Monday, November 21, 2022

Be Thankful

Be Thankful

The Thanksgiving holiday season is close at hand. Historically we have been told the first one was celebrated with the American Indians and sojourning Pilgrims who were thankful for a bountiful harvest. This came after a hard year for those from England on the Mayflower.  Seeking a newfound freedom, the passengers of the ship lived - and many died from disease, hunger, and cold weather – waiting to find sanctuary.

Beginning in 1827 Sarah Josepha Hale campaigned for 36 years to establish a national holiday for Thanksgiving and it was declared in 1863. She became the Mother of Thanksgiving when Abraham Lincoln conceded to make it a holiday here in the United States. At the height of the Civil War, he wrote a letter of proclamation asking everyone to pray to God “to commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners and sufferers in the lamentable civil strife and to heal the wounds of the nation.” (Sounds like something Jesus said!)

1 Thessalonians 5:18(AMP) goes even further in a letter: “In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”

Interestingly enough, Lincoln did not proclaim thanks in the situation they were in. Romans 5 declares the purpose of suffering. Reminding us that there is purpose in the previous suffering in our lives. So much to be thankful for in the time of distress that comes in opposition to Christ. He provides inner strength, confidence in His presence, peace in the middle of the storm, salvation in Christ Jesus that gives us hope for all eternity and promised compassion and care.

We are each called to give thanks even when the difficulties of life seem too much to bare.  What have you suffered and yet give thanks to God this season?

Tuesday, September 20, 2022





“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on
wings like eagles. The will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not
faint.” (NLT)

This sounds so simple, and it is simple but not easy. In fact, this is so simple I think we have a difficult time doing it. We can just let God take care of ‘it’. Not just the big things but the little challenges also. We may think we will take care of the little problems and God will take care of the big ones.

Where does scripture tell us to do that? We may think, “Well, this is a small thing, so I can do this. God is busy taking care of more important things.” Sound familiar? I know I have had these thoughts at times.

What would happen if we let God in on all our challenges and choices? Do you think he would ignore the “small stuff”? Would He tell us we need to handle them? Are they really ours to deal with on our own? Do we really think we can solve things better than God can?

Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

This scripture says, to me, that we are to be yoked – connected with and submitted to Jesus and His care, at all times. He has the strength, wisdom, and compassion to carry our every concern. So, big or small, we are to link with him. We are to work with him, not deal with it on our own.

What do you think will happen in our lives if we do this?

BY: Sally Samarin

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Trust and Obey

Trust and Obey

Ecclesiastes is a book in the Bible that I wasn’t fond of until I went through a traumatic period in my life.  The Lord led me to this very place to find comfort and guidance. I felt the Holy Spirit led me to read its entirety.

Solomon described life as being vanity (emptiness or futility), and it resonated with me. At that moment, I wanted to understand the reason for what was happening, would God rescue me from the circumstances, and what was I to do. Trudging through the chapters, I realized that I would never be able to justify, simplify, or identify the situation’s purpose or my need to control things.

This whole book points out that what happens in life doesn’t always seem fair to us. In spite of all that we have experienced through hardships and lose we have and will face if we want to keep our joy, it is important to focus on the Lord for help and direction.

Now as I am aging, I see that some things get better and others much more difficult. Searching for the meaning of difficult issues only stirs discomfort. In chapter 12 there is a reckoning with where I am now. These are things I am beginning to experience what most of us will come to eventually:

·        It is harder to maintain a household when we experience physical limitations.

·        Our teeth are weakened or filled in with implants, etc.

·        Our eyes are not as strong as they once were.

·        Sleep is not always as good as it once was so that even the song of a bird wakens us.

·        We move slower – like a grasshopper dragging along the way.

·        We sometimes lose our desire to be here on this earth any longer and eagerly await heaven as our home.

·        And as we assess our lives it may seem as though nothing has much meaning in this world. 

             When I came to Ecclesiastes 12:13, at my original read, I was pulled up short of my self-pity and grumbling thoughts of life being over! Instead, the words on the page almost jumped off the page:

“Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of all mankind.”

Rather like Job’s message, I felt the Holy Spirit was telling me:

 You might not like life this way. It may not make sense to you, but it does to Me.  So here is what you need to do, don’t try to understand it all. Just accept where you are.  Trust Me and honor me with your obedience. It is all I ask of you. I love you, and I am with you through all your experiences.”

It is easy to get caught up in our limitations, but no matter where we are in life, we are to maintain our focus upward - on God.  My relationship with and response to God is richer because of this message. He knows and holds me tenderly through all of life. I am confident that He lovingly does this for all of His children.

May your walk with the Lord be enriched because you love, trust, honor, and obey the God who is, was, and will ever be.

By: Joy Pedersen

Friday, August 5, 2022


 photo courtesy of Lisa A. Smith                                                      


       In praying we connect with God who is our Father (Romans 1:7), with Jesus our Savior (2 Timothy 1:10), and the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19) who indwells us. In using the Connective Prayer described below, it is more about following the principles rather than the process in connecting with the triune God. This praying is based on truths found in God’s Word. The desired result is deep communication with the Lord so that anything that might be needed can be revealed and remedied by the Lord as He sees appropriate.  Drawing us into this deeper intimacy with Him is healing. To be restored fully to his original intended relationship with us, we need His insight, work, and applied Word in our lives. The Father sits with us as we pray while the Spirit, sent by Jesus, acts as a go-between – almost like a translator – on our behalf. 

      At Clear Hope we have found the use of these applied principles in prayer to be transforming as the Holy Spirit works in our hearts. Each highlighted area has been organized to move from preparation, pressing in progressively into the Holy Spirit’s intervention, His interaction, and ending in grateful closure. However, do not feel as if they have to go in the order you see. Pray as the Holy Spirit leads you. 

      The underlined principles are clarified for more understanding. At the end of each aspect of the prayer, a scripture is given that is foundational for the principle. Keep in mind, as you read, that God’s Words are always more powerful than what any author has ever written.

     Ephesians 6:18NIV reminds us to “pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Why? Romans 8:23TPT tells us it is because “We long to experience our full status as God’s sons and daughters.” 


     APPROACH GOD - As you enter prayer, approach the triune God. The Father who cares for you, the Son who heals and saves, and the Holy Spirit as counselor. Quiet your thoughts and immediate concerns, thinking of Him and His love for you in silence. (Psalm 46:10 (TPT) “Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. I am the God above all the nations, and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.”)

     ACKNOWLEDGE GOD - Start with praise.  Praise is an expression of gratitude for His attributes and character.  It is not the same thing as thanksgiving. Some of His attributes to consider in praise are healer, defender, redeemer, restorer, comforter, King, Lord and the One who sees us. (2 Corinthians 1:3 (TPT) “All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort.”)

     ACCEPT GOD’S PROTECTION - Set up a perimeter of protection by asking God to hold back the enemy and his dark angels. Ask Him to close their mouths and ears during your time of prayer to limit distractions. (Luke 10: 18-19 (NIV) “He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you’.”)

     GRANT PERMISSION - Talk to the Lord, asking Him to work in your heart and mind. Give him permission to administer healing and restoration. (Psalm 139: 23-24 (NIV) ”Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”)

     SUBMIT TO HIS WORK -  Be open to what He wants to accomplish during this time so that what has been broken in you is healed. Declare His authority over your heart(s). (Psalm 42:4-5(NIV) “These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.  Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet Praise him, my Savior and my God.”)

     DISCERNMENT - Ask God for ears to hear, understanding of His response, and clarity in thinking. (Isaiah 30:21 (NIV) “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’.” Psalm 119:34 (NIV)

     GOD’S COUNSEL - Ask the Lord where He wants to lead you in counsel. Ask for and permit Him to give you an emotion, a memory, a thought/idea, or a picture, that will lead you to what He wants to heal. (Psalm 32:8 (NIV) “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”)

     WAIT ON THE LORD - Quietly anticipate, with a ready mind, that the Lord will give you something. It may seem odd if you have never done this before, but He promises us that if we ask He will answer. (Matthew 7:7-8 (VOICE) “Just ask and it will be given to you; seek after it and you will find. Continue to knock and the door will be opened for you.  All who ask receive. Those who seek, find what they seek. And he who knocks, will have the door opened.”)

     PONDER THE MESSAGE - Ask God for clarity and understanding of His message or impression. This can take quite some time. Just take your time and be open to get everything that God wants to minister to you. Be patient with yourself and God. (Get it all!) The Holy Spirit is with you and is gentle in this time. 

>  If it was a memory of something that stirs a painful situation, ask Him to show you where He was at the time, and what He was feeling.

>   If it was an emotion, ask Him where it started and why you have this emotion. What does He want you to know about the emotion? 

>  If it was a thought or idea He gives you ask Him for more understanding, expansion, and clarity.

>  If it was a picture, ask Him to reveal what it relates to in your life.  What does He want you to see, and understand about the picture?  Is it a direction He is taking you, a warning He is giving you, a burden you are carrying, etc.? 

(I Corinthians 2:9-12(CEB) “But this is precisely what is written: God has prepared things for those who love him that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven’t crossed the mind of any human being. God has revealed these things to us through the Spirit. The Spirit searches everything, including the depths of God. Who knows a person’s depths except their own spirit that lives in them? In the same way, no one has known the depths of God except God’s Spirit.  We haven’t received the world’s spirit but God’s Spirit so that we can know the things given to us by God.”)

     SEEK RESOLUTION - When you have received understanding, a sense of His presence, a message that is complete, ask God how He wants to complete the healing that has begun. He knows how to heal! Open your heart and mind to what He instructs and remember he is creative!. Examples:

>  One experience of mine, was Him impressing me (inaudibly) to put the pain and feelings that were hurtful in a box. It was followed by closing the box, sending it to Him, and asking Him to send it to hell where it belonged.

>  You may be led to repaint the picture of your past or the memory in such a way that it is restored to His perspective and healed.

>  It may be a peace that is ignited along with the hope that He is almost burning into your heart.

>  It could be a table of sacrifice where things that have become idols are placed – things that need to die in life’s choices (addictions etc.). 

(Psalm 25:4-5 (NIV) “No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause. Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”)

     GIVE FORGIVENESS - For those who may have been involved in your wounding history, surrender the wound by forgiving them as you talk to the Lord. “I forgive (name) for (hurt). Please heal them as well, Lord.” (Matthew 6:14 (NIV) “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”)

     CONFESS - When we are wounded, the enemy fills our heads with lies that may hurt us further. Satan introduces thoughts of unbelief of God’s power, as well as feelings like:  God doesn’t care, it’s my fault, I am not God’s child, I am unlovable, and more.  It is important to deny the power that Satan wants to hold over us.  Confessing is an admission of our wrong thinking or action, agreeing that Christ has already died for the wrong. It is letting go of the lies Satan wants us to live out. God is able and has already overcome, so in this process, we let go of the lies. (James 5:16 (NIV) ‘Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” 1 John 1:9 (NIV) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”)

     RECEIVE FORGIVENESS - In the hurts we have experienced, we have hurt others. However, we have been forgiven of all of these sins as His children. The problem is that we may not have allowed His forgiveness to free us from the weight and guilt of some sin or heartbreak.  Let the Lord know you are receiving His pardon fully and completely. An example: 

“Lord, my (hurt, misunderstanding, words, self-protection, mishandled brokenness, etc.) has (have) been damaging to others as well as myself. I accept your forgiveness for this and release the guilt and shame I have felt. I give up my felt right to pay back others. I take back my freedom that you gave me on the cross.”

(Titus 3:7(VOICE) “All of this happened so that through His grace we would be accepted into God’s covenant family and appointed to be His heirs, full of the hope that comes from knowing you have eternal life.”)

     BE STILL – Contemplate and digest what God has been doing. Sit quietly and allow His embrace to pull you in. Perhaps envision sitting on His lap and being caressed by His love. Stay as long as you need to experience the warmth of His love. (Psalm 62:5(VOICE) “My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him.”)

     GIVE THANKS - Remember to thank Jesus for all that you have received and experienced with Him. Ask Him to continue revealing and healing as He sees best. (Ephesians 1:3(VOICE) “Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed One, who grants us every spiritual blessing in these heavenly realms where we live in the Anointed—not because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done for us.”)

     REPEAT PRAISE – At the conclusion of this prayer, praise Him for those attributes and characteristics you experienced in your prayer time.  Worship in this time is so special.  If a song or scripture comes to mind, use it to comfort and heal your soul. (Psalm 100:4 (VOICE) “Go through His gates, giving thanks; walk through His courts, giving praise. Offer Him your gratitude and praise His holy name.”)


    In considering this prayer time, if someone is leading you in this prayer, it is a conversation of three – you, God and the leader. Pray aloud. Share your message the Holy Spirit is giving you. Areas of forgiveness, thanks, and praise are your part of the conversation. Praying out loud is a step in confessing to one another and establishes ownership of His work in you. 

     Know that this prayer takes time. I have found around two hours is normal –though it can be more or less time. Allow yourself all the time you need, and repeat the process if you find there are other things popping up that affect your relationships, attitudes, or behavior.

    My desire is for each follower of Jesus to experience peace and joy in drawing close to Him, resulting in an intimate relationship of connection and healing with Him.

 Love, Joy 

Sunday, July 3, 2022


Fourth of July is a time to express our gratitude for the freedom we experience in our nation. Appreciation for those who have put their lives in danger are remembered and acclaimed. As fireworks are ignited, bar-b-ques fired up, parades and floats routed, celebration is all possible because of our freedom.


As a country, our bill of rights promises us several freedoms: speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government. With this liberty we are allowed to pursue careers of our choosing, to live where we desire, and benefit from many amenities other countries may lack. As we watch places in the world where freedom is at risk or being taken away, we have much for which to be grateful. This is national or political freedom.


There is also a personal freedom - for the choosing - available to everyone around the world. No matter where we live it is promised to all who have a relationship with Jesus Christ. In the Bible, Galatians 5:1 reminds us: "It was for freedom sake that Christ set us free!" As followers of Christ, we can celebrate our freedom every day!  And what are we freed from? Sin and eternal death. (Romans 8:2) And what are the benefits? Peace, love, intimacy with God, and more.


Both national and spiritual freedom carry laws to uphold civility and order. Here on earth armies and police are given authority to keep peace outside of us. As Christians, Christ is our peace internally (Ephesians 2:14). We live by faith and not a legal system that defines our freedom. We submit to the authority of God and surrender to the law of love. Living in His love is peaceable. How blessed I am to be celebrating freedom with our nation, but especially the freedom and peace I have in Christ. I pray this is true for you as well.


Matthew 22:37-38: “Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”  


Monday, June 27, 2022

Deeper in the Beatitudes

Beloved, the First Commandment (Matthew 22:37-38) is a priority to God, but really it is to be our response to Him. Mathew 5:19: “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

We may not have thought about that, but everything is prefaced by THE GREATEST LOVE He has for US!  Remember, greatness is determined by Him. “We love because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19. And the Cross is our anchor demonstrating Jesus’ love.

The Beatitudes from the Sermon on The Mount hinge on this foundational scripture. I think we can all agree that we are limited in walking out the first commandment, but The Be-Attitude’s help us understand how to do so. They define the godly character Jesus values, and the Holy Spirit helps us to grow in.

Why do we need to know The Beatitudes? The kingdom lifestyle described by Jesus at the  Mount is all about how we receive God’s blessings as He rules and reigns in our hearts as King and Lord. The Beatitutdes reveal God’s heart and when lived produce good fruit in our lives. Do you desire to know what He likes, loves, and wants? We find it, in part, in Matthew 5. We surely want to be pleasing to God, so there is great reward in pursuing the Be-Attitudes.

It is our responsibility to know, understand, and apply these scriptures. The Beatitudes lifestyle is for today and till the end of time. If you’re like me, I saw the Beatitudes on a surface level only. They confused me, and I focused on only a few in particular. Going deeper I was challenged to go further into their meaning. Let’s examine them together…

The Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-11

“And seeing the multitudes, He (Jesus) went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

·         ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (This is being aware of our spiritual need of experiencing more of God’s presence and power in our heart and ministry )

·         Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. (This usually manifests itself in prayer but it’s recognizing the gap we feel between what God has for us and what we are experiencing.)

·         Blessed are the meek,  for they shall inherit the earth. (Meekness is power under control. It is a restraint on our spirit that causes us to be aware of our need for wisdom from others.)

·          Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled. (Hunger is key here, to have an appetite for more of Jesus' righteousness, and increase.)

·         Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. (Treating others with a tender spirit when they fail, attack, or disappoint us.)

·          Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. (Treating others with a tender spirit when they fail, attack, or disappoint us.)

·         Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. (Bringing peace or healing to broken relationships.)

·          Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Bearing the stigma and pressures of standing for righteousness.)

·          Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Beloved, we have gone deeper through these incredible scriptures. I hope your heart and depth of understanding have been increased, and that you are inspired to prayer. I hope that you are motivated by grace to have faith in God for today, your future, and for your part in Jesus' plans. He always carves a path for us to follow because He loves us and wants us to succeed according to Him. Jesus wants YOU to be blessed and GREAT!

Love, Lydia


Lord, as I live my life, help me continually keep these Beatitudes in mind and spirit. Help me intentionally live them out. When I fail to do this well,  give me strength to improve as your Holy Spirit strengthens and empowers me. I confess I want this lifestyle to alter my life in such a way as to purify me and cause me to walk in holiness. I desired to be pleasing to you, Jesus, by sharing and living this out the best I am able with your help.


Thursday, May 26, 2022

The Power of Faith

The Power of Faith


Hebrews 11:6 (TPT)

“And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that he is real and that he rewards the faith of those who passionately seek him,”

Reading Hebrews 11 and 12, I am amazed at the power of faith.  From Abel to the present day, individuals have faced hardships. Amazingly, the one thing that brought victory and hope to those listed in these chapters was their faith that God was in both the good and bad situations they were in. Here we read of testimony and faith power. These are some of them:

  • Abel chose by faith to make an offering that was acceptable to God – the best portions of his firstborn lambs. This instructs us today that obedience through sacrifice pleases God.
  • Enoch never died – he just went straight to heaven - because his life was a faith walk that pleased God. He was a living example of trust and obedience powered by faith.
  • Noah’s heart welcomed God’s warning. Believing His word in opposition to people of the day, he built an ark that saved his family and future generations while being mocked and scorned.
  • Faith motivated Abraham to blindly obey God, even as a migrant traveling through unknown countries. His hope held to a promise of fulfillment for the unknown future. He was willing to sacrifice his promised son, Isaac, because he believed God would fulfill His promise of creating a great nation through him.
  • Sarah’s faith through the years rested in the power of God and His faithfulness. Then, at an old age, she conceived and bore Isaac, the child promised by God to her and Abraham.
  • Joseph was upheld by his faith in God’s purpose for his life as he was sold into slavery, interpreted dreams, led a godless nation, and prophesied the deliverance of Israel which led to saving the Jewish nation.
  •  The parents of Moses believed that he was to be saved and found a way to preserve him for God’s purpose.
  • Moses chose beyond what the world could offer. Following God’s will by faith, he led Israel through deliverance and a desert. He was disrespected, rejected, misunderstood, and exhausted while still anticipating and expecting favor and a future reward. Faith even removed his fear of a government official.
  •  Faith made it possible for the Hebrews to cross the Red Sea safely and the enemy was destroyed!
  • Faith in an unseen God was the basis upon which Rahab, a prostitute, was saved from destruction.
  •  Kingdoms were conquered and saved based on the power of faith. It happened and does happen for prophets and ordinary people.                                                                                                
  • Many died holding onto their faith without receiving their promise during their lifetime.

Each was able to do this because their hearts were fixed on what was ahead of them: heaven, where being face to face with Jesus.  He was their promise.  Hebrews 11:34 tells us that their “faith imparted power to make them strong.”  In the Aramaic, this is translated as being “restored or healed”.

All throughout the New Testament, we are shown the power of faith as apostles and disciples alike preached the good news. Strength was given to endure, be courageous, to suffer, to minister, to care for others, and so much more. Faith gave them the power they needed to live a life of belief and hope for what was yet to come beyond this world.  They fixed their mind, sight, and anticipation on what was eternal so that they could make it in this life.

If you are feeling weak, worn, and woeful, fix your thoughts, imagination, and hope on a heavenly world with a kingdom of love and life.  It is absent of hate, cruelty, sickness, death, and poverty.  Praise God who has given us the promise of a perfect life with a perfect Father, God, who will reward us for our active faith in Him. 

By Joy Pedersen