The Hope


The Hope

Exodus 12:1–14

The First Passover Instituted1

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.”

Matthew 18:15–20

Reproving Another Who Sins

“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

There is plenty of bad news for anyone who wants it. We could list problems in the world 24 hours a day 365 days a year and we still could never keep up with all of them. We must never forget that it is our job to bring good news into the world. We are witnesses of the God who works all things together for the good of those who love Him. Tweet: We are witnesses of the God who works all things together for the good of those who love Him.

We are the light-bearers. We did not make the light, but we can see it and we can reflect it and carry it into the darkness. The light does not simply outweigh the darkness, nor does it erase the effects of it. Instead, it is as if time stops for a moment, and the author of our lives decides to end one story and begin the next. There will be tie-ins to be sure, but as the light enters into the darkness, the first words heard are “It is finished.”

These are not the last words of our God, they are the first words – for only in Him can [the first be last and the last be first(

The next words are, “Come and see.”

Our hope is an end of this way and the beginning of a new one, an end of this life and a means to be born again.

Where do you see hope?

How are you being a witness and sharing that hope?

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  1. (Num 9:1–14; Deut 16:1–8; Ezek 45:21–25)

The Promise of Help


The Promise of Help

Job 38:22-38

Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,

or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,

which I have reserved for the time of trouble,

for the day of battle and war?

What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,

or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?

Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain,

and a way for the thunderbolt,

to bring rain on a land where no one lives,

on the desert, which is empty of human life,

to satisfy the waste and desolate land,

and to make the ground put forth grass?

Has the rain a father,

or who has begotten the drops of dew?

From whose womb did the ice come forth,

and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven?

The waters become hard like stone,

and the face of the deep is frozen.

Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,

or loose the cords of Orion?

Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,

or can you guide the Bear with its children?

Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?

Can you establish their rule on the earth?

Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,

so that a flood of waters may cover you?

Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go

and say to you, ‘Here we are’?

Who has put wisdom in the inward parts,

or given understanding to the mind?

Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?

Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,

when the dust runs into a mass

and the clods cling together?

John 14:15-17

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”

The Gospels tell two stories of spiritual warfare between the disciples and evil spirits that I believe should be considered together to show us the power of God in us. The first story is in Luke 10 where Jesus sends out 72 disciples to preach, pray, heal, and cast out evil spirits in His name. They return exhilarated by the experience, ready to take on the world. Jesus gently reminds them that He saw Satan himself cast out of heaven, but that was not a thing to be excited about. What was more important was that they got to enter Heaven themselves.

The second story is from Luke 9 (conveniently). In this story, just before the 72 disciples are sent out, the main 12 disciples fail to dispel an evil spirit that causes seizures in a young boy. Obviously, the disciples thought they had the power to do this, but they were wrong. Some might argue that this was because the event happened before Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. However, Luke, the author did not think so since they are casting out demons and performing miracles just one chapter later. Where then do we get answer for what changed in between Chapter 9 and Chapter 10? In the middle.

Luke 9:46-50

True Greatness1

An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.”

Another Exorcist2

John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Two more stories depicting greatness and power. One word to describe them both: Help. Children are great in the kingdom because they ask for help. They do not fall under the delusion of power and invincibility until those teenage hormones begin to kick in. In God’s kingdom, His people ask for help, and they receive it. The disciples questioned help from an outside source (Imagine what they would think of 60 more exorcists to join the work in Chapter 10!). Jesus did not question it. He, like the little children accepted and rejoiced in it. Even He was not too good to ask for help as He prayed that God would raise up more disciples. Here God answered that prayer.

God blasted Job with rhetorical questions about His power and Job’s weakness, not to humiliate him, but to remind him that help was there for the asking. One thing I notice in Job’s story is a (perhaps) feigned sense of modesty i- accepting his losses without complaint. While refusing to complain may be taking a more noble road, it is still more prideful than being truly humble and asking for help. Prior to the disaster, Job was trying to maintain success and prosperity by his own work. He would ask for forgiveness, but not help. Jesus tells us in John’s gospel that the Holy Spirit’s job is to be our Advocate – on- Helper. He is our power. Not just the source of our power… the Holy Spirit is our power. Whatever comes our way, we have someone we can ask for help.

What do you need help with today?

How are you allowing God’s Spirit to help you?

  1. (Mt 18:1–5; Mk 9:33–37)
  2. (Mk 9:38–41)