Widow’s Mite

From about the first day we opened our doors, we have had the privilege of serving, knowing and learning from Doris. Doris is a spunky, quick-witted and vivacious elderly woman. She wears bright colors and fun hats. She greets everyone with warmth and has a smile that could soften the hardest heart. She walks everywhere she goes.  She never misses a meal in the Community Kitchen. Doris lives on a fixed income and often is need of a little help.  One day as some of the staff were chatting in the office Doris brought her infections smile framed with tears of joy, and five dollar bill.  She presented it proudly through the window and declared, “I had five dollars left this month! The Hope Center has helped me so much. I hope this can help you keep on doing what you’re doing.”
We smiled and said thank you. As she and her blinged-out walker left we turned to one another and cried.  We know what $5 dollars in the hands of our God can do.

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”Mark 12:41-44

Introducing a New Blog Series: Kingdom Economics

Here at the Hope Center, we recognize that we have become hoarders of sorts.
Those of us with the privilege of participation in the day-in-day-out miracle of the Hope Center often relish in the joys and fail to climb atop a hill and shout the goodness of it all.  We stack these stories up all around us and find comfort and hope in revisiting them.
Well, its time to clean the house, tell our stories and make room for new ones that won’t sit on the shelves so long because everything has a place, and everything is in its place.  Stories like these belong with you. The partners, carriers and megaphones of  hope in our community.  Since we don’t have many hills here central Ohio, social media will have to do.
This new series will tell the
real- life,
shaken-down till it runs over,
just in the nick-of-time,
could only be the goodness of God-
stories of provision, blessing and hope we encounter everyday.
Stay tuned folks, there’s no tellin’ what will happen next.

Psalm 145:3-8 (NIV)
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
    they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
    and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
 They tell of the power of your awesome works—
    and I will proclaim your great deeds.
 They celebrate your abundant goodness
    and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate,

    slow to anger and rich in love.

Honey- Community Series

Eat honey, my son, for it is good;
honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.
Know also that wisdom is like honey for you:
If you find it, there is a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs 24:13-15 (NIV)

Conventional wisdom says that Hope is for losers. Modern thinking says Hope is for people with less intelligence or who have yet to shake off prehistoric thinking. Hope is for those who  lack the pragmatic skills to manage their own destiny. Why Hope for something that may never happen? It only brings pain and disappointment. Some say Hope is useless.  How often have you encountered this attitude in others? In yourself?

If we are honest, our views may not be so extreme but in certain arenas of our life we carry the disappointment and bitterness of unmet Hope.  Did Hope fail us?  Even Proverbs 10:24 tells us that, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” (NKJV) But, have we failed to place our Hope on a sure thing? Or did our Hope lack wisdom?

The Bible reminds us that our Hope needs to be in Christ. Hope placed in Jesus and His work on the cross is never disappointed. 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (NKJV)

What is wonderful about the verses in Proverbs 24 is this: The wisdom God offers us in scripture and gained in a life lived in pursuit of Him, gives Hope that is sweet and never plundered. Godly-wisdom gives birth to Hope that succeeds. Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (NKJV)

What shall we do then?

Too often we throw the baby out with the bathwater. We let our misplaced hopes rule our hearts and determine that all Hope is false hope.  Place your Hope where it will do some good.  Meet the One who holds your destiny in the palm of His hand and you will find Hope that is in line with His hopes for your life. Romans 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NKJV)

Too often we harvest the honey before its time. Wise beekeepers understand that honey must be extracted based on the blooming season for their region. The nectar will flow when the bees have done their part.

Pursue godly wisdom. Read scripture, cultivate a life of prayer and find godly counselors who will help you become wise in the ways of God. Join a community of bees that are actively working in your life producing the sweet nectar of wisdom and hope in you.   This wisdom will bring you sweet joy in the waiting for Hope to be realized.

Godly-wisdom says Hope is a natural byproduct of a wise person.

Join the Hope Center in cultivating a hopeful community by giving of your time, energy and resources at hopecenterohio.org.

Hope Center Devotionals Day 1: Job 5:15

Job 5:15-17 (NIV)
He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth;
he saves them from the clutches of the powerful.
So the poor have hope,
and injustice shuts its mouth.
Blessed is the man whom God corrects;
so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

As far as I can tell, there are at least fourteen Hebrew words that are translated “hope” in the Old Testament. Job’s friend Elipaz uses tikvah in his discourse concerning Job. Unaware of the throw down of Chapter 2 between God and Satan, he mistakenly assumes that Job is being disciplined by God for some unknown offense.

We know more of the back story than Elipaz and can rest assured that while his ideas about God here are accurate, the charge against Job is misplaced. Paul affirms the content of the chapter by quoting verse 13 in 1 Corinthians 3:19. The chapter teaches us to expect trouble as part of the human experience (v 7) and that the only place to seek relief is bringing our case to God who meets every need on earth and deals justly with all people.

No man, even the poor, are without hope. Almighty God rescues them and silences the mouth of injustice that would devour them. I love that the context here is in God’s correction towards us. He loves human kind enough to chasten us. He does not leave us the same. It is often in these difficult periods that tikvah-hope comes.

The root word of tikvah is translated “cord”, one that is stretched and does not break. This is the HOPE of discipline. That we grow, improve and become stronger by God’s loving hand.

We are pursuing the call of God for our community. I admonish you to pursue hope for yourselves and households. May we know tikvah-hope in all its meaning and applications as we offer the hope of the Gospel to those who long for the rescue of God. Indeed, blessed is the person whom God corrects for we have a Hope that endures.