Friday, April 24, 2020

Messages of Hope

I have started a list for verses of hope, a place to turn to in times of need.

This is surely a time when we need hope. I want to share some of my favorites with you.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

Psalm 116:1-2
I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

Joshua 1:9
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Isaiah 41:13
 “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’”

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Hebrews 4: 16
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Psalm 103: 13 
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

Our challenge as Christians is to take our fears and troubles to God, let his promises seep into us, then share our hope with those around us.

Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

Proverbs 12:25
Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.

Hebrews 10:35-36
So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

Jeremiah 33:3
 “Call on me, and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Psalms 68:19
Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.

Father, help me grasp the hope you offer, and help me make it believable to others.

Psalm 119:49 
Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Sweet Memories, Something to Make Us Smile

April 12, 1997: Last night Sarah told Kathy, "I love you with all my heart .... Do I have a heart?" Kathy assured her that she did. Sarah said, "But I'm pretty little. Is it a tiny heart?"

April 13, 1997: At lunch, Murray was talking about hassling someone. Caleb said, "Who can I hassle? Can I hassle a sailboat?"

April 16, 1997: Last night Ping-Hwei asked why Rhoda had four feet. I said that's just what cats have, and he said, "I want four."

April 17, 1997: At the grocery store, Murray sat Sarah up on the end of the cart to tie her shoe. She said, "I'm scared up here. It's not polite to put your daughter up like this."

April 18, 1997: At lunch Sarah asked if we could sing "Billy Boy", all we want to in Heaven. Then a little later, she said, "Is it okay for us to tickle anybody?" I said it was okay to tickle family, unless they said to stop. She asked, "Is it okay for us to tickle Jesus?" She added that she thought it would be okay with Him.

We were driving on the curvy roads to the Brinkmanns’ (Kathy’s parents) farm. The kids were enjoying the ride, and Rebecca said, "They made the roads like this so children could have fun."

April 21, 1997: This morning Sarah asked me, "Does Daddy ever be bad?" I said that everybody is bad sometimes, even Christians. She asked, sounding surprised, "even preachers?"

Driving in the car, Murray opened a soda for lunch. Sarah asked for a drink, and Murray, handing the soda behind him to her, said, "Only one drink." As Sarah took the soda from him, she said, "I'm going to drink it all."

April 25, 1997: This morning Caleb asked, "What if this house wasn't tight on the ground?"

April 27, 1997: There was a singing group at church this morning, and they were sort of dancing as they sang. Rebecca told Murray, "They're doing fun things with their feet."

Yesterday Rebecca was using the rhyme, "One two, skip a few, ninety-nine a hundred" and saying she could say it as, "One two, skip a few, ninety-nine, a thousand." Caleb said, "No, skip a lot."

Tonight I said something about a typewriter, and Rebecca asked, "What's a typewriter?"

May 3, 1997: Today Rebecca said, "I'd like to see Jesus working in a circus." "Why?" "I'd like to see Him jump high over an elephant."

P.S.: My book, ALL MY TEARS, is on sale as an EBook for $2.99 until April 30.

Friday, April 10, 2020

A Different Kind of King

Last Sunday we talked about Palm Sunday, the day Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

John 12:12-16:
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
    see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

The people welcomed Jesus as their king. But both pastors I listened to online pointed out how Jesus didn’t meet their expectations.

They wanted a king who would overthrow their ruling enemy and set up a glorious earthly kingdom for Israel, but Jesus had something else in mind.

Our pastor Matt said that Jesus came as a king who offered peace, riding on a donkey, not a war horse. The people who joyfully met him that day did not realize this. Even his disciples didn’t understand the truth until later.

Just a few days after this triumphant entry, the crowds would turn against Jesus. But he was victorious, in a way no one expected.

Mark 16:5-7:
As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Jesus had a completely different kingdom in mind. And he has given us the privilege of being part of it.

2 Corinthians 5: 18-20:
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

2 Peter 3:9:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Lord Jesus, we praise you for your victory on Easter Sunday, and we thank you for the hope your victory has brought to us.

John 11:25-26:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Friday, April 3, 2020

Psalm 91, Shelter of God

Last week in a bible study, we studied Psalm 91. The leader pointed out that Psalm 91:1 is like the original 9-1-1:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

The place where we can run to for help and comfort in times of trouble, the shelter of God.

Verses 2-4: I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Being sheltered under God’s wings is such a picture of comfort to me.

Verses 5-7: 
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.

We discussed in our group that some of these specific promises may not be for all Christians. We all know that many tragedies do fall on believers.

But I wonder if, in a way, maybe we can claim these promises. Even if we are among those who fall, through whatever problem, if we have chosen to find our shelter with God, he is there in the midst of the trouble with us, holding us in his arms, covering us with his wings. Any of us can claim that promise.

Verses 14-15:
 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.