Good News | Hopelessness Defeated

29863962483_562ceffb39_zVarying degrees of hopelessness are an accepted part of life in our world. Better stated, hopelessness has marked life since the moment that rebellion against God entered the mortal plane. Hope requires a foundation, and when it is vested in the ever shifting, rapidly changing, only marginally trustworthy structures of the human world, that foundation can crumble in an instant. Claiming hope while secretly wondering when the ground beneath our feet will give way is no hope at all.

True hope is found in the one thing that never changes; true hope is found in the promises and assurances of God. Through the prophet Malachi, God gives hope to the descendants of Jacob saying I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. (Mal 3:6)  God gave similar assurance in the midst of the words of doom that the prophet Isaiah was charged with proclaiming, God gives this hopeful reminder about the proper placement of hope, The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. (Isa 40:8)

The Savior Jesus Christ, Son of Man and second member of the Trinity, never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Heb 13:8) Faith in Christ results in an unchanging hope. This is a hope that may be buffeted by the challenges and trials of life but whose roots driven deep in the rock allow it to bend like a reed and not be broken. This is a hope that may be challenged by the many worldviews that swirl about but are ultimately found wanting. Hope rooted in Jesus is hope that will carry you through the worst storm, shine light in your darkest hour and can be counted on when all else inevitably fails.

The gospel of the life, sacrificial death and the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ fuels the hope of all those who put their faith in this good news of God’s love through His Son. God’s eternal promises from the seconds after the hope-stealing rebellion in the garden come to fruition in the Savior and remain, unchanging, into eternity. The deeper the good news settles in our soul, the greater our hope. The more the good news defines our lives, the greater our hope.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. An I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:16-19)

Be hopeful.

Lent Spent with the Psalms Day Nineteen

imageThe closer we stay to the steps and path of the Shepherd as He helps us to negotiate the dangerous way through this world, the more confidence we have. Strengthened in this way, the inevitable struggles that appear do not perturb us. They are no longer insurmountable challenges that we have to confront on our own. Our Shepherd knows the way and will lead us through. We have peace.

You still the hunger of those you cherish; their sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children.

And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. (Psalm 17:14b-15)

As you enjoy the security and calm, count the cost as well. Look forward to Calvary and the know the darkness that had to be faced on that Friday and Saturday before the joy of the first light on Sunday.

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Lent Spent with the Psalms Day Eighteen

imageMy steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped. (Psalm 17:5)

We contemplated our trust in the Shepherd yesterday, knowing that even when He leads us through dangerous territory we are ultimately secure. Fear dissolves as we follow hard on the steps of the Shepherd, our steps are secure. To wander is to face the world on our own.

The Lent season is a period set aside by the church for focused meditation on the cost of Salvation. Have you taken the time to check your commitment to the undeserved righteousness you’ve received? The Shepherd leads us but paid an enormous cost. He didn’t turn away and nor should we. Our commitment to a life of holiness must be equal to the price lest we cheapen the Cross.

Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin. (v 3)

Stay close to the path.


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Lent Spent with the Psalms Day Seventeen

imageApproaching the Cross at Calvary, the contemplative Christian cannot help but be struck by the juxtaposition of horror and joy portrayed in the event. The abuse and death of the Savior lead to the unspeakable joy of the Lord’s return. Logically, we can’t have one without the other. Our lives are similar in this division. We live with struggles in the midst of great promise. One of the best known of the psalms speaks directly to our condition. Most people, even non-Christians, know the first couple of lines by heart,

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. (Psalm 23:1-3a)

Yes, this is what we want Lord! Peace and well being and communion with you. Why then do the troubles continue to pop up each day? Why are we still challenged? Because, brothers and sisters, we’re called to be His people in the midst of a fallen world. Our lives show the strength of our Shepherd. They show that despite the challenges that surround us, our Shepherd has prepared a safe place for us, he has spread a table before us. We are able to face anything knowing that we are secure in His hand. We have peace, knowing that Easter morning is coming.

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Psalm 59 God Will Go Before Me

image Deliver me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me.

Deliver me from evildoers and save me from bloodthirsty men. (vv 1-2)

These have become familiar refrains from David as he implores God to release him from the constant harassment of his enemies. Time after time we hear him turn to God in need of protection, shelter, and safety, describing his enemies in the harshest terms. In this psalm we share David’s apprehension as his home is watched by Saul’s men who are intent on killing him. To place this in historical context, refer to 1 Samuel 19. Does David succumb to the temptation to rid himself of Saul? No, he righteously refuses to touch God’s anointed, a lesson that the modern lesson can learn as member are tempted to attack and destroy a pastor.

God will go before me and will let me gloat over those who slander me.

But do not kill them, O Lord our shield, or my people will forget.

In you might make them wander about, and bring them down. (v 11)

Rather than see them destroyed, David wishes that they might simple lose their way. Possibly he hopes that they will realize how far astray they have gone in hunting down God’s chosen king. He follows with a plea that their pride might be realized and they might turn back. We can be thankful that our intercessor please for one more minute for us to repent despite our manifold sins, even though they are injurious to Him. Ultimately, the redemption of a horrific sinner such as myself brings more glory to the King than my immediate destruction, though it would be well deserved.

Then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob. (v 13b)

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Second Sunday in Advent with Micah – Longing for Justice


The Prophet Micah spoke a message that is ultimately about hope. Though difficult times must come upon God’s people, in the end, the just nature of God will overcome all and His people and His world will be restored to their proper relationship. The advent season can be a joyous, hopeful season but for some people, it can also serve to magnify their distress and hopelessness. There are numerous reasons that people feel this way but one cause that the Bible teaches us to address with His blessing is injustice. We can be the hope bringers in situations of injustice. God’s grace can be transported to these situations and they can be transformed…if we are willing. One of my favorite passages regarding worship describes in the voice of God himself the direct relationship between justice, mercy, and adoration.

He has showed you, O Man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (vv 6:8)

In this season of longing and anticipation, we can turn to one of Micah’s passages of hope as a prayer of our own. We can trust that God will restore justice in His time. Until that day, we can carry His message on our own.

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?

You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (vv 7:18-19)

First Sunday in Advent with Micah


The season of anticipation is upon us beginning today. The liturgical year begins anew with the first week in Advent. The break with the old year and everything that may have accumulated during the period is marked with a return to looking forward with a positive sense. Christians look from within the kingdom to the new heavens and new earth to be ushered in by the Lord. For now, we prayerfully look to the record of His coming and to those who pointed the way.

Isaiah often takes center stage in the readings but this year I’d like to turn to his contemporary, Micah. The prophet compresses the cycles of travail and hope and points the way to the coming King.

In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains;

it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.

2 Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob.

He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”

The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Mic 4:1-2)

Living in the kingdom after the Messiah has come gives our anticipation a similar focal point. The Spirit guides our prayers in the now but not yet kingdom of God which we inhabit and serve. We too look forward to a peace that can only be realized as the worship of God floods the world and replaces our brokenness with wholeness.