all of humanity (money, fame, relationships, success, etc.) Jesus gives the hope that even in the storms, you will not be alone, and He will plant you firmly and securely.

 

Joy and Peace is For the Taking

By Pastor Ruth Denboer

Isaiah 55:8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

I have thought of this verse so many times in my life.  Times when I certainly didn’t understand what was going on in my life or in the lives of those around me.  Times when I thought life didn’t seem “fair” or “just”, or simply went a completely different direction than I had thought it would.  I find this verse, and the whole of chapter 55 in Isaiah, to be very encouraging when going through something particularly challenging.  As I read this chapter I again realize that God’s thoughts are nothing like mine.  When I don’t understand … HE DOES!

This chapter seems to be telling me to just simply trust in Him.  It tells me in verse 11 “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”

This verse calms my heart when I feel anxious and confused.  This verse tells me that nothing is above God.  When He speaks there will be action!  This verse also challenges me to know what the Word of the Lord says, so that I can speak it.  God is faithful and His Word is forever settled.  The key is for me to take a step back from the situation and remember who God is, humble my heart and accept the fact that He is God and I am not.  I have been given the wonderful opportunity of trusting in the character of God and the Word of God.

So to sum it all up I need to put my thoughts and opinions aside … verse 6 says to “seek the Lord” … “to call upon Him”.  I then need to trust in a God who is much wiser than I, and if I am willing to do this … verse 12 gives us the result of that decision … “You will live in joy and peace.”