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?”

At his coming

“And now, little children, abide in him, that when he appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1 John 2:28, NKJV).

I have recently returned to South Asia where I will be for the next few months. When I arrived I was greeted with many smiles and sincere welcomes by those whom I have known for a considerable time. It was good to be back, and they seemed very happy to have me here. Continue reading “At his coming”

If anyone does not love the Lord

If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him. Our Lord, come! 1 Corinthians 16.22 CSB.

In the last chapter of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul mentions love three times. The sentence above is the second of the three. The curse on the one who does not love the Lord leaves us perplexed. Why end a letter this way?

First, the sentence is a part of the letter’s end written by Paul’s own hand, v. 21. Somebody (Sosthenes?) served him by writing the letter and at the end he signs it, as was his custom. So here, the force of the sentence is even greater. Continue reading “If anyone does not love the Lord”

Every eye

Daylilies are a relatively new addition to my garden. At first, I avoided them because of the short life of the flowers. They are aptly named “daylilies,” or hemerocallis, meaning “beautiful for a day.”

The truth of the matter is that the plants bear multiple flowers, which open up throughout the span of a few weeks. There are many types of daylily, which can bloom as early as May and as late as August. Some varieties are “rebloomers,” and can have multiple flushes of blooms stretching all the way through fall. Continue reading “Every eye”

Preparing for the Great Appointment

“Prepare to meet your God, O Israel” (Amos 4:12).

When John the Baptist arrived on the scene, he cried out, “Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight'” (Matthew 3:3).

An important meeting always involves some preparation. A student might review the notes before he enters class, a speaker might practice his message; a young man thinking to propose to his girlfriend might prepare his pitch. How much more might we prepare the way for the Lord? Continue reading “Preparing for the Great Appointment”