In limbo

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. . . . For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now, and not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:19, 22-23, NKJV).

During the Red-Shirt Rebellion in Thailand several years ago I was in Nepal, with return tickets to home on Thai Airlines with a layover in Bangkok. The Red-Shirts captured the airport through which I would be flying and stopped all travel for about two weeks. I inquired about changing my travel arrangements but the airline refused to deal with me until time for the flight to occur. For all of that time I was in a state of suspension, not knowing what would happen or when and how I might be able to return to the U.S. Thankfully, the rebellion was ended and the airport reopened just before time for me to travel. We completed our journey without difficulty. Continue reading “In limbo”

Wishful thinking?

“For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with persistence” (Romans 8:24-25 NKJV).

The apostle Paul listed as three abiding virtues, “faith, hope, love, these three” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Modern skeptics often dismiss one of these, hope, as nothing more than wishful thinking and at best a delusion. One hears the promise of eternal life derogatorily called “pie in the sky by and by.” The emphasis of the world is upon immediate gratification – obtaining what one needs or wants right now without delay.

What exactly is hope, and how is it different from faith? Both place trust in the unseen and expect future fulfillment of promises. Continue reading “Wishful thinking?”

James on social discrimination

Practical, precise and penetrating epitomize James’ letter to the early church. Among other things, this brief letter exposes how evil might even lurk in the hearts of God’s people. Yet James extended hope.

We have no difficulty envisioning the sad scenario he painted. That he needed to address it at all with those whom God had transformed into being a kind of first fruits of his creation (James 1:18) ought to alert us to be on guard. Continue reading “James on social discrimination”

When the levee breaks

It began to rain and it seemed that it would never stop. The tributaries rose steadily and without abatement for months. Slowly, the disaster began to take shape. Finally, in the spring of 1927, the levees along the great Mississippi River began to fail. Tens of thousands of square miles were inundated. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes and their jobs. The waters did not fully recede for months.

Many songs were written in the aftermath of the flood, including “When the Levee Breaks” by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie. It detailed the sorrow of the inevitable. Where do you go when your protection fails and the flood waters surge? Continue reading “When the levee breaks”

Never changing, forever changed

“Two things you need to carry with you all your life: God is, and God loves you. No matter where you are or what you are doing, these two things will always remain true.” This was advice I gave my oldest two weeks ago in some precious one-on-one time. He repeated it back to me today without prompt, and told me he was trying to work to remember it.

I share this to remind us all that there are things that will never change. Over the history of the universe the one constant is God.

The great psalm of the law-giver speaks of God’s never changing nature: Continue reading “Never changing, forever changed”

Let your light shine

Life is different here today than it was one week ago. I suspect that it is for you as well. Tomorrow, life will be different than today. Trying to imagine what life will be like in a month seems a fool’s errand.

When life moves so swiftly it is easy to become insecure. As the unknown advances, darkness fills people’s hearts. Jesus told his disciples to let their light shine before men. What does that mean during a time like this? How can we shine the light of Jesus into this world of dread? Continue reading “Let your light shine”

Completely overwhelmed

It’s not that there is a lack of bunnies in the yard; there are way too many! Those little monsters seem to know which plants are the most costly, and happily munch them to the ground. They’ll even chow down on stuff that’s supposed to be poisonous. Baby rabbits are the proverbial “dumb bunnies” and will eat any plant. They especially delight in munching just a tiny bit of stem, so that the plant is destroyed without being consumed. I’ve seen my Gerbera daisies mowed down by young rabbits. 

Even with the surplus of those pernicious little rodent-like creatures in the yard, I still love my little life-size decorative resin bunny. He’s very polite, and has never wreaked destruction on the garden like those cute but naughty live rabbits.  Continue reading “Completely overwhelmed”

Homesick for Heaven

What do these beautiful songs have in common?

“An Empty Mansion” (1937), “Beyond the Sunset” (1936), “Heaven Holds All to Me” (1932), “Never Grow Old” (1930), “I’ll Live in Glory” (1936), “In Heaven They’re Singing” (1937), “No Tears in Heaven” (1935). “Paradise Valley” (1935), “This World Is Not My Home” (1937), “Won’t It Be Wonderful There?” (1930).

First, it is easy to see, they are songs about heaven. They express the deepest longing, anticipation, and hope of the Christian heart. Second – did you see it? – these songs were all written at about the same time period, about 1929-1939. Are you following this still? Continue reading “Homesick for Heaven”