Feast of Trumpets and the Sound of the Trump!

September 18, 2020

Every current topic seems to be linked somehow to our opinions of the President of the United States. This seems to cloud the discussion on virtually anything – and yet these are significant times and amazing things are happening amongst us. Many might feel that there is so much to be alarmed and worried about, but I am seeing numerous reasons to be optimistic. You might not see it this way right now – but bear with me:

Reader warning: This article contains numerous uses of the word ‘trump’ in various meanings!

As we enter the Jewish Feast of Trumpets we really should think about the significance of the word ‘trump’! It happens that this particular Feast of Trumpets, also known as Rosh Hashanah, follows historic recognition of the nation state of Israel by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Several other Arab nations are indicating that they will follow. Whatever anyone thinks of the politics, this is momentous, and in itself is a trumpet sound to the world that things are changing. The implications of Arab nations recognising the State of Israel are enormous! On its own, this signals an important milestone in history.

I think the trumpets are sounding for much more than political movement in the Middle East….

We are at an astonishing moment in history in which so much is at stake, and at the same time the opportunities are huge. Some of the reasons that I feel encouraged:

I observe that secularism and atheism are tottering or maybe collapsing. Pewresearch.org projects that the percentage of people of faith perspective is increasing globally.  This is great for evangelism. The world is looking for authentic spiritual answers: Let our trumpet sound a clear signal!

Covid-19 is forcing us to rediscover the purpose of church; the whole Zoom season has challenged us. Not meeting in a building has not stopped us knowing God. The Coronavirus has sounded a trumpet calling for a Sabbath rest and a thorough review. The fear of Covid-19 has revived awareness of our mortality and caused people to ask, ‘where is God?’ –which is a great first question!

Consumerism is in danger as people, businesses, and communities rethink priorities. We see profound changes taking shape as investors start to influence the purpose of whole industries. There are abundant opportunities for Kingdom of God motivated people to start and lead businesses. This is worth trumpeting!

Those who preach prosperity solely in worldly terms are becoming exposed as financial systems crumble. God is shaking the economies of the world. I think a warning trumpet is sounding for greedy supply chains, currencies, and global debt. We are at a moment of huuuge change in the world! Sound the trumpet!

Everywhere there is crushing disappointment with political saviours; Long standing definitions of ‘left’ and ‘right’ politics have disintegrated. As someone who has run for Parliament, I have experienced unchristian attitudes when party politics trumps Christian love and understanding. People are starting to challenge the past norms, and the call for something better is rising.

We are in the post-Facebook era! I hear of young people holding online prayer events and shared times of ‘listening to God’. Increasingly, people young and old, are searching for real fellowship.

Everyone is revisiting the question of unity. All generations, all races, all denominations. The trumpet is sounding for us to come together!

Post-Brexit the trumpet calls us to be peacemakers : much division in the church was because many opinions about Leave or Remain seemed to be based on a spiritual ‘trump card’. We must see this as a failure and pray and work together as the people of God. The Bible says that we have ‘this ministry of reconciliation.’

So, what of Trump?

In 2016 I felt that Donald Trump even talking about joining the race for President of the USA was a sign for us: the sounding of a trumpet! A signal; An alarm; a notification from the spirit realm.

We are now truly watching the changing of an era. For me it is not so much about one controversial man – but that a seismic change is taking place in the whole world. This is our moment to step forward as we hear the trumpet. Be alert, attentive, open to the changes and expect very significant new dynamics in global politics and in our lives.

The trumpet sound – the ram’s horn or shofar – was sounded in Bible times for three reasons: To sound an alarm, to gather the people, to signal the advance. The season that is beginning now requires us to recognise the time we are in and to choose to rise to the occasion!

Unmasking the Invisible Enemy amongst us

July 27, 2020
Don’t be deceived

Unseen, infectious, makes people sick and can kill. Stalking amongst us, causing suspicion between communities, cultures and families. Perhaps these descriptions fit the threat that you see as the most serious in our time. Coronavirus? Racism? Antisemitism? Political extremism? Addictions? The enemy has been wearing masks – but now the mask is not working so well anymore!

The real threat that is destroying communities and nations from within is secular humanism.

The global levelling effect of the internet, with the communications revolution has fuelled populism and distrust of the globalist powers that have trodden down the small person. Coronavirus has stopped the world in our tracks and given everyone a motive to rethink the purpose and priorities of life. All these effects are stirring an awakening of questions. Questions about who is telling us what to believe; who is defining the news and information we get? Who is making money and manipulating us? Ultimately – what if the worldview that we have been convinced to accept is not the right picture?

The truth is coming into view for those willing to seek.

This lurking enemy must be clearly identified:

Secularism has been killing and hurting and hindering lives forever, but our society has been desperately infected with this invisible killer in recent decades. The economic boom in the west after the second world war – producing the ‘Boomers’ – also produced a materialistic culture with an accompanying addiction to comfort and convenience. Prosperous societies started to buy the deception that somehow our need of God has diminished. The activists with a determined goal of breaking the powerful influence of a Judeo-Christian worldview became invigorated from the 1950’s onward. The effect has been corrosive and destructive: Most of the past two generations have been brought up to believe the nihilistic thinking of godless evolution – producing an epidemic of identity confusion. If children are taught that they are the result of a cosmic incident and life is ultimately meaningless, it seems reasonable that millions grow up with confusion, anxiety and self-doubt mixed with lack of trust. The follow on consequences are numerous, including so called sexual liberation which has caused hurt, abuse, confusion and dysfunction; We’ve seen comfort eating on a national scale – resulting in diabetes which is a health tsunami waiting to crash our health systems; we’ve seen addictions to mind altering drugs and alcohol as people attempt to anaesthetise their pain – leading to further abuse, crime, violence and increased addition; materialism has developed to offer its own pain relief with accumulation and worship of possessions and security in financial resources.

I perceive that the 2020 Coronavirus is greatly exposing the secular humanism that has been infecting us. The pandemic is having an effect that might well see secular thinking retreat.

There are rather obvious advances in the traditional measures of spiritual and religious persuasion amongst us, such as public prayers, Bible sales, church attendance or reporting of public commentary from church leaders. These shifts don’t, on their own, indicate a meaningful shift in thinking.

There are many other signs that atheistic secular thinking is in retreat: Churches are for the first time in a generation thinking seriously about reaching their communities in ways other than gathering in a building on a Sunday morning. Prayer has been prioritised across the world – partly because in-person meetings have not been permitted – so somewhat ironically, believers have had to pray and read their Bibles on their own! This too is encouraging but still not the real evidence of a shift in the big picture.

The real shake up in mainstream thinking is the shock that our health systems and medical resources might actually not save us. The awakening to the thought that our wealth and technology can’t solve all threats; Our obsession with health and safety can’t fully protect us.

Our lives are fragile.

We have come to a point of inflection in the trajectory of our culture – where for the first time in history we have a global collapse of trust in human capacity and resources. The secularist train was already running out of steam because of internet enabled populism.

For at least a generation, prosperous societies have promoted secular humanism and one dimension of this has been the increasingly intense obsession with personal and social identity. The Bible is clear about our identity and our precious individual place in the universe, but this does not suit the political and social agendas of those who oppose truth.

The ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras stated “Man is the measure of all things.” In this statement he put in place a key pillar of humanist thinking. Most of the 20th century has seen this central idea promoted to children, young people and adults from every angle – resulting in a huge need to know who we really are!

Humanism has spawned secularism, which amounts to the dryness of life without the spirit, focusing on this age rather than the eternal. In most of the so-called developed world we have been trained through fashions, government policies and commercial pressures to esteem secularism. We have been persuaded that secular thinking is the safe neutrality between all the unknowable mysteries of the world’s religions. The secularists have used their persuasive arguments to minimise the spirit, to minimise human beliefs and life that comes from spiritual inspiration. Much of this has been argued on the basis that we must be equitable and tolerant – a level playing field for all. I believe that this has really been the lure of the candy-man to get into a cage where we deny reality and hope. Secularists claim that ‘science is pre-eminent’ but are quite happy to ignore scientific analysis when it doesn’t suit the agenda of the day.

We’ve been led to believe that it is gracious and kind to deny our heartfelt beliefs.

Humanism and secularism thrive when we accept relativism. That is that there is no absolute truth. Ultimately secularism and humanist thinking depend on relativism.  ‘Your truth is good for you, and my truth is good for me.’ This feels pleasant and tolerant for as long as we are content to not really address difficult issues of morality and conflict. Relativism is essential to discourage you and me from seeking truth. We are encouraged to stop at emotionally satisfying answers, even when we know these are shallow, transient and insufficient. You just need to believe a little lie.

Before long you will be disabled from dealing with the big lies.

I believe the invisible and destructive enemy that is secular humanism is now being exposed and found wanting. We are at an inflection point in history, and an awakening is happening – as people start to think for themselves, ask questions, and begin to pray.

It’s time to unmask the enemy! It is time to take our masks off and be truthful!

The Corona Effect – What will life look like?

April 18, 2020

We all want to know what will get back to normal and what has changed. Of course, only a fool can predict with certainty, and many fools are speculating – talking as though they actually know!

Sunset of an Era

Some points are currently observable, and may have some predictable consequences:

Our households have been reminded with a jolt that keeping some stocks of basic food items is a good thing to do. We’ve been too long deceived by the convenience of supermarkets and corner shops that are open 24 hours a day. Our grandparents were wise in keeping dry goods, salt, pickles and potatoes in hand.

We have suddenly realised that Just-In-Time manufacturing and super lean supply chains are dangerous, as is the ultimate cost reduction of transferring consumable manufacturing to Asia. We are likely to see renewed interest in local manufacturing. 

The economic shock is making us instantly more open to prudence and thrift. We are now looking again at what we buy and ‘need’ with fresh eyes. 

The value of family and companionship is has been highlighted. The fragility of this life is suddenly in the limelight. This is making us aware of the need for healthy, forgiving and tolerant relationships. I have this week heard of a family that has been in bitter battles and clashes throughout three generations and multiple cousins. The crisis led one man in the centre of it all to create a massive WhatsApp group with everyone in the extended family and make them all face up to the reality that we might not have each other for long – so let’s put the past behind us and start being a family!

The social distancing has made us all suddenly appreciate liberty, to start thinking about freedoms and how much we appreciate being able to travel and gather. Suddenly the meaning of totalitarian and repression has some measurement scale, and we see the value of open spaces in our community and the need to associate freely. Human nature makes us prone to wanting what we are told that we cannot have!

We have become super sceptical about politicians and within a month some of the distinctions between conservative economics and socialism have been blurred beyond recognition. Party voting may never be the same again. Added to all this political re-calibration, we have had our eyes opened to the manipulation and self-seeking nature of the mass media. The mainstream, traditional media are suddenly exposed as negative, unhelpful and biased in a way that the ordinary people do not appreciate!

Interest in spiritual insights and what the Bible has to say about the world has been amplified dramatically over a few short weeks. We are told that Bibles are in high demand. Politicians are talking about prayers on a daily basis in governmental briefings. The biggest shift that is happening in front of our eyes is that secularism is evaporating in the heat of the trauma. 

All these aspects combine to create the ingredients for a new breath of fresh air in our communities and society. We can optimistically expect an increase in collaborative, community minded business. We are likely to see a breakdown in the old assumed boundary between charities and businesses. We may well see a whole new approach to what church and congregation mean, as online, global and personal communication mature from the current fumbling attempts to recreate the old wineskins of congregational gathering.

The new wineskins are being prepared. They will be filled with new wine. The name of the wine is shalom!

[Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning profound wholeness; everything in its place and unbroken; right with God and creation]

The new thing emerges – do you not perceive it?

April 10, 2020

For the past year I have been reflecting on this verse from Acts 16v25-26.

But about midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

Suddenly there was such a great earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken.

Immediately all the doors were unlocked and everyone’s chains came loose.

We are in the midst of earth-shaking events. The ways that we used to operate and the constraints that we have been used to have been cracked open. Many of the constraints of the way we think and operate have been broken, halted or at very least paused. Businesses and whole industries are going to emerge changed. The Coronavirus events – the sickness, the panic, the economic shutdown and isolation are forcing change in days that might have looked like taking years in other circumstances.  Many are beginning to speculate or estimate what the changes will look like.

Video conference calling has become the new normal. Working from home has become a standard mode of operation for many. Hiring and firing online is mainstream. Home delivery has become the only form of shopping for many. At the same time, many jobs cannot be done from home or suspended – like healthcare, rubbish collection or taking medicine to those who need it.

I’ve been anticipating this last sentence for many months:

Immediately all the doors were unlocked and everyone’s chains came loose.

I perceive that we are now in this moment. If we permit constructive thinking and the way we perceive the situation we can open our eyes to the new world.

In this account of Paul and Silas, the jailer was locked into the pre-earthquake perspective, and initially assumed that the shaking loose of his inmates would be disaster for him. In fact, Paul and Silas had not run away. They had already been free in their thinking before the earthquake. Their personal peace kept them from running. Instead they then brought the jailer and his whole household into a place of personal peace.

The new situation emerging is that literally billions of people are being propelled into new thinking. We can be sure that entrepreneurial people around the world are already starting to think about how things could develop. This will include churches, healthcare, education, scientific research, entertainment, sport, government mechanisms and community activities. The way in which the poor and dispossessed are helped can no longer be ‘trickle down’ or just charitable giving – the time for enabling and empowering is here. Many who were impoverished by the old constraints and power structures might now be facing fresh opportunities. Many who have small resources right now also need our help. The measure we use for those who are weak or challenged will be the measure used for us. As we sow we will reap.

Recognise that the chains are coming loose – and start to perceive the new! Help others to see the open door ahead!

Something New Emerging

April 1, 2020

Some time ago I had a detailed, vivid, and dramatic dream.

I have been reflecting on it and have come to a conclusion that it was a God given insight into some of the changes that we are experiencing across the world.

The dream:

I was walking along a very ordinary road in clear daylight  when I came up to a strange and grotesque sight: On the pavement I was walking along there was a medium size snake, about 4 or 5 feet long, and it was trying to swallow a lizard. The snake struggled and the lizard was wriggling like crazy – fighting for it’s life.

I leaned down to look closely and found myself looking right into the eyes of the snake. Its eyes were frantic and yet looked defiantly right back at me. I was very close up and saw the lizard struggling less, as if losing strength. With a last big effort, the snake seemed to swallow the lizard – and it went out of sight down the throat of the snake. It seemed like the snake was victorious.

I watched the snake writhe, as if the fighting lizard was not properly going down. Suddenly, the snake vomited out the lizard, which was now inside a transparent membrane – and still fighting for freedom. I knew as I watched, that the transparent membrane was an ‘amniotic sac’ – a fluid filled membrane that holds a fetus in a womb. As the lizard was thrown up on the roadway, the snake expired from the effort and collapsed dead.

The lizard then tore open the amniotic sac and got itself free – and ran away.

That next morning I had a fairly clear conviction about the meaning of the dream, and I have pondered on this for some time. I feel it most strongly relates to political and governmental change.

I believe that the snake is a picture of the leadership that has been in place in many situations for a long time – governmental, business and media organisations, as well as perhaps charities and religious groups. This unhealthy leadership has been attempting to devour the new leaders who are emerging across the earth. The lizard represents a new type of leader, and this new generation of leadership has been in the birth process. What appeared to be the old attempting to devour the new, has been turned on its head, and become the birth of the new, and death of the old.

The birth of the new

We have observed a renewed political openness to what has been called ‘populism’ – which seems to be the hunger of people around the world for a new type of leadership. What has emerged so far might be simply the early manifestations of the yearning that is in the people.

I also wonder if the amniotic sac hints at the refreshed challenge to the global and grotesque practice of infant abortion.

I’m convinced that the snake powerfully typifies secular and godless controlling authority, and the lizard represents leadership that is spiritually awake and sympathetic to God’s agenda.

I discern that there are a variety of actual out workings of this dream around us already. I believe that God has been compelling me this past week to write and publish the dream and this part of the interpretation.

The new is emerging and we are in it!

Looking past the madness with hope

March 27, 2020

One morning in May 2012 I was clearly led to the following two scriptures while in the USA on business:

Jeremiah 4v13

“Look, he advances like the clouds, his chariots come like a whirlwind, his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us! We are ruined.”

Daniel 4v34

“At the end of that time I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honoured and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.”

These two scriptures seemed to me to be ‘book ends’ of a process that was underway:

I believe that the first scripture was an announcement in the spirit realm of the releasing of a whirlwind in the life of America. There are moments when the restraining hand of God is lifted and we are released to the full consequences of our choices. I believe the whirlwind released ungodly legislation, social crisis, collapsing race relations, violence in the suburbs and schools, and increasing disconnection between political leaders and the people. This happened with extraordinary increase of pace from that time in 2012.

This will continue and escalate until the promised restoration of sanity comes – as described in the second scripture.

In the account of Daniel, we see Nebuchadnezzar reaching a point of utter insanity. He has fallen from a place of greatness to the point where he has lost respect, was degraded, looked shameful in people’s eyes and was unkempt and had apparently lost his mind. In 2012 I felt this picture described how the leadership of the USA would cease to honour the true God, after formerly speaking well of God. The whirlwind spoken of in Jeremiah 4 would bring trouble after trouble and the leaders would lead the nation into debased insanity.

I felt the words that God was giving to me were a powerful word of warning followed by a huge promise of hope:

There is coming a moment of revelation where those who have chosen the path of such foolishness that leads to national insanity will suddenly realise the truth. The Truth about the Living God; The Truth about the destructive consequences of abandoning God; The Truth about God’s sovereignty in the life of the nation.

That moment of revelation will bring a restoration that seems too amazing to even be possible! This restoration is coming but can only follow the humbling of the people and the leaders with sincerity and true acknowledgement of the Sovereign God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

I believe that God has not finished His purposes for the United States of America, but He will only take the nation to the next season on His terms. He does not compromise, and He will not share his glory with another. The best is yet to come, but first the whirlwind must do the work of undoing much that is in the way.

Since 2012, watching events with this thought in mind, I am convinced that there are strong parallels in the UK, and that much of our ‘madness’ is a shared thing.

This moment of restoration is coming. We must pray – “Maranatha!” – Come Lord Jesus!

Hope for the future

May 23, 2016

 

2016-05-08 16.24.24

In a season of uncertainty and when all the UK Referendum campaigners seem to be promoting fear, is there some hope?

I believe that God gives tangible direction with hope, based on purpose and His commitment to the path ahead – whether the way is stony or smooth.

An example of this from my life makes the point.  At the end of 1993, after much prayer, I knew that in the year ahead (1994) God wanted me to get a new job and develop into new things. I started the year with this knowledge and I was hopeful about it!  A few weeks into the year God spoke to me in a hotel room in Barcelona while I was on a business trip. He emphasized the words of Isaiah 43:19, “ See I am doing a new thing, see it now springs up.” I knew for certain that God was letting me know that he was shortly about to do a new thing. I understood that it would follow very soon after that night. Two days later when I returned to my office in England, I was called in to see my manager. He informed me that it was necessary to make my job redundant (that means to be “fired” to the Yankees).

In that moment my head spun and my heart leapt!  I knew the hope of what God had already said. I was able to respond in that moment from a position of hope and deal with the situation in faith.  I still had to deal with the uncomfortable emotional aspects of not being wanted by my company and of facing the prospect of not having a job. I was however, able to live with confident assurance in front of my work colleagues and to reassure and lead my family with positive and real faith. The whole transition in our lives was a testimony of faith and an example to friends and family both believers and non-believers.

A few weeks later I was delighted to walk into a better job with better pay and prospects. Even more importantly than the material results of the situation, my wife and I were ready to be released to the next level of faith and living in the Kingdom of God. We moved on to the next stage of pursuing the hope and vision that God had given us several years before regarding our long-term calling and ministry.  The hope that was planted and strong in my heart on the morning that I was made redundant was real and made a definite and actual difference in the situation and the outcome.

My favorite passage in the Bible on the subject of hope is in the book of Romans: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. The creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought to the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:18-25).

This passage is wonderfully self-explanatory, speaking of the glorious ultimate hope of our calling as sons of God. This is a hope that strengthens us through any manner of present trials or sufferings – if we will only look to, and by faith, draw from, the hope that God is holding out in front of us. This is not a small thing – this passage in Romans speaks of the whole of creation! It speaks of us as coming into son-ship; the whole of creation being liberated from decay and the final and complete freedom. The vastness and comprehensiveness of this hope is then focused down to the walk of faith as, “we wait for it patiently.”

God is calling out to the Church to understand the hope that He is offering. We are not walking in the dark and hoping that we will not trip over the furniture. We are walking in the light. As it says in Proverbs 4:18: “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”

Let God flood your heart and life with light. It’s not just a feeling of well-being. He wants you to see and understand, and that is what hope brings. Jesus is coming back. His return is the great hope for the world. Our resurrection in Him is our eternal hope. His completeness is the full light of day. Until then the light is shining ever brighter.

Ask God for real and definite hope. Learn from the Bible what he intends for believers to be and do. Let Him show you what the church and the Kingdom of God are all about. Allow Him to give you revelation to illuminate your personal path that He has prepared for you. Know for certain what He has called you to be and to do. Let Him speak the future into your life. Receive hope!

~~ ~~

This post is a part re-publishing of the chapter written by John D Manwell: “Hope that makes a real difference” which was first published in the book “HOPE – when everything seems hopeless” by Thomas P. Dooley, Mall Publishing Co. ISBN 1-934165-20-4

(C) Thomas P. Dooley 2008.  Used with permission

The Experience of Hope

May 20, 2016

2016-03-10 15.41.03.jpgFollowing the financial crash of 1929 there were many people who lost everything and businesses that collapsed to nothing.  Yet, there were also some who began businesses that later became the biggest and most successful businesses of the century. The inner response to a dramatic change is either hope or hopelessness. Hope produces new life and opportunities, where hopelessness results in death.

We rise to what we are looking at. We need an internal view, which is hopeful.  Hope produces perseverance.  We need to be clear that hope is not a peripheral, secondary or sideline issue. What we hope in, and hope for, is central to who we are and how our society and culture will develop. Hope impacts on our thinking, our goals and our national life. Even our faith will be shaped and develop by the hope that we carry in the core of our being.

Hope is the road that faith walks on.

When our brains are working, the electrical impulses release neurotransmitters, which in turn reinforce the pathway for those electrical connections. Good results produce a positive pathway. In other words ‘proven’ positive experience creates knowledge or certainty that opens up the thinking and ability to imagine, problem solve and deal with challenges. In a physical and practical way, our brains are literally more able to deal with life’s challenges when positive outcomes are envisaged. This is more and more the case as positive thoughts and positive results are repeated. The inverse is true. When negative results or pain occur, the pathways are closed down and minimized. This closes down the mental capacity for fresh thinking or new solutions.

On its own this is a line of thinking that simply reduces hope to nothing more than ‘positive thinking.’ If this was the case, the lottery type of hope would do us good!  The point is that even at a physiological level there is a practical case for having hope and nurturing a positive optimistic expectation.

At a more profound level, a correct understanding of hope as a spiritual truth can do the same for our spirit. Spiritual truth, received into each of our spirits through the written Word of God and the breathed out Spirit of God, trains our spirits in the positive and encouraging revelation of God. Our spirits become stimulated and informed. We develop and learn to have greater confidence in the resources and government of God in our lives. Our spiritual resources are increased and widened so that we are more able to deal with spiritual challenges and more effectively arrive at solutions provided by God. The opposite is true when we dull our spirits with lies from the world and the realm of darkness. Our capacity to face difficulties and defeat satanic opposition becomes ever diminishing.  For these reasons we must renew our minds and not think as the world does. Training our spirits with God’s Word and His thoughts will develop spiritual hope and inner resources. As we gain awareness of the hope to which we are called and the glory that lies ahead, we become confident in God and sure of the road that we are on.

Knowing God’s plan for what is to come is very reassuring. It is a stronghold against all the invasions of the world and satan. We need to know what God has ordained for all humanity and every believer. We also need to know His specific plan and purpose for every one of us. Each one of us needs to be clear of His call and intention for our individual life. Knowing this and looking forward with a certain hope changes the way we will respond to the events that spring up.

~~ ~~

This post is a part re-publishing of the chapter written by John D Manwell: “Hope that makes a real difference” which was first published in the book “HOPE – when everything seems hopeless” by Thomas P. Dooley, Mall Publishing Co. ISBN 1-934165-20-4

(C) Thomas P. Dooley 2008.  Used with permission

The Application of Hope

May 19, 2016

2016-05-15 16.16.11

Real hope provides a tangible and specific dimension in our lives.

The positive opportunities to navigate life and society are real and practical. The point is that ‘hope’ is not some floaty philosophical feeling that boosts our mood – but a society changing, community influencing, thought leading reality!

Let’s look at some aspects of this:

Art:  There is a whole movement of dark and hopeless art. This is justified in terms of “reflecting reality”. The mood conveyed is depressing and seems to show life at its worst. This approach to ‘art’ projects violence, anger, decay, emptiness and insanity. When one considers all that is possible in the world, this kind of art, whether it is a painting, song, or photograph, is surely not motivating people to rise to new heights and possibilities.

An alternative is to challenge and inspire. Art can be used to provoke people to do something, and rise above the failures and disappointments. Even decay and brokenness can be conveyed in a form that challenges us to respond and do something positive. Art can be inspiring and pointing to what life can be at its best.

Science:  When scientists and technologists approach their craft with a humanistic and hopeless framework, the technology and knowledge is simply a tool to control and take advantage. Technology without hope is crushing and degrades society. An example of this would be development of biological weapons, designed to kill and maim large numbers of civilians and used to create fear in the enemy population. A more mundane example would be the cynical use of modern technology that allows ordinary people to gamble on-line, spurred on by the rush of adrenaline and having their money drained from their family.

Alternatively innovation and creativity can be used to open possibilities and help people to be all they can be. Wonderful examples of this exist in medicine, such as computers that enable paralysed people to speak, or cures developed for cancers. Internet innovations that help people to track down long lost friends from school is another example of how technology can be positive in our frantic world.

When technologists are motivated with hope their energy is directed towards a goal that strengthens and helps people. Those without hope develop tools that kill, steal and destroy.

Government:  When leaders and rulers have hope that values people and the fear of God, their approach is constructive. An example was William Wilberforce. As a God fearing politician he knew that the African slave trade was an evil that should stop. He had a hope in the Kingdom of God and a genuine hope that Godly principles would prevail. In 1791 he presented his first bill before the British Parliament attempting to outlaw the slave trade. The bill was unsuccessful, losing by 163 votes to 88. With hope in the eternal and hope in what he believed to be the right action he persevered.  Year after year Wilberforce brought revised bills to the Parliament. Eventually in 1807 the bill he brought was passed by 114 votes to 15. He continued to campaign for existing slaves to be given their freedom. He died in July 1833 not having seen his passionate desire achieved. One month later the British Parliament passed a law giving all slaves in the British Empire their freedom. This is a great example of hope motivating a leader and a cause (read the biography of Wilberforce in Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas). It shows a man inspired and strengthened in his work by hope. It also reminds us that we don’t always see for ourselves in this life what we hope for, but it may happen anyway.

In contrast, President Idi Amin took power in Uganda in 1971 through a military coup. His wicked rule was without compassion for his people and society. Observers estimate that he oversaw the killing of between 300,000 and 500,000 people within his country. It was said that he enjoyed killing people, and that he even killed one of his own wives. What a powerful example of a ruler without hope as a motive and certainly not giving hope to his people.

Management:  Many of us have seen management that has no hope for eternal life and no sense of inspiration. This type of management simply uses people as resources. Staff are treated as numbers to be controlled, dominated and all outcomes are seen as dependent on human ability, and all results must be measurable in the ‘here and now’. This belief system, operating within a manager, is reflected in actions that use and abuse people as they all operate within an environment of hopeless pursuit of money, material results, and temporary glory.

Conversely, many of us have experienced leaders and leadership that has an eternal hope. Leaders who have hope in their own hearts and this reflects in a hope for others. This kind of leadership has optimism about people and a wider perspective on what is achieved, and confidence in what others could be. Their hope from within is contagious.

Family:  We live in an age when families and family life are under attack. Those families that have hope for the future are able to grow, develop and aspire to all kinds of possibilities. Parents’ marriages survive all kinds of pressures when they have hope beyond the conflict. Children see parents living in hope for what lies ahead and for a life that is more than just the present material age, and the children in turn, learn to deal with pressure and the trials of life. In this environment children grow in hope and this enables them to fulfill their potential as people; People who in turn spread hope in an otherwise hopeless world. A hope-filled family demonstrates and lives in healthy leadership, security, works towards meaningful goals, and sees fulfillment in life.

Judaeo-Christian hope is a shaping, defining, positive force which motivates, elevates and edifies individuals, groups, organisations and societies. Apply hope!

 

This post is a part re-publishing of the chapter written by John D Manwell: “Hope that makes a real difference” which was first published in the book “HOPE – when everything seems hopeless” by Thomas P. Dooley, Mall Publishing Co. ISBN 1-934165-20-4

(C) Thomas P. Dooley 2008.  Used with permission

 

Hope is a Valuable Commodity!

May 18, 2016

Hope emerging

Hope is such a powerful commodity. At this time of collapsing value in the stock market, collapsing trust in political leaders and even in political systems, the question arises “Where is hope?”

 

Let’s consider several areas of life as we know it and how hope impacts upon them:  At the basic level of individual motivation, men are fundamentally driven towards action and the hope of success. They know that certain actions produce results, and are driven by the desire to achieve desirable outcomes. Women are drawn towards relationships and knowing each other more. They know that getting to know people is rewarding and keeps friendships and families together and healthy. They are both urged on by the hope of the outcome they want. Healthy families are the basis of hope for our society.

Let’s look at society and what it is based on:  Our western society, particularly in Britain and America was based on the hope of the Kingdom of God. That is to say that our laws, judicial system and principles of business started out from Biblical precepts, and are built on the clear understanding that obeying God and submitting to His truth results in healthy society and consequent peace and prosperity. This is another way of saying that living God’s way is to live in the hope that obeying his principles will bring about His pleasure and we will all benefit from His blessing.

For many generations Christian society and culture were based on a hope in the afterlife resulting from obeying God in this life. The Christian message offers blessing in this life, but the over-riding goal is our hope in the everlasting world to come. This hope is steadfast and certain, and provides a solid bed-rock for our society and institutions in family, education and the business world. This is a hope that permeates every aspect of life and thinking in our culture and daily living. Our hope in God and hope of eternal life motivates us to live well and to do good. In this way hope is the engine and power for a strong and stable society.  Living God’s way does not just open up a possibility, a chance that things will work well, but a certain and definite commitment from God.

In this generation we are seeing a new kind of hope being offered. This is a false and temporal hope. People are being seduced across the world with hope of becoming rich and hope of being lucky in life. The infection of false hope is seen in every walk of life. We are hypnotised with the wafer thin ‘hope’ of winning the lottery and becoming super-rich in a day. Many hard working families long for the day that they might have a dream holiday or afford a luxury car or enviable home. The essence of the hope the world is offering is short term, wishful thinking, luck based, and faintly possible.  It usually requires someone else to suffer less good fortune to make it possible. The very concept of a lottery is a deception that rakes in millions of dollars from millions of people who cannot afford to throw money away. They are given a fleeting taste of what feels like ‘hope’ in return for wasting their money on the smallest probability of winning. The book of Proverbs says that money quickly gained is soon lost.

Modern thinkers want us to be raised with the random and impersonal concept of evolution as being the way in which we all came into being. We are fed on the belief in democracy and the rightness of the majority. All of this conditions us to think in terms of possibilities and probabilities and ‘luck’ as the route through to good fortune and positive outcomes. Little wonder that we easily adopt the world view of hope as a sense of “things might get better, if we could only close our eyes and dream a little longer or a little harder!” Most drug abuse and alcoholism is a result of people in pain wanting a sense of hope.  But, they get a counterfeit, a feeling of positive elation that can be bought for a moment.

Hope in God is certain and defined, making for a solid and consistent society. Hope in luck is vague and relativistic, without a reference point and is drifting. Hope in luck will ultimately lead to social collapse and possibly violent hatred, as people turn on each other with nothing real or eternal to look forward to. The Bible warns that without vision, the people perish. Vision is a form of hope.

 

This post is a part re-publishing of the chapter written by John D Manwell: “Hope that makes a real difference” which was first published in the book“HOPE – when everything seems hopeless” by Thomas P. Dooley, Mall Publishing Co. ISBN 1-934165-20-4

(C) Thomas P. Dooley 2008.  Used with permission