Kim McKay Allen is a recent Master of Divinity graduate in the Women’s Leadership Initiative at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. She is a cancer survivor and has found her greatest joy and fulfillment in her calling as a chaplain.
Whispers of Hope
“Behold! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”
~Matthew 1:23 NLT
We have spent the Advent season marking the days in anticipation of the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Savior, born that night in a manger in Bethlehem.
In the lyrics of the Christmas carol,O Little Town of Bethlehem, we sing “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” Although we are in the NEW YEAR, we will be faced with many life issues personally and those shared by loved ones. Do not lose hope “God is with us.”
The presence of God with us is what I will share with you today. Look through the lens of the past into your current situation and see, that all provisions for our hopes and fears were met by Jesus the one we also call, Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”
Christmas may be over, but we can celebrate that Jesus is here with us now. To realize that the God of the universe is present here with us is both amazing and unbelievable, but it’s true! Take a moment and experience a sense of the Spirit of God’s presence.
God Is With Us
Whatever circumstances that you are facing today, whether they be disappointments, joys, challenges, fears, or opportunities, we can be confident that Jesus is here and is near to us! Jesus promises us in Matthew 28:20 (ESV), “You can be sure that I will be with you always. I will continue with you until the end of time.”
Now that the tough year of 2020 has comes to a close, we have hope for the best in 2021. No matter what we will face, we know that Emmanuel, our counselor, our comfort, our peace, our friend, our Jesus, our God is with us.The last line of that Christmas carol ends with these words…“O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.”
We thank you, Jesus, that you are Emmanuel, God with us…. right here , where we are today and where we will be tomorrow. I pray that your peace will surround each person and give them rest when they need it, and strength to make decisions they may be facing. We honor your name Emmanuel, Jesus, Comforter, and friend. In your name, we pray, Amen.
Excerpts of lyrics from :Brooks, Phillips. “O Little Town of Bethlehem: a Christmas Hymn.” Baptist Hymnal 2008, 196.
Reading: “We who run to God for our lives 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...” Hebrews 6:19 MSG
Where do we find hope? Sometimes these glimmers of hope find us...
In the comforting hand of a loved one
In the reassuring smile of a nurse in a hospital hallway
In the delight of a friend’s encouraging laughter and persistent prayers
And in the presence of a God that never leaves you on your own
Hope was there.
Hope is here.
Hope will see you through to what is next.
Hope. It’s a sweet balm that tempers the pain of a diagnosis, the weariness of another appointment, the frustrating call to your healthcare insurance company(again)...or the startling news that it isn’t quite over yet or there’s more ahead...
Somehow, hope arrives, even in these unexpected moments...
Hope walks alongside you.
Hope can even surprise you.
One day, hope happened upon me, unexpectedly, while I was sitting in a chemo chair. I heard the song of another patient beside me, a sister survivor humming, listening to her headphones. She began to sing aloud. Her Hope could not be kept inside, it overflowed in her voice, and in her song...and hope washed over me, too. It refreshed me. I knew that I wasn’t alone and it reassured me that I never would be...
Hope. It’s a favorite word of mine, because it means that the struggle you and I are facing...isn’t the last word! Hope tells me that there’s goodness and peace ahead and the promise of God's presence with us, no matter where our journey leads us.
Hope often appears when we least expect it, but hope can and will always find
Prayer and blessing:
God, I pray that hope will surround and support every sister listening today. Jesus hold them close in every season and refresh them with hope. In those unexpected moments...may they find peace and delight in hope. Amen.
Kim McKay Allen is a recent Master of Divinity graduate in the Women’s Leadership Initiative at Central Seminary. She is a cancer survivor and has found her greatest joy and fulfillment in her calling as a chaplain.
Be on your guard; stand firm; be courageous; be strong" 1 Corinthians 16:13
It can be a daily struggle for caregivers, to maintain continual firm faith. They manage the physical and emotional needs of the ones they care for. The constant cheerleader. Sometimes without appreciation or recognition. Who cheers the caregiver? It can be challenging to stay positive and stand strong.
Many caregivers will not expose their true emotions. They bottle their feelings as a means of protection against experiencing the hurt and pain. Other caregivers may become depressed and experience hopelessness.
Caring for a loved one can be a constant reminder of suffering and pain. The negative health reports, the seemingly inexhaustible complaints, and watching a loved one struggle may influence the caregiver's faith.
Caregivers, God is with you. Hold fast to your faith. Everything you believed to be true about God when the light is shining is true in the dark moments as well. He is still there. When you think you can't go any farther, remember His promise to never leave you. Stand strong.
Prayer for Caregivers: Heavenly Father, I pray for caregivers as they show love and compassion to their loved ones. Father, bless caregivers everywhere and the ones they love.
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
~ Isaiah 40:31
October has become nationally known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every year, organizations and groups gather to celebrate survivors and commemorate those who succumbed in the fight. Education and outreach workshops designed to provide information and tools to prevent breast cancer abound.
Health fairs and free mammogram screenings have served to detect new cases of the disease for women who would have been unable to access health care. Survivors share their stories of courage in the face of pain and anxiety. For some survivors, a renewed sense of self and a God centeredness results from the experience. For others, the disease has diminished their hope.
God will renew your hope through sending people to walk alongside you to offer healing through listening to you voice your deepest hurts and fears. God will care for you through responding to your prayers and offering peace. God will embrace you with love during times of loneliness and feelings of isolation to help you experience the power of God’s presence.
Prayer: Loving God, I praise and magnify you for who your and not just for the mighty things that you have done. I lift up the cares and fears of all who hope in you during this season in their lives. Lord, because you’re ominipotent, all powerful, omniscient all knowing and omnipresent everywhere we are, I trust you to provide the divine wisdom and revelation needed for all of us to find peace that passes all understanding through Jesus Christ, Amen.
Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things, we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. ~Hebrew 11:1 TPT
There comes a time when we want to give up and throw in the towel. It seems like all hope has been shattered and there is nowhere to turn. May I share something with you? Friend, you have a “partner in hope” in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus reminds us, “do not be afraid, just trust Him.” Why? Because with Jesus there is always have a source of hope and promise.
The Apostle Paul admonishes us that though we may think we are at the end of our rope; we are never at the end of our hope. God has not and will not abandon us. God is with us and is always encouraging us to keep our hope alive; God wants us to stay in the fight!
It is easy to lose heart and quit. However, each of us has faced problems and hardships that seem to be out of control, but do not allow the burden of them to cause you to lose your hope and joy. Keep your hope alive by being confident in the expectancy of God’s fulfillment of your prayers.
You are not alone. . . there are partners on the journey of cancer in hope who are there for you when you are tempted to throw up your arms and give up. Your partners will hold you up and encourage you and they will keep telling you that “hope never fails.” So, keep your hope forward-facing as you walk in God’s love, light, and promises.
Prayer: Holy God, thank you for being our “partner in hope.” You as our partner we will always walk in faith, trust, and hope in you. In your majestic name, we pray – Amen.
Dr. Patricia Brock is a chaplain and an associate minister at the Temple Church in Nashville, TN. Rev. Darrell Drumwright, Senior Pastor.
Hope where we had ceased to hope.
Hope amid what threatens hope.
Hope with those who feed our hope.
Hope beyond what we had hoped.
Hope that draws us past our limits.
Hope that defies expectations.
Hope that questions what we have known.
Hope that makes a way where there is none.
Hope that takes us past our fear.
Hope that calls us into life.
Hope that holds us beyond death.
Hope that blesses those to come.
Jan Richardson “Rough Translations” appears in my new book Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons.
Kelly Moreland Jones, M.Ed., M.Div., is a Pastoral Intern with the beautiful community of Glendale
Baptist Church: a caring community of equality and grace in Nashville, TN. During the work
week she is an Analyst in Administrative Technology at Belmont University. She and her partner
are parents to the most amazing sons on the planet and one furry four legged daughter.
Posted by: Kelly Moreland Jones, M.Ed., M. Div. AT 06:08 am
The Bible often describes God as a Father to us, and likewise, compares His characteristics to examples of motherhood within the animal kingdom.
Did you know?
A Harp seal mom can identify her baby from hundreds of others based on smell alone.
Baby elephants can’t see very well when they’re first born so they identify their mom through touch, scent, and sound.
Sealion pups and their moms communicate through special vocalizations so they can identify one another.
These illustrations show how seriously God takes parenthood and his relationship to humans. The Lord, made us in His image, and animals mirror some of his parental traits. If animals are intentional parents, how much more of a parent is our Father? Oh , how He loves us.
In the scriptures, we see the unique ways God identifies us as His own. In the Old Testament, for example, it reads, “like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft. The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him,” Deuteronomy 32:11-12. Scripture further teaches in, Isaiah 40:11, “He tends his flock like a shepherd, he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young,” and in Isaiah 66:13 God promises, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” Let the Father comfort you . . . no matter your current situation.
He continues His promises in the New Testament with 2 Timothy 2:19, “but God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” This vow is echoed again in John 10:3 and 10:14-15 referencing Jesus, “to him the gatekeeper opens. the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his sheep by name and leads them out.” “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
We can have hope in our Father and his intentions because no matter what we are facing in this world, we have the promise of His Word, in which He cannot lie, the sacrifice of our beloved Jesus which cleansed us of sin and left us with a comforter and the gift of eternal life, and His miraculous and tangible presence in our lives through blessings and our testimonies. In Christ we are fully known by him and can stand on the facts that, “God will supply our every need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:19; “The Lord our God is in our midst and mighty to save, he will quiet us with his love and will rejoice over us with singing,” Zephaniah 3:17, and because, “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (which) was given to us,” Romans 5:5.
Surely, brothers and sisters, we are blessed, as is stated in Jeremiah 17:7, if we trust in our Father and remember to keep our hope in Him. Rest in knowing the Father is with you.
Prayer of Hope: Heavenly Father, help us to hold fast to you with childlike faith and to remember to hope in you in all things; always, so that we may be blessed. Amen.
During the first few days after my cancer diagnosis, my brain charged into overdrive. I searched the internet for the best oncologists and treatment centers. My family asked everyone they knew for references. Our phones rang constantly with friends calling to see how we were and to offer their prayers.
Tension cloaked every word we spoke. My anxiety level crept up to the exploding point. I needed relief. Then one morning I read Zephaniah 3:17, “For the Lord your God . . . will bring you quietness with His love. . .” Immediately, my emotions settled. Peace enveloped me. Quietness came and stayed.
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