Tag Archives: Jerusalem

Seeds of hope in the midst of darkness

The people of God were enduring one of the darkest hours of their existence as Judah was being conquered by the Babylonians. Jerusalem itself was under siege and would soon fall. All of this as a result of their rebellious spirit and unwillingness to honor God.

And yet, even as God brought devastation upon them, He planted seeds of hope. His plan to redeem mankind by bringing the Messiah into the world through the tribe of Judah would still come to pass.

The once strong nation of God had become a scattered people living in exile. It was during these dark moments that Jeremiah was inspired to write:

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. ~ Lamentations 3:25-26

What are you facing that only God is big enough to handle? Are you waiting on Him?

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Encouragement, God, Hope, Peace, Trusting God

What were we expecting?

It’s Psalm Sunday; the day we remember and celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem – John 12 – just a week before His death, burial and resurrection.

The Jews expected God to bless them with a messiah who would come as a conquering warrior sent to free them from Roman tyranny. What they got was Jesus riding in on a donkey; a symbol of peace. He came as a suffering servant who would give His very life to rescue us.

The false expectations of the Jews caused them to miss God’s divine presence as Jesus moved among them. Do we do the same today? Do we expect God’s blessing to make life only easy or comfortable? Are we missing the very presence of God in the midst of what we are going through?

When we surrendered our life to follow Jesus…what were we expecting?

This song speaks of the various unexpected ways that we might experience God’s blessings and presence. May it touch your heart as it did mine!


Filed under Christianity, Divine presence, Encouragement, Family, Hope, Mercy, Suffering, Surrender, Trusting God

Jesus was a public relations nightmare


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I don’t think Jesus knew much about good public relations; at least not the kind that we tend to pay attention to. Sometimes, what He did can seem to make no sense at all.

Jesus begins His public ministry by turning water into wine thus rescuing the groom and his family from not only a social embarrassment but a possible fine. That’s how seriously 1st century Jews took their wedding celebrations! (John 2:1-11)

But then Jesus moves on to Jerusalem and the Passover celebration where He deliberately runs the merchants out of the temple courts. (John 2:12-25) Sort of destroys the notion that Jesus was mamby pamby or what we might call milk toast!

And this was no hot-headed outburst like road rage. Reread the text for yourself and notice that Jesus takes the time to make a whip out of cords. His outrage was deliberate and intentional!

If you’re trying to build a large following and get people on board with your new Kingdom agenda, wouldn’t a little more finesse and tact be in order? Don’t you want to work on gaining the favor of the people? No?! Then why would Jesus display such outrage?

Because His sole purpose in life was to please God.

Jesus loved people enough to take on our human nature and suffer a brutal death at the hands of the Romans; but apparently there were times when He didn’t give a rats’ a** about popular opinion. If it came down to pleasing the Father or pleasing people, the Father came first EVERY TIME!

This sort of begs a question that each of us needs to wrestle over.

Who are we living to please?

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Filed under Courage, Desire, Determination, Loving God

That sort of makes sense!

I have a confession to make but I’m comfortable doing so because I know I’m not alone. Here it is:

The seemingly endless genealogies of the Bible leave my brain numb!

They not only bore me, they confuse me. Why are they there? What purpose do they serve? Why should a list of names, few of which any of us can properly pronounce, matter in our journey with God?

I’ve been reading 66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb Jr. which is written as a two-way fictional dialogue between the author and God as they discuss what it is that we are supposed to glean from each book of the Bible.

In their discussion of 1 Chronicles the author asks some of these same questions about the relevance of genealogies. Writing as if it were God giving the response the author pens this:

“And one more thing – a word about the genealogies that you found so dull. The restored community [the displaced Israelites that had been brought back to their homeland] found them invigorating. I traced their ancestry back to the beginning of My plan, starting with Adam, down through Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all the way down to the names of the remnant that I preserved and who were now gathered in Jerusalem. And that remnant included all the people necessary to worship Me in the temple as I had directed. They knew they were part of the plan.” (p 62)

Did you catch that last sentence? That sort of makes sense to me. The genealogies helped those being written to know that they were still part of God’s plan even though life took some turns that they hadn’t expected. It reassured them that God was still very much in charge and busy working out His kingdom agenda. And don’t we all need to be reminded of that from time to time?!

But it’s different for us. God used the Israelites to prepare for Jesus’ life and ministry here on earth, but God’s grace is available to all people now. So if genealogies don’t determine our involvement in God’s kingdom agenda what does?

Our rebirth by the Holy Spirit as He takes up residence in us! Our assurance of participating in God’s kingdom agenda, and eventual reward of eternity with Him, does not come from our nationality, our family of origin, the particular church we belong to or getting all the doctrinal issue correct. It comes with our adoption into God’s family through the work of the Holy Spirit.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received… brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. ~ Romans 8:14-16

No matter what this day or this week brings, we can rest assured that the Holy Spirit will “testify” with our spirit that we are God’s children and still a part of His unfolding plan!


Filed under Children of God, Christianity, Encouragement, Holy Spirit, Kingdom of God