Future and a Hope

What is meant by a “future and a hope” in Jeremiah 29:11, and what does that entail?

1. To completely understand this verse we need to look at the context. Consider reading chapters 28 and 29. God told the people of Judah that they will wait in exile for 70 years before He brings them back to Jerusalem; then He says “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)

2. I read Romans 8:22-39. Here are some highlights (NASB):

  • v 22-23—“For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this,…….even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”
  • b 28—“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
  • v 31—“If God is for us, who is against us?”
  • v 37—“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”

3. I read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Here are highlights (NASB):

  • v 7—“there was given me [Paul] a thorn in the flesh”
  • v 8—“Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.”
  • v 9—“…My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
  • v 10—“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses,…..for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

4. I read Hebrews 6:13-20. (MSG because it’s much easier to understand):

13-18 When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, “I promise that I’ll bless you with everything I have—bless and bless and bless!” Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.

18-20 We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

5. What I think I learned.

  • God has a plan and a future for us, in His time, and according to His way. I don’t know if we can know what the future is because it’s something that gets revealed to us as we live our lives.
  • We can’t escape hardships: material, emotional, spiritual.
  • God wants what is best for us; He is for us.
  • We have hope not because of what is promised but because of who God is (down to his core). This hope anchors us, keeps us steady, through life’s storms. Because He is with me in the storm, I have hope.
  • Holding onto hope is a spiritual discipline, part of the sanctification process. We have to keep trusting, surrendering every day. (“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Phil. 12:12-13)
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Journey with Jesus

Journey to Jesus

Know Jesus?  If so, you’re on a journey with Him- one marked by level plains, arduous hills, mountain tops, and dark valleys.  Jesus is our best traveling companion because He has experienced it all for us.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.          (Hebrews 12: 1b-2, NIV)

Holy Week presents Christians with an opportunity to revisit and remember the depths of Jesus’ redeeming love. This Holy Week or Passion Week is nearly upon us, and I’d like to share a resource written for a children’s ministries classroom; adaptable for family devotions, small groups, co-ops, or wherever your imagination takes you. Having seen this program in action, I have found it meaningful for children and adults as they “journey with Jesus” together.

This resource started with a vision I had to help children experience each step Jesus took towards the cross, never retreating, to redeem us from sin and death. It took two good friends to make the vision a reality, and God blessed us with such sweet communion as we planned each detail. Thank you, Kristie Blevins and Alicia Moss!

Please consider downloading and using these materials to assist you creating a memorable Holy Week for you and your family, church, or small group. It was created to be used in one sitting, but is easy to stretch out over several days. It is especially meaningful if used with a mix of generations.

Journey with Jesus Links

The Journey with Jesus experience is comprised of three parts: the lesson plan, the map, and the “destinations.”

Journey with Jesus Lesson Plan: You’ll need one lesson plan per teacher/family. Be sure to read through the lesson plan in its entirety to see how all of the parts work together and decide what adaptations you’d like to make so this plan works for your situation. This plan was originally written to work with The Story for Children: A Storybook Bible, by Max Lucado, Randy Frazee and Karen Davis Hill, and works well independently from The Story for Children.

Journey with Jesus Map: You’ll need one map per participant. Each participant will draw a predetermined, easy-to-draw symbol on the map as each “destination” is visited. When complete, participants will have a reusable Holy Week map and scripture guide.

Destination Resources: As you proceed on your journey you’ll make stops at various “destinations.” Each “destination” has a picture illustrating a particular scene, a scripture to read, and a symbol to copy onto the map. There are two downloads per “destination.” Resources for “destinations” 1-8 can be found in numerical order when you open the link.

Should you download these resources, will you please be sure to let me know and how you plan to use them?  I’d also love to hear how using these resources blessed your Holy Week experience.

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:3, NIV)

Lenten and Easter Blessings,


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Unpacking the Book of Ruth: Elimelech

In conjunction with HelloMornings, I’ve just started a journey through the book of Ruth.  I can’t wait to see what gets unpacked along the way.

Until today I have never questioned why Elimelech led his family to Moab; I figured it was self-preservation.  Reflecting on the setting, I now understand that He traded the God-promised land of Israel for a place of provision outside of God’s protection. (Life in the Promised Land probably didn’t meet with expectations.  But then, people don’t really like being punished for sin, do they?)

It seems reasonable to think that God might have been ready to give up on His people, but He didn’t.

“When the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them.  Judges 2:18 (NASB)

So even when things look dismal, I have to remember that I’m a citizen of Heaven, remind myself that God is with me, remain faithful, and walk forward in faith.  My circumstances need not dictate my level of faithfulness and belief.

I look forward to sharing more personal discoveries as I walk through Ruth over the next six weeks.

Have you recently made a new discovery while reading a familiar passage of scripture? I’d love to hear about it!



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God is big.  I am small. Sometimes I need a reminder like the one God gave to Job:

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Job 38:4-7 (NLT)

God has it under control.  I need to surrender everything to Him. 

I’m joining others at Lisa Jo Baker’s, Five Minute Friday in writing on the prompt, SMALL.


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Red Sea Exodus.



“It would have been sufficient” (translation for the Hebrew word dayenu) for the Lord to save and rescue his people, but He didn’t stop there.  The God of the universe in a conversation with Moses bares his heart:

You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I brought you to myself and carried you on eagle’s wings.  Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the nations of the earth; for all the earth belongs to me. Exodus 19: 4-5

It was not sufficient for God.  He wants more for us than we can imagine.  Hear this message.  Write it down.  Put it on your heart: you are God’s “special treasure.”



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My Banner

The Israelite exodus is underway.  The Lord has saved his people from slavery, oppressive government, and pursuing enemies.  Frustration mounts as the parched Israelites again wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to die in Egypt.  The people ask,

Is the LORD here with us or not? Exodus 17:7 (NLT)

The question gets asked, and in the next verse we find the Amalekites attacking the children of Israel.  Is God here or not?

Joshua gathered the army, Moses raised the “staff of God” in the air, and as long as Moses’ arms were in the air the Israelite army had success.  Reinforcements, Aaron and Hur, held Moses’ arms throughout the day until finally Joshua’s troops overwhelmed Amalek’s forces.

Yes, God is here.  In the middle of the wilderness, despair and attack.

Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means ‘the LORD is my banner’).  Exodus 17: 15 (NLT)

flag (2)

The banners of nations, the colors, are found leading parades, rallying the people, and staking ground.  The Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary defines a banner as “the principal standard of a prince or state.”

Commemorating the moment, Moses acknowledges that the battle belonged to the Lord, the people were His, and He was there.

Yes, God is here, and He is my banner.



In what ways do you experience God as your Yahweh-Nissi (your banner)?

I’d love to hear about it.

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Generation to Generation

My family and I are reading through the Bible chronologically using the One Year Chronological Bible (NLT).  The blessings to our family are numerous, some known and some yet to be known. It is exciting to see God’s Word passed from one generation to the other. 

24 “Remember, these instructions are permanent and must be observed by you and your descendants forever. 25 When you arrive in the land the LORD has promised to give you, you will continue to celebrate this festival. 26 Then your children will ask, ‘What does all this mean? What is this ceremony about?’ 27 And you will reply, ‘It is the celebration of the LORD’s Passover, for he passed over the homes of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he killed the Egyptians, he spared our families and did not destroy us.'” Then all the people bowed their heads and worshiped.  Exodus 12: 24-27

I encourage you to engage your children in God’s Word and participate in faith traditions with them.  You will be blessed!




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