HOPE for the HAPLESS

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12


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Remember Me?

So there it is again. Mocking me. Making fun of me. Teasing me with its promise that just never seems to come true. Right under the log in boxes with their places for user names and passwords, is that little check box “Remember Me.” Why yes please! That would be wonderful. How thoughtful of you.

But it’s all a lie isn’t it? Because each time I come back to the site I need to log in again. It hasn’t remembered me at all. So I check the box again, hoping that maybe this time I will be remembered. But I’m not.

I know it’s not me, I’ve checked all my settings. I should be memorable – but I’m not. It’s one thing to be forgotten by people, but by your own computer !?!

We all know what it is like to not be remembered. That awkward and uncomfortable exchange when someone you know can’t seem to place you. There is no better way of instantly deflating a person’s overgrown ego, than to hear someone say: “And you are …?”

The fear of being forgotten starts so many of our conversations. “Remember me? Last summer we had iced tea on so-and-so’s porch.” The fear of being forgotten leads many a youth to daring and foolhardy actions. “I’ll show them! They’ll remember the day they called me a chicken!” The fear of being forgotten inspires so many a large work of philanthropy at the end of one’s life.

But no matter how great or grand the gestures, no matter how foolish or foolhardy the actions, no matter how many times you type in the passwords and check the boxes, you will be forgotten. Time has a way of wiping clean the memories of even the best of us.

Is it any wonder that people are afraid that God has forgotten them? How long do I need to be away before He asks “And you are …?” How much time apart is too much? How many sick-bed prayers begin “Remember me, God? We used to hang out together in such-and-such church all those years ago.” How many mis-informed souls go to daring and foolhardy lengths to “buy” God’s remembrance? How many death-bed occupants are moved to great and grand religious gestures in the hopes of being remembered before it is too late?

Fear not. We may forget. God does not! We may be forgotten … but not by God. God never forgets – He has carved you in the very palm of His hand. You are there every time our Lord Jesus looks at his own hand … right there in that nail-shaped scar that bears your name! Remember me? He certainly does!

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

Isaiah 49:14-16

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Post Rapture Pet Care

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for this bit of end-times nonsense …

From the Post Rapture Pet Care web site:

Do you wonder what is going to happen to your pets when Jesus descends from Heaven to re-unite the Church with the Father taking all Christians – dead and alive – up to Heaven? Will your pets be left behind with no-one to care for them?

Have no fear! We at Post Rapture Pet Care are confirmed atheists and as such will be part of the left behind when the time comes. Just because we are atheists doesn’t mean we are not animal lovers. We adore all kind of pets and would love to look after your pets after you are gone …

This is not a joke. We feel very strongly about pet care and want to offer the best possible services to pet owners.

No this is not a joke … but I wish it were!  This is sadly, just one more sign that the end truly is near. (Whether the post-rapture pet people believe it or not!)  This is just one more example of how people have become disillusioned and distorted in their thinking.  Submitting blasphemies that would “make your hair curl” just so they can remain behind and earn a buck or two?!    Mocking God is no joke …

Yet, should we as Christians be more upset by this, or by our own complicity that sometimes leads others to such tragic decisions?  What do I mean?  Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, why do these pet rescuers think that we are more concerned for our pets than for their human souls?  (And heaven forbid that any Christian should actually take them up on their offer and prove it!)  How could anyone think that Christ coming again, can be good for both believers and unbelievers/blasphemers?  Where would they get such an idea?

What have we done (or failed to do) to show the people of this world that we don’t care about what happens to them? We do care … or we should!  We are here to bring comfort, hope, life and peace to those without it.  We are here to serve our neighbours with the precious Gospel and the hope of everlasting life in Christ.  Along the way we also meet earthly needs, feeding, clothing, protecting, encouraging, healing, and visiting.  It should be the firmest desire of every living Christian that not one person should be left out of the wonders of heaven!

What have we allowed to be taught in the name of Christianity that would allow anyone to think that when the end comes it won’t be the end for everyone?  There will be no rapture.  There will be a second coming of Christ, in power and glory, for the redemption of His people and the judgment of all creation.  There will be no one left behind.  There will be no other way to go, and no other place to go to.  When He comes it is done, for you, for me, for the pet rescuers and for Fido.  And you don’t have to believe it to be caught up in it.  When Jesus returns some will look up with great joy for their salvation is at hand, and the rest will look up with great fear and dread for their every scheme will have just come crashing down around them.

Scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”  For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.  But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.  But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.     2 Peter 3:3-10

Rather than worrying about your pets, when the end comes, lets start worrying about our neighbours BEFORE the end comes and it is too late!  Let us make a counter offer to care for them here and now, to show them that there is forgiveness even yet … it’s not too late to turn back! There are some things that are more important than pets and money … and they (confirmed athiests that they are) and their eternal well-being are one of them!


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Colour My World

autumn_leavesThe gloriously colourful leaves are falling, the harvest has come in, and the church has begun her countdown to the last days of the Church year. The end is near, and it all has me thinking. It has me thinking about how riotously (and sadly) colourful it all is.

Let me explain.  For many years, while I lived out west, autumn seemed to be a three day process. The leaves turned yellow one day, they fell off the trees the next, and everything was covered with the first snowfall on the third. There was very little “season” to the whole process … more like a shotgun start of winter at the end of every summer. How very unlike where I live now! The autumn days are colourful and vibrant, the air is pleasant, and while rain may dampen things once in a while, the threat of snow still seems a long way off. Here, the world is simply enjoying itself too much to go rushing off into winter!

But alas, it all must end. Indeed, by the time you are taking your evening walks or afternoon drives to thrill at all the lustrous hues of autumn, the objects of your attention are already dead! For leaves only begin to show off all their stunning colours, once the stuff of  life – the chlorophyll – has gone. By the time they get vibrant and exciting to look at, they are dead and useless to the tree. Their fate is sealed, and it is only a matter of time before you will be raking them up and carting them off for burning or compost.

How very much like the end of this world of ours. Many people think that things are getting better all the time. But God’s Word tells us that so much of the seeming vibrancy, colour and excitement we see building around us is really the shading of death bursting to the fore. The world continues to rush headlong into the shallow pursuit of feeling good and having fun, and receiving all that I can claim as my right.  The world loves to shine forth the beacons of tolerance (at any cost), inclusiveness (of any ideology), and absolute relativism, and then sits back and revels in the riotous orgy of colour and expression it has created …

… but all the while fails to see that all the good and useful virtues like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control have slowly been seeping out of our society as Christ and the Holy Spirit are removed from people’s lives.

And when that Holy Spirit is removed, what’s left may look spectacularly pleasing to our eyes … but it is dead. A dried up husk that leads nowhere and can produce nothing worthwhile. It may be riotously colourful, but it is only a matter of time before it is all raked up and thrown into the fire as the useless stuff it is. Indeed the more colourful it gets the closer the end has come.

But sin is not the only thing to colour our world.  For there was a different three day process that led through death to life … when our Lord a Saviour died on a cross, was brought down and buried in a tomb to , but then rose again to new life! Over the course of three short days all our sin in all its riotous colour was paid for, death was defeated, and our lives  were covered in a blanket of  righteousness – Christ’s righteousness – painting even the darkest of sins as white as snow.

So I for one won’t be complaining (too much) when the raking is done and the shoveling begins. Not only is white a colour, but it is a truly glorious one that sparkles with all the promises of a blessed end and a fresh start in Christ.


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Year One

H4HY1

So here I was in a new congregation … a mission congregation … and looking for ways to make myself better known to my people and my community. I was looking for a way to connect with people beyond my office doorway. I had friends who had been blogging for a while (who doesn’t in this day and age!), and so I thought “Why not?”

Why not, indeed.

So it was that “Hope for the Hapless” was created and launched at the same time as my congregation’s new website and sermon podcast site. Has it been the outreach tool that I hoped it would be? Sort of … It has sparked a few interesting discussions, and engendered at least a couple of negative reactions. Once or twice I seem to have struck a chord with others, and sometimes it was only a nerve that got struck.

Even if it hasn’t opened all the doors I hoped it might (especially within my local context), it has given me the opportunity to put thoughts to paper and in this way has helped me be better prepared when interacting daily with the people and events around me. If it hasn’t been all I had hoped it would be for others, it has been a much greater blessing to me than I ever would have thought!

What I am here offering to both of you my loyal readers, is a collection of postings from my blog, running from October 2008 to the end of September 2009. It’s in a handy-dandy PDF file for easy printing and/or ignoring.  Again, if you can find use for it, or some enjoyment in it then all the best … but this is probably more for me.   I know there are services that will do this sort of thing with just a click or two (and a few dollars!), but putting it together gave me the opportunity to look at each post once again.  Preserving, revisiting, reflecting … that’s what this collection is all about.

Download: Hope For the Hapless Year One

Writing it one piece at a time, I never knew just how much I liked to talk! (But those who know me would not be the least bit surprised, I’m sure.) Putting it all together in one place should give a guy reason to pause … shut him up so to speak …. Who do I think I’m kidding?  So don’t worry, whether you like it or not, I’ve got lots left to say …