Hope for a better future

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on the Sunday before his execution he rode in as a conquering king. Approaching from the Mount of Olives he would have seen the temple and the city spread out before him. Even today that is an awe-inspiring view.

Jesus was riding on the colt of a donkey when he entered Jerusalem. Although that might seem almost demeaning to us today when we compare a donkey to a magnificent horse, there was symbolism in riding a donkey. A donkey was what a king would ride (see 2 Samuel 16) while a horse was what a warrior would ride. This symbolism wasn’t lost on those who accompanied Jesus. Continue reading “Hope for a better future”

Hope outside

Years ago Crabb and Allender identified four questions hurting people ask: What’s wrong? Who can help? What will the helper do? What can I hope for?

I also appreciate their observation that not all therapies are created equal. Those offering help as well as the tools they use are built upon assumptions and beliefs. Counseling therapy, even a socratic approach, is not neutral.

Here’s a question of my own. When people seek help, from where do they think hope arises? Continue reading “Hope outside”

A source of hope

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:1-2 ESV).

Our Bibles are “bookended” with references to the Tree of Life. Near the beginning, Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden “lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22). Then at the end of the final book Heaven is depicted as the environment where the tree of life continually bears fruit. Earlier in that same book Jesus promised, “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). Continue reading “A source of hope”

Rejoicing in hope

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God … Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:1-2, 5, NKJV).

Some years ago I was part of a group of Americans in another country who were stranded because of an uprising which caused our airline to suspend operations. For several days we stayed in a hotel trying to arrange travel on other carriers. Needless to say, we were anxious about the situation and frustrated at the delay in our return home. Continue reading “Rejoicing in hope”

Not of stellar engines, nor of Dyson spheres

As I write this, my father is on a ventilator in an ICU, fighting for his 73-year old life. As you might suspect, he has COVID-19. I received the call from my mother that they had made the decision to intervene while we were live streaming our worship from my phone. My mother, one year younger, also has COVID-19. Thus far her symptoms are mild. My sister is an RN who has specialized in COVID treatment over the last year. One of the frontline workers who has traveled to the country’s worst regions, she is now taking on the role of private in-home nurse, PPE and all.*

I am concerned about my dad. I am concerned about my mom. My dad was pretty much only concerned about my mom as they spoke on the phone before he was sedated. This whole situation creates a flood of interesting, if not difficult, emotions and thoughts to assess. Continue reading “Not of stellar engines, nor of Dyson spheres”

Toss that dirty diaper

In my father’s house…” (John 14:2).

Radio personality and financial advice-giver Dave Ramsey has a saying about debt that goes something like this: “Some people feel the same about debt as a baby does about a dirty diaper: sure, it stinks – but its warm, and its mine.”

That is not a pleasant picture. But it is accurate. A baby doesn’t know there is a better way to live; that is all she knows. Continue reading “Toss that dirty diaper”

Born to hope

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3 NASB).

From a human, earthly perspective, when one stands outside the window of a hospital nursery admiring the newly born babies within, the highest hope for any one of those new lives which is experienced is that he or she will have a long and happy life. All in that position are fully aware that every brand new baby comes with the reality of ultimate death. All hope and expectation are tempered with that knowledge. No matter how many years may be granted, nor what wealth, honor, fame or other accomplishments may be gained, physical life is limited in duration and will always end in death. Continue reading “Born to hope”

Who was he?

Many in the world contemplate the birth of Jesus at this time of year. People relate to babies and are sympathetic to the plight of families in distress. Both of these can be found in the events leading up to Jesus’ birth.

Sadly this is where many people leave Jesus – as a baby in a rustic crib with animals around and receiving gifts (which isn’t really what Matthew and Luke recorded). You see, babies don’t make demands on how a person lives (except to feed and change them). Most are content with Jesus as a baby. Continue reading “Who was he?”

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”