Don’t Lose Your Sparkle

Making Life Work
Read: Psalm 13
Focus: Psalm 13:3

“Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.”

Do you ever wonder why there are some whose eyes just always seem to sparkle? Is it because they have such a naturally sunny disposition? Is it because things are continually going their way? Is it because they are just so much better at life that they outshine the average person? What is it about these people?

Well, it could be that any or all of the above factors contribute to their winsome approach to life. But I would venture to guess that these folks have also developed the ability to practice hopefulness in the midst of all the negative stuff that might send a less hopeful person into the tank.

Aaron Beck, a leading marriage researcher, found the number one belief that kills marriages is that a spouse will never change. Once that belief set in, there was a loss of motivation, surrendering of perseverance, and giving up. Here’s the thing: Underneath the failure to endure and the quitting, there was the loss of hope.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 13:12 that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” But when hope is practiced, whether in marriage specifically or life in general, there is tremendous motivation not only for growth and change, but for that winsome radiance to dominate our personality in a way that both elevates our moods and is consistently visible to those we are around.

That is why we’ve got to choose daily to put our hope in the promises of God. That’s what David did. He practiced hope. In the first two verses of this six-verse psalm, David was focusing on the overwhelmingly bad things in his life that were dragging him down. But in the last two verses, his focused has shifted to the overwhelming mercy and grace of God—and it changed everything.

Some people’s eyes just seem to light up—they sparkle. Why is that?  King David says it’s because they practice hope. In the midst of all the negative stuff of life, they pray bigly, reflect gratefully and sing expectantly. Seriously, that’s how you practice hope: pray, reflect and sing. David did it—and he’s a pretty credible authority. He wrote the songbook of the human race—the 150-song book of Psalms. It’s still the number one selling hymnal for humans for a reason—it works. It has lit up the eyes of the hurting with hope, joy and light by the millions. If you’re low on joy, do what the psalmist did—practice hope—and let God “restore the sparkle to your eyes,” too!

What did David do to pull off that turn around? Well, to begin with, he went to God—he prayed. He poured out his complaint (vv. 1-2) and then made a bold request (v. 3). Next, he went back into the memory banks of his past experience with God and recalled that God had never failed him—not even once (v. 5). Therefore, since God had been faithful in David’s past, it only made sense to trust him in the present. And finally, David praised (v. 6). David began to sing of the mercies and goodness of God. Praise is simply declaring that God’s track record of faithfulness in the past is the pre-evidence of his immutable character tomorrow.

David practiced hope—and before knew it, the sparkle had returned to his eyes.

__________________

“Hope fills the afflicted soul with such inward joy and consolation, that it can laugh while tears are in the eye, sigh and sing all in a breath.” (William Gurnall)

 

Making Life Work: Hebrews 6:19 says of the practice of hope, “We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure.” And when we practice it—praying, reflecting, singing—we too, can expect the sparkle to return to our eyes. As Romans 5:5 says, this “hope does not disappoint us.”

That Sparkle In Your Eyes

Read Psalm 13

Featured Verse: Psalm 13:3 (NLT)

“Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.”

Do you ever wonder why there are some whose eyes just always seem to sparkle?  Is it because they have such a naturally sunny disposition?  Is it because things are continually going their way?  Is it because they are just so much better at life, or have such a better life, that they outshine the average person?  What is it about these people?

Well, it could be any or all of the above factors contribute to gleam in their eye and the lift in their step. But I would venture to guess that these folks have also developed the ability to practice hopefulness in the midst of all the negative stuff that might send a less hopeful person into the tank.

Aaron Beck, a leading marriage researcher, found the number one belief that kills marriages is that a spouse will never change. Once that belief set in, there was a loss of motivation, the surrender of perseverance, and giving up. Here’s the thing: Underneath the failure to endure and the quitting was the loss of hope.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 13:12 that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.”  But when hope is practiced, whether in marriage specifically or life in general, there is tremendous motivation not only for growth and change, but for that winsome radiance to dominate our personality in a way that both elevates our moods and is consistently visible to those we are around.

That is why we’ve got to choose daily to put our hope in the promises of God.  That’s what David did.  He practiced hope.  In the first two verses of this six-verse psalm, David was focusing on the overwhelmingly bad things in his life that were dragging him down. But in the last two verses, his focused has shifted to the overwhelming mercy and grace of God—and it changed everything.

What did David do to pull off that turn around?  Well, to begin with, he went to God—he prayed.  He poured out his complaint (Psalm 13:1-2) and then made a bold request (Psalm 13:3).  Next, he went back into the memory banks of his past experience with God and recalled that God had never failed him—not even once (Psalm 13:5). Therefore, since God had been faithful in David’s past, it only made sense to trust him in the present.  And finally, David praised (Psalm 13:6).  David began to sing of the mercies and goodness of God.

David practiced hope—and before he knew it, the sparkle had returned to his eyes.

Hebrews 6:19 says of the practice of hope: “We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure.” And when we practice hope—praying, reflecting, singing—we too, can expect the sparkle to return to our eyes. Romans 5:5 says, “hope does not disappoint us.”

Now that will put a sparkle in your eyes!

“Hope fills the afflicted soul with such inward joy and consolation, that it can laugh while tears are in the eye, sigh and sing all in a breath.”  ~William Gurnall

The Practice of Hope

Read: Proverbs 13

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12)

Hope is an incredible motivator in life, a powerful sustainer of love, and unquestionably, the most effective instigator of spiritual growth. On the other hand, the loss of hope is arguably the greatest devastator of life a human being can experience.  That’s how profound powerful hope is.

The Contemporary English Version translates our proverb this way: “Not getting what you want can make you feel sick, but a wish that comes true is a life-giving tree.” That’s so true, isn’t it?  We’ve all been there—the loss of a job, the breakup of a relationship, the crushing of a dream—it takes your legs right out from under you. It tempts you to give up, shrink back, curl up in a ball and just quit on life.  There is no pain quite like the loss of hope.

On the other hand, when you have hope you can survive and actually thrive through just about anything. When hope is stoked, even when what you’re hoping for is still a far off expectation, suddenly there is energy, drive, focus, and patient endurance.

That’s how powerful hope is, and that’s why we’ve got to practice it.  Huh?  Practice hope? Yeah, that’s what the Bible says.  I Thessalonians 5:8 says we’ve got to exercise hopefulness…we’ve got to practice being hopeful…we’ve got to put on hope:

“But since we belong to the day let us be sober and put on the breastplate
of faith and love, and, for a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

You see, hope is not just some vague and lofty concept; it is actually a very practical thing. Just like a football player puts on his helmet for the game, or a soldier puts on his helmet for battle, we’ve got to put on the helmet of hope, particularly the hope of our salvation, because it is what enables us to endure life’s battles and come out victorious at the end of the day.

So how can you literally put hope on as a helmet?  First, quit being passive about hope.  It’s not just going to happen for you, you’ve got to practice it.  How? By, secondly, developing and nurturing patterns of thinking that are founded in hope. The fact is, not only are there ways of thinking that will kill hope, there are ways of thinking that produce hope.

Let me illustrate:  Suppose you were to receive a phone call today from an old friend who enthusiastically says, “I have good news. You can take a 7-day trip to Hawaii with my company that won’t cost you a dime. We have room for two more…but here’s the catch: we leave tomorrow evening at 9:00 PM. The boss is taking us on his private jet, and we’ll be staying at his beachfront villa in Maui.”

You tell him you’ll call him right back, and the minute you get off the phone, you and your spouse, who was listening in, start thinking and planning. Out comes the pen and paper, and you begin to prioritize what you need to do to make this happen.  Then you call the friend back, and tell him you’re in.

Now here’s the deal: I’ll guarantee that you will begin to ruthlessly align your life over the next 24 hours to pull this off. Am I right?  You see, the hope of Hawaii tomorrow will change the way you live today.

There’s something even better and more permanent that Hawaii.  It’s called heaven.  The most important hope of all—the hope of your salvation—is promising you a better tomorrow.  So start aligning your life today for eternity with Jesus—and be ruthless about it—and watch what hope will do for you!

It is what Christians were meant to do, by the way!

“We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure.” ~Hebrews 6:19

Winning At Life:

For the next seven days, right before you go to sleep and then again when you first wake up, think about what heaven will be like.  That’s practicing hope.

Keep Hope Alive

Read: Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Hope is an incredible motivator in life, a powerful sustainer of love, and arguably, it is the most effective instigator of spiritual growth. On the other hand, the loss of hope is arguably the greatest devastator of life a human being can experience.  That’s how profound powerful hope is.

The Contemporary English Version translates our proverb this way: “Not getting what you want can make you feel sick, but a wish that comes true is a life-giving tree.” That’s so true, isn’t it?  We’ve all been there—the loss of a job, the breakup of a relationship, the crushing of a dream—it takes your legs right out from under you. It tempts you to give up, shrink back, curl up in a ball and just quit on life.  There is no pain quite like the loss of hope.

But when you have hope you can survive and actually thrive through just about anything. When hope is stoked, even when what you’re hoping for is still a far off expectation, suddenly there is energy, drive, focus, and patient endurance.

That’s how powerful hope is, and that’s why we’ve got to practice it.  Huh?  Practice hope? Yeah, that’s what the Bible says.  I Thessalonians 5:8 says we’ve got to exercise hopefulness…we’ve got to practice being hopeful…we’ve got to put on hope:

“But since we belong to the day let us be sober
and put on the breastplate of faith and love,
and, for a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

You see, hope is not just some vague and lofty concept, it’s actually a very practical thing. Just like a football player puts on his helmet for the game, or a soldier puts on his helmet for battle, we’ve got to put on the helmet of hope, particularly the hope of our salvation, because it is what enables us to endure life’s battles and come out victorious at the end of the day.

So how can you literally put hope on as a helmet?  First, quit being passive about hope.  It’s not just going to happen for you, you’ve got to practice it.  Then second, develop and nurture patterns of thinking that are founded in hope. The fact is, not only are there ways of thinking that will kill hope, there are ways of thinking that produce hope.

Let me illustrate:  Suppose you were to receive a phone call today from an old friend who enthusiastically says, “Friend, I have good news.  You can take a 7-day trip to Hawaii with my company that won’t cost you a dime.  We have room for two more…but here’s the catch: we leave tomorrow evening at 9:00 PM.  The boss is taking us on his private jet, and we’ll be staying at his beachfront villa in Maui.”

You tell him you’ll call him right back, and the minute you get off the phone, you and your spouse, who was listening in, start thinking and planning. Out comes the pen and paper, and you begin to prioritize what you need to do to make this happen.  Then you call the friend back, and tell him you’re in.

Now here’s the deal: I’ll guarantee that you will begin to ruthlessly align your life over the next 24 hours to pull this off. Am I right?  You see, the hope of Hawaii tomorrow will change the way you live today.

There’s something even better and more permanent that Hawaii.  It’s called heaven.  The most important hope of all—the hope of your salvation—is promising you a better tomorrow.  So start aligning your life today for eternity with Jesus—and be ruthless about it—and watch what hope will do for you!

“We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure.”
Hebrews 6:19

Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:

For the next seven days, right before you go to sleep and then again when you first wake up, think about what heaven will be like.  That’s practicing hope.

Capture The Sparkle

Read Psalm 13

Capture The Sparkle

“Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.”
Psalm 13:3

Go Deep: Do you ever wonder why there are some whose eyes just always seem to sparkle?  Is it because they have such a naturally sunny disposition?  Is it because things are continually going their way?  Is it because they are just so much better at life that they outshine the average person?  What is it about these people?

Well, it could be any or all of the above factors contribute to their winsome approach to the world. But I would venture to guess that these folks have also developed the ability to practice hopefulness in the midst of all the negative stuff that might send a less hopeful person into the tank.

Aaron Beck, a leading marriage researcher, found the number one belief that kills marriages is that a spouse will never change. Once that belief set in, there was a loss of motivation, surrendering of perseverance, and giving up. What Beck discovered about marriage is true of life as well: That beneath our failure to endure and thrive there is always the loss of hope.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 13:12 that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.”  But when hope is practiced, whether in marriage specifically or life in general, there is tremendous motivation not only for growth and change, but for that winsome radiance to dominate our personality in a way that both elevates our moods and is consistently visible to those we are around.

That’s why we’ve got to make the choice daily to put our hope in the promises of God.  That’s what David did.  He practiced hope.  In the first two verses of this six-verse psalm, David was focusing on the overwhelmingly bad things in his life that were dragging him down. But in the last two verses, his focused has shifted to the overwhelming mercy and grace of God—and it changed everything.

What did David do to pull that off that turn around?  Well, to begin with, he went to God—he prayed.  He poured out his complaint (Psalm 13:1-2) and then made a bold request (Psalm 13:3).  Next, he went back into the memory banks of his past experience with God and recalled that God had never failed him—not even once (Psalm 13:5). Therefore, since God had been faithful in David’s past, it only made sense to trust him in the present.  And finally, David praised (Psalm 13:6).  David began to sing of the mercies and goodness of God. Praise is simply declaring that God’s track record of faithfulness in the past is the pre-evidence of his immutable character tomorrow.

David practiced hope—and before he knew it, the sparkle had returned to his eyes.

Hebrews 6:19 says of the practice of hope: “We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure.”

And when we practice it—praying, reflecting, singing—we too, can expect the sparkle to return to our eyes. As Romans 5:5 says, this “hope does not disappoint us.”

Just Saying… William Gurnall wrote, “Hope fills the afflicted soul with such inward joy and consolation, that it can laugh while tears are in the eye, sigh and sing all in a breath.”  When you practice hope, you will not only survive life’s difficulties, you will thrive because of them!

 

Psalm 13: Don’t Lose Your Sparkle

Read Psalm 13

Don’t Lose Your Sparkle

“Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.”
Psalm 13:3

Do you ever wonder why there are some whose eyes just always seem to sparkle? Is it because they have such a naturally sunny disposition? Is it because things are continually going their way? Is it because they are just so much better at life that they outshine the average person? What is it about these people?

Well, it could be that any or all of the above factors contribute to their winsome approach to life. But I would venture to guess that these folks have also developed the ability to practice hopefulness in the midst of all the negative stuff that might send a less hopeful person into the tank.

Aaron Beck, a leading marriage researcher, found the number one belief that kills marriages is that a spouse will never change. Once that belief set in, there was a loss of motivation, surrendering of perseverance, and giving up. Here’s the thing: Underneath the failure to endure and the quitting, there was the loss of hope.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 13:12 that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” But when hope is practiced, whether in marriage specifically or life in general, there is tremendous motivation not only for growth and change, but for that winsome radiance to dominate our personality in a way that both elevates our moods and is consistently visible to those we are around.

That is why we’ve got to choose daily to put our hope in the promises of God. That’s what David did. He practiced hope. In the first two verses of this six-verse psalm, David was focusing on the overwhelmingly bad things in his life that were dragging him down. But in the last two verses, his focused has shifted to the overwhelming mercy and grace of God—and it changed everything.

What did David do to pull off that turn around? Well, to begin with, he went to God—he prayed. He poured out his complaint (vv. 1-2) and then made a bold request (v. 3). Next, he went back into the memory banks of his past experience with God and recalled that God had never failed him—not even once (v. 5). Therefore, since God had been faithful in David’s past, it only made sense to trust him in the present. And finally, David praised (v. 6). David began to sing of the mercies and goodness of God. Praise is simply declaring that God’s track record of faithfulness in the past is the pre-evidence of his immutable character tomorrow.

David practiced hope—and before knew it, the sparkle had returned to his eyes.

Hebrews 6:19 says of the practice of hope: “We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure.” And when we practice it—praying, reflecting, singing—we too, can expect the sparkle to return to our eyes. As Romans 5:5 says, this “hope does not disappoint us.”

“Hope fills the afflicted soul with such inward joy and consolation, that it can laugh while tears are in the eye, sigh and sing all in a breath.”
—William Gurnall