Author Archives: hopescribe

The Ultimate Safe Shelter

 

It’s time to bring the Communion Table to the kitchen table.

 

In a time of crisis and uncertainty, we’re being told to stay in our homes. As we follow the directive, let’s make sure our home is a place where all who reside within it can truly find safe shelter, peace, comfort, and hope.

 

While you’re looking for activities to pass the time, start by choosing a Source that will set the tone.

 

Read the Psalms that speak of our Father’s great care for us…

The Great Shepherd in Psalm 23.

The Angel who camps around us, and the God Who is near us in Psalm 34.

The Refuge and Fortress of Psalm 46, Who invites us to ‘be still and know that He is God.’

The Shelter, Refuge, and Rescuer of Psalm 91.

The One who watches over us continually, and is our shade and helper in Psalm 121.

The One Who knit us together in our mothers’ womb, Who is with us no matter where we go, and who knows every single thought and word and sigh and cry in Psalm 139.

He is the same One Who became our Passover Lamb, our sacrifice, our redeemer, our protector and our hope.

 

Passover celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.

This year, Passover will begin while we are in this season of “shelter in place”.

In Luke 22 we read of ‘The Last Supper’, where the sacrament of Communion was instituted by Jesus, as He described how His Body would be broken and His Blood would be shed for our deliverance.

 

Bring the Communion Table, to your kitchen table.

 

Use whatever solid food you have that can be “broken” to represent the bread, the Body of Jesus Christ, broken for you.

Be reminded “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5)

 

Use whatever juice or liquid you have on hand to represent the Cup, the Blood of Jesus Christ, shed for you.

For the remission of sins, for without the shedding of Jesus’ Blood there is no forgiveness of our sin (Hebrews 9:22)

And, to remind us of His ability to deliver from plagues, as with Moses, who observed the Passover with the children of Israel. (Genesis 12:7,13 & Hebrews 11:28).

 

Our world may be changing.

The Blood has never lost its power…..and never will.

The Blood can wash away your sin, make you whole again, like no other fount we know.

We may be sacrificing, yet what a sacrifice – that saved our lives – the Blood that is our victory.

 

The Prince of Peace is our source of peace in these troubled times.

 

Bring the Communion Table to your table, your home, your family, your heart.

 

In doing so, we just might create the ultimate ‘safe shelter’ within every single home.

 

Shalom

 

 


In God We Trust?

So much is being written and spoken about a presidential candidate’s suggestion of removing non-profit status from religious organizations who refuse to affirm certain lifestyles held by many as being outside the preferred will of God, outside of Scriptural definitions of marriage and sexuality. Many are beginning to hit an almost panic tone, questioning their church or ministry’s ability to survive if this becomes reality.

 

While the proposition before us may cause hardship, its implementation is not the greatest tragedy the Church will face.

 

The greater tragedy will be when we see churches and ministries compromise their Biblical values, to gain favor with the government.

 

This may be the best thing to happen to the Church in decades.

 

It will purify our motives, reveal in Whom we truly trust, and leave clear footprints for others to follow. Will our steps be among the few who forge forward in holiness, or will we wander backward into compromise with the masses, choosing the easier, broader path?

 

If you are tempted to say your church or ministry cannot survive without the favor of the government, be honest enough with yourself  –  and others  –  to admit you don’t really believe the God you say you serve is able to take care of you.

 

Look through scripture from Genesis to Revelation, and see what happened any time  –  every time  –  God’s people chose to trust Egypt or Babylon or anything / anyone in the earth, rather than Jehovah Jireh, their provider.

 

Follower of Jesus: Give, because He has given to you. Donate to places and causes that lift up and honor His Name without apology. And, do so because your God commands you to give and He promises to reward, not because the world system chooses to honor you.

 

A donation given only for a tax deduction isn’t a gift given, in faith believing God will honor. It’s more of a strategic investment with a guaranteed return on your taxes.

 

Ministry leaders: if this does, in fact, become reality, we are about to face one of the absolute best times of testing and proving in our lifetime. Welcome it. Embrace it. Allow your faith to be strengthened in it.

 

Storms reveal our foundations.

Who, or what, are we truly depending on?

 

We need heart surgery, and we need it now. May the Great Physician pierce all of our hearts with His holiness, His power, and – through Holy Spirit power  –  purify us all, that we may serve Him and His Kingdom better.

 

May we allow His winnowing fork to do its work in our hearts and our ministries, separating the wheat from the chaff and leaving us all more purified in Him. (Matthew 3:12, Luke 3:17)

 

Otherwise, the sickle just might be held by secular hands, leaving us open to a watching world as we reveal in whom we truly trust.

 

May God receive all the glory, when His purposes and plans prevail no matter what resistance tries to come against Him.

 

For King and Kingdom…

 


Ignore the Crows

 

Anyone moving forward in life has them.

 

All who seek to grow spiritually will see them.

 

Anyone desiring to become more and more like Jesus, to step into the fullness of God’s call on their life will hear them.

 

The voices of the crows.

 

The dissenters, detractors, accusers and condemners.

 

The more you step forward, the louder they scream. The higher you choose to fly, the more vehement their accusations. The bolder your stand in faith, the more violent their condemnation. The deeper your heart breaks for what matters to the Cross, the more venomous their descriptions of just why you are the last one whom God could use.

 

Ignore the crows.

 

As with the eagle, so too with your flight.  Crows operate as a primary detractor to the flight of an eagle. Nipping at its tail feathers, cawing with an unpleasant, unholy litany of verbal complaint, flying around as a distraction.

 

The eagle’s response? Fly higher and higher, away from the crow, until it reaches the higher, thinner air where crows cannot survive.

 

Let them nip, complain, distract, discredit, reject. You are called to something higher, by Someone higher..

 

Eagles never turn to address the crow  –  they simply fly on, focused on a higher goal.

 

Fly on, my friend.

 

Mount up on wings as an eagle, run and not grow weary, walk and do not faint.

 

Ignore the crows, follow your King.

 

 


Billboard Theology

Traveling again.

A favorite thing, cleanses the emotional & spiritual palette plus provides connection with family, friends, and animals across the country.

Saw a billboard I’ve read many times before. Shook my head again at its incomplete message.

Wondered about how some do church the same way.

Billboard asks “Does advertising work?”, then claims “Just did!”

As if reading a message really means it ‘worked’.

Traveling hundreds of thousands of road miles over the years means my mind has taken in thousands of messages.

Yet, can only remember one that sparked a response, a visit to the place being advertised. Effectiveness percentage is somewhere in the 0.0001 range.

Truthfully, not very successful.

 

Yet….how many hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people can recite John 3:16? Tell the Christmas Story? Recant the message of Good Friday and Easter Sunday?

Now, compare that to how many have a true, life-giving relationship with the Author of the stories. How many lives truly mirror the Rabbi, of Whom they claim to be a disciple?

Dare to dig deeper.

How much of our ‘church experience’ is geared toward remembering catchy phrases, song lyrics, saying “I was there!” for a certain event….

….compared to honestly evaluating our 24/7 lives by the measuring stick of the life of Jesus?

If true religion is to ‘care for the widows and orphans in their need, and keep oneself unspotted from the world’, how much of our religion is true?

If what He requires of us is to ‘act justly, love mercy, walk humbly….’, how many of us are doing what He requires?

If they will know we belong to Jesus because of our love,  if His high priestly prayer was for us to be “one”, as He and His Father (and ours) are one, is the world really seeing something that works?

Or are we feeding them cheap billboard theology, that can ‘parrot’ the principles, yet refuses to live lives that are changed by the Word?

Does advertising work? Sometimes.

Not nearly as much as truly being transformed by the power of Emmanuel, God with us, living lives that truly mirror the One we say is our Lord.

He IS Lord, whether we serve Him or not.

How we live reveals if He truly is Lord of our lives, or if we are parrots spouting billboard theology that simply clutters the landscape of life.

 

 

 

 


Grace For The Broken

 

He was in a position of authority, of power and influence.

 

He abused that authority to receive sexual gratification from an innocent woman.

 

He tried to cover up his sin, first swearing others to silence. Later, after being confronted face-to-face with his error, he chose repentance.

 

Many didn’t understand his season of brokenness, nor how quickly he chose to go ‘back to work’ after another season of prayer.  God, however, knew his heart….and considered him a man after His own heart.

 

He was David. Shepherd boy, adulterer, murderer, King.

 

A radical religious extremist spent much of his adult life persecuting, torturing, killing followers of Jesus. A terrorist to lead all terrorists, religious radical to lead all radicals. Feared so much that even the strongest men of faith in his town dared not confront him. Then Jesus pierced his heart and soul with Holy Truth, righteous fire, divine inspiration.

 

He was Saul, turned Paul, who became one of history’s strongest teachers of doctrine, life, and faith. By his own admission, he continued to have a ‘thorn in the flesh’ that was a messenger of satan sent to torment him greatly, even while he taught on living a holy life. He knew full well how much he depended on God’s great grace to continue serving his Lord.

 

And there’s the impulsive, hot-headed one who was so full of himself, he had the audacity to rebuke Jesus, prompting Jesus to say his actions were offensive and the work of satan. (Matthew 16:21-23) He made vows to be faithful even unto death, yet cowered in fear less than 24 hours later, denying his faith and his Lord with the language of a lost and angry man.

 

Yet God, in His great mercy, restored Peter and commissioned him to a critical position in the ministry of the early Church. (John 21:15-19)

 

Scripture is filled with stories of broken, sinful people whom God chose to love, restore, and use greatly for His Kingdom. History records hundreds of flawed vessels who were given Holy Spirit power to teach, inspire, and spark revivals.

 

What if we took the most vehement, angry, sin-filled moment of your life, and published it on the internet? Had it covered by national news services? Allowed those whom you have hurt the most, write what you had done to them…..so everyone could see? How many of you, of us, would still be in our ministry positions? Or how many of us would be removed because we were now a liability to the organizations where we serve?

 

We must have high standards of accountability.

We must enforce boundaries, guidelines, safeguards of life & behavior.

We must speak up for those who have been hurt, violated, victimized so they can find healing.

 

We must also refuse to use phrases like “they should never do ministry again”.   If they refuse to repent, refuse to receive discipline, refuse to change their ways, then yes….they disqualify themselves from being used by God for ministry.

 

As ministry leaders, we must pave the way for repentance, reconciliation, and restoration. It’s the Scriptural way.

 

It’s the Jesus way.

 

Because Jesus uses the broken to accomplish His Holy work.

 

Broken people like me.

 

And like you.

 

 

Christ followers, don’t forget the grace needed to rescue you.

 

It’s that same grace that is available to absolutely every single person on the face of the earth.

 

Our God has grace for the broken, pours out forgiveness on the fallen, restores the repentant to positions of power and influence in His Kingdom.

 

Let it be said of us as well.

 

 


Useless Diagnosis

 

Imagine a medical team.

Asking questions, running tests.

Using the best information and technology to determine the root cause of an illness.

An answer is given, clarifying the sickness.

 

Then, the medical team walks away.

No action plan, no remedy, no healing.

 

While diagnosis of the core issue is critical, diagnosis without action is useless.

 

Now imagine your own prayers.

 

Seeking to understand, pleading for answers.

And the Father, through His Word, His Spirit, His people provides a diagnosis.

 

“Grappling with anger and bitterness? Choose to forgive.”

“Struggling financially? Tithe, and make wise financial choices.”

“Feeling far from God? Choose to spend time in the Word daily, and pray often.”

“Seeking purpose? Share the Gospel. Feed the hungry. Shelter the homeless. Visit the prisoners”

“Identify sin in your actions? Repent. For real, repent and turn from those actions.”

Diagnosis without action is useless.

In fact, it can become more dangerous if we ignore what we’ve been shown.

 

Seek deep enough to discover the heart of the issue.

Stop long enough to begin the healing process.

Step forward different, forgiven, healed.


If You Could See

 

If you could see

Behind the scenes

Into the private corners of a life fully committed

To a Holy calling in an unholy world,

 

If you could listen in the silence of solitude

Beyond the noise of propaganda

Past the clamor of popular opinion

Deeper than the shifting sands of emotion,

 

 

You’d hear cries of agony

Offered long after dark.

 

You’d see tears of grief

Falling in silence.

 

 

 

You would see the weight of the burden, the magnitude of the mission.

Souls, lives, with eternity in the balance.

 

 

On your ears would fall offensive taunts, piercing accusations, hollow temptations

From an enemy who, although defeated, refuses to be silent.

 

 

You would see the Lover of our soul, the crucified and risen Savior, step in.

Piece by shattered piece, He picks up all of the brokenness….His own hands bleeding from the process.

With love He reclaims, restores, redeems.

 

You would hear His gentle whispers of love and affirmation. Claiming this life for His own purpose. For His glory. To reach His children.

 

Deep in the heart you would see a solid, immovable foundation that is beyond anything this world can offer. Immovable. Unshakeable. Determined. Relentless.

 

Held together by His Word and His Spirit.

 

 

If you could really see behind the scenes

You would not see the messenger

 

You would see the Master, His masterpiece, His message.