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Showing posts from October, 2009

No More Hope?

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Today is my last blog in Octobers hope series. But does that mean that hope will stop? No, never. Hope is eternal, because the source of hope is eternal - Jesus. Hopefully through our time together you have discover that hope is there as long as you look for it. The world we live in will do everything it can to distract us from it. Placing your hope in Jesus requires: Sacrifice - You have to give up your worldly desires and dreams in order to achieve God's desires and dreams. Humility - Pride kills hope. Humbling yourself before God acknowledges that you cannot and will not do anything without Him. Trust - Trust God that He knows what He is doing even when you don't know what He is doing. Faith - More than a belief in His existence, faith is embracing God's life, His will and future for you. Future - Placing your future in His hands realizing that this world isn't your home, but there is a better place in heaven for you. Patience - Coupled with humili

When You Fail Hope

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There is and always will be this notion that we get what we deserve. If your mean, you deserve to be treated that way. Even God will give you what you deserve. So when we fail, falter, fall down and give up - we tend to think that hope has left us and we have to start all over again. After all you probably deserved it, right? If you are a Hindu I suppose that this makes sense. You know, karma. FYI, karma works like this. What you do in this life is what you will get in the next life. So you have to wait until the next life to reap all the bad stuff you did in this life. Let me remind you of a passage in Hebrews, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." That's what God promises to you today. Even if you have failed - hope has never left you or forsaken you. In fact, you now need hope more than ever. Hope that your failure will not be permanent - that your mistakes will not ruin you - that your life will still have a future. Let's take our

Sources of Hope

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One of the things that I think some people miss about hope is, where does it come from? Well the short answer is - God, of course. But as we think about this a little bit more, we would recognize the different ways He gives us hope. The Bible - His Words are full of hope. The Holy Spirit - He brings hope into our lives. Testimonies - Hearing others praise how God helped them brings hope. Friends - People whom we surround ourselves with speak hope. Children - They don't know it as a general rule, but their simple faith shows us hope. Church - A community of like minded believers who will pray and support us gives us hope. Prayer - Letting God know what is on our heart gives us hope. Worship - Loving God the way He wants to be loved will also give us hope. Nature - God created it, if you will pay attention to His Creation you will see hope. Gifted people - Those who know what the spiritual gifts are and allow God to use them will bring hope into your life. Can you think of any m

Hope Never Grows Old

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There are a lot of things in our life that have come and gone. Disco, parachute pants, McRibs. But the one thing that seems to always be in demand is hope. Sure - love, joy and peace are still popular. But what are they without hope? Answer: Not as good as they could be. So why do you seek so many other things in our life instead of hope? Success, fame, power, wealth - etc. Why do we look for hope inside these hollow shells? Yes, there are people in power, people who are wealthy, who are famous and successful who know Jesus and have hope. So how can I call these things hollow and pointless? Because most people don't do what they did. They followed Christ's words which say, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added...." I am not saying that if you seek Jesus first, then you will get rich. What I am saying is, when we fail to seek Jesus first, we fail to seek hope at all. Success, fame, power and wealth grow old. They just get

When Life and Hope Don't Agree

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One of the hardest things for Christians to do is to look at life with a Biblical worldview. We are taught, or assume, that life is life. Que Sera, Sera, (Whatever Will Be, Will Be). Nothing is father from the truth. But for most people, they just take life as it comes. They do so with a depressing, discouraging point of view and eventually defeatist attitude. Their point being, "Why bother fighting, I'm going to lose anyway." Hope is not concerned with winning or losing. It is concerned with hope. Hope is there to see you through the tough times as well as the good times. Hope is a constant regardless of our situation. Hope believes regardless of what it sees. The Bible has already told us how the world is going to treat us today and tomorrow. Satan, the god of this world, has designed life to be a disaster. Teasing us with "success" stories and then defeating us when we try to get ahead. Promising us a better future for us and our children,

When Hope Is Unpredictable

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There are some things about hope that are predictable and some that are not. Don't get confused now, just read on. When someone repents of their sins and asks Jesus into their life it will happen every time. It's predictable. We can count on it. But when someone prays for Jesus to heal them - there are options. A) Immediate healing, B) Healing at a later date, C) Partial healings over a period of time that lead to a complete healing, D) Healing through modern medicine (and you can't argue with this one if you have ever taken Tylenol) and E) Healing through death. Now some of us root for A every time and don't even want to talk about E, ever. I don't blame you. We want to live and that isn't a sin. But what I want us to see about every one of those options is this - we will be healed. What is unpredictable is which option has God chosen for us. Now the rest of this may start to get confusion, but hang on. The reason why hope becomes unpredictabl

When Hope Shows Up

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Oops! I am very late in making this post. My apologies. But today was worth it. If you didn't attend service here his morning - you missed a great day. Why? Because it was about hope. How God brings hope to hopeless situations. But that can only happen when we place our expectations in Him. If our expectations are based on what we want, or what others want - we will be disappointed. When we place our expectations in Him, we will never be disappointed because God never fails. Now for those of you who are rolling your eyes at me right now - this is the part of the service you missed. I explained that when I came as Pastor of this church - there was little hope. in fact, my Presbyters very words were, "Good luck." And I know for a fact that he doesn't believe in luck. I preached about a future, I taught about a future, I believed in a future - but future didn't become a reality for a long, long time. So the question you have to ask yourself is th

What Are You Hoping For?

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As some of you know, our youth group went to see the "99" last night. After that they came back to the church and had a lock in. Tim, the youth director, then asked Betty and I to watch their house for them. This also comes with the responsibility of watching their dog, Pepe. So all is going well then at 6 a.m., Betty took him out for his morning walk. He does his business and is almost in the house when he spots a cat. Goodbye Pepe. An hour and half later, we finally find the dog. So what does this have to do with hope? Well at about 6:30, Betty comes and wakes me up and proceeds to bring me up to speed about what has just happened. I go back to sleep. Before you start the nasty emails about my insensitivity here was my point of view on the matter. "The dog will come back." Betty wasn't so sure about that. She would go outside call for the dog - nothing. Now I knew that the dog would come back - somehow. (As it turned out, he was two houses d

What Hope Isn't

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Hope isn't a reward. Some people think that hope is what you get when you get what you want. We feel better when things work out our way. Now I have to be the first to tell you - it feels really good when things go my way. But I have to question my motives when this happens. Are my feelings being justified by my selfishness or by sacrifice? I can illustrated this by taking you to the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas betrayed Jesus - He felt justified because at this point he thought that Jesus had betrayed him. Taking control of the situation he got what he could out of it. 30 pieces of silver - Motive? Selfish. Peter attacked the High Priests servant. - Peter, not realizing that the Kingdom that Jesus spoke of was spiritual not physical, took matters into his own hands when he tried to start a rebellion against the Romans. After all, how was life going to improve for him and his people if someone didn't overthrow the Roman government? - Motive? Selfish. Jesus wen

Hope and Relationships

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I pushed the envelope last night in youth group. For those of you who don't know, I minister in the youth group most Wednesday Evenings. I have to admit it was a in your face kind of sermon. Most of you know what I am talking about. The kind that challenges you to step up and do what God wants you to do. So what did I do that was so challenging and what does it have to do with hope? First of all it was about relationships. That we have it backwards when we value our relationship with other people as more important than we value our relationship with Christ. Now I didn't come out and say it that way. What I said was that it is wrong for your relationship with another person to hinder their desire to follow and serve Christ. We have, and always had, this codependency type of problem within churches that when one of us starts to grow in their relationship with Christ, someone fears the change that it will bring. When our relationship with Christ comes first, He will is g

Hoping For More?

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Many of us are hoping for something. Most likely is it more of something. More money, more time, more strength, more something. Now it isn't a sin to want more of something. It is a sin when you begin to worship whatever it is you want. When that happens then hope has officially turned into greed. Now while it is still greed, we will call it hope. We treat it as hope, in fact we may honestly think it is hope. So how can you tell the difference? Real hope is based on your faith and trust in Jesus. We trust Him to love us and care for us in every way. So when something doesn't turn out the way we thought it should we don't lose faith in Him. Why? Because we trust Him to always have our best intentions in mind for us at all times. So if things do not turn out the way we want, we know the God is still in control. But if we are being greedy, our response is completely different. When things don't turn out the way we want - we get upset!! Then we will bl

Do You Think About Hope?

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Now this isn't one of those positive thinking seminar slogans you've heard of. I'm just asking. Do you think about the preferred future that God has planned for you? I love music and listen to all kinds. I love Christian music and listen to it as much as possible. Now you may think I'm odd - and I'm not going to disagree with you - but as a general rule, the last song I heard before I go to bed is the first song I hear in my head when I wake up. Now if I've been traveling and get home late, ate at some restaurant on the way in, and they had some radio station blaring in the background - you got it! Now this isn't as disturbing as you think it is. If I don't like the tune in my head I just sing one I like better and that's the end of that. Have you ever tried that with you dreams? Philippians 4:8 says Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if

Hope Demands Patience

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One of the things we may or may not realize about hope is that it demands patience. How do I you know that? Ever had to wait for something good? No amount of fretting, worrying, yelling or demanding ever made anything arrive any faster, better or quicker. Yet we get frustrated with God when our needs are not satisfied on the spot. When Anneka was an infant, she would cry - we would respond. Now when Anneaka wants something, sometimes we tell her to go get it herself. That's a new wrinkle. With each new challenged conquered, new hope is birthed that she is growing up. So what is God asking you to do today? What challenge does He want you to meet head on? The challenges that we perceive to be hope killers are probably there to teach us, give us and empower us with hope. "But what if I fail?" There is nothing that you can do that will force God to quit. He will always pursue you with everything that He has. So what are you waiting for?

When Hope Shows Up!

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Yesterday we had to go to the emergency room. That in itself is a bummer. Never liked the places. Every time I go they want blood, money and more. Don't ask about more. This time though it was Anneka. Temp of 103 point something and fading fast. What was it? The pig flu? Spinal Meningitis? A bacterial infection? What? I have to say, the kid was in bad shape and burning up. So when we arrive to the hospital we go into triage and quickly we were in a room. All of a sudden this woman pops in and shouts, "Helloooo there!!" She was our ER nurse. I immediately recognize her, Betty needed a few moments. This woman use to cut our hair. So I can vouch that she is good with a pair of scissors. She goes up to Anneka and talks to her and loves on her like one of her own. Well over the course of the next 4 - 5 hours, a battery of tests and an endless amount of cartoons we were told that she has a viral infection. No flu, no meningitis - nothing serious. So

Hope Expensive Cont.

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As I said yesterday, our hope has to be in Christ. But what if you go to church, read your Bible, pray and still don't seem to have any hope? Well that is possible. What Jesus did on the cross for us wasn't cheap. His sacrifice was great and costly. What we have to make sure is this, don't compare the expense of his sacrifice with anything we think is expensive here on earth. Any time that we do that - we will dash our chance to embrace hope. Don't compare your faith to this worlds wisdom. - The Bible says that this worlds wisdom is foolishness. It is right! When allow our faith, and the practice of our faith, to be hemmed in with what the world think is right and wrong - hope will fade away quickly. Don't base your faith in people. - Every time a prominent Christian stumbles and falls someone goes with them. Why? Placing your faith in someone who is fallible will always be a recipe for disaster. People fail, Jesus never fails. Don't base

Is Hope Expensive?

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I guess that would depend on what you think "expensive" is. What one person pays for a cup of coffee sometimes makes me want to pass out. Whether you think it is expensive or not - I think we all agree, it isn't cheap. What does it cost you to have hope? Time? Emotions? Money? Well it depends on where you think your source of hope is. Is your hope in this world? - Then prepare to shell out BIg bucks. Anything you do is going to cost you. Is your hope in people? - Then prepare to get let down, A LOT! People are not perfect. Every time they make a mistake your going to lose a little hope. Is your hope in yourself? - Prepare to work yourself to death! There are a lot of details that need to be tended to before you can allow yourself to have hope. But you better do it quick, your working on that first heart attack very, very quickly. Is your hope in Christ? - This is the most expense of them all, and it doesn't cost you a thing. Jesus paid th

Hopeful?

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So as I am getting ready to blog today I run across this image that says. I AM HOPEFUL. Well it's on a t-shirt and I thought that was unusual. The reverse side says. I AM ARCANE. (To be secretive, mysterious or obscure.) Then I get it. Hopeful people are a little "different" Well this may be a sarcastic attempt to poke fun at people who have hope - but I see something completely different here. The words I AM are in red. I AM is the name of God given to Moses in the book of Exodus. I AM comes from the Hebrew word "YHVH". It translates as "LORD". Found more often in the Old Testament than any other name for God (approximately 7,000 times). I AM declares God's absolute being - the source of everything, without beginning and without end. Some pronounce YHVH as "Jehovah" or "Yaweh" He is the unchanging, eternal, self-existent God, the "I am that I am," He is a convenant-keeping God. (Compare Mal. 3:6; Hos.

Has Hope Failed?

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This is Bella Sangermano and she has been in the hospital since August 21st. Here is her story: Bella has been in the hospital since August 21. She went in to the ER at Coral Springs Medical because she was vomiting. As the doctors assessed the situation, they diagnosed her with pancreatitis which was also affecting her liver functions. She had a central line placed and then developed a blood clot from it. She was then transferred to Broward General to be under a more close watch. They then said that she had mycoplasma which is what caused all of the issues in her body. She began to drink and eat again on her own. We celebrated her first birthday in the healing garden at the hospital. Then on Saturday, Sept 19, she started having seizures. She was then placed in a medically induced coma to stop the seizures and was placed on a breathing machine. We were helicoptered to Miami Children's Hospital on Monday, Sept 21 to receive more specialized treatment. Todays Up

Is Hope A Right?

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Some people look at hope as being a right. Are they right? Maybe it is a discipline? Or is it a gift? We might have hope, just because of the way we were raise. Does hope only exist in certain environments and not in others? Do you deserve hope? Is it your right to demand it? I can't answer all these questions because there is a certain amount of relevant truth to all of them. But there is another thought. These questions really don't matter. First of all they focus on the external. We make a huge mistake when we base our hope on our current circumstances. I believe this is why Paul said in Phil. 4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Paul knew that his hope couldn't be based on his current situations. Secondly, they focus on yourself. Hope is personal. But when we make hope about our selfishness, we will lose it in a heartbeat. We begin to blame others for our personal pain. W

Hope and Trust

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Hope isn't so much an issue of belief as it is an issue of trust. We believe in lots of things but that doesn't mean that we trust them. We tend to do the same with God. We believe in Him, but we shy away from trusting Him. Why do we do that? The concept of someone who will be faithful and never fail us is quite difficult for us to believe it. It sound like a fantasy to most. All of us have been let down by someone who promised never to hurt us, fail us or abandon us. Our hope has to be rooted in our submission to who God is. He is the Creator we are His creation. The Creator is always above His creation. To make God an equal with His creation doesn't allow us to see Him for who He really is and what He can really do. God never fails to keep His promises. He can and will do that, if we will trust Him with all our heart. Ps 145:13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his prom

Choose Hope

Will you have hope today? When we get up in the morning it seems that we decided from the very first moments of our day if we are going to live with or without hope. We think we know how things are going to turn out from the very beginning - sometimes we are right and sometimes we are wrong. To base our hope on our future isn't a sin. But if we base it on our version of the future we will probably get very depressed. Jesus has a preferred version of the future that will give you more hope than you think. It is that future that we need to wake up with in the morning. It isn't based on what we feel, because feelings can lead us astray. It has to be based on what we believe. What we really, really believe. Jer 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. 1 Cor 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Thessalo

Hope Killers - Part 4

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House update) The reason I was late yesterday posting was due to some paperwork that needed my attention. We made and offer on a house and they accepted it. It doesn't mean that we have the house yet, but for those of you who may not understand - just getting someone to accept your offer right now it a big, big deal. So I will keep you posted as things go along. Now on with hope. One question that was raised from yesterdays post was this? What about the church? If it is really from God, shouldn't it make a difference? The answer is yes - but I think that you need to qualify it. Because the church can be a hope killer too. In 2 Tim. 3: 4-5 it says ... treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. Paul is talking about people in the last days. Then seems to indicate that many people will call themselves Christians (having a form of godliness) but that they w

Need Hope?

Running a little low on hope today? Watch this, I think it will help.

Hope Killers - Part 3

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One question that was raised from yesterdays post was this? What about the church? If it is really from God, shouldn't it make a difference? The answer is yes - but I think that you need to qualify it. Because the church can be a hope killer too. In 2 Tim. 3: 4-5 it says ... treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. Paul is talking about people in the last days. Then seems to indicate that many people will call themselves Christians (having a form of godliness) but that they will deny it's power. What is the point of having a powerless Christian life? Without the hope of Christ's intervention in our life, without the hope of His compassion, without the hope of His grace and mercy - what do we have? Nothing!! To deny power is to deny the Word. To deny power is to deny the Blood. To deny power is to deny the Spirit. So what is church and religion

Hope Killers - Part 2

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Sorry that todays post is a little late. I will explain later. What kills hope? Putting our hope is people or institutions that promise to deliver. One of the things that I am personally convinced of is this. After the rapture of the church, the anit-christ will rise to power. But how? How can one person gain such support and popularity? He has to offer what people are looking for. Hope. When we begin to place our hope in leaders, people, government, education or anything else - we are setting ourselves up for THE BIG let down. How can something like this happen? Desperation breeds delusion. People are so desperate that they will reach out to anything or anyone for hope. We see it at a personal level everyday. We have seen whole culture and people groups do the same thing again and again for thousands of years. This is true, history is doomed to repeat itself. So who or what do you put your hope in? Who or what do you expect to pull you out of the mess you are

Hope Killers - Part 1

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So just how can you kill hope? Give more attention to the problem and don't focus on the solution. When we get in trouble and need hope, we need to be focusing on what Jesus is going to do instead of what happened. Alexander Graham Bell said, "When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us." God helps us. He is our solution. But if we are so focused on our problems that we cannot see God or His opportunity for our life - we lose hope. Satan would love it if you spent all your time looking for him in every problem and situation that comes up in your life. Don't give him more attention than you have to. If you see him at work, that's good enough. You don't have to try to figure out how he did it or what is going on. Now I know that this rubs some people the wrong way. Why? There has been some theology that goes around and says, A) You nee

The Worth of Hope

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What is hope worth to you? What are you willing to do for it? For most of us, hope is assumed. We just believe that it has always been here and it will continue to always be here. But early in life, we discover that what we thought was hope - was indeed nothing more than good intentions. For some reason some Christians still believe in the Hindu teachings that if you do good things, good things will happen to you. Then they call that hope. What are you willing to do for hope? I know people who are willing to do anything legal and illegal, if it will get them what they are looking for. People become addicted and embrace life controlling situations because they think it will bring them some hope. They would willing die if they thought it might give them some hope. You heard me right, MIGHT! Yesterday I was thinking about why is it so hard for us to believe in and accept real hope into our lives. It really isn't that hard or difficult when you think about it. Then

Where To Find Hope

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Most of us are pragmatic and resourceful enough to get what we need or want. Think about it. If you child needed a $5,000 shot, or they would die, you would get the 5 grand somehow. You might borrow some here, work for some there, have a fund raiser - something, anything, because it is life or death. Well I would think we would want to have that same kind of tenacity when it comes to our hope. It is life or death. To lost hope opens a host of doors that have some pretty dark characters waiting for you on the other side. I said Sunday that we have a word for people who live without hope. Zombies. The walking dead. There is no life without hope because all other options are futile and, well, hopeless. Now here is where I need you to get real resourceful and inventive about finding hope. I don't want you to go anywhere else other than to Jesus. Why? There are those who look to all different kind of religions, drugs, habits and other mindless forms of amusement to sa

When Hope Is Found

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It isn't that the price of hope is to high - it's just hard for us to believe that it's so easy. Now understand that easy doesn't equal cheap. Because we are wired to believe that which is valuable is expensive, hard, elusive or impossible - we therefore have a hard time believing we have it when we get it. I don't know how many guys have said to me when they found the woman of their dreams, "I don't deserve her." Love doesn't come easy, but when we have it - we should cherish it with everything that we have. Now fast forward this guy about 5 - 10 years. They got married. Had 2.3 kids. Bought the house, two cars and the swimming pool. He works 7 days to pay the bills and she is pulling her hair out to care for the home, the house, the kids and everything else. Doesn't sound like love to me, it's sound like a recipe for a divorce. What happened? We trade our love, hope and faith for the dumbest things in this world. Trinket

Why Do We Lose Hope? - Part 3

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Have you ever thought to yourself, "Am I part of the solution or am I part of the problem." If you like me you just say "Yes" and get over it. But there are those times when our humanity seems to be the problem, yet we recognize that God works through our humanity. It could seem to be a bit confusing to us, because they unholy vessels we call our bodies are the very thing that God will occupy and use for His purpose and to build His Kingdom. So what comes first? The chicken or the egg? Answer: I don't care. Do get all uptight on me now. My point is this. The question is worthless. It is designed to drive you nuts. So when we begin to look for hope - we have to stay away from obviously worthless questions and answers. To expect a person or even humanity in general to bring hope to our lives is a pointless endeavor. Mankind cannot fix itself. We can rearrange the deck chairs of the Titanic into a most efficient order. But the ship is still goi

Why Do We Lose Hope? - Part 2

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I was going to blog about something else, maybe tomorrow. But this one really caught my attention this evening. I received an email from an acquaintance about someone whom I have never met. That person has just found out that they have cancer and by this time next week, they will have a lung removed. What do you say? What do you do? Now times that 10, 20 even a 100 times. Tsunamis and earthquakes. Jobless rates and recessions. When will it stop? Will it ever stop? When we focus on everything and do so without a possible solution, we worry. Our minds are designed to adapt, fix and cure. We care, therefore we try. We don't like to suffer, therefore we don't want others to. But when the problem is bigger than us - what do we do? We place our trust in some kind of collective that is suppose to provide an answer. Some trust the government, others trust education. Others just think that this is all a part of our evolution and that either we will improve or implode.

Why Do We Lose Hope? - Part 1

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When we lose hope - we lose everything. What is the point in living if there is nothing to believe in? Lam. 3:18 says So I say, "My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD." We all know people who live life without hope. Life tosses them around like a ragdoll and they just say, "Oh well..." Some get angry and rant at the world. Others just get depressed and check out of living, one way or another. Losing hope isn't a sin. Many people in the Bible at one time or another had a crisis of faith. God didn't strike any of them with lightening. So why do we lost hope? Well one reason is our disbelief in absolutes. We are taught from the beginning to question everything. That nothing is what is says it is. That at some place and time, what we believe in will change. At one time people thought that the world was flat. Then they discovered it was round. So what does this have to do with hope? You have to believe that God never, ev

What Is Hope?

The dictionary says, T o wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment. But I have a problem with that. When I say, "I hope I get that promotion." "I hope that the plane leaves on time." "I hope they remember to unplug the coffee pot." There is that chance that it will not happen. In reality, our personal version of hope is nothing more than wishful thinking. Taking a chance and "hoping" that it works. Now the Bibles version of hope is different. It is best defined as confident expectation. An assurance that God is in control of what we don't know or understand. In the Old Testament the saints believed in the hope of a coming Messiah. One who would save them. Jesus was that hope, that fulfillment of what was promised them. Our hope in the New Testament isn't that different. We are looking forward to the second coming of Jesus. What some call the Blessed Hope. We don't know when it will happen, but we are co