5 Reasons for Hope, 3 Steps to Hope

nathan-dumlao-487458“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

But I’m not even 20!

I chose you to tell My people that they have sinned, and I’m bringing judgment.

They won’t listen to me or respect me!

I chose you.

“They will fight against you, But they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,” says the LORD, “to deliver you.” Jeremiah 1:19

Tell My people that they will be overcome and go into captivity for 70 years because they have forsaken me and not repented of their wicked ways.

Alas! Lamentations! Jerusalem is lonely. It used to be full of people. Now, the few people it has scavenge for food.

But there is hope!

Continue reading 5 Reasons for Hope, 3 Steps to Hope

Imagine mercy in Paris, in the world

Eiffel Tower - 1

Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7

This weekend, there was an attack upon humanity. This weekend, evil visited Paris, France. This weekend, the world grieves. This weekend, the world needs mercy.

This weekend, Davide Martello loaded his piano on a trailer and drove from Germany to Paris, a 400-mile trek to unload his piano outside the Bataclan theatre and play Imagine by John Lennon. He wanted to give comfort and hope. He wanted to show mercy to grief-stricken people. Below are the words to Imagine.

“Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

“Imagine … no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace …

“Imagine all the people sharing all the world …

“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”

I applaud Martello for his compassion, his mercy.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Matthew 5:7

“An eye for distress, a heart of pity, an effort to help, in spite of enmity—that’s mercy.” John Piper

Martello is known for loading his piano ono a trailer and taking it to troubled areas. Mercy.

Jesus showed His mercy through healing all who came to Him, teaching and feeding the masses, and challenging the traditions of the religious leaders.

“When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.”  Mark 6:34

After His teachings, Jesus fed the crowd. Sheep without a shepherd. Isn’t this the condition of most of our world?

It’s been said that the Isis terrorists want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to change the world, even at the risk of death.

There are many Christians who are this passionate, many who are in prisons, who are being beaten and killed for their faith. They are making a difference in the world, even at the risk of death.Through their persecutions, their persecutors are recognizing something different about them. Some come to know Jesus. Some become Christians.

Jesus died to pay the price for man’s sin. He was beaten beyond recognition and suffered a horrible death upon the cross … because He is merciful … because He loves you.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

There is hope. God raised Jesus from the dead, and He is our merciful and faithful high priest. He advocates for His followers.

“Therefore He [Jesus] had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:17-18

I wish Martello had played Amazing Grace.

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

“T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

“Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.”

My prayer

Father in heaven, the world is reeling at the evil that just happened. Use this to bring hope to the world, to show the world that Jesus is the world’s Great Shepherd, that He is the only way to peace, the only way to a world imagined with people sharing, people as one, people redeemed. Thank You that Jesus has paid the price for our sins, and He is our advocate in heaven. Thank You for the salvation that You have provided. Thank You for Your mercy.

 

Jesus died for you; will you live for Him?

Baby Jesus

And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. Luke 2:21-22

Heaven’s perfect Child,

Messiah.

Presented to the Lord.

And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19

King of the Jews,

Savior.

Offered on the cross.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Romans 12:1

Broken, pain-filled,

Sinner.

Presented in hope.

you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

Transformed, renewed, healed

Living stone.

Offered through mercy.

Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without the living, incarnate Jesus Christ. Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

 My prayer for you

Jesus, our Savior, thank You for presenting Yourself to the Father as an obedient Son. Thank You for offering Yourself as the perfect sacrifice to pay the price for all the sins of the world, so that all who receive You can enjoy eternity with You. Teach us to present ourselves as continual living sacrifices to You. Teach us what is a pleasing offering to You and empower us to live for You as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You.

7 steps towards Job’s restoration

twisted branchesWhy did I not die at birth, Come forth from the womb and expire? Job 3:1

From wealth to poverty,
From family to dead children,
From health to near death,
From honor to judgment,
From joy to agony,
From expectation to hopelessness,
From God’s pride to Satan’s plunder,
Job blessed the name of the Lord.

In agony, Job grieved loss.
In pain, he scraped boils.
In patience, he endured friend’s chastening.
In love, he rebuked his wife.

In hopelessness, Job cried “Why?”

“Even today my complaint is rebellion;
His hand is heavy despite my groaning.
“Oh that I knew where I might find Him,
That I might come to His seat!
“I would present my case before Him
And fill my mouth with arguments.
“I would learn the words which He would answer,
And perceive what He would say to me. Job 23:2-5

In power and love, God spoke.

 “Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,” Job 38:3-4

“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
So that an abundance of water will cover you?
“Can you send forth lightnings that they may go
And say to you, ‘Here we are’?
“Who has put wisdom in the innermost being
Or given understanding to the mind?
“Who can count the clouds by wisdom,
Or tip the water jars of the heavens,
When the dust hardens into a mass
And the clods stick together? Job 38:33-38

In awe, Job repented.

Then Job answered the Lord and said,
“I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? ’
Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me. ’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.” Job:42:1-6

In mercy, God instructed.

It came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job. The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. Job 42:7-10

7 steps towards restoration

  1. Loss. Wealth, children, and health were considered to be God’s blessings to the righteous. Job lost all of these, and he lost honor as a righteous follower of God. He thought that God had taken His blessings from Job. Yet, he said, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
  2. Helplessness. Although Job’s friends told him how he could work his way out of his tribulation, Job knew within himself that he was helpless to change his situation. He knew that the only answer was God.
  3. Why me? Job thought that God took everything away from him, and he questioned why it happened to him. He wanted God to answer to him. Job wanted God to justify why this happened to Job.
  4. Longing for God. Although Job’s friends sat beside him, he felt isolated. He longed for God to speak to him. From the pit of despair, Job turned his eyes up to God, longing for His Word.
  5. Focus on God’s magnificence. Job listened to God, focused on His creation, His power, his magnificence. When Job’s focus turned from his problems to the works of God, he lost sight of his small problems.
  6. Repentance and service. Job confessed that he had not understood God, and that he had misrepresented God. God instructed Job’s friends to offer a sacrifice and ask Job to pray for them, and Job prayed for them.
  7. Restoration. After Job prayed for his friends, God accepted Job. “Accepted” literally means that God “lifted up the face of” Job. Close your eyes and imagine God touching your chin with His finger and lifting your face toward His face. God also restored Job’s wealth, his family, and his health, not back to the way it was before, but twofold.

pine treeMy prayer for you:

Almighty God, You, alone, are worthy. You, alone, are Creator. You, alone, are in control of our lives. We long for Your Word, Your Presence, Your Son. Restore Your followers. We come before You in repentance and humility. We wait upon You, O Lord.