Saved By Grace

Saved By Grace

Friday, September 23, 2016

Three sons left home, went out on their own and prospered. They discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother. The first said: "I built a big house for our mother."
      The second said: "I sent her a Mercedes with a driver."
      The third said: "You remember how our mother enjoys reading the Bible. Now she can't see very well. So I sent her a remarkable parrot that recites the entire Bible. It took elders in the church 12 years to teach him. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse and the parrot recites it."
      Soon thereafter, their mother sent out her letters of thanks.
      "Milton," she said, "the house you built is so huge. I live only in one room, but I have to clean the whole house.
      "Gerald," she said, "I am too old to travel. I stay most of the time at home so I rarely use the Mercedes. And that driver is so rude! He's a pain!"
      "But Donald," she said, "the little chicken you sent was delicious!"

A devotional that touched me deeply today

Hope Is Faith Waiting for Tomorrow
by John Ortberg from
 Know Doubt

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. — C. S. Lewis

We all are hopers. We are creatures who cannot stop wishing. We are four-leaf-clover collectors. We wish on the evening star. We tell stories about genies coming out of a bottle to grant three wishes.

After a turkey dinner, my cousin Danny and I used to grab the ends of the wishbone from the turkey and break it in the belief that whoever got the longer piece would get his wish. Where that came from I have no idea. The bone didn’t do the turkey much good.

We teach our children to make a wish before blowing out the candle. When my children were small, they loved the movie Pinocchio; especially they loved a plucky, chirpy, irrepressible character named Jiminy Cricket. If you go to the Magic Kingdom at Disneyland, the "happiest place on earth," you can still hear him sing, "When you wish upon a star... "

We all hope.

There is even an anonymous online wish list where people by the thousands record what they’re hoping for — some of the entries are funny, some are scary, and some are heartrending. "I wish to be rich in the immediate future." "I wish to be very happy because every aspect of my life is going fantastically well forever." "I wish my wife would die." "I wish it wasn’t pancreatic." Many of the wishes are followed by the word please. We just can’t help ourselves.

George MacDonald has said, "Anything large enough for a wish to light upon, is large enough to hang a prayer upon."

We all hope, but hope comes in two flavors: hoping for something and hoping in someone. Now, when we are hoping for something, we are hoping for a particular outcome. "I hope I get that job. I hope I get that house. I hope I get that girl. I hope I get that girl and she gets that job and we get that house." Sometimes the thing we hope for is life or death: "I hope this depression lifts." "I hope it’s not cancer." But one day it will be. If not cancer, it will be something else.

One day — and this is the truth — every thing we hope for will eventually disappoint us.

Every circumstance, every situation that we hope for is going to wear out, give out, fall apart, melt down, go away. When that happens, the question then is about your deeper hope, your foundational hope, your fallback hope when all your other hopes are disappointed.

The difference between hoping and wishing, says writer William Sessions, is the presence of strong desire. In the movie The Shawshank Redemption, the two central characters, played by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, have a running argument about hope. Morgan Freeman has learned to manage disappointment by giving up hope. "Hope is a dangerous thing," he says. "Hope can break your heart." To Tim Robbins, though, to quit hoping is to start dying. And the final line of the movie, as Morgan Freeman has left prison and headed for the blue waters of Mexico and the reunion with his great good friend, is "I hope..."

Hoping can break your heart. That is why we carry one big hope, the secret hope you don’t even dare to breathe: that when you have lost the something you were hoping for, and it might have been really, really big, there is a Someone you can put your hope in.

The whole testimony of the Scriptures points to this one Man, points to a God, not because He will be able to give us this thing or that thing we were hoping for — because that’s always going to give out eventually — but because He is the one we can put our hope in. And without hope, as Pope John Paul II once said, there is no faith.

Hope is faith waiting for tomorrow. Faith requires belief, and believing is what we do with our minds. Faith requires commitment, and committing is what we do with our wills. But faith must also have hope, and hoping is what we do in our hearts.
Much love, Dennis


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