I Hope you are still Hoping..


Well….we’re going back on the grid…

I have been away for a while doing other projects. i am currently working on a music CD and was a little focused these last few weeks. The world has been presenting a lot of unpleasant situations both here in this country and abroad. ISIS is murdering under the guise of religion and trying its best to intimidate. As I looked at these event and more importantly listened to different commentary, it appeared to me that a basic principle was being attacked. That principle is HOPE! The news people, the radio talking heads, the “we should be worried” people all propagate hopelessness. I applaud the Jordanian nation as they said to ISIS because of the cowardly way you murdered our pilot, you have not only invigorated our hop, but also stirred our righteous indignation. What you were hoping produced the opposite effect.

Romans 8:18 – 8:25

What is hope? Hope is usually defined as a longing, a desire, or an expectation of fulfillment. It can be passive or intensely active. It can be for evil or for good. It is vitally important that we have the right hope because the Bible says that along with faith and love, it is one of the three timeless and enduring eternal values. There will never be a time in eternity when hope is not on our minds! Think about that! It is that important.

Hope is a powerful motivator. What we love, we pay attention to, , our hope will motivate us in that direction. Hope influences us either to take or not to take certain actions, depending upon what we hope for. We will generally do all that we can to make sure that what we hope for happens the way that we foresee it happening. If we hope something does not happen, we generally do what we can to see that it does not happen. Hope motivates us to move in a certain direction and to do certain things.

What if we hope for something that is beyond our immediate control? We will still pray that what we hope for will happen. If there is nothing else we can do, we will still pray. That is how powerful hope is. It will make us do things even subconsciously, bending us in a certain direction because our hope is so strong. At the very least, even if we do not pray, we will at least wish, fret, and worry about it until something is resolved. Our hopes, whether we are conscious of them or not, are constantly playing on our mind.

No matter how difficult or how desperate our situation seems, Paul says we can face it with hope.

You don’t have to be real sharp to notice that we live in a world that struggles against hopelessness. If you talk to people at all, you are going to get in a conversation with someone who is going to tell you that they are discouraged. Listen to any of the radio talk shows or watch the news and you are going to hear people who are cynical about life. They think the world is going down the tubes. And on a world scale, it seems that we go from crisis to crisis. Some here acutely remember things ISIS, just to name a few of the highest profile conflicts. And in spite of our best efforts, we know there will be more conflicts. Plus, there have been economic crises.

Right now we live in a world that is less than perfect. This world is subject to a law that states that everything in this universe is decaying. What seems fresh and new one day will someday be old and broken down. Something that is growing and vibrant will someday shrivel up and die. To use Paul’s language, this world is in “bondage to decay.” But it wasn’t always this way though. In the early days of the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis, we see the sin of Adam and Eve caused several things to happen that were previously nonexistent.

So Paul tells us that creation is frustrated and it even groans for the day of redemption. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Now we groan and become frustrated because of evil in the world. We long to once and for all time rid the world of evil. We long for the time where the world will be free of evil and corruption.

Hope is not just an optimistic and positive outlook but also the drive to persevere, to endure whatever comes, to push us forward. Only the hopeful will do this. The hopeless will give up. For the Christian, there is no such thing as a hopeless situation. It is true that we will endure suffering in our lives. Hopefully it is for Christ and not our own foolishness. But the great news is we have a hope even though we suffer.
We as Christ followers have hope because we are God’s adopted children. We can look forward to the blessings ahead. We have an inheritance that is not of this world. We know for certain that it will not always be like this, something better is coming, we will be made new!

And now we come to one of my favorite verses: Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

That hope gives us the ability to turn our eyes away from our pain to God’s glory. The good news for those who are in Christ Jesus is that YOU ALWAYS HAVE HOPE. Through Jesus we have hope. Hope of better things to come. We can know even though this isn’t how it’s supposed to be, things are going to get better for those who follow Christ.

His Request, My Reward and Release


Luke 23:34 – Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”

I have been prompted through various indications to touch on the subject of forgiveness. First, this scripture was something I was hearing on last week when contiplating what to blog. Then by mere happenstance I was watching a movie with family that we randomly chose called “The Railway Man” (good movie) and the concluding theme and focus was forgiveness. To top that, we happened upon an estate sale on Saturday of this past weekend and my wife purchased some items that I went to pick up on Sunday. After obtaining the items, the man who was with the company conducting the sale walked out with me and began to talk about the goodness of our Lord. He had suffered a dibiltating injury and he was in some pain and discomfort physically but he was delighting in how the Father had bought him through the valleys of life. He and I had a conversation for about thirty minutes but near the end he described how his brother had stolen $350,000 from an inheritance he should have had. He said at the time of this incident eight years ago, he had given his life to Christ. He indicated I could be in prison at this moment if it was not for the words that Jesus implored from the cross. He said to me, I heard in my spirit, “forgive them; for they know not what they do .” Now you must understand I had not discussed ANYTHING about that scripture with him but it was to me confirmation to touch on this subject.

The first question that comes to my mind is who is the “THEM”? This request seems to be nondescript, plain, indistinct. “Father, forgive them.” He does not say, Father, forgive the priest that rendered false accusation. He does not say, Father, forgive the soldiers who have nailed me to this cross. Neither does He say, Father, forgive my disciples who have seemingly forsaken me. From His lofty position on the cross seeing the distant future He does not say Father, forgive those who will in the ages to come l turn their back to me and reject your sacrifice and sin against You, yet with those ten words He includes them. He does not mention a specific accusation or accuse a specific person, race, culture or group. Even though He being God knew the names of the soldiers that nailed Him to the cross He does not mention their names for prosterity to ridicule throughout the ages. AND no, He is not willing to mention their descriptive mission saying, forgive my murderers. There are no words of specific and directed accusation, only “Father, forgive them.”

Again, who is the THEM? Because it is not descriptive we can be included. He made room for us, too. I know the tendancy is to think that the “them” is the Roman soldiers and Jewish priests and the Roman government and it was, but it was also you and me. “For they know not what they do”. They think they know but they do not.

I am glad that He made it possible for me to live under the umbrella of the Father’s forgiveness that covers my purposefull and ignorant actions that documents my guilt and reveals my “filthy righteousness”. Yet we do not know the shallowness of our self-righteousness. We think, because we go to church regularly, or we were christened or were baptized or say our prayers or read a chapter in the Bible every day; that we do not merit His forgiveness. We think our religiousness outward performances, makes us exempt from His forgiveness but I still hear Him saying “They know not what they do.” They are trusting in their own actions and performance thereby negating my redemptive work through the cross.

The timing of the prayer is intriging also. It is in the midst of His pain, His humiliate His ultimate challenge that He petitions for “us” requesting our sanctuary, the Father’s forgiveness. Would that be our request or would it be “get them” Father.. look at what they are doing to me? Today what is our prayer for those who are terrorizing this world today. ISIS, brutally murdering innocent people of all cultures.. what is our prayer? Abusers, both governmental and domestic, viciously beating those we should be protecting, what is our prayer? Those who are being abused, tortured, and victimized in ALL countries by ALL tribes, nations,races and cultures. What is our prayer? Father, thank you for your undeserved forgiveness towards us, because we still do not realize what we do and how short we come to Your GLORY!! The heart of religion seeks and desires to control other men, cultures and nations. Jesus wants to set men free to live through Him, free, whole and forgiven. Oh how He loves us…

The real take away is also realizing IF we say the same petition it will release us to live life and not be painfully chained to the wrong visited upon us. I pray this was a highlighted message even if for just one person.

Murder Suicide


Today I just killed somebody on purpose… accidentally. I am not making this public confession from a position of boasting or arrogance. This is nothing that I am doing to gather attention to myself or to even be flippant. But I am confessing and taking full responsibility so that the judgment will be clear and swift, avoiding a long drawn out trial. I did it… on purpose… accidentally. What an oxymoron. I am the rebellious, willing perpetrator of the crime of this action and I am also the accepting, reluctant victim… at least today. This is my contract my fate. It is murderous suicide that never achieves finality. You might say I am a mass murderer, a serial killer. You see you must understand my victim is made up of many facets, personalities. Some are easier to annihilate then others. When you look at immorality, lechery, lying, stealing, cheating, adultery, fornication those become easy victims. The ones that are hard to ferret out and eliminate is the religious, racial, cultural, national, denominational pride, selfishness and self-indulgence that we have to hunt down and expose. These are hard to execute. Those guys are often well camouflaged and hiding amongst the innocently guilty. It sounds good and noble to boast on these guys, yet they must die. I would like to say that I am apologetic and that I am sorry but the truth is I am not sorry or apologetic. I cannot be and stay true to my recognize calling. I am an assassin, a crucifier.

The Father gave me this thought to convey early one morning. When the Bible says we serve a God that never sleeps, it wasn’t kidding. It is nothing for the Father to call a 3 AM conference meeting with me. Really God? 3 AM?

One victim containing multiple schizophrenic personalities. How do I bring all of them to the point of death? My only victim is the one that I see in the mirror every day. I am not charged with killing or crucifying your issues. You are not my victim. It is not my job to get you straight. I have enough on my hands dealing with me. I am only responsible for my own villains. And to be honest that job is tough enough. There must be a constant visitation to eliminate that enemy within me that wants to rise and take control over the authority of God and Christ. And let’s be honest, there are many things that if we did not allow the Spirit of God to have authority in our lives, will cause us to die to the Spirit of God. There would be many actions, many thoughts, many plans that would be self-serving and selfish. That’s why the Bible says, “I die daily”. It sounds good and noble, but it is not a pleasant process. It is a crucifixion. When we are “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24 KJV),”, it means we must be the perpetrator and the victim. Not only must we carry our cross but we must also lay it down, climb aboard it, nail ourselves to it and lift it up as a sacrifice and die. Daily.

We crucify the flesh by living in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), and allowing those fruits to flourish and be partaken.

But the fruits of the flesh, these personas are like zombies. They keep rising up just when you thought that you have killed and buried them, you find that they have it freed themselves from the inescapable grave. No, it is not an easy process but a necessary one. You must die to live. Who is your next victim? Look in the mirror!

Huh Jesus…did you notice Wednesday’s itinerary?


Today is what we call Palm Sunday. This religious holiday commemorates the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his crucifiction. The people cried out, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Hosanna meaning:“save I pray thee; keep; preserve” (whenever a person would come to a king for help with his needs, he would use the word Hosanna…so here the people are acknowledging Him as King and Deliverer.)

It was a common custom in many lands in the ancient Middle East to cover, in some way, the path of someone thought worthy of the highest honour with branches and leaves.

All of the Gospels report that people gave Jesus this honor. In Mark, Matthew, and Luke they are reported as laying their garments and cut branches on the street. John is the only Gospel to specifically mention palm branches. The palm branch was a symbol of success and victory.

According to scholars, the prophecy often quoted as having been fulfilled by the Palm Sunday entry by Jesus into Jerusalem reads as follows: (Zech. 9 NIV)Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you,righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey,on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The place name Jerusalem (pronounced Yerushalaim in Hebrew) is a combination of two words. The first is “yeru” meaning “flow”. This word has several applications such as the flowing of water in a river, the throwing of something as being flowed out of the hand or as the flowing of a finger in the sense of pointing out the way one should go. The “shalayim” is from the word shalom, which means to be complete or whole. When these two words are put together they mean something like “pointing the way to completeness”. No wonder the Hebrew people were told to look towards Jerusalem.

A word study in the New King James version for SHALOM says: Completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord, to be fully paid.

I just had a “Nu Mind” thought. Jerusalem, a place where flows a completed, fully paid for, “finished” work. (the death of Christ… FINSHED He would declare)

Obviously, for us followers of Jesus, we know Him to be King so the accolades given to Him upon His entrance is not a revelation, but what indicates Him to full fill the sacrificial lamb’s definition besides just a proclamation?

When Jesus entered Jerusalem I can only imagine what someone would have said if they saw His itinerary for the week. Let’s take a look. Imagine YOU are one of the disciples with him that week. Pick one, any one. Well I might shy away from the one called Judas BUT that is up to you. (smile)

You arrive on “Palm” Sunday, the crowd is praising and giving Him “rock star” treatment and you as one of His disciples are receiving a little overflow love also, I would imagine, correct? Great week ahead, you think. This is a major national festive holiday celebrating a MAJOR historical event (Passover), in the most important city in your nation, where the whole nation is gathering. This may or may not be your first time here for the Passover and Feast Holidays. It takes place every year but this time it’s different. This time the crowd is recognizing the one you are following. It is getting a little hard to push down the spirit of pride, is it not? Wow…if the first day of this trip is starting like this I can only imagine how good the rest of the trip will be. Say Jesus, what’s on the rest of the week’s itinerary? He hands you what is on schedule for the week.

Jesus, I see Monday we will go to the temple. You will probably upset some people as you overturn their money tables even though you will correctly quote Isaiah saying “My house shall be called a house of prayer” but the moneychangers have made this sacred holy place a “den of robbers”. That should be interesting to see although I do not see that going over very smoothly.

Tuesday we will visit Lazarus, Mary and Martha, nice. I always did like them. They are good people. There is nothing like being with good friends on holiday. Their hospitality is always of the highest loving quality. Yes, Tuesday should be a great day. After we leave their house later on Tuesday evening we will have a Passover meal together. That sounds really good Jesus. Oh and I see you have scheduled some prayer time for yourself in the Garden of Gethsemane. I would think you would move that schedule up a little bit, it seems late to be going out that time of night but prayer anytime is always good. Plus Tuesday is a full day.

Let’s see! Wednesday, Wednesday…uh Jesus…did you notice Wednesday’s itinerary? Capture, accusation, trial, conviction, scourging, torture, CROSS, DEATH!!! What is going on? You are the King, the Messiah all of Israel have been waiting and looking for your appearance.

Yes I am the King, I hear Him reply, but this week…I am the Lamb of God and MUST fulfill that role.

Does He? Yes I think so.

It was expected that a traveler would obtain a “sacrificial, unblemished” lamb from the “priestly shepherds” enter Jerusalem and care for and examine that lamb before sacrificing it on the fourth day. So in that timeframe, the lamb would be acknowledged to be perfect, having no faults. Not only did Jesus fulfill this feast symbolically, but also quite literally. On the Palm Sunday, Jesus rode down the Mount of Olives on a colt. He was crucified four days later on Passover. In that time there was an intimacy with those He came to be the prefect sacrifice for, and upon examination by Pilate the verdict came from his mouth, “I find no fault in Him” (which could indicate he looked for fault).

Why do I say Wednesday Christ was crucified instead of the traditional Friday? Without getting into it too deeply, Passover as described in Lev. 23:4, 5 indicates on the 10th day of the first month, Nisan, [roughly equivalent to April on our calendar], every family of Israel was to take a lamb, without blemish, and separate it from the flock. On the evening of the fourth day the Passover lamb was killed, cooked, and eaten during the night. This feast begins the celebration of the exodus from Egypt. If the clock begins on Palm Sunday, and the day of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is day one. Wednesday is day four. Also remember the Jewish day begins at 6pm NOT midnight.

The Lamb of God… the one that God’s full fiery wrath would be applied to for mankind in order to reconcile us back to the father. Jesus through John 12:32 says and this is Jesus talking,” And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me”, this is from the King James Version. The original text in Greek reads like this “and I if might be elevated from the earth, all I will haul to myself”. God the Father forsook Jesus so that you and I would never be forsaken. All that we would have suffered through billions of years of eternity—the grief, the pain, and worst of all, the complete separation from the presence of God—Jesus experienced. And He experienced all of this for us. The judgment was made and the sentence carried out. The price was paid in full, once for all. He did not pay the price because of His sins, because He was sinless but He took the penalty, the sentence, the punishment, the separation that should have been mankind, all of mankind upon Himself. We could never pay for our sins. We could never become our own sacrifice. That goes against the very plan of God from the beginning. Christ, indeed is the Lamb slain before the foundation.