Tag Archives: Christian

not yet home

Quick word of caution. This story may cause a tear to fall.

An elderly man was in a hospital room and he was fading quickly. The nurses and doctors decided it was time to call the gentleman’s family, and they gathered around his bed. As he was lying there, holding his wife of 50 years hand, looking at his son and grandchildren, he whispered, “Don’t cry. I’ll see all of you again. This was not my permanent home; I’m only passing through.”

A moment later, the man looked up and said, “I can see the Lord’s face.” Peacefully, the man fell asleep and went to be with the Lord.

“For this world is not our permanent home. We are looking forward to a world yet to come.”

Hebrews 13:14 reminds us this is only a temporary stop in eternity. The original recipients of Hebrews were undergoing severe persecution, and the writer wanted to offer some much-needed encouragement to them. The Lord was with them, and he was not going anywhere (Hebrews 13:6). This persecution was only going to last a little while, and a better day would be coming.

This verse serves as encouragement for us as well. No matter our current situation, we can truly say it is only temporary as this is not our permanent home. The struggles and difficulties this life brings do not last forever. They give way to something much better. They give way to Heaven.

While we don’t fully know what Heaven will be like, the Bible does tell us it will be a glorious place. There will be no pain, sorrow, or difficulty. Today’s struggles will be gone. There will be no pandemics or tensions caused by skin color. There will be no hurt or heartache. Rather, Scripture says there will be peace. The lame will walk, the deaf will hear, the blind will see. Heaven will be glorious.

Struggling today? Remember, this is not our permanent home. We are awaiting one that will be far better.

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through the pain

“He looked around the carpentry shop. He stood for a moment in the refuge of the little room that housed so many sweet memories. He balanced the hammer in his hand. He ran his fingers across the sharp teeth of the saw. He stroked the smoothly worn wood of the sawhorse. He had come to say goodbye.  It was time for him to leave. He had heard something that made him know it was time for him to go, so he came one last time to smell the sawdust and lumber. Life was peaceful here. Life was so safe,” Max Lucado writes.

Raise your hand if you like pain. I’m assuming you do not have your hand up. I don’t know anyone who likes pain; however, pain is sometimes a part of life. The safety of jobs, good health, stability, and control can be painfully ripped from our grip. We desperately cling to them, but eventually, our fingers become so sore we have to let go. Pain enters and we are not sure what to do.

Jesus too faced pain. He understands what it is like to be bullied and hated. He understands what it is like to endure physical stress. Jesus helps us see how to handle pain.

Look past today’s pain to tomorrow.

Jesus left the safety of the carpentry shop to walk a path leading to a Roman cross. Jesus knew the agony and pain of the cross would lead to a better tomorrow. He knew closing the door of the carpenter’s workshop would lead to death, but he also knew closing the door would lead to a better day. A day when he would be able to help you and me out of our pain. Jesus looked past today’s pain to tomorrow.

In the midst of our pain, we do not fully know what tomorrow will bring. All we know is the Bible promises the pain will eventually give way to a better day. Try to look past today’s pain to a hope of a better tomorrow. Tomorrow will be better.

Rely on the Lord

As we look to a better tomorrow, Scripture encourages us to rely on the Lord.

  • The Psalmist proclaims, “The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
  • Hebrews 13:6 says, “So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

As you may be facing painful circumstances, remember, Jesus understands what it is like. He encourages you to look past the pain of today to tomorrow and to rely on him.

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A Deliverer Has Come

A deliverer has come.

Isaiah had many bad things to say, but he had many hopeful points as well. He speaks of a coming deliverer.

Isaiah 9:6-7 says, “For to us a child is born. To us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace, there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it, with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The seal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

In Isaiah’s day, they had to wait for this deliverer to come; however, you and I do not have to wait. He came on Christmas Day. This deliverer is Jesus.

We need only to accept his offer of grace and mercy to enjoy the benefits of his kingdom. Christ offers hope in an otherwise hopeless situation. Amid the darkness of Isaiah’s prophecies, the light of a coming deliverer – the hope of Christ coming – shined brightly. For those searching for hope, the light is still shining brightly, and Christ is still offering hope.

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Christ is Hope

A Better Day is Coming

Isaiah had many horrible predictions, but he also had some glorious predictions to offer hope in a seemingly hopeless time.

Isaiah 11 states out of hopelessness will come one baring hope. Isaiah 11 says, “He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance, nor make a decision based on hearsay. He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment. In that day, the wolf and the lamb will live together. The leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion. And a little child will lead them all.”

These words of Isaiah paint a glorious picture, and for us, Christ provides hope. For us, he was the one who came out of hopelessness baring hope. He judges based on our hearts, gives justice to the poor, and works on behalf of the exploited. Christ brings much hope.

How do you find hope in Christ?

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Hope in Unsettling Times

Darkness doesn’t prevent the Lord.

Isaiah is a prophet who brought some shocking news to God’s people. Israel was going to fall into the hands of Assyria; they would have difficult days ahead. The time would seem unsettling and dark, but God would not forget about his people.

Today may be an unsettling time. COVID19 is still present in our lives causing interruptions. Other problems have reached a boiling point. It does not seem good headlines exist in the news, but God has not forgotten about his people.

In chapter 8, Isaiah says, “The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, ‘Don’t call everything a conspiracy like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them. Make the Lord of Heaven’s armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear; he is the one who should make you tremble. He will keep you safe.”

He promises to keep those who are faithful safe. Isaiah goes on in verse 16, “Preserve the teaching of God, and trust the instructions of those who follow me. I will wait for the Lord, who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my hope in him.”

Isaiah recognizes God is the one constant hope. Hope in anything or anyone else is fallible, but hope in the Lord is unfailing. Isaiah was living in an anxious time, but he centered his hope on the Lord.

“Look to God’s instructions and teachings,” Isaiah encourages in 8:20-21. “People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry, and because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their god. They will look up to Heaven and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.”

The next time life seems hopeless and you are plagued by yesterday’s mistakes, try looking to the hope and grace offered by the Lord. Partake in his grace, and allow it to wash over the feelings of hopelessness and despair you may be encountering. Isaiah’s promise is as good today as the day he originally prophesied.

The Lord offers hope to his people even in the most unsettling times.

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Hope Yestterday, Today, and the Future

There has always been hope.

Hope is not a new idea to the Lord. From the first dark day on earth, the Lord knew his people would need hope, and he provided it.

Adam and Eve did not follow the rules for living in the Garden, so they were kicked out. Hope was then needed, and the Lord provided hope and a glimpse into his plan for the future.

Speaking of the coming Messiah, God says in Genesis 3:15, “And I will cause hostility between you and the woman. And between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heal.”

Many years later, Isaiah was stating some unsettling times were about to occur. Israel was going to fall into the hands of Assyria, but the Lord offered hope amid the anxiety.

Isaiah 7:14 says, “All right then. The Lord himself will give you a sign. Look the virgin will conceive a child. She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel, which means God is with us.”

Many years later, John’s Gospel says hope came. John 1:14 says, “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness, and we have seen his glory – the glory of the Father’s one and only son.”

The hope needed in the Garden in Isaiah’s day, and that came in John’s day is still with us today. Christ is that hope; his grace and mercy are still available today. If you are in need of hope today, give him a chance to offer it to you.

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Hope

The one and only constant hope.

Hope is easy when we do not really need it, but when circumstances around us seem hopeless, we truly discover where our hope can be found.

Friends who say call if you need anything may or may not mean it. Politicians may promise hope, but they are not able to deliver a true hope. Hope in money can eventually run out. The Lord, however, can provide a true, constant hope in the most hopeless of situations.

The Lord can give hope to the hopeless. In the darkest of hours, he can be a ray of light that changes everything. Where is your hope placed today?

The Whirlwind of Life

She experienced a whirlwind of emotions.

She was a widow, with a son, in the middle of a famine. Provisions were almost expired; enough was left for one last meal. She was gathering the wood for the cooking fire when Elijah entered her life.

Elijah asked the widow to bring him a drink of water and a piece of bread. She responds in 1 Kings 17:12, “As surely as the Lord your God lives, I don’t have any bread, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son that we may eat it, and die.”

Can you imagine? The widow is in a desperate situation, and she may feel hopeless. But here comes hope.

Elijah encourages her to do as he has directed, and promises the Lord will continue her provisions until the end of the famine. 1 Kings 17:6 records the widow and her son having enough to survive until the famine ended. This storm ended, but another rain cloud was on the horizon.

Some time later her son died. Amid the storm, the widow went to Elijah so he could act on behalf of God. This would have been an emotionally draining whirlwind for the widow; hard times followed by okay times only to be replaced by hard times again. Sadness giving away to happiness only to be broken down by grief. The winds of life tossed and turned the widow.

Perhaps this sounds familiar to your experience. Don’t lose the big take-away of the widow’s story.

Her faith pushed her forward.

It was the widow’s faith which compelled her to feed Elijah and go to him upon the death of her son. Her faith steadied her as the winds swirled around her.

You and I have a friend in Jesus who sticks closer than a brother. His compassion wiped the tears of the widow and held the hand of the man with leprosy. His power was victorious over death. There’s nothing in life that is a match for him.

Allow the Lord to be a part of your storm today.

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Looking to the Future

The future is coming.

Well, the future is coming. It may be unsettling, but we can not stop it from coming. The good news for Christians, the future will be glorious. At the end, the Lord will be victorious.

Isaiah had many unsettling things to say, but the Lord promised through Isaiah, a future of peace and rest.

Isaiah 4:5-6 says, “Then the Lord will create, over all of Mount Zion, and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night. Over everything, the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.”

Israel did not fully experience this when they returned out of exile, nor have we fully experienced it today. But the Lord promises he will create for us an eternal dwelling of peace and rest. The toil of this life, for Christ’s followers, will give way to peace and rest in the future.

The future is coming. We can’t stop it, but we can rest assured it will be a time of peace and rest.

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Forever Hope

A loving and patient God continues to offer hope.

A large city’s school system had a program to help students keep up with their homework while in the city’s hospitals. A teacher assigned to the program received a routine call to visit a student in the hospital. She obtained the child’s room number and name. She spoke to the boy’s teacher and found out the class was studying nouns and adverbs.

No one told the teacher the boy was in the hospital because he had been badly burned, and he was in a great deal of pain. When she saw the patient-student, it took all of her strength to continue. “I’m a teacher from your school,” she explained. “I’ve been sent here to help you with your nouns and adverbs.”

The two worked on an assignment, then the teacher left feeling defeated. She believed she had accomplished nothing, but the next day a nurse applauded her.

“I don’t know what you did yesterday, but the patient’s outlook has changed. He is fighting back and responding to treatment,” the nurse happily explained.

Two weeks later the boy explained the teacher’s visit gave him hope. “They wouldn’t send a teacher to work on homework with a dying boy, would they?”

Hope is a powerful tool of the Lord, which he continues to offer.

Max Lucado explains, “Isaiah revealed Judah’s impending doom. God vowed not to listen to the prayers of his people because of their excessive sin, but God assured he would restore Israel after purging it of sin. A loving and patient God continued to offer hope to the Israelites. He offered forgiveness if they repented.”

Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” God promised he would purge the Israelites.

The Same is true for us. Whatever is causing you and I to feel hopeless, the Lord can remove from our lives. Past mistakes and difficulties are no match for his grace and mercy. He can turn our hopelessness into pure hope.

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