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Unchained from My Past
Theme of the Week: The Life-Changing Power of Hope
Monday, August 4, 2014

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Key Bible Verse: All day long I put my hope in you. (Psalm 25:5)

Dig Deeper: Psalm 25:1-10

I grew up in something of a jet-set family, where divorce ruled. Everybody got divorced. Add to that my family's raging alcoholism and explosive anger, and maybe you can see why divorce was epidemic, and how I grew up convinced that my life wouldn't feature a lasting marriage.

That belief got a major makeover after a bunch of terrific couples put their arms around me in an awesome Southern California church of 110 people. For the first time in my life, I saw couples that had been married for 10, 15, 20, and even 30 or more years. During five years in that church, I never saw a single couple break up. That totally changed my frame of reference. For the first time, I thought, I could really have a lasting marriage. That could be my future.

My wife, Carol, and I just celebrated our 30th anniversary. I couldn't imagine this 30 years ago.

The couples in that church liberated me from the expectation that my past background was going to determine my future relationships.

Hope will do that for you. Hope liberates from past failures, from bitterness, from anger, from insecurity, and from the kind of low expectations that keep people chained to the past.

—Ray Johnston in The Hope Quotient

My Response: What past failures or experiences keep me from envisioning a better future?

Adapted from The Hope Quotient by Ray Johnston (Thomas Nelson, 2014; by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be reproduced.

Prayer for the Week
Heavenly Father, I pray for people in my life who are drowning in discouragement. Show me how I might reach out to them and offer them hope for a better tomorrow and a better eternity.

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Curt Schleicher

August 04, 2014  9:37am

i have so many failures that the LORD has brought me through, but one of the ones i'd like to rectify is the relationship with my oldest daughter. She's 27 now. She has a close relationship with her mother, but through all these years we've never been able to establish that camaraderie in anything we attempt to do together. Lately, anything we do together results in a disagreement. Lord, my inability to begin a healthy father-daughter relationship with her is really got me discouraged. Help me, show me ways, open my eyes to the growth possibilities around me. Allow me to see my 27 year old for who God made her to be--- a mature thinker with great ideas who just needs me to allow her to express herself & then recognize her for just that. In Jesus name amen.

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August 04, 2014  7:24am

My family for the most part wanted my wife and I to divorce since we had been fighting for 7+ years all the time. We had a court date. Bottom line we where both being selfish. But glory to Father God who is in heaven, that Jesus healed us more than 4 years ago. Now we are a testimony as to what he can do in a marriage and we bug others to seek what he has given us. I am slow to learn but finally Jesus has me a the spiritual leader of this family the place he wants men. Not easy admitting I was wrong but the healing that came from the fruit from being connected to the vine is all worth it. That is doing marriage the way God wants, step 1 love your wife and live in an understanding way with her. How do you understand her if you don't seek to know her, not her body that is easy for man but her spirit. Seek to ask her question truly to understand why she thinks or says something and you will connect in a new way. C=closeness O=openness U=understanding P=peace making L=loyalty E=esteem her

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ANTHONY Swaggerty

August 04, 2014  6:10am

Thanks M.O.I. for the word, it gives hope in a different perspective than ever seen. The eye opening examples are great. Thank you. Anthony

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Tim Marion

August 04, 2014  5:21am

A very good point. My own upbringing was similar to the author's though without the divorce; my family mostly soldiered on till the untimely death of the aggressor by cancer or incarceration. I found a good church while in the Navy, Church of God of Anderson Indiana in Norfolk, and their method of reading and teaching the Bible instead of religion; and the congregation's love and examples taught me at 18 what I could have never known without attending there. My wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary this past December and we pray for many more.

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Curt Schleicher

August 03, 2014  9:22am

With a calm spirit, i put my trust in God…the living God. The only One who is able to direct my path. My hope is in you and you alone.

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