Category Archives: hope

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 4th Week of Advent – Day 2 – Christmas Eve

It is Christmas Eve! Our Lord is coming!

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
-Revelation 22:16-17, KJV

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In the beginning, God created everything, including us. We sinned and messed it all up.

God sent His messengers throughout history to warn us and guide back to Him, including the shadows of His own Son in people like Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, and King David.

Then Jesus came to redeem us through the line of David, by dying on the cross.

May we never grow weary of hearing it: He died to save us from our sins!

Those of us who believe it are members of His Bride – the Church – and He offers His Bride the living water that is the Holy Spirit.

We shall find an end to all suffering, pain, thirst, and hunger upon His return.

Therefore, we echo the words of Him and the Apostle John from Revelation 22:20:

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

 


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 3rd Week of Advent – Day 6

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
-Hebrews 2:14-15, KJV

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Through Mary came the first Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ – who, although He had the form of God, considered equality with God something to be grasped and therefore emptied Himself to take on the form of a servant (Philippians 2:6-7), took on flesh and blood to become one of us to take on our penalty for sin.

I will repeat it again, as I have in the past: the entire reason Jesus came was to die to remove our sin!

So, now we have a great joy, for we know that in His first coming Jesus overcame death and defeated the one who held the power to hold us in fear of death.

We have joy, because our enemies – death and the Devil – are defeated. The battles rage on, for now, but the war was won 2000 years ago, when Jesus smashed through Satan’s hold on us and made us children of God.

Lord of all, fill us with Your joy this season and all seasons as we remember what You have done for us.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 6

And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people. -Luke 3:15-18, KJV

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Just as John and Paul had people wonder if they were the Christ or a son of a god, we should be setting the example “in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12) and in good works “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

They may begin thinking we are divine, but just like John and Paul, we should be quick to point them back to Jesus. We do good works because “the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Corinthians 5:14), the One who came to earth and out of His love sacrificed Himself for us, and we are merely unworthy servants of Christ.

But this must also come with the warning that you must believe in Him, or you will be removed in the age to come.

There is no good news without first revealing the bad news of our sinful condition. But when we come to see our need for the coming Savior, it will lead to joy and praise of His return as we see the peace brought through His life, death, and resurrection!

Our world today is longing for peace, someone who can save them from the perils we face. They have an expectation that either things will get better or get worse.

May we be ready to respond to expectation and humble enough to point to the One who is coming.

Cleansing Creator and Savior, thank You for saving us. Please give us a heart for the lost, to preach righteousness and salvation, the peace of Christ; and give us a boldness to share the gospel.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 7

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. -Isaiah 1:18, KJV

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As we finish out the first week of Advent, we look back at Isaiah. He was able to hear directly from God that He was coming to wash away all of our sins.

The irony of this is that God calls our sins scarlet – dark red – and will be washed white as snow and wool, and this by the washing through His own blood. His red blood washes us whiter than snow.

And He says, “Come and talk to with me about it. I will show you your sin and need for a Savior, and then I will show you how you can be cleaned and saved.” (A slight paraphrase of the verse above.)

The Prophets looked forward to the coming Messiah, and we can point the world today to that Messiah who is come and will come again.

Lord, thank You for washing us clean. Give us Your words and wisdom to share this good news with the world.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent

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Welcome to the first week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the first week of Advent reminds us of the importance of prophecy and that we are desperately in need of a Savior. The Hebrew Bible – the Old Testament – reveals much through the Prophets and Wisdom literature and poetry.

If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;
If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.
For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:
Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:
And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday: thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.
And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.
Job 11:13-18

We first need to see our need for cleansing from sin. Then we need to remember that, through Christ, we have already been cleansed of our sin.

This knowledge gives us hope.

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

Therefore, we no longer wait, as Israel did, for an unknown Savior. Rather, we wait for the return of our Lord, when all misery, pain, and tears will cease. He shall reign as God and Lord over a remade and perfect Creation.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

Heavenly Father, we have sinned against you, but You sent Your Son to save us from our sin. Thank You for revealing Jesus’ first coming through Your Prophets of old and His immanent return through the Apostles. Give us a grateful heart and a sense of urgency to spread this Good News with the world with humility and grace.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the Season of Advent

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As we here at Proverbial Thought (& More) consider our next step, how about a short series for the season of Advent.

Whether you celebrate holidays or think most of them come out of the hearts of man, let us agree that it is okay to turn to the Bible, even if we follow a liturgical calendar, which is where the season of Advent originated. Remember, traditions are okay as long as they do not contradict Scripture.

As Paul explained (my own paraphrase):

Someone celebrates one day as better than another, while someone else considers every day the same.  Decide for yourself and understand why.  The one who celebrates the day, dedicates it to the Lord.  The one who feasts, feasts in honor of the Lord, because he gives thanks to God, and the one who abstains from celebrating and feasting still dedicates each day to the Lord while giving thanks to God.

Why do you say the other is under God’s judgment?  Or why do you question their salvation? We will all stand before God’s judgment seat. (Romans 14:5-6, 10)

Therefore, don’t let others judge you about food and drink, or what festival or holiday or a Sabbath you observe. (Colossians 2:16)

The word “Advent” is Latin for “Coming”, so it a time to remind ourselves of Christ’s first coming to redeem lost sinners and that He will be coming again to be with His people forever.

Therefore, for the next few weeks, as we head toward the celebration of Jesus’ birth, join us as we set our minds on Israel’s Messiah, the Savior of the world.

Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?
-Proverbs 30:4, KJV


People CAN Change

For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged. -Proverbs 28:2, KJV

When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue. -Proverbs 28:2, ESV

Our world is divided. In most Western countries, there are elected leaders, but they are not always who is listened to. Just look at the state of affairs today, when a president, prime minister, or some cabinet/Congress member says or does something and it’s as if a major scandal has erupted.

As a people, we choose which leader we want to follow, even if they are not in charge of much. We refuse to forgive “the other side” for real or perceived wrongs and deny that people can ever change.

May we remember that in Christ we can change by the working of His grace in our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit.

And one day He shall return and the Man of Understanding and Knowledge who leads His people for eternity.

Do not forget that.


The True Hope for the Future

For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.
Proverbs 23:18, KJV

Surely there is a future [and a reward], And your hope and expectation will not be cut off.
Proverbs 23:18 AMP

One of the most misappropriated verses in the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11,

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

The reason thos verse is so misapplied to lives is that many people tend to think God will never let them suffer but only prosper.

The full context of this verse is that God is sending Israel into exile as punishment for breaking His covenant! He orchestrated suffering!

But it was for a future glory!

Using the two different translations today was for showing how rich today’s verse is.

We need the reminder that there is a tomorrow. Today’s struggles are temporary, because the future is coming.

That future may have problems. In fact, God also told us that a great time of suffering will happen before the Lord’s return.

But the temporal future has an end, when Jesus returns!

Just as Jeremiah reminded us, there will be suffering, but God has a plan! Yes, things will get bad, but remember that He holds the future. This gives us hope!

Trust in Jesus, and the future holds our reward of eternal friendship and peace.


Crushed or Broken?

The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear? -Proverbs 18:14 KJV

A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? -Proverbs 18:14 ESV

This will get … heavy.

We hear stories all the time about the two kinds of people who deal with deadly illness, such as cancer:

  1. Those who barely survive or even give up and die, or
  2. Those who not only fight but seem to thrive!

How do we describe these people?

By their spirit!

A fighting spirit. A spirit of life. A strong spirit.

Or a frail spirit. A tired spirit. Even a crushed spirit. Those who have given up on hope.

As Christians, we are encouraged to encourage those who have lost hope. We are expected to be more strong-spirited, if for no other reason than to encourage others.

I think of my mom, who passed away from cancer in August 2014. It was sudden and a shock, but she was strong. We saw more people turn to God as she abruptly faded away because of her unwavering faith in God.

I think of Jesus’ words:

But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
Luke 20:17‭-‬18, ESV

My mother’s body was broken. But my mom fell on Christ and certainly was not crushed. I know my father nearly felt so, but he was emotionally broken.

The great thing about being broken for God is that He can use you for great things.

But being crushed . . .

. . . all that is left is to be ground into powder (Luke 20:18, KJV).

Do you have hope, or have you abandoned all hope?

Do you fall on Christ, or or are you waiting for His crushing return?


My Expectation Will Hold

When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth. – Proverbs 11:7 KJV

This is a fascinating verse to contemplate, so please take a moment to think about these words with me.

Other Translations

If you don’t already know, I love the King James Version of the Bible, but I am not a King James Only-ist by any stretch of the imagination. However, there are times when I wish modern translators could have left well enough alone.

For example, below are four different versions of Proverbs 11:7, each from a very popular translation.

NLT – When the wicked die, their hopes die with them, for they rely on their own feeble strength.

NIV – Hopes placed in mortals die with them; all the promise of their power comes to nothing.

ESV – When the wicked dies, his hope will perish, and the expectation of wealth perishes too.

CSB – When the wicked person dies, his expectation comes to nothing, and hope placed in wealth vanishes.

If you will indulge me for a moment, let’s look at the differences.

The NLT (New Living Translation) changes the word translated “expectation” in the KJV to the plural word “hopes.” Then, somehow “feeble strength” gets thrown in.

The NIV (New Internation Version) translators somehow determined that the “expectation,” or “hope,” is actually in the (wicked) mortal who dies.

The ESV (English Standard Version) seems to imply that the “hope” is not necessarily in the wicked, but they continue in the same idea that when the wicked die there is lost investment.

The CSB (Christian Standard Bible) stays closer to the KJV in the first part of the verse in that it does not overtly imply that the “expectation” is in the wicked, but a possession of the wicked. But in the second part of the verse, it sides more with the ESV and assumes that “hope” is money or “wealth.”

Like I said before, I’m not a KJV-only-ist. I have found each of the above versions useful in my study of the Bible. However, one word, in particular, makes me wish they’d kept things unchanged, or at least interpreted differently.

Expectation

The Hebrew word that is translated as “expectation” is a word that literally means “rope.” Consider the following definition from Strongs Concordance:

תִּקְוָה tiqvâh, tik-vaw’; from H6960; (compare H6961) literally a cord (as an attachment); figuratively, expectancy:—expectation(-ted), hope, live, thing that I long for.

The first two times this word is used in the Old Testament is in Joshua 2:18 and 21. This is the story where Rahab the harlot is given the assurance that she and her household will not be harmed, just as long as she hangs a scarlet cord from the window of her home on the wall of Jericho.

The same word translated “cord” in Joshua 2:18 and 21 is translated “expectation” in Proverbs 11:7. Now, this does not necessarily mean that the “expectation” of the wicked is a rope, but it does give me the idea that what the wicked man has is something that he’s depending on to save him.

Granted, I could be wrong in my interpretation of this verse, but it would seem to me that it’s not too much to believe that the wicked man’s “expectation” is the hope and trust he has in something that will hold on to him, guide him, or keep him after death. It could mean that when a wicked man dies all the hopes others have in him will die with him, but considering the context of the surrounding verses (11:6 and 11:8), I think my interpretation holds more water.

My Expectation

Thankfully, my “expectation” is more akin to the scarlet thread that Rahab hung from her window than anything I can come up with on my own. What I’m counting on to pull me through death into eternal life is the “scarlet thread” woven throughout all of Scripture, the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…”

When I die, my expectation will hold.