It Sounds Retro, But…

Photo by Picography

In my last post I mentioned that there were some changes coming to my writings here at OUT HERE HOPE REMAINS. And it’s going to sound retro, but hear me out!

I’m moving to substack and will be writing in a newsletter format rather than blogposts. That newsletter is called Hope Remains. I’ll be writing about Christianity, Photography, Books, Television, and Miscellany … and with more regularity than I have been writing here.

You can read those posts directly from your inbox if you subscribe (and I hope some of you do!). You can download the Substack app from your app store and read them there (which is my favorite way). You can interact by leaving comments and sharing if you are so moved.

This indicates a shift away from social media to some degree. I’ve deleted my Snapchat and TikTok profiles (they were fun, but effective wormholes!). I’ve closed my personal Instagram account and also will be deleting LinkedIn. I feel like I have to stay on Facebook for my work with the church and connections with friends – although I’m going to try to limit my time there. I’m not a social media hater … I just want to back away from the constant flood of posts and some of the angry banter and get back to writing more. I’m staying on Twitter … even if Elon buys it! I find it enjoyable for a quick interaction here and there.

If you, at some point, subscribed to this blog, I added you to the subscriber list to receive Hope Remains. You can easily unsubscribe if you wish.

So, how do you get there?

Go to https://johndobbs.substack.com where you can bookmark, subscribe, or decide to walk away. This move indicates a decided effort to be more regular in writing.

So, I’m saying goodbye to ‘johndobbs.com’ and will be writing at the address above. I know. I’m still wondering why I’m opting to go from a blog to a newsletter … it seems like going back in time. But you know what? It feels comfortable and easy. And that appeals to me these days.

Thanks for reading,

-John

Changes

There are some changes coming soon … I’ll fill you in later about the specifics. But I will say that, although I have enjoyed blogging for many years, it has undergone many adjustments. Social media pretty much killed all the little blogs (like this one) and that’s ok. Life is full of changes!

On the horizon is another way for me to share my thoughts and make them available to anyone who may be interested.

“He also knows the power of words.”

Paulo Coelho

I do not expect the masses to hold their breath for the announcement to come! But I do know one thing about me… I never intend to stop writing. I can’t control whether or not anyone reads it!

Subscribers to Out Here Hope Remains should receive an email soon about the changes!

I’ll be back soon with how you can stay in touch with me. Hint: it won’t be here!

Thanks for reading,

John

Strength

Photo by Hans D. Video of this message HERE.

Strength

I’m going to guess that some of the people reading these words are experiencing weariness. Life can be really hard on our hearts – and over a period of time we can become weary with care and stress. When that happens, we’re not at our best – and it makes it hard for us to love and bless others. Luis Palau said, “When you face the perils of weariness, carelessness, and confusion, don’t pray for an easier life. Pray instead to be a stronger man or woman of God.” When I think of Strength, one thing I think about is the power of an eagle.

The Bald Eagle is a majestic bird that is easily recognizable. Though they were once endangered, conservation efforts have helped them make a turnaround. Did you know it’s illegal to pick a Bald Eagle feather up off of the ground without a permit? It’s an old law that hasn’t been changed since the Bald Eagles were endangered. These birds are strong – their grip is up to 10 times stronger than humans. You don’t want to get in a fight with an eagle! Their eyesight is up to 8 times stronger than a humans. The largest eagles have a wingspan of eight feet long. They can live between 20 and 30 years in the wild. A group of eagles is called a convocation.*

It’s no wonder that when Isaiah wanted to write a word of encouragement, he reminded the weary and  weak, those who stumble and fall, that…

… 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

In a time of weariness, can you remember to put your hope in the Lord? Isn’t it encouraging to know that when you have no more strength, God is strong enough to carry you … and more … He can help you run and not grow weary? There’s a renewal of strength that comes when we put all of our hope in Him.

How do we put our hope in the Lord?

-We believe Him when He says he can renew our strength.

-We can ask him, in prayer, for strength like eagles.

-We can remember the greatest demonstration of love – Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for us … and know from his strength came the resurrection! That’s the kind of power He has to help you overcome your weariness.

On wings like eagles!

*https://chipperbirds.com/facts-about-eagles/

Peace

Video of this message can be found HERE.

For many people, peace can feel elusive. We might even ask, ‘Can there every really be peace for me?

On a global scale, it feels like peace is unreachable. There are so many conflicts and so much destruction, it’s hard to imagine those at war with one another embracing peaceful pathways forward. 

On a personal scale, we would like to have peace in our homes, our workplaces, and in our churches. That’s the kind of peace that begins with individuals experiencing peace themselves. So often conflict erupts because of personal pain or inner turmoil that interferes with relationships. So how do we find peace within? 

The Apostle Paul offered up one truth in Philippians 4:7. He was talking about prayer when he wrote

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This is a promise of the peace of God – a perfect peace.

This peace does not demand our intellect or decision -it is beyond our understanding. 

This peace will guard your heart and mind – it relates to our thinking and feeling in difficult days. 

This peace is found in Christ Jesus. 

I read of two painters who were asked to paint a picture illustrating peace. The first painted a serene lake with calm waters at sunset, in the distance a beautiful meadow with cattle gently grazing. The second painter took a different approach. He painted a stormy scene with dark clouds. In the middle of the picture was a waterfall with water rushing over a cliff. But perched in a cleft of the cliffside was a small bird. It was sheltered from the storm and the water rushing by, singing a joyful song. This is the peace that passes understanding. It comes in the storm, in the rush of life. It comes from above.

Can there ever really be peace for me? Yes… let’s seek it from Jesus Christ… the Prince of Peace.

When You Get It All Together

Photo by Roberto Hund

Video of this devotional available HERE.

Have you ever wondered if God really loves you? I mean, there are enough struggles and challenges in life that no one could blame us. Why do things happen the way they do? Not only that, but when I look in the mirror and see my inner flaws – the things I know I should do better, but don’t – the faults, the shortcomings, and ways we even disappoint ourselves. All of it might make us wonder if an all-knowing and holy God could really love someone like me.

Dane Davis wrote, “Sometimes we doubt God’s love for us because of our own insecurities. At other times, we doubt his love because our sin seems too big to forgive. And honestly, at times we just have a hard time wrapping our minds around the notion that the creator of this huge universe would care about us….In many ways, you and I are both unlovable. So how could God love me? How could God love you?”

Maybe we think if we were extra good, or overcame some bad habits, or gave up some vice like abusing alcohol or nicotine or cursing or overeating that God would love us more. I’ve got two good things to share with you:

First, yes, following after Jesus Christ calls us to make some significant changes in our lives. We’ll spend all of our days becoming more and more like Him. None of us will do that perfectly – but we put in the effort. That’s discipleship. But… 

Second good thing is this: You don’t have to get it all together to get God to love you. In fact, you can’t get it all together without Him!

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

That means that YOU are loved, right now, where you are, like you are. To me, that means that God always holds the door open just for YOU … if you want to come in … He welcomes you. Today. If we can help you make some next steps in your life, please get in touch.