Tag Archives: hope

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.

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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?


Roots of Power

A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved. -Proverbs 12:3, KJV

I can already hear what some people are saying:

If a man can’t be established by wickedness, then why do so many tyrants, despots, and fearmongerers take power?

The short answer is that they have effectively sold their souls to the Devil.

And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
Luke 4:5‭-‬7

Here is the kicker, though: we know that their foundation is weak. Christ is the firm foundation on which stand.

These leaders are like trees growing in dry, drought-wrought land. They seem strong and powerful, but when storm clouds come, they will be easily uprooted.

As Christians, however, we are grafted into the strong Root of Jesse.

And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”
Romans 15:12

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Matthew 24:30

When Jesus returns (or these leaders die), then it will be known how faulty their foundations were, that God is the only true foundation to have. Their roots will be torn up, but our powerful God is our own root.

Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Luke 4:8


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.


Refreshing News

Proverbs 25:25

25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

Tough Times

Nobody really likes war.

They are dangerous, costly in economically and physically, and it shows the violence and hatred within humanity.

As I write this, Syria has been in a major internal conflict, and chemical weapons may have played a role. Several countries have considered getting involved.

Fortunately, we heard recently that Russia is working with Syrian leaders to remove chemical weapons and perhaps ease tensions between the two sides.

While it is still playing out as of this moment, it is a relief to know we may not have to send our young men and women into danger and the Syrians may get a break from the bloodshed.

Refreshing Drink

If you have ever hiked a considerable distance in the heat, you appreciate a cold glass of water. As the verse today states, getting good news is like that, such as feeling the tension of a possible armed conflict and hearing it may have been averted. When your mind and body can relax after that much tension and adrenaline, it is so refreshing to drink in that kind of news.

May you do not need to imagine this, but imagine with me that you have lived a life full of troubles. You have had a string of bad relationship after bad relationship. You lost a loved one. Your finances never seem to meet all of your obligations and needs. You have been mistreated by loved ones. You struggle with trusting anybody.

You just want some rest and peace. You would love some water for your tired soul.

Jesus offers some good news. As He said to the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4 (NIV):

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Drinking of the Holy Spirit, God coming into us by believing Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for our sins, is only true refreshing we can get from the pain this world gives us.

As we trust Him, he fills our souls with Himself and releases and redeems our hurts and fears, giving us full rest. As He said elsewhere, 28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Lord Jesus, grant us Your peace and refresh our souls by Your Holy Spirit. Help us to trust You and to overcome our circumstances.