A Strong Hope

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Published in: on 07/30/2017 at 18:52  Leave a Comment  
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A Living Hope

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In his great mercy he has given us
new birth into a living hope (1 Pet. 1:3).

Hope is more than feeling.
Hope is more than experience.
Hope is more than foresight.
Hope is a command.
Obeying it means life,
survival, endurance,
standing up to life until death
is swallowed up in victory.

–Jürgen Moltmann

Published in: on 09/12/2016 at 19:49  Leave a Comment  
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Good things ahead

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Published in: on 01/01/2016 at 17:01  Leave a Comment  
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The Final Banquet

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Jesus will make the world
our perfect home again.
We will no longer be living ‘east of Eden,’
always wandering and never arriving.
We will come, and the father will meet us
and embrace us, and we will be 
brought into the feast.

–Tim Keller
The Prodigal God

Published in: on 10/28/2015 at 15:51  Leave a Comment  
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Stories, hopes and laughter

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Published in: on 10/24/2015 at 12:34  Leave a Comment  
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We plant seeds

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It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts; it is beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise than is the Lord’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us. No sermon says all that should be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. That is what we are about.

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We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted knowing they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that affects far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very, very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and to do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the Master Builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are the prophets of a future that is not our own.

–Oscar Romero

The final flood of light

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The world is full of dark shadows,
to be sure both the world without
and the world within …
But praise and trust him …
for the knowledge that what’s lost
is nothing to what’s found,
and that all the dark there ever was,
set next to light,
would scarcely fill a cup.

–Frederick Buechner

Things bad, good and best

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Our bad things
turn out for good.
Our good things
can never be lost.
And the best things
are yet to come.

–Jonathan Edwards
(1703–1758)

Published in: on 09/02/2015 at 4:38  Leave a Comment  
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Aim at Heaven

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Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is.

If you read history you will find
that the Christians who did most
for the present world were just those
who thought most of the next.

The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. […] Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.

–C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

Not alone

424926_Tree-Lined-AvenueI know:
there is someone
waiting for me,
who will not
give up on me,
who goes ahead of me,
who lifts me up,
someone to whom
I am important.

–Jürgen Moltmann

Hope, faith and love

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Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime;
Therefore, we are saved by HOPE.

Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense
in any immediate context of history;
Therefore, we are saved by FAITH.

Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone.
Therefore, we are saved by LOVE.

No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint
of our friend or foe as from our own;
Therefore, we are saved by the final form of love
which is forgiveness.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

Published in: on 01/02/2015 at 3:02  Leave a Comment  
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Wonderful preview

healing-touch-of-jesus copyWe modern people think of miracles as the suspension of the natural order, but Jesus meant them to be the restoration of the natural order. The Bible tells us that God did not originally make the world to have disease, hunger, and death in it. Jesus has come to redeem where it is wrong and heal the world where it is broken. His miracles are not just proofs that he has power but also wonderful foretastes of what he is going to do with that power. Jesus’ miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we all want is coming.

–Tim Keller
The Reason for God

The transforming event

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We look back on history, and what do we see? Empires rising and falling;  and counter-revolutions succeeding one another; wealth accumulating and wealth dispersed; one nation dominant and then another. As Shakespeare’s King Lear puts it, “the rise and fall of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon…” Can this really be what life is about, as the media insist? This interminable soap opera going from century to century . . . from era to era, whose old discarded sets and props litter the earth? Surely not.

 Was it to provide a location
for so repetitive and ribald a performance
that the universe was created
and man came into existence?

I can’t believe it. If this were all, then the cynics, the hedonists, and the suicides would be right. The most we can hope for from life is some passing amusement, some gratification of our senses and death. But it’s not all.

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Thanks to the great mercy and marvel of the Incarnation, the cosmic scene is resolved into a human drama. God reaches down to become a Man and Man reaches up to relate himself to God. Time looks into eternity and eternity into time, making now always, and always now. Everything is transformed by the sublime drama of the Incarnation…

–Malcolm Muggeridge
The True Crisis of Our Time

Image: Thomas Cole (1836)

Only one hope

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There is
no hope at all
except for
the hope of the
incarnation.

-St. Augustine

Published in: on 12/25/2014 at 4:42  Leave a Comment  
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Love must triumph

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Christ, the gift of God’s present forgiving love to every man and woman, is the door through which alone we can enter into our provision of hope.

Until we know the love of our Father’s heart to us, 
as manifested in Christ, the future must always be 
to us at best a dark and doubtful wilderness.

But when we know that all that we have conceived of our Father’s love, is as nothing to the reality—that he is indeed love itself—a love passing knowledge—a shoreless, boundless, bottomless ocean-fountain of love, of holy, sin-hating, sin-destroying love, which longs over us that we should be filled with itself—and be by it delivered from the power of evil—then, indeed, we are saved by hope, for we know that love must triumph and fulfill all its counsel.

–Thomas Erskine
(1788 – 1870)

Image: Robert Pejman

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