Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Have you heard the argument that hope in God is hopeless hope? After all he didn’t rescue Jews from the holocaust. He chose not to stop the genocide in Rwanda. Why doesn’t he do something about child abuse? Where is he when it counts, when you need him most? It's useless to hope. And don't try to work it up somehow because you'll only be disappointed, some will argue. Just exist totality for this day and focus with intensity on the little things each day. But what is left when we swipe away hope with such a futile gesture? We banish ourselves to a life without any purpose. To find satisfaction in life, we need to know that each of us does have significance. Our entire being reaches for a framework within which to see our life. In hope we find certainty that we can safely lower ourselves to an immoveable, solid rock. That is God.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Hope suggests future. Hope hints at things becoming better than they are both in this life and in the next.
"Yes, I am coming soon," says Jesus Attitude changes everything, we are told. Well, it’s true. To keep on the surface of our everyday thoughts that Jesus could be back anytime, changes our approach to all of life. Doesn’t it stir up excitement? Doesn’t it raise our curiosity about how he will look, what he will say? How will it feel to be flying through the air with thousands of other hardy believers who stuck it out, and meet the One we resolutely declared our leader? How will it feel to have every care stripped away like an old, useless skin? He seals our hope with his words, “Look, I’m coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


WE ARE NOT BORN WITH HOPE. We decide to have hope and we can increase our hope by practicing it. Living and walking in hope means being forward-looking and enthusiastic about today because changes are in the offing. But it means more. It implies exerting Kingdom thinking while we live and walk on planet earth. Jesus taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come.” Having a Kingdom outlook is an outlook of hope. We dare to take unpopular points of view because we hope for a world that enjoys the absence of competition, adversarial communication, war, ill will, greed and selfishness. We are advocates of governance that shows compassion. We stand against policies that further disadvantage the poor. We speak about and practice mercy and grace universally, like Jesus did. Such hope results in deep contentment.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Hope and fear oppose each other constantly. We want to be courageous, but we often short-circuit bravery because of fears. Nurtured hope snow-plows fear out of the way. It is then we can stand up for what we believe and can do so unpretentiously. For example, hope will grow both strength and gentleness. They become choices rooted in hope, rather than default reactions. Spiritual courage (fear that has prayed) that blossoms out of Holy Spirit - instigated hope, will not be an aggression based on self-protection. It will remain gentle yet decisive as was the intentional response of Jesus when he confronted the Pharisees of his day. When fear strkes, cling to hope.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Our hope has to be anchored to something. How about this list of promises? Provision, answers, rewards, help, eternal life, heaven, salvation, Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, forgiveness, peace, triumph over temptation, wisdom, empowerment, access to God, mercy and grace, freedom, discipline, love, resurrection. We can’t list them all- all the promises of God to us. His promises are the fertile soil for hope to flourish. They are wonderfully positive about our future. He leaves nothing to chance in our spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual and physical life. He will look after us in all circumstances and at all levels. We have all reason to be hopeful and no excuse not to be hopeful. How great he is!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


We look for reasons and places to find hope. Here's a bg one. Each Sunday we celebrate. This first day of the week marks a phenomena so spectacular it impacted the entire world. A man whose heart had stopped, whose lungs ceased breathing, whose eyes stopped seeing, ears no longer heard and whose leaden body lay in a stone crypt, suddenly came to life. This event shattered the laws of the universe - once you are dead it’s over. All over. Until you are dead there is hope but not after. Man never had an answer to mortality. But everything in our soul says there’s something to follow death. Earlier, superstitions fabricated all kinds of weird possibilities. Now, with the resurrection of Jesus, hope for existence after this life becomes more than a desire. It is a fixed hope.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


You surprise yourself when you hear yourself singing a happy song when for days you hadn’t felt happy. Where did that come from? Your soul heard some good news. The Spirit communed with your soul, reminding it that despite disappointments, opposition and perhaps even abuse, there is One who knows every detail of your life and will bring good out of bad, beauty out of ashes. Your soul hears that things will change. It decides, almost without your awareness that the future looks bright. Hardships can be borne. Fears are not formidable. Setbacks are temporary. God, after all, is still in control. There are reasons to express gratitude. So give voice to the welling joy - and sing.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


With your first breath you hoped.
Reflect on when you knew you began to hope. Was it your first Christmas when you had a specific toy in mind? Or was it when you reached out to make a friend? Or did it hit you when you worried about your report card. Likely it was all of those. But hope begins before we can identify what hope is. Its first sparks show in the hospital when we crave acceptance and love from mother but it saturates our thinking through every age, affects our attitude through each personal encounter, figures in every crucial decision, and encourages us through each crisis. Hope makes life tolerable through every stage and even gives us anticipation for the life to come. Do you think the measure of hope we possess is parcelled out to us at birth, or do we create our hope?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


From "No," to "Maybe." to "Yes."
“I can’t do it.” “It can’t be done.” These sentiments we have all either thought or expressed. We say we can’t stand the pain, we can’t tolerate the ridicule, we can’t take the pressure, we can’t possibly do a task which is the only solution to a problem, we can’t apologize to our nemesis. Yet somewhere in the hidden reaches of our soul, a quiet voice calls up and asks if the word “can’t,” might be changed to “possibly.” That's when we begin to doubt our doubts and that is when hope pulls away the darkness and lets in the light of the possible. We begin to explore how it might be possible and think of different ways we might try to make it happen.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Let's face it, the concept of hope is slippery. How do we actually get hope? Is it something some people inherit or receive at the time of birth? Probably not.It’s absurd to think you can have hope when you don’t want to have it. To that extent possessing anticipation of the future must then be self-willed. Possession, though, is no more than a dream unless you purchase the item; like a car. We must will to have it. Yet, if the car had not been made, if you did not have income that pays you enough, you could not possess the car. Likewise, unless God supplied the hope for an abundant life here and a perfect life in heaven through Jesus, the possibility of hope would be hopeless. BUT. We are left to reach out and accept the gift of hope that God holds out to us. We take the initiative to get hope. So...let's get with it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Let's continue with the subject of hope. We must find a reason to keep going. The pessimist claims everything and everyone is against his success. Or he imagines the odds are all stacked against him. Yet even the most blatant cynic clasps tightly to the belief that things must get better for him, or he would terminate his life. We label this inherent desire to believe that a better way is possible as ‘ hope.’ Job, in the Old Testament, had every reason to give up: he lost possessions, children, health and friendships. In this desperate, forlorn condition, he proclaims to his former friends, now his present accusers, that he resolves to continue to cling to his hope in God, even if God should take the only thing he has left- his life. You and I decide whether or not we should keep believing things can improve. No one else does that for us.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I'm making a shift to another topic for a while. It's another common need for all of us: HOPE. We have a false notion that normal life has no downs. Not true. But when we're at the bottom, we need to hear a forecast for sun tomorrow.
“That’s living,” we hear someone say. She means when you can give vent to your appetites (they are God-given don’t forget), you’ve really lived. Or when you can shop ‘til you drop, golf 36 holes in a day, feast on a holiday until you’re forced to loosen your belt, have an entire day to yourself, indulge in a series of concerts by your favorite performer - that’s living. Really? Those are exceptions for 90% of us. Tears over a child killed by a drunk driver, anger over neglect by someone we thought loved us, deep pain from treatment for cancer, terrible disappointment over a child choosing a wayward life, grief over lost loved ones in war- all prove that life abounds in troubles. But God intends for us to have hope while in the midst of such a life. Stay tune for more sun.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Have you noticed how fear can easily spoil a good day? It ruins joyous events, spoils happy relationships, destroys anticipated celebrations, and robs us of peace. Sadly, this destructive emotion has a wild nature, being tough to control. It centers in wanting to remain safe. Fear presents itself as a guard against possible danger. Still, controlling it lies within each of us when we step into a new outlook: love. “Perfect love casts out fear.” Allow authentic care and concern for the person to overshadow fear. Love melts our hyper sensitivities and apprehensions. But fears will crowd back in when we insist on protecting ourselves. And when it is circumstances we fear, our love for our Almighty Father who holds the whole world in His hand, dissolves our fear. Love gives us wonderful freedom.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Repetition usually suggests importance. To love others as we love ourselves is one of the Bible's most repeated commands. Loving your neighbor is the opposite of selfishness. You don't have to work hard at becoming proficient at being selfish. Love, however takes a concious act. Fortunately, unselfishness is possible for us. Love points to a source of power, quite beyond us; namely God. When Jesus was asked by someone who his neighbor was, Jesus responded by telling the story of the good Samaritan. In this story a beat up man beside the road is helped by a complete stranger. That is love with the right motive.
It is not self-seeking.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Unloved people are sick more often. I cannot think of anything more peace-filling, more soothing, more contentment inducing than to be loved. To be reassured of someone’s love, is like having a fresh shower with a cool breeze after a lengthy dry period that drains the earth of all moisture. Love is the most profound encounter with which God blesses us. Ah, it is like being wrapped in a soft blanket of God’s loving energy. Love impacts our mental and physical well-being. Without exaggeration, we can declare that it essential for our survival. Indeed, it mysteriously touches our emotions, but it also affects our body. Notice how much better you feel physically and how your mood improves when you receive a hug or affection, or when you have expressed your love to someone or participate in an act of love? Loving and being loved actually improves our level of health.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


"What will I get out of it?" That, unfortunately, is an automatic question when anything is presented to us. A google on the subject of “personal success” will get you over twenty-six million hits. Googling “servanthood” will bring you one-tenth of that number of hits.
The difference reveals how self-centered we are. Our Master, Jesus, bored to that precise deficiency in all of us when he washed the disciples’ feet. And Peter, the natural leader of this group of young men, represents our own assumptions about who is really great. Peter thought it had to be those who are customarily honored by position. Jesus illustrated greatness and success as acts of serving other people, disregarding our own benefits. This means for us that we reconfigure our definitions of success to treasured acts of love through self-denial.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Three days after I smoked my first cigarettes, my Dad confronted me. I was twelve at the time and appreciated how he spoke quietly (not always typical of Dad) and persuasively. He forgave me and did not punish me. His forgiveness showed me that he loved me. When the prodigal son returned home, after squandering his entire heritage, his father pardoned him. That was love. Our heavenly Father knows how many times we stepped over the line but took the punishment Himself in Jesus, and forgives us as we ask Him. Pardon is never deserved; it is always an act of mercy. We receive this merciful gesture from God every day. We are asked by the Lord, God, to extend pardon to all those who violate our rights and mistreat us, and that is authentic, life-proven love.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Love is a many spleandored thing. It has countless ways of expressing itself.
Being hospitable is one of them. Willingness to share ourselves and what we have mirrors our hearts. We make sojourners to feel special when they come into our homes, are fully accepted, given the best food we have in the house, and if need be, are invited to sleep in one of our good beds. I would not argue that hospitality doesn't cost. Still, giving to a fellow spiritual traveler should never be seen as an imposition. It is quite the opposite. To provide comfort, sustenance and affirmation to someone bounces back as a pleasure for us as much as it does when we give our children a gift and see the sheer joy they express in receiving the gift. The sojourner may be a traveling missionary, a Sunday school teacher, a marginalized couple, or a lonely single. All can use some special treatment.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Think about it.
Most everything in life has a limited life span, and is temporarily useful. The value of love toward each other trumps all other virtues because it does not experience ruin, does not erode, does not collapse, or discontinue. Wisdom and prophesies, for example will stop, eloquent speech and even the gift of tongues will one day no longer be needed; even knowledge, which we prize so highly, will be passé. And in everyday practical terms, you just cannot go wrong in being a carrier of and practitioner of love. Bringing love into any circumstance is like beaming sunshine into a dark, dank, depressing, cloud-filled world. Ask the initiator of agape love, namely Jesus Christ to place in you His radical kind of love. It lasts.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


First impressions last.
We forget that others size us up by how we greet them, just like we draw conclusions about people within the first minute of meeting them. What we say when we meet someone is a very small part of that impression.

Words alone do not convey love. “Hi, how are you?” may or may not be discerned as a caring gesture. But if you add direct eye contact, a gentle smile of both eyes and mouth, it will be picked up as genuine interest. Bring a firm shake of the hand with the above and now you have even a better chance of communicating genuine interest. Touch, though not all cultures or individuals appreciate a pat on the shoulder or a squeeze of the arm, often is associated with love. Then if the greeter can include some little gesture of kindness-hanging someone’s coat, a cold drink, an introduction to someone else, the new frien will feel cared for. Time taken to ask a question or two and the use of the person’s name will also make the connection meaningful. A kiss (touch of cheeks) if that is allowable in your culture, is a beautiful practice that shows genuine, personal interest.
Be real and greet from the heart.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


You might wonder - how will anyone know if there's love in this heart of mine? It's not the only way, but they will find love if they see patience. Let's look at this further.Patience breaths unhurried tolerance. It allows for the other person’s imperfections. Such a person may fail to be punctual, to speak respectfully, to respond civilly, to acknowledge gratefully. He might act aggressively or behave annoyingly. He may lash out without provocation. But love will give him time. Time does not heal all wounds, but love makes room for the person to change. Patience is love. It is love that understands that no one is perfect and that some persons began life with poor models, with a lack of teaching or a warped upbringing. Or the person could have made early wrong assumptions about how life should work. Patient love overlooks a whole array of irritations.Perhaps our love could be a bridge for such a person to find some healing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010



What we want out of love is that it will not abandon us when when we screw up.
That's why we should hang in there with others when it's not easy- like Mother Teresa

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway!
If you do good, people will accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives.
Do good anyway!
If you are successful, you will win
false friends and enemies.
Succeed anyway!
The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway!
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway!
What you spend years building may be
destroyed overnight.
Build anyway!
People really need help
but may attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway!
Give the world the best you have
and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway!
Mother Teresa

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


"Love believes all things" or "always trusts." That's what the Living Bible says. Love expects the best to come from people. To believe in others as a basic approach to life is mostly viewed as being unrealistic if not naïve. Basic trust in people, however, rewards you many times, whereas being suspicious blocks out healthy relationships. Jesus Christ, the most perfect of humans and also the most maligned, selected and workd with Judas for three years. He must have know the inner thoughts of this hypocrite, yet he allowed him to hang around. We do not possess the insight of Jesus Christ. So our love must be willing to give the benefit of the doubt, because it is very harmful to relationships to assume the worst.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Hate gets even. Love not only tolerates, it shields others.
"Love always protects." The original Greek verb translated into English as "protect," means to cover, to pass over in silence, to keep confidential. It's like a roof. When we want to stop discussion of something we may say that we want to 'put a lid on it.' Love throws a cloak of silence over what is displeasing in another person. "Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs." (Proverbs 10:12) "Love covers over a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8) Love finds a way to shelter the wrongdoer from exposure and condemnation. This is how God has treated us. "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." (Psalm 32:1) Nowhere is this more illustrated than in the incident of the woman taken in the act of adultery (John 8:1-11). Jesus bowed down and wrote with his finger on the ground. He who knows everything, knew even what the scribes and the Pharisees knew before they came tattling to him. They were out for blood. Jesus protected the woman. How do we do with shielding others?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Some ways we present ourselves are a negative influence on our appeal to others. Self-promotion (boasting), for example, and love cannot co-exist. Self-promotion begs for personal attention whereas love steers the mind the other person. The words “I” and “me” riddle the sentences of boasters but the one who loves uses the words “you” and “we” often. Boasters avoid events where mostly listening is required. Ones who love consider listening a pleasant consideration of the other person’s worth. The self-promoter participates if he is guaranteed public recognition. She recoils from following Jesus because she finds it hard to direct glory to Him. Me-centric people use others for their own edification but soon find they have few friends. They drive away those whom they try to impress. Those who love have many friends because they refuse to exploit but rather look for ways to build up their friends. Track your conversattions. Do you tend to speak mostly about yourself or is the other person the focus?

Thursday, January 14, 2010


If ever we must get out of ourselves and respond to a need, it is now with the horrific disaster in Haiti. Here’s our chance to set aside self-inspection, self-promotion and self-protection and see the much greater needs in this world. We do not yet know the number of lost lives, but we do know it will be staggering. We also know this small nation was already among the very poorest in the world and now has lost what little stability it had.
Water and food supply lines are cut. Bridges have crumbled. Hospitals, what is left of them, cannot begin to service the multitude of wounded. Roads have become rubble. Survivors sleep outside. Fear and bewilderment reign. The result, unless we get to serious prayer and support, will be starvation and desperation. This is the time to shelve our personal interests and give extravagantly to those homeless, helpless people in Haiti. “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” (James 2:18)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Being loveable is not all about making yourself into a star or having a bubbly personality, or possessing the ability to speak well. Some time ago a handsome, well-spoken guy approached me about his marriage problems. He seemed sincere and could explain well the difficulties in the relationship he had with this wife. The wife was domineering. She had no clue about money management. She made up situations to hide her gambling problem. She brought huge debts into the marriage, which she had not mentioned before the wedding. And she gave him no privacy at all. Now he found himself saddled with an intolerable life commitment. I liked him and felt sorry for him.
Until I got the rest of the story. He had had an affair. He kept important information about his lies, manipulation and personal lifestyle from me. I could not trust him because he had been dishonest. He was a deceiver. Being honest and reliable still outranks all other outward qualities when it comes to relationships. Integrity should be high on our list of priorities in 2010.