I invite you to join discussions, it enhances the reading experience for everyone. Please share your thoughts, opinions and knowledge in a respectful manner. May we all learn something in our endeavor to educate our hearts and minds. I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, October 9, 2017

There's Still Hope- Building a Framework of Hope: Part 13

Three of the four people I mentioned in my previous post survived the Holocaust. The fourth died just days before liberation.

None of these people could control their environments. They were at the complete mercy of unmerciful people. 

And yet, they didn’t give up. 

They didn’t wallow in self-pity. 

While they didn’t like where they were or how they were treated, they didn’t let resentment fester until it killed any semblance of hope remaining inside.

When we reject the “bad” in life, we are not only rejecting God’s higher purpose for us, but we are also throwing away valuable lessons—lessons that can change our lives, mold our character, and give us a greater purpose for living than we ever dreamed possible

Trials can catapult us into a closer relationship with God, mature us so that we can be used in greater measure, and anchor down the beliefs we hold most dear.

Suffering great loss, such as those who experienced the Holocaust, challenges not only who we are, but what we believe to be true.

When all is taken from you…who are you?

When no one is there to comfort you…where will you turn?

When you can’t avoid the valley…how will you navigate through it?

When your world is pitch black…can you see the light? 

When evil is all around—when you are abused, neglected, or offended…how will you respond?

When trials threatened to defeat you…will you push forward?

While no one knows how they will respond to calamity, how we live our lives NOW is a good indicator of how we will traverse even bigger tragedies.

When we try to control every aspect of our lives we are not being dependent upon our Creator.

I’m guilty of being a “control freak”. I like to make plans and to have more than one “back up plan”. 

But God has shown me that this keeps me immature in my faith, impatient in how I handle setbacks, and full of turmoil. 

In essence I create additional chaos in my life because I am trusting in myself more than I am in Him.
I think my plan is better than His and so I cling to an illusion that I have more control over my life and circumstances than I do.

I am rejecting His will for my life. 

give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess 5:18 NIV (emphasis mine)

We cannot always control our environments or the circumstances we find ourselves in. But we can trust that God is in control.

You didn’t suddenly slip out of His sight. 

He knows where you are and how you feel.

He knows the conditions you are living in.

He feels your pain.

He is not “toying” with you.

You are loved…even when nothing in this world feels very loving (John 3:16-17).

And for that, we can give thanks NO MATTER the circumstances. In ALL things we can have hope.
Our God never fails (1 John 4:4, John 16:33) . 

When life gets tough, you don’t have to “get tougher”, simply trust in God (Deut 31:6).

Don’t let resentment, despair, doubts or fears steal your hope and joy (John 10:10).

HE is our hope and joy (Rom 15:13).

HE is the prize set before us (Heb 12:2).

This world, this trial you are currently in, is not all there is (Heb 13:14). 

There’s still hope.

Enjoy this song by Danny Gokey, “Hope in front of me”.

Monday, September 18, 2017

When Hard Times Come - Building a Framework of Hope: Part 12

Let’s continue learning from the past (reference the books listed in Part 10):

1.        You’d never believe how quickly you will exchange your morals for survival. That’s why it’s so important to Know WHO you are and WHAT you believe. If you compromise your beliefs and morals NOW, think of how much easier it will be to compromise when faced with severe circumstances. Lengyel’s book tells of women bartering their bodies (the last thing they have) for food or clothes.

2.       You don’t have to be overly “religious” in order to be a witness for God. The things you do, or don’t do, attest to WHO you belong to. Integrity shows brightest in the darkness. Not stealing in order to survive, telling the truth no matter the cost, not using vulture language, not curing those who persecute you, giving to others out the abundance of your poverty (trusting God to meet your needs), not resorting to violence and sex in order to survive are all ways people in those books showed the love of God in the worst environmental conditions imaginable.

Some went even farther by leading Bible Studies while in the concentration camps and/or praying for those around them. There are numerous ways we can let our lights shine, both in difficult times and not so difficult times. Regardless, it begins with having personal Character/integrity. Hard times challenge us, but they also build our character and give us opportunity to show the world the Character of God (love in action).

In Luke 6:27-30, JESUS instructs us to, “… Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

Romans 12:14 tells us to, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse”.

1 Peter 3:9  articulates this point further, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Matt 5:16 says, In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” 

You cannot always chose how you are treated, but you can chose how you will respond. The Bible is clear on how Christians are to behave—the character we are to display—even in the most trying of times. 

Reflection Questions:

1.        Do you have trouble trusting God in “good times”? If so, how do you think you will respond when life gets harder?
2.       We all are guilty of compromising at times. What are ways you can build your character NOW? (not taking an extra-long break at work even if everyone else does, clocking in/out on time, not taking post-it notes home from work, tithing, going to church even if you’re super tired/busy, getting up 10 mins early to read your Bible, making a prayer journal and actually using it, praying with kids before bed, etc)
3.       Do you have a “bottom line”, you know, a standard of where you’d “never go” no matter what? Have you ever thought about the things you’d be willing to compromise in order to make ends meet or survive? 

It’s important to know who you are and what you stand for.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Lies we Believe - Building a Framework of Hope: Part 11

Last post I provided links to inspiring books about those who endured the Holocaust.

Today I want to share with you 3 of the lessons I learned:

1.        Belief that something bad “could never happen” to you is naïve. Bad things happen. People hurt others. Evil exists. FACT: A vast number of people who found themselves in concentration camps were not Jews. There were also political prisoners (those who spoke against Hitler or simply ticked him off), Gypsy’s, homosexuals, handicapped people, clergy, those who tried hiding Jewish friends, and some who had no idea why there were there (true story, some didn’t have a clue why they were imprisoned—maybe it was simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time…like at your window witnessing your neighbor being deported).

2.       Being silent is no guarantee that something horrible will NOT happen to you.  Actually, evil increases in the silence. Where there is a void (such as silence from the church) something will fill it (hint: look at America’s current moral decline). When God’s people remain absent, and impotent, to the evils in society, the wickedness will increase.

Bonhoeffer is attributed as saying: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” 

Here’s what the Bible has to say about God’s people remaining silent in the face of evil: “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.James 4:17 NKJV

This famous quote by Niemöller makes it clear we must NOT be silent: 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

3.     Tell the truth…no matter the risk or cost. The Bible instruct us to be honest (Lev 19:11) and trying to outsmart evil will not work. Evil changes the rules to meet its needs. Fear can cause us to want to lie, but we must TRUST God more than we fear evil. 


Prior to going to a concentration camp Corrie Ten Boom and her family hid Jews in their home. One day Nazi’s came and asked her sister if they were hiding Jews. Instead of lying, she told them they were hidden under the table. The Nazi’s thought she was crazy, they could see there was no one under the table. What they didn’t realize was that under the very floor the table rested on there were Jews hidden. God protected everyone involved. TRUTH PREVAILED

Wiesel made a rash decision due to fear. At one point he was in a camp hospital with an infection in his foot. The camp was being evacuated due to the Russian Army advancing and those too weak to walk to a new location were being left behind. Weiser was scared, so he lied and said he could walk. He should have stayed. Everyone who remained behind were freed. 

Lengyel lied about her son’s age thinking it would protect him. It only sent him to the crematory sooner. 


Realize bad things happen to “good people”. No one is immune. You can’t lie your way out of hardships. Silence, and avoidance, only increase the likelihood of bad things happening either to you or others. Plus, being silent when you KNOW you should speak, is sin. 

Everyone dies at some point. Make your life, and your death, count. While you can’t trust man, you can TRUST GOD. 

Enjoy this music video by Switchfoot- Live it Well