Have You seen This Animal?

Have you seen this animal

tasmanian-tiger

If you have seen this animal, please report it to your local zoo authorities.  On the other hand, it might be a million-to-one shot.  The animal in the picture is a striped meat-eating Tasmanian tiger.  Most experts agree the last one died in a zoo in 1936, yet there are still some who hold out hope.  Hope what?  Hope that there are no more meat-eating tigers on the loose?  Hope that there might be a large bounty for its capture.  Hope to hang it on a trophy wall?  Throughout history, man has imprisoned and killed animals, mostly the human kind.  Does it matter to you one way or the other?  It should.  Why?  Because hope is one of the most powerful things “in the Bible” and “out of the Bible”.

Scripture says:

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer”.  Romans 12:12  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace…”  Romans 15:13“  To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”. Colossians 1:27

Some people hold out hope for wayward children.  For an alcoholic mate, a drug addicted coworker, a parent with Alzheimer’s, a broken marriage, a better job, a positive test result from the doctor.  Anything that touches our daily lives is a cause for concern and a window of hope.  Hope is a positive expectation for the future.  Is there anybody out there who has the future all planned out?  Anyone who doesn’t need even the glimmer of hope?

Is hoping that an “extinct” animal may still exist asking for too much?  The Tasmanian tiger may still be around.  He may be hiding deep in the bush just out of camera range, just out of shooting range.  Impossible you say after 80 years of nothing.  Really?  Are you familiar with the Coelacanth?  It’s a large, plump, lobe-finned fish about one and a half meters long.  It was thought extinct until one was found off the coast of South Africa in 1938. And another one was spotted in an Indonesian fish market in 1997.  They were thought extinct for 65 million years!  Anything’s possible.  Things have a way of bringing about their antitheses, of surprising us radically!

There are questions we ask ourselves.  Am I dying?  Am I in decline? Am I broken? Am I unfit? Is my soul lost? Is there still time?  Is there any hope?  Do people listen to me?  Do I have any influence?  Almost nothing but hope speaks against such questions. Hope is always the first thing that takes some sort of action.  When you feel all hope is gone read Genesis 48:11 “Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.”  God’s plan not only allowed Jacob to regain his son but his grandchildren as well.  Circumstances are never so bad that they are beyond God’s help.  Job got a new family (Job 42:10-17).  Mary regained her brother Lazarus (John 11:1-44). We need never despair; we have a loving God who will bring out good in hopelessness.

The Old Testament character Job summed up his feelings about hope.  “Though he (God) slay me, yet will I hope in him?”  Job 13:15 Can you lucidly express your feelings about hope?  Let’s hear ‘em.

Harmonic Convergence

Harmonic Convergence was the name given to the world’s first globally synchronized meditation. That’s right – Global Groupthink Groupies. This was supposed to happen in August 1987. It was supposed to coincide with the alignment of the planets (or most of them). Some adherents believed that these signs indicated that the earth was about to undergo an “energy-shift”. The followers of this convergence believed the earth was about to experience a change in global perspective. From one of conflict to rainbows and happy thoughts.  Earth’s collective karma, dharma, and freckles would then begin skipping happily down the yellow brick road. World peace was just ahead.

Wishful thinking or Wooden thinking?

Religion has the same problem. There are so many different “organized religions” that people don’t know what or who to believe. Confused about which belief is correct? Look at all the religions to choose from. There’s good ol’ Atheism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Paganism, Sikhism, and Taoism to name a few of the big hitters. Some of these have over a billion followers! That’s a world of people searching! Surely a billion people can’t be wrong can they? You’d be surprised at how many of them will be when death comes a’knockin.

Maybe you’re thinking, I’ll just follow the religion my parents taught me, they were good people. Sorry to interrupt your train of thought, but being a good person has nothing to do with going to heaven. There will be millions of “good” people in heaven, but there will be a lot in hell too. It’s not about being good! It’s about that old fashioned word from the Bible – Faith.

What is this faith that the Bible takes so seriously? It’s a personal belief in who Jesus Christ was and is. It is; believing what Jesus taught in the Bible. Hebrews chapter eleven is affectionately known as the Bible’s “Faith’s Hall of Fame”. Read it. Give it the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval test.

“Fire Water” Anybody?

Fire water anybodyFire Water

Ever been in hot water?  We all have.  What a divine gift is fire, when used correctly and safely.  What a friendly and companionable thing is a campfire.  Like cloud formations humans see different things in a fire.  To glaze into a raging fire is like a gaze into a crystal ball.  What do you see in a fire, intense heat, third degree burns, danger, death or an eternity of fire?

What if your house was on fire and you called the fire department, and they drove up to your property with alarms ringing and red lights flashing ready for action.  But the only fire hydrant they could use looked like the picture above.  What if the fire chief looks at the hydrant and calmly informs you that the water in the hydrant was hotter than the fire rapidly consuming your house?  Help is there—but they can’t help!  Whadda do?  Make smores?

When you find yourself in a desperate situation needing help, do you really expect the cure to be worse than the disease?  Ten of the Apostles found themselves in just such a situation once upon a time.  The “Church” hadn’t got its feet wet yet.  The “Christian” was the newest endangered species.  The “Bible” was still being written.  And worst of all, this person who called himself the Messiah had been crucified and dead for three days.  Chaos and fear were the headlines of the day.  Ten of the Apostles were holed up in room fearing the same angry mob that had crucified Jesus just days earlier.

Newly resurrected, Jesus went looking for his disciples.  Jesus found them barricaded in a room.  “Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side.  The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”  John 20:19-20

How exactly did Jesus get past the locked door they were hiding behind?  Scripture says, Jesus simply materialized in the presence of his friends.  Like the stone that was rolled to seal his tomb, a locked door posed no obstacle to Jesus.  Teleportation?  An enthralling idea for a television series maybe, but no wrinkle for Jesus.  A little molecular disassembly here, some reassembly there and the time/space continuum is thrown on its ear again.  The idea is mesmerizing, but it’s also two thousand years late.  God thought of it first.  When all hope seems lost—it might behoove us to remember Jesus’ words.  “Peace be with you.”  Not ‘on’ you, not ‘around’ you, not ‘near’ you.  With!  WITH!