Hope … out of Hopelessness… (April 2020 Update) 

Nothing is worse than a feeling of hopelessness! When the doctor comes out of the operating room and says, “I’m sorry. There’s nothing more we can do.” It is a feeling of hopelessness. Sometimes, we have tried everything and nothing works – in fact, things even got worse. And this feeling of hopelessness can overwhelm us. That’s how the disciples felt on the sabbath after Jesus was crucified. They had put all their hopes on Jesus. Not just their hopes – the hope of Israel and the hope of all mankind rested in the person of Jesus. But now, all those hopes were gone. Their long-awaited Messiah was dead. Their teacher and their friend was in the tomb. All hope was lost!  

That’s how all the disciples and the followers of Jesus felt after the crucifixion. We see this most clearly in Luke 24. Luke records the encounter of Jesus with two disciples on the Emmaus Road on the first Easter morning. They were talking about the events that had just occurred and they were sad, they were discouraged, they were without hope (Luke 24:17). But they had a glimmer of hope – some women had returned from the tomb and said the tomb was open and the body was gone. The women even said that an angel told them that Jesus had risen from the dead! (Luke 24:22-24).   Continue Reading »

Home At Last! J. C. Ryle

Home At Last! 

by J. C. Ryle

There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. —Rev. 21:27 

Brethren, there can be no question about the place described in our text: it is heaven itself, that holy city, the new Jerusalem, which is yet to be revealed. 

I begin this my last Sunday among you by speaking of heaven.  Before I depart and leave you in the wilderness of this world, I would dwell a little on that Canaan God has promised to them that love Him; there it is the last and best wish of my heart you may all go; there it is my consolation to believe I shall at all events meet some of you again.  Continue Reading »

Heaven … (March 2020 Update) 

This past year, a number of dear friends and family members have gone to be with the Lord. While each death is difficult for us because our sweet fellowship here on earth has come to an end, the promise of heaven not only gives us hope for the future but it causes us to rejoice even in the face of death. Because, death for the believer is not final. Death is but one stepping-stone into the presence of the Lord and His eternal reward. Death for the believer is heaven in all its glory! 

Revelation 21 tells us much about heaven, but still much is veiled in mystery and majesty. But we can see the following truths from these chapters.  Continue Reading »

“Greater Love Than This …” (February 2020 Update) 

Even though it is very different from the original, we have enjoyed watching the new “Lost in Space” series on Netflix. The storylines have been riveting and full of action. But what we have liked the most was a focus on family relationships and the fact that love changes people (we won’t give you any specific examples – no spoilers!). 

There are many theories about the Atonement of Jesus in the history of the church. Most of them have elements of truth to them. The Substitutionary Atonement theory reminds us that Jesus died in our place. He became our substitute! This concept is seen throughout the Bible where a lamb is substituted as a temporary payment for sins. Jesus became one of us so that he could die in our place by being our substitute. “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”  Continue Reading »

One of the things I love about college football is the Bowl Season. It is unique in sports to college football. It allows many teams, even some with 6-6 records to finish their year with an opportunity for a special “championship” moment. Other sports have a playoff system that ultimately has many losers and only one winner. But, in college football, many teams will end the year with a special moment in a College Bowl Game.  

But I also love that, every year, every team starts the new year with the same record – 0 wins and 0 losses. Even an undefeated National Champion starts the year in the fall with the same record as a team that didn’t win even one game the previous year. And coaches of National Championships often have the hardest time. They have to constantly remind their players that this is a new season and they need to forget the past and win again this season if they want to be champions again. Teams that “rest on their laurels” will have a hard time making it back to the playoffs again. In college football, teams have to start each new season by “forgetting what lies behind.”  Continue Reading »

God Sent Forth His Son… (December 2019 Update)

In Galatians 4:4-6, Paul gives us a summary of the Christmas story: “In the fulness of time, God sent forth His son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His son into your hearts, crying ‘Abba, Father.’” When we think of Christmas, we often turn to familiar stories surrounding the birth of Jesus. But here, Paul reminds us that Christmas is more than just a “babe in a manger.” Continue Reading »

Thankfulness … (November 2019 Update)  

We listen to a lot of old songs in our family. One of our favorites is the soundtrack from “Fiddler on the Roof” (which is actually based on stories Called “Tevye the Milkman” by a Jewish Ukrainian author, Sholem Aleichem). We love all the songs but especially “To Life” (L’Chaim). One verse sums up the biblical attitude toward thankfulness: “God would like us to be joyful even though our hearts lie panting on the floor; How much more can we be joyful, when there’s really something to be joyful for.” 

As believers, we have so much to be thankful for – even when things are not going well. In his book, The Godly Man’s Picture Drawn with a Scripture Pencil, Thomas Watson says, “Praise and thanksgiving is the work of heaven and he [the godly man] begins that work here which he will always be doing in heaven. The Jews have a saying – the world subsists by three things: the law, the worship of God and thankfulness. As if where thankfulness was missing, one of the pillars of the world had been taken away and it was ready to fall.” The psalmist says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Psalm 107:2) and “it is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord” (Psalm 92:1). As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday in America, it is good for us to think biblically about our thankfulness. Here are some thoughts from Thomas Watson about godliness and thankfulness.  Continue Reading »