Tag: Hope

Seven: Dear Philadelphia

Seven: Dear Philadelphia

Encouragment
Philadelphia Pennsylvania is the home of the Liberty Bell, an important symbol of American history. The famously cracked bell was originally installed in the Pennsylvania Statehouse where the Continental Congress met to hammer out the Declaration of Independence. The inscription on the bell reads, "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof LEV XXV X” A quote from Leviticus 25:10. Over the years it has often been used as a symbol of hope for those under oppression. It is that feeling of powerlessness and the promise of liberty that connects the Liberty Bell with the ancient city of Philadelphia and Jesus sixth letter to the churches of Asia. Jesus says, “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key
One Step

One Step

Encouragment
Faith is often like taking a single step. It really doesn’t matter the landscape, a city street, a wooded path, a lonely road, or along the shore. After we’ve taken one step in any of those places and compare what was to what is, not much changed. The lamppost is still at the same location. The car, the cactus, the electrical pole, the weed, the seashell are all where they were. But something has changed with that one step, and that change means everything. Consider the Psalmist words, “Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” (Psalm 25:4–5, NLT) Much about our growing in Christ is like walking along a path. Each step requires faith and hope. But our
The Christmas Bell

The Christmas Bell

Christmas
“Hello,” Matthew called out as he opened the door to his great-grandparents home. “Matty, Is that you?” Grandpa Lou called out. “What are you doing in town?” Matthew wandered through the kitchen where Grandma Leah was already working on supper and towards the living room where Grandpa sat watching one of his shows. “Sit down and tell me how many you knocked down today,” Grandpa said. “Let me call mom quick and I’ll be right there,” Matt replied. During football season the activity bus from Eureka would drop Matthew off in Goodfield. He’d then walk to one of his grandparents to phone home and let mom know where to pick him up. After a quick call home, Matthew sat down on the sofa with a plate of oatmeal cookies Grandma had handed him. “Sorry Grandpa, football is long over.” Matthew be
What Do You Have?

What Do You Have?

Encouragment
Ever know one of those people that carry around an arsenal of maybes? They’re the ones that when faced with a need rummage around in their purse or pocket or car and procure whatever is needed. Need a tissue, a nail clipper, a flashlight, a paperclip, a stick of gum, or something for the kids to do? They’ve got you covered. Why do they carry all that stuff around?  You never know, maybe someone will need something. One day Peter and John were walking to the Temple to pray. As it happened they passed by a beggar, a man crippled from birth who sat near the entrance. Unlike today when street beggars are suspect and we expect our tax dollars to take care of them, Jewish law and culture expected folks to help out others. Peter and John approached the beggar and demanded his attention. The be
A New and Living Way

A New and Living Way

Encouragment
Reading the Old Testament law can be a difficult journey. Imagine worshiping in those days. God seemed to be about as inaccessible as the President of the United States. Only a high priest could enter the holy place, and that only once a year after being thoroughly cleansed and having offered sacrifices for his sin. That was then. Jesus fulfilled the law’s requirement once and for all. What was once impossible is now made possible through Jesus. The writer of Hebrew’s observes, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,” (Hebrews 10:19–20, NASB95) The old way was made up of ritual, observations of days, and limitations. But Jesus has opened up a n
The Babylon Blues

The Babylon Blues

Encouragment, Worship
Imagine this. Your country has been overrun and conquered by a foreign power. Those not killed during the siege are chained together and marched far from home as slaves. You are expected to merge into their culture, their ideals, their way of life, and to worship their gods. Everything that once brought joy has been turned to dust. Where’s B.B. King and Lucille to sing the blues when you need them? While those Jewish folks enslaved to a foreign conqueror did not know the rhythms and soulful sound of modern day blues they did sing about their despair and their hope. Consider Psalm 42. As the deer pants for the water brooks So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;  When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night,
God’s Valentine Card for You

God’s Valentine Card for You

Encouragment, love
Love.  That one word is used in many different ways and describes a broad range of emotions.  It is the stated motivation behind many actions, both good and bad. Love can selflessly bless or be misused to selfishly control and manipulate another. Love is often used as the excuse or justification for our actions. Love is celebrated, yet it can seem fleeting and difficult to hold on to. Some say that love can be fallen into and back out of while others demonstrate love’s life long commitment. Love can be said without feeling and felt without expression. But, love is best when it is both felt and expressed. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to ju
The Race: Get Set!

The Race: Get Set!

Series, The Race
This article is the second part of a sermon series based on 1 Peter 1:13-25.  The metaphor for these articles are the starter’s command of “on your marks”, “get set”, and “go”. The first article can be found here. The Race: Get Set! Once again the runners are at the line. At the call of “on your marks,” they have set their feet, placed their hands, and taken a moment of calm before the call to “get set”.  In the race of following Christ, we equated this moment to 1 Peter 1:13-16 where Peter instructs his readers to “prepare their minds for action”, “keep a sober spirit”, “fix their hope on grace through the revelation of Christ”, and “be holy”.  Now comes the call to “get set!”  The runners snap to their launch position. They raise from their almost prayer-like stance to one of readiness
The Race: On Your Mark

The Race: On Your Mark

Series, The Race
Some of you may have noticed that Lambchow has been pretty quiet this week.  Well, I was blessed to give the sermon this morning at New Life Community Church. This meant however that sermon prep time needed to eat into article writing time.  To make up for the quiet week I'm publishing the text of the sermon.  It's longer than my usual articles but, like always, my hope and prayer is that you will find it encouraging, challenging, and inspiring.  - Dale The Race: On Your Mark The scene I’d like you to keep in mind this morning is that of a race.  Specifically, that moment when the starter calls out “On Your Mark.”  Unlike “Get Set”, which coils the spring, or “Go” which releases the energy, “On Your Mark” is a moment of focused calm. When the starter calls “on your mark” the runners plac
Sally’s Lost Doll

Sally’s Lost Doll

Short Stories
“Mommy, Lucy’s lost.” a tearful Sally reported. Mom stopped layering the lasagna, gave Sally a quick hug, and sat her on the counter. “Tell me all about it,” Mom said. “Where have you looked?” “I’ve looked everywhere,” Sally replied with a sigh.   “Go on.” Mom said as she added another layer of cheese. “I’ve looked in my bedroom, the bathroom, the TV room, I’ve looked everywhere. Could Rufus have taken her?” Just then, a three year old golden lab wanders into the kitchen. “Well,” Mom said, “lets just ask.  Rufus, did you take Lucy?”  Rufus just stood there with a wagging tail and expectant eyes.  “Rufus looks pretty innocent to me.” Mom said placing the finished lasagna in the oven.  “How about we go and look again?” “Okay,” Sally replied. Mom lifted Sally from the counter and carrie
Freeze Frame: a Faulty Assumption

Freeze Frame: a Faulty Assumption

Encouragment, Seeing
Ever have this experience? You meet someone in a store, a restaurant, or out on the street. You know that you know them, but can’t quite place them or recall their name. Then you suddenly realize that it's the receptionist for a company you often visit, or the clerk at the convenience store where you buy coffee, or a teacher from a few years ago. We knew that knew them, but because they were not in their normal setting or dressed as we are used to seeing them we struggle to place them. It’s almost as if life is paused for others when we are not around. Stopped in a freeze frame like a paused TV show. Of course, it isn’t but, we often perceive it that way. This tendency spills over into other avenues. In a similar way, there is an assumption that people have no past, that they have alway
Misplaced Hope

Misplaced Hope

Encouragment, Hope
There is a military philosophy called overwhelming force.  Essentially, the philosophy states that you bring enough firepower and manpower so that any battle becomes a “sure thing” instead of an even contest.  Yet, history has many instances where a smaller force trounced a larger, more powerful army.  The Bible also contains several examples such as David and Goliath, the Battle of Jehoshaphat, and Gideon’s army, to name a few.  How did these men triumph against overwhelming odds? Let's look at Psalm 33:13-17. The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; From His dwelling place He looks out On all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works. The king is not saved by a mighty army; A warrior is not delivered b