Posts Tagged With: Hope

Inheritance

(Based on reflections on our inheritance in Christ which is mentioned in Paul’s letters and the gospels and my own yearning for “something more.”)

I long for an infinite treasure
I can’t even start to measure.
Something yet to dawn and come,
More sure than death has ever won
Against our mortal, human flesh.
Eternal life will never mesh
with gaining stuff when others lose.
I want to rest, but cannot snooze
when I worry about lost love.
My hands now shake, though I wear gloves,
And it is warm around about.
My heart’s soul cries, I want to shout:
with many friends, I remain alone.
So inwardly, I start to groan,
and I am burdened with heartfelt pain.
In my global quest, what have I gained?
“Lord, hear me as I sob and cry!
And if You answer, here am I.
Provide fresh joy and hope and grace
that I might know and see your face.”
God’s Comfort comes despite my self,
And thus I’ve found that treasured wealth.
A peace the world never knew
I have God’s Love: the Lord is True.
This Gift is not for only me:
God gives to all who ask, He’s Free!
I hope these words expand your view:
Christ Jesus came for me and you.

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Love Tested: God or Mammon?

I scan the home and farm;

I scan my bank account and investments.

I see my wife and children dressed in finest fashions;

I see my workers smiling when they greet me at the door.

I smell the company dinners;

I smell the wine in private company.

I greet my neighbors in their also pleasant homes;

I greet my enemies from the security of my iron gate.

I think how God has blessed me;

I think how much more blessing I desire.

My heart yearns not faintly with longing;

My soul longs for more years to enjoy this world.

Till all is stripped away through heart attack;

Till my economy collapses beneath the wait of my greed.

My protection is breached!

My borders are unprotected!!

A heavy heart toils to find God among the ruins of disaster;

A heavy burdened back labors to lift my eyes beyond the horizon.

My children, home, lands and pleasant company are gone;

My wife wishes that I were gone as well.

 

How can a life so right

become so wronged?

I wrestle with the dirt,

as though digging my own grave.

I wrestle with my friends,

as though wrestling with my God.

I wrestle with the devil,

and find myself wrestling with myself.

 

Where has my love gone?

The simple love of children laughing;

The simple joys of cattle calving.

Where has my hope gone?

The simple hope of heaven yet to come;

The simple security of forgiveness won.

Where has my faith gone?

The simple faith in the Lord unmoved;

The simple humility of trusting Truth.

 

The Lord reveals Himself amid the storm;

He shows me that all that I thought was norm

Was merely what I’d seen

Yet hidden beyond my wildest dreams

I had not known the Maker of the stars;

I had not known the Designer of all my million parts.

“Lord, let me simply walk with you,

and though my path is marked with thorns

Let me speak in simple truths

and behold you sitting on Your Throne!”

 

I lift my eyes to see my friends gather round,

I lift my ears to hear with joy the sound of laughter once again.

The Lord has settled me alive in this broken world;

and though the swirls of life seem unsettled …

A broken heart proves plenty an offering in the plate that passes by.

Now I can taste once more His Presence at the table with my enemies.

 

My story & my song. – Mert Hershberger, remembering Job, in honor of all my loved ones.

February 17, 2017.

Categories: God, Humility, Poem, Prayer, Suffering, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Darkest Night: A Confession

My darkest night and day, inside was pain, my soul bound up in chains.

I looked confounded, looked uncertain, certainly looked confused.
I tried rejection, I tried inspection, and I tried just to refuse.
My soul was heavy, my mind a mess, my heart got torn in shreds.
I was left alone, adrift, and nearly left for dead.
This is what I almost, nearly, and completely would have done.

Looking out, looking up, looking all around.
Feeling lost, feeling forward, feeling like I might be found.
I hear a cry, I cry for help, I cannot help but cry.
I wonder how, I wonder where, I mostly wonder whom and why?
What could I, should I, would I do?

I look away, I look inside, yet I seem to only stare.
My hands hang limp, brain disconnected, yet I truly care.
I am not wise, I’m at a loss, I am not self-improved.
I want to hide, I want to run, yet inside I am moved.
What can I, shall I, will I do?

I look behind, I look within, and then look far beyond.
I have no power, no potion, and no magic wand.
A little truth, a little prayer, and lots of simple mercy:
For my family, for my friends, and for my foes quite early.
This is what I could have, should have, and will have done.

For, Yes! Redemption came, my mind was changed, and I rose up not the same.

Categories: Good News, Peer support, Poem, Suffering, Testimony | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peace is Broken: for Emily D.

The one my King loves is shattered in a thousand pieces.
Lying on the ground,
unable to stand against the waves.
Sea glass washed upon the shores of heart & mind,
crushed strength & shattered soul.

I look beyond the shores of time
beyond the farthest stars
upon a Light I can’t yet see,
beyond the universe’s mars.
The stains shall fade.
The Light shall brightly shine.
And on that day the King of glory whole,
I’ll be wholly Thine.

For now I face the pain of
burdened back, aching feet, pained heart, humbled soul, & loneliness in crowds
I look this way and that,
Yet my blankets are but nightly shrouds
to shield me from the chill of winter
and the pain of frigid death.
Alone, I cower back, while marching forward
Hurting all around and deep within.

The songs of saints a comfort,
Their sayings distant memories.
A release from captivity shall come,
Though now I see it far,
Though now my heart is harmed.
One day my hope shall be won!

Now mere promise then.
Even less, the hint
of any sort of sin.
“Hail King!” I shall be with Him.

Categories: Poem, Suffering, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prayer of Abandonment

Loving Father,

I offer you my pain

and trust you for healing.

I offer you my tears

and trust you for comfort.

I offer you my darkness

and trust you for light.

I offer you my loneliness

and trust you for companionship.

I offer you my despair

and trust you for eternal hope.

I offer you my death

and trust you for new life.

I offer you all that I have in this world

and trust you for a new heaven and new earth.

I offer you nothing

and trust you for all.

Categories: Cross, Poem, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Memory, Gratitude, Hope

I want to be remembered for the love of the Highest & Best.

I want to be remembered for patience with the lowest & for kindness to the least.

I want to be remembered for remembering the forgotten and focusing on the ignored.

I am thankful for those who lift me up in low times.

And I am thankful for those who remind me not to be haughty.

I am thankful for One Who was my best Friend even when I was at my worst.

And I am thankful for One who spent His life to help me when I felt ready to waste mine.

When I am surrounded in the land in a desperate battle against innumerable foes,

my Hope is a mountain refuge to Whom I run.

When I am adrift on the sea of life in a terrible storm of trouble,

my Hope is an anchor that ensures I will arrive safe in harbor.

When I am wandering aimlessly in an empty desert of parched dryness,

my Hope is an oasis that springs eternal and feeds my soul.

When my highest dreams are shifting clouds without rain in the brazen sky,

my Hope is the bright morning star rising up on the darkest night.

Written with friends who were seeking to remember the good times and regain a vision of better times to come.

Categories: Poem | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving Isn’t Love until You Love Those who Hate You

I used to think that I was a good guy.

I got all A’s in school.

I was healthy.

I was voted most likely to succeed.

I excelled in all that I set my hands to.

Then, there came a point at which I really got to know Jesus.

Now I know what a wretched sinner I am!

Oh, I had already called on the Lord and was saved, but this was different. I committed to follow Jesus by identifying with his death, burial, and resurrection. He who knew no sin, became sin for us so that we might become the integrity & virtue of God.

I do not follow the traditional teaching of the church on this verse. The traditional teaching of the church is that Jesus became a sin offering, thus inserting the word offering. I go behind the traditional teaching to look at Jesus Himself. He did not come to offer sin. He offered His Holiness. The Father came close in Christ.

Let us take this at face value though. What is this verse actually saying:

1. Jesus knew no sin.

2. Jesus became sin for us.

3. 1 & 2 are so that we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus became what he did not know so we could become what we are not. Jesus allowed himself to be humiliated so that we might become honored. Jesus was shamed so that we would be saved.

Jesus was indeed a sin offering. But that is not necessarily what this says explicitly. It says he became sin.

Ask any Muslim what the greatest sin is and they will say it is “Shirk.” to ascribe partners to God. I.e. to identify Jesus as divine.

Jesus was sinless. All are agreed on that except for a few people who claim that there is no absolute morality, which is self contradictory, so we will kindly ignore those proud souls for now who exalt themselves over God in their own mind (particularly since their own morality often is less than that of Jesus.)

Jesus also asserted that he is God. When he claimed to be the Son of Man, he was claiming not merely to be human, but to be made in the exact image of God and to be exalted as the one like a Son of Man who reigns in glory before the Ancient of Days as described in Daniel.

For a man who appeared to have been born of an illicit union, though he was not, to have claimed what appeared impossible, that he is God, resulted in the predictable condemnation at the courts of the Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities. This was indeed a most preposterous claim for mere flesh to make.

But Jesus was no mere mortal. He was also immortal. He laid down His life freely (that is, he chose to make that claim, when he could have kept it to himself). He also took up his life again (that is, he happily and triumphantly rose from the grave and left the grave clothes behind. He was victorious over death. He submitted to what appeared to be the defilement of the grave that he might sanctify the grave yard as a rest area for the saints, a mere passing through place which leads to a much better place.) Jesus is fully alive and well today.

So what? What difference if Jesus rose? I haven’t seen him, the atheist will say.

Ah, but Jesus is alive and active in His Body. Wherever 2 or more gather in the name of Jesus, submitting to His authority as Lord, they experience and communicate the presence of Jesus. It is not merely in this ritual or ceremony. It is a moment by moment reality.

And so it comes to pass, that when the doubter, the bitter soul, the slanderer, the evil doer, or any other person with any bad intentions comes against a church (that is, such a gathering of saints who are submitted to Jesus) the presence of Jesus is assaulted. But so also, the power of the Messiah’s resurrection is present in His people. He comes back again and again to present the truth claims of God on man. Because Jesus demonstrated what it is to be 100% submitted to God, he can claim to be fully God without any duplicity. Not even the angels can claim to be God without lying. But Jesus not only claimed this power, he demonstrates it over and over again every time His people demonstrate patience with the wicked. Everytime the church witnesses to the truth in a world of falsehood. Everytime a believer confesses the deity of Jesus the Messiah to a Muslim or Jew or Hindu or Buddhist or atheist or tribal practitioner, he experiences the righteousness of God.

You say, then how come witnesses seem so care-free, so unworried of what the world says about them? Why is it that missionaries go about their mission as though ignorant of the plans and purposes of the world to destroy them and to undermine them?

We can laugh at adversity, not because adversity is inherently fun, but we know the One (the Father, the Son, and the Spirit), the Lord who is greater than all our troubles.

We know the provider. Even if we starve and are indebted, we know the One who will feed us daily bread and who will forgive all our debts. Even if we are slaughtered, as the Islamic State is trying to do in Mosul, we know the One who Saves from the grave through the power of the resurrection.

Jesus is Lord.

No government can stop Him.

No army can harm Him.

No bank can buy Him.

No store can sell Him.

No religion can restrain Him.

No human can exhume Him.

No hand can hurt Him.

No sickness can weaken Him.

No failure can flunk Him.

Jesus reigns supreme!

He took ALL our shame.

He took ALL our sin.

With His Holy Claim.

And He rose once again.

Categories: Good News, Suffering, Testimony, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disappointed, but Hopeful

Imagine going to a tomb to mourn your Beloved Leader, you go, and the body is gone. Disappointment.
You wanted to honor doing the final rites. Then HE’s GONE!!
You had dreamed that he would bring peace to the land. You had dreamed that he would help you not only cope with life, but be truly free. Then he was killed, or rather executed as a criminal. Rejected.

Now you are dejected. Every remnant is gone. His life is a mere memory … soon to be forgotten.

You are so desparate for help that you turn to the first ordinary person you meet, though you were sure that your friend was extraordinary and was indeed the best. You ask questions, you ask for help.

He calls your name. Your Extraordinary Friend meets you in the most ordinary way in a garden on the first day of the week … you recognize His Voice: He’s alive!!

You are disappointed no longer, but hopeful.

That is something of what I have felt in life at times: God disappointed my petty expectations only to exceed them by surprising me with news of something better. What was bad news becomes good news when the Sovereign surprises me.

I dreamed of being a missionary. I became a mere mentor to missionaries.
I dreamed of having a beautiful wife and a lot of kids. I married an excellent wife and have lots of people I care for.
I dreamed of being a leader. I serve leaders.
I dreamed of traveling the world. I ride an urban bus system, talk to people from the nations and pray for the world.
I dreamed of being wise. I rarely seem to use the education I have and my library is relinquished to the basement. I give away more copies of The Books than I read.
I dreamed of a comfortable home. My house is in the middle of a remodel that is taking longer than expected.

I wanted to see my Dad reach his 75th birthday. On Resurrection Day, I had to take him to the hospital to get a battery of tests for his heart.

Right when we were singing about the victory of Jesus over death, I realized that my Dad might die sooner than desired. What would happen next?

I was disappointed, but as the days have passed and as I realized that my Dad probably just was a bit anxious, I found hope and celebrated in a store by buying a lily & gift for someone that acted like a disciple on the sabbath after the crucifixion: mourning and depressed. Dispirited, as one translation puts it.

While I went to the Sunrise Service this year, the real resurrection celebration happened in a most ordinary way: sharing a little kindness with a stranger who was discouraged.

I am a missionary of hope.

Have you seen Jesus? Have you heard of His resurrection? Have you perceived the Love of God?

Look up.
Look ahead.
Look around.

Jesus will return, so we must gently & faithfully make disciples of all nations, everywhere.
Expect to meet Jesus in the midst of your most disappointing moments. When you lose your direction in life, start looking for those who are truly lost. Share the promises of God and let Him find you as you are finding help for the hurting.

Are you wounded? Heal someone. You will feel better.
Are you tattered and torn? Mend someone else’s heart. You will be more complete.
Are you weary? Stay alert in prayer for the broken. God will answer you when you call.
Is the world mocking at you? Rejoice in your affliction. The world mocked at Jesus; you are honored in heaven.
Do you feel dirty? Wash the feet of the wise. You will come clean in the process.

It is not about looking after your own interests that your needs will be met.
It truly is in giving that you receive.

Recently, I offered to give a partner in ministry 5 DVDs. He said just 3. After I delivered what I promised, God blessed me with 3 more DVDs of the same kind from another friend.

Amazing? Grace. Surprising? Mercy. Blessed? Indeed.

Where are you disappointed?
Don’t give up, and you will meet the Anointed.

Categories: Missions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alive, Awake, and Well

This week, I went to the movie http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com/ as a birthday present from my wife. We agreed that it was well done, for being low budget. At one point, a little too well done. However, we both also acknowledged that for Muslims it may be very frontal as it addressed the harsh rejection people face when they leave muhammed to follow Jesus, outside the camp.

The following morning, I woke after dreaming that I came down a main traffic artery in town where I often encounter Muslims on the busses. Right at the mall on the route in the middle of the avenue and stretching miles beyond, were “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision.” They were led by Arabian women in full Hijab & Niqab with camels accompanying them carrying treasure. All the crowds were seeking Jesus. Lord, may it happen soon!!

The story below reminds me of what Paul said to the Romans about when Israel has faith in the Messiah, it will lead to life from the dead. They aren’t there yet 100%, and so we pray & speak to the nations.

+
From Bibles for Israel:
Israeli Doctors Save Jordanian Boy

"Heal the sick, raise the dead.… Freely you have received; freely give." (Matthew 10:8)

Last week, even as the Jordanian parliament was calling for the ousting of Israel’s envoy to Jordan (due to the self-defense killing of a Jordanian judge at the Allenby Bridge crossing), Israeli doctors at Haifa's Rambam Medical Center provided a 7-year-old Jordanian boy with his mother's donated kidney.

After the boy faced critical kidney failure, his parents wrote a request to the Civil Administration Health Services for the operation to go forward at Rambam Medical Center. (Israel National News)

Civil Administration Health Services Coordinator Dalia Bessa hurried them past the waiting lines.

"We direct many patients from Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to Rambam and other hospitals as well," Bessa said. "In the past year alone, I coordinated the arrival of 600 patients from the PA to Rambam." (Israel Hayom)

Israel isn’t only helping Palestinians and Jordanians.

It also runs a field hospital near the Golan Heights, where the Syrian Free Army transfers victims of the Syrian conflict. As well, Israel has treated about 1,000 Syrians in four hospitals. (The New Zealand Herald)

Rebecca Sieff Hospital (Ziv Hospital) in Safed has housed some of these victims—including an 8-year-old Syrian girl named Aya, who received five reconstructive surgeries on her shattered leg and was provided a brace to help her heal.

"All patients are immediately being seen by social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists as soon as their medical condition allows," Sara Paperin of the Rebecca Sieff Hospital's international-affairs department said. “With families that need to be reunited or children that are alone, there is clearly special attention given to them."

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Barriers to Joy & Peace

This Christmas, remove any barriers to joy & peace in your life so that you can share in the Love of Christ which is shed abroad in our hearts.

See if any of the following are blocking your capacity to love:

1. Bitterness & lack of forgiveness. If so, let go and forgive.
2. Lack of gratitude. If so, count your blessings.
3. Loneliness. If so, befriend the lonely.
4. Sickness. If so, go to the Doctor.
5. Ignorance. If so, study the Bible & hear a message on Jesus & be honest.
6. Feeling poor. If so, share something you have with others.
7. Hunger. If so, work with your hands and go to a Christian to ask for help buying food.
8. Fear of death. If so, repent of your sin & return to the Lord Jesus. He conquered death.
9. Worry. If so, pray in Jesus name and read promises from the Word of God.
10. Uncertainty. If so, do the one thing you know you last knew was the right thing to do.

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