I realise this post has the potential to spark a measure of controversy, though that’s certainly not my intention.

Here are some questions for you:

What makes Christians different from those who don’t love Jesus?

What do they have that non-Christians don’t possess?

What marks them and sets them apart from the rest of mankind?

You might be thinking of the word, “forgiveness.” Amen, and thank God for it.

Forgiveness is a huge aspect that sets Christians apart from those who are not.

The presence of the Holy Spirit is another major component we shouldn’t ignore.

There’s another significant difference that always strikes me whenever a non-Christian person has died:

It’s the element of hope. Its absence is deafening in a funeral home.

 

hope

 

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13 Paul writes to the believers, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (emphasis mine).

“The rest of mankind, who have no hope.”

Isn’t that just so sad?

Doesn’t it make you want to reach out and offer hope to those who don’t have it? 

Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

As believers in Christ’s death and resurrection, we have confidence. We have assurance. We have hope.

Let’s rejoice today in this gift of hope. Let’s hold unswervingly to the anchor of our souls.

 

Anchor Hope

And let’s do everything in our power and in God’s to be a beacon of hope to those in the darkness.

 

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Letters to Grief - Final cover

Part of the reason I wrote my e-book, Letters to Grief, was to offer hope.

If you know someone who might be in need of hope today, consider sending them a copy of this short book. It’s only 20 pages long, and it’s only $0.99, so you really can’t go wrong.

Maybe it’s the first step that God is nudging you to take in offering hope today. Or maybe you’re the one in desperate need of an anchor.

Either way, I pray this book is a blessing. 

If I had to name a single theme that has dominated my life in the past decade and a half, or a lesson that keeps coming to the surface, it would be this:

That this life and everything in it are temporary. The only things that last are God, His Word, and heaven.

The Lord has reminded me of these truths time and time again, through countless circumstances and experiences.

Being a renter and never a homeowner is one such circumstance. Moving ten times in the same city, and making two transatlantic moves have also cemented these realities into the forefront of my mind.

Remembering that this life is not all there is can be so encouraging. It also puts things into a proper perspective, and helps me to relax when I’m tempted to get worked up about a small, insignificant thing.

 

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When material items break, I’m disappointed, but I try to remember that I’m not taking them with me to heaven anyway — so I really shouldn’t stress.

 

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Having the mindset that this life is temporary also challenges me to make relationships count. To make each encounter, each exchange matter. Souls are eternal — bodies are not.

How can we increase our appetite for this promised “inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade”?

Related post: Giving Kids an Eternal Perspective

 

This is Day 20 of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes — a series in which every post has been written in five minutes flat. For more posts like this, click here.

 

Welcome to another round of Five Minute Friday — the online community that will leave you smiling and encouraged no matter where you click!

We write fast and unedited, five minutes at a time — link up your own blog post, click over to read the others, and leave comments!

Find out more by clicking here.

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Time is running out to register for the Five Minute Friday Retreat!

 

retreat schedule

Click here for more info and to secure your spot!

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Have I mentioned how much I *love* this community?! A highlight for me this week was meeting Asheritah from OneThingAlone.com!

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(We totally planned the whole coordinated striped shirts and denim skirts thing …)

Most of you know Asheritah from the fabulous FMF Intro Videos she hosts! She is such a sweetheart — online and in real life! What a treat to spend some time together in person.

Keep scrolling for a brand new video from Asheritah!

This week’s FMF Video Intro is with Janel Andrews. Janel is an active and encouraging member of the #fmfparty Twitter parties every Thursday evening .. if you haven’t followed her yet, you can find her at @mytoesareblue.

Wondering what’s behind her Twitter handle? Find out in the video below!

 

 

 

This week’s FMF prompt is:

 

hope

 

GO. 

It’s been a season of sadness. Death upon death. Both premature.

Two Sundays in a row, I woke up to bad news. Horrible news.

An 18-year-old high school graduate in our community. Car crash. Killed instantly.

A six-year-old boy from our church. Brain tumor. Taken home.

The ache permeates the air. Grief is thick. Suffocating.

Heaviness rests upon chests and we heave collectively with shared tears and sighs.

They both died on Sunday mornings.

Sunday. A day of hope. A day of resurrection.

Because they had Christ, we are not overcome.

We weep and mourn — but not as the world grieves. We cling to the cross, the author of hope and the salvation of our souls.

We rest in His hold. We surrender in His grip.

We shed our sorrow and look to the man of sorrow — the God of all comfort, familiar with suffering.

And we have hope. Hope in the One who is coming soon.

Come, Lord Jesus.

 

STOP.

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I’m honored to be over at the lovely site, I Love Devotionals.  I first met Wendy, the founder of the site, via our mutual involvement as writers for iBelieve.com.  I quickly felt a connection with her, as she is South African, and has had to walk the journey as a cancer caregiver.  Wendy’s husband was diagnosed shortly after their wedding, and much of her writing and the devotions on her site have been inspired by her experience.  Click on over and check out her beautiful site!

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We were having a Ladies Coffee Morning at our church, and I was the MC. To be honest, I can’t even remember what the topic was for the morning.

I just remember her testimony.

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I had asked a friend of mine, a college student at the time, to share her story. She stood up to the podium, and the microphone amplified her voice throughout the church hall.

She told us how her mom had died recently. 

Suddenly. 

Unexpectedly. 

And how, when she had heard the news, she didn’t know what she was going to do. 

How she was going to cope. 

How she would ever make it through this deep, dark valley.

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Join me over at I Love Devotionals for the rest of this post?

I have a limited threshold for listening to the news.

My stomach churns and I swallow hard as I hear story after story of brokenness. Like shards of glass pieced together, the resulting mosaic has very few smooth edges.

Shards of large scale calamities.
Tsunamis swallowing entire villages.
Hurricanes ripping through hearts and homes.
Government corruption.
Human trafficking.
Missile attacks.
Economic instability.
School shootings.

All stemming from the same source — a bite of fruit in a perfect garden. I turn off the radio with a heavy sigh, unable to take any more.

But the shards of hardship are not just ‘out there,’ in the news. The jagged effects of the fall cut into everyday life.

Divorce.
Miscarriage.
Cancer.
Rebellious children.
Unemployment.

The list goes on, and begs the question: “Isn’t there any good left in the world?”

Cue Romans 8.

The red velvet curtain opens and another character appears on the stage, right in the midst of the chaotic scene called life. The trials and tribulations do not subside, but the wordless script of this newly revealed Person in the background transforms everything.

Tuesday morning sunrise

His very presence causes new elements to arise:

Hope. 
Purpose. 
Glory.

The suffering is no longer senseless; your pain has a purpose now.

It is a great privilege to guest post over at Devotional Diva today .. please join me there for the rest of this article?