Saturday, July 2, 2016


We live in enemy territory.  As the old Gospel song put it, "This world is not our home, I'm just a-passing through."  As we focus on getting Hope into our everyday lives, we are reminded that the stuff that the things that mess with hope are not of God; in fact, are things that Jesus came to take away from us.

The world is full of advice. We are told to "forget about it", to "think positively" at best, and at worst to "let it all hang out," or  "eat this, drink this, smoke this", or expect a new person, relationship, job, home, vacation, etc, to make it all better.  The underlying problem is that all this advice is something we are expected to do at the human level, with human strength.  And the problem with that is that the focus is on our weak and fallible selves.

I am becoming more and more convinced that we, as creatures of the Creator, are not created for this world.  The best things in this world point not as much to themselves as to the glory of God. We are capable of much better than human-level lives,  but not in our own strength.  God can do amazing things if we let Him--but we cannot be the judge of what is really best for us.  We are not "saved" from pain and struggle, as much as having the spiritual strength available to get us through it. My mom went through six years of recurring cancer, and it was very tough on all of us.  I was 17 when it ended. and one of the things I remember is her attitude; her willingness to make the best of each day as it came, whatever it was, and the number of people from our church telling me that they were helped by watching how she handled it all. Dad and I were blessed by the underlying presence of God, shown not just in family and friends, more importantly, my constant dependence on Romans 8, especially v.28, that all things work together for good for those who know God--but it never says that any of the things are themselves "good".

We are also capable of great evil, again beyond our ability to control.  Unfortunately, it is possible to misuse even the name of God, with the goal to advance your own interests and agenda without submitting to His commandments to show His love.  We live in a world of rampant selfishness and self-will; greed for power in so many ramifications.  Some of our human ideas of love are not healthy nor Godly. We can get pulled into this if we get in our own way, and let the hope-killers mess us up, not to mention the other people that are affected. 

The  best defense against being pulled off the path of hope is described by St Paul in Ephesians 6:10 "Draw your strength from the Lord and His mighty power." He gives this image of our being in a battle, and
needing the proper armor to hold the high ground.  Ephesians 6:13-17 gives a catalog of the tools available.  In most cases, I've found that God supplies what we need when we need it, but this is something for us to have ready before we need it--because as long as we are in this world, we will need it.

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