While attending seminary, my wife and I rented a tiny apartment in the inner city. In three short years, we witnessed more crime and violence than one might see in a month of TV police shows. Within a block of our home, we saw street fights, guns, prostitution, drug activity, car thefts, stalking and more.
One night, our elderly next door neighbors were dragged out onto their front lawn, beaten and robbed. A man was shot to death on the street a half block from our home. In the parking lot below our living room window, I saw one man hold a gun to another man’s head in broad daylight. Drunks sometimes slept on our front steps. Men repeatedly harassed my wife on the street.
There are some things about living in that neighborhood I will never miss. There are other things, however, that I miss desperately. What I may miss most, is the consistent opportunity to speak with people—even complete strangers—who were willing to talk freely about the miseries of life and the emptiness of their soul. I loved that environment.
It was in this context that I met Darryl. Darryl talked about the inequities and miseries of life as comfortably as suburbanites talk about the weather. With considerable ease he relayed memories of a haunted childhood: divorced parents; a dad who lived down the street but never spoke to him; desperate poverty; cowering in fear under the kitchen table as his gun wielding brothers came home with another take of stolen property.
What is the Nature of Our Hope? Is it not the redemption of our sick dying bodies and our wicked natures? And is not that hope found in Christ’s accomplished work on our behalf?
Our hope of being completely delivered from sin in our spirits and of being rescued from all sickness in our bodies arises out of a solemn assurance of our salvation. The revelation of Him who has who has brought life and immortality to light, bears witness to us that we also will obtain glory and immortality. We will be raised in the image of Christ and will share in His glory. This is our belief because we know that Christ has been raised and glorified and that we are one with Him.
So the nature of our hope is our conforming to Christ. One of my favorite verses is 1 John 3:2
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
"...the Christian should be a source of hope for those we work with. Our hopefulness is a gift from God that we are born into as a result of our faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Pet. 1:3–5) But its scope goes well beyond our personal salvation to the renewal of all of creation." - IFWE
"Laughing at the Days to Come is a book about embracing and enduring life’s trials with divine joy. It is about gaining the kind of vision of that Proverbs 31 woman who can look into an unknown future and a long path of suffering and still rejoice. I think it’s fair to say that it’s written primarily for women, but there is no reason a man can’t read it and benefit just as much." - Challies
Reposted from The Cripplegate.
According to Greek mythology, all evil is the fault of one woman: a young lady named Pandora. When the gods created Pandora, they each bestowed her with a gift. Among her birthday presents was a beautifully crafted treasure chest. But inside this box was a host of all the world’s evils.
When Pandora opened the box, the evils flew out like bats and immediately began plaguing mankind. Slander, greed, jealousy, hate, and every other degeneracy were forever at large.
But as the legend has it, Pandora managed to snap the lid closed just in time to trap one evil inside. Do you know which evil was not allowed to escape?
It was hope.
Hope, you say? How can hope be an evil?
It was believed by the Greeks that hope was the most pernicious of all evils because it prevented people from accepting their fate. As long as hope remained trapped in the box, people would not long for an afterlife and would, therefore, be more useful in this life.
Existential philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, suggested that in an extended time of difficulty, hope may prove worse than hopelessness. For example, prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole tend to adjust better to their situation than prisoners who hope for the day of their release. They accept their fate as hopeless, and thus learn to be content.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (KJV, Ephesians 6:4)
November 24, 2014, is a day I will never forget. That is the date my oldest son was born and for all intents and purposes the day I became a father. I remember standing in the hallway of the little hospital and wearing that stupid looking paper gown. As they prepared my wife for the delivery, I paced the empty O.R. hallway. As I paced, I was praying and begging God.
I was of course concerned for my wife’s safety and the healthy birth of my son, but even more than that, a single thought consumed me, “O God, please don’t let me mess this up.” I was entering fatherhood with great fear and trepidation. Why? Well, the answer is simple. The society we live in has spent decades telling us that dads are incompetent. If you think I am wrong about this, start paying attention to the dads on your favorite TV shows. To be blunt, Dad is often either a total moron or a hate filled cynic who neglects his children. What are we supposed to do in the face of such brainwashing?
For the Christian father, the Bible offers some general principles and a few direct commands. Ephesians 6:4 is one of those few commands that we are directly given as dads. The verse is a plea for us to invest in in the spiritual well-being of our children. Below are some investments we ought to be making.