Tag Archives: hope

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

person touching sand with right index finger

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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.

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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

bible candle christianity scripture

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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.


Social Justice with God’s Justice

Here is a dangerous post for this day and age.

Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. -Proverbs 31:6-7, KJV

It certainly sounds as though Scripture is calling for helping the poor and needy to get drunk. So, when you see the panhandler and the homeless begging for money, just get them that drink you know they are just gonna buy, anyway!

Or …

We can remember that this passage is speaking of the wise ruler avoiding such things, to “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.” (Titus 2:6)

As co-heirs with Christ, we are to remain sober and help others to come to sober-mindedness in all things, but we must not be judgmental of those who feel the need to drown their sorrows.

Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. . . . She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. -Proverbs 31:8-‬9‭, ‬20 KJV

Michael also spoke to this this week. It should be the job of the Christian man and woman to help those in need and “be a voice for the voiceless.” (And remember that the original meaning of dumb was “mute” or “voiceless”, not stupid.)

I am not one for going after “social justice” as it is called today. This modern movement has a tendency to forget the most important aspect in its desire to be all-inclusive, and a reason I like the King James translation of this passage: the Gospel.

The “social justice movement” has a tendency to meet physical needs yet ignore the underlying problems or blow those problems out of proportion. To “open thy mouth for the dumb . . . as are appointed for destruction” reminds us that we need to tell a fallen and messed up world that they are headed for Hell without faith in Christ.

Should we stand up for the poor? Absolutely.

The drunk and drug addicted? Without question.

The “minority” of non-whites (as well as mistreated whites) around the world? Undeniably.

Even the homosexual, transgender, and queer? Yes, yes, and yes.

But we do so while remembering that they are all poor in righteousness, hopelessly sinful in their natural state, and in need of a Savior.

We are to be peacemakers and show this world love and charity.

And we are to share the Gospel.

To do otherwise (on both counts) is to play God and condemn their souls to destruction. To have social justice without revealing God’s justice is unloving and cruel.


Those Walking in Darkness and Death

For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. –Ecclesiastes 9:5, ESV

Today is Reformation Day, the anniversary of Martin Luther igniting the Reformation movement away from the Roman Catholic Church.

This means it is also Halloween.

And you know what? Halloween can be fun.

Yes. There is a lot of paganism in the history of this day.

Yes. This is a high holiday for many Wiccans and other pagans, attempting to connect with spirits and even demons.

Most people today do NOT participate in that.

While over the next few days many cultures either worry about or celebrate deceased loved ones visiting this world, Ecclesiastes 9:5 reminds us that the dead have no real concern for this world.

Either they are headed for destruction and railing at God, or they are with Christ and worshiping Him.

We try to show we are not afraid of death by dressing up as (un)dead things and people, and we sometimes claim we are remembering the dead. At best we are remembering a shadow, only the best or the worst of someone. In truth, the memory is just that: a shadow.

And most people – if they are honest – are afraid of death. Some want to be reunited with lost loved ones, but they rarely know what they are wishing for.

This is starting to get long, so let us remember:

  • the fear of death is misplaced,
  • the memories of the dead are never perfect,
  • and the afterlife will be nothing like any of fully expect (if it all correct).

Instead, it is:

  • the fear of the Lord that gives us hope for the afterlife;
  • and the dead may not remember much of this life, but the Lord forgets our sins if we are found in Christ and brought into everlasting life.

And instead of getting caught up in the where and why of the history of Halloween, may we focus on sharing the truth of Life with those in this world who are still walking in darkness and death.


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.