Tag Archives: hope

Preparing a Place

JusJoJan 30 January 2022

When I heard I was pregnant for the first time, I went straight from the doctor’s room to a department store and bought a tiny babygro and a pair of booties. We were so excited! My mother fished out her knitting needles and bought soft pastel wool. As time went by, we started preparing a nursery. There is so much equipment that a baby needs! We prepared the room with happiness and excitement. We even bought a fluffy star that had a recording of a mother’s heart beat to make the baby feel at home and secure.

Image by Pixabay

My friends at that time were in a similar stage of life and reacted in the same way to the news of their pregnancy. Only the best for Their child!

Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John14:3 NIV)

With as much excitement and anticipation as parents prepare a place for their expected baby, Jesus prepares a place for us. He knows what will comfort us, make us happy and make us feel welcome in our new home. Only the best will do for His child!

While parents are happily preparing a nursery for their baby, God is at work behind the scenes preparing the baby for his new home. The lungs need to be developed enough to be able to breathe this strange atmosphere. The baby needs to develop to readiness for birth.

In the same way, God is working with us to prepare us for heaven. As a line from that famous Christmas Carol, “Away in a manger,” says, …”and fit us for heaven to live with Thee there.”

The trials and tests we face are all part of the preparation. Paul says about suffering, “…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5: 3b-5 NIV)

It’s not only suffering as we understand it, but disappointments, irritations, rejection, set-backs, dealing with persistent health issues or struggles, that grow our perseverance, character and hope.

God is the One who does the preparing. We can be sure that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, it is comforting to know that You are preparing a place in heaven for me and You will welcome me one day. May I have Your point of view to be able to regard suffering and trials as part of Your loving preparation. I’m not there yet. Amen.

Pandemics and Plagues

I read an interesting piece on our church’s website this morning called the Plague of Plagues by Michael Philips. It is quite long but thought provoking and very biblical and it turned my thoughts once more in the direction of viruses and sin.

I am a microbiologist by training and I learned a bit of virology, as well as a bit of bacteriology, mycology, immunology, biochemistry and assorted other -ologies. I have often linked in my mind sin to some kind of infection so let’s play and pretend sin is a virus. Unlike earthly viruses, this one infects the soul as well as the body.

Patients zero were Adam and Eve. The virus quickly spread through mother to child transmission as well as contact with other infected people and now everybody has got it.

The symptoms are obvious. Paul gives a list in 1 Cor 6:9-10. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? He then goes on to list some of the symptoms:- sexual immorality, idolatory, adultery, theft, greed, slander. There are other symptoms and they all fall into the category of ignoring God, His commands, His gifts, His love. Instead people want to do things their own way making themselves into gods.

Society down the ages has done their best to treat the symptoms, just like we might take decongestants for our cold. It will not cure us, only take away the symptoms. The Ten Commandments were a set of laws designed to treat the symptoms in society and model what cured people might look like. Other societies have laws and customs that do the same. With varying degrees of success they try to limit murder, theft, and antisocial behaviour with punishments which deter many from giving in to the tendencies which are symptomatic of the infection.

There is a cure. Think of it as a blood transfusion. …and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7b NIV)

Adapted from a Image by Ahmad Ardity from Pixabay

If we get a blood transfusion with blood that contains antibodies to the virus, we will slowly get better as the virus is neutralised. It doesn’t happen overnight, but slowly we get better. This is a once off treatment. However, to be totally clear of the virus and to prevent re-infection, we need our bodies to make more antibodies. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to enable this process. We become sanctified. Again, it is a slow process and some of the symptoms take a long time to disappear because of damage that they have caused to our bodies and spirits.

John goes on to say in verses 8 and 9, If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Imagine if, at the time of your blood transfusion, the doctor gave you a certificate saying you were no longer infectious, even though you might still have a symptom or two. This certificate could give you access to places you could not normally enter as an infected person. You could go through the screening processes with impunity. You could even have access to the Kingdom of Heaven which has a very strict anti-infection policy.

I’m sure trained ministers and pastors would pick holes in my analogy, but I had fun. Hope you did too.

An encouraging verse to leave you with as we all think about viruses, infections, quarantines, lockdowns, prohibitions, economic collapse and the like.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIV)

Light Bearers

I’ve been thinking a lot about light and sunshine and energy lately. Today’s devotional from our church fitted right into that theme.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NIV)

That’s quite a promise! I am a follower of Jesus. The promise is for me. I will never walk in darkness. I got to meditating on how I can bring that light to others.

How can I bring:-

The light of knowledge to those stuck in the darkness of ignorance? The light of hope to those in the darkness of despair? The light of freedom to those enslaved by the darkness of addiction? The light of peace to those battling dark coils of anxiety? The light of love to those in the darkness of rejection and abandonment? The light of joy to those in the darkness of disillusion? The light of guidance to those in the darkness of the lost? The light of life to those perishing in the utter darkness?

Lord, please show me how to be your torch bearer so that others may not walk in darkness. Amen.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Hope and Load-shedding

The following is an extract from an article from the Jesuit Institute. I found the whole article profound and insightful.

“Spiritually, this experience of the return of load-shedding is one where our tempers are tested and our patience practiced (or not?) But could we use this time of frustration to reconnect with those we love and model what grace under pressure looks like?”

The full article can be read HERE.