Category Archives: hope

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.

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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.