“Rejoice forever in my creation” *

To my mind, the best time to walk is early morning, just as a new day is born, before the world — and my mind and soul — are cluttered with the day’s traffic and smudged and torn. I like to be early enough to catch those few seconds when the world seems to hold its breath, wondering at the new day. Then, all seems fresh, new, unspoiled, and almost perfect, and there is so much glory that no brush or camera can convey it.

It’s an illusion, of course. This world — and my mind and soul — are quite smudged and torn. Any picture we have of “perfection” in this world is far from accurate. Actually, it’s more serious than smudges and tears. Romans 8 names the real condition: death and decay.

But God’s promise is that perfection is coming! We’ll see an entirely new creation, bursting with glory and free from every hint of death or decay. The renewed earth will be healed and complete. And God’s family will get to enjoy it forever.

Early in the morning, I sometimes feel the earth pause for a millisecond, poised at the edge of a new day. And at those times, I can feel the expectation as creation wonders: Will this be the day?

* See Isaiah 65:17, 18

Thoughts from  Facing the Future, Copyright © 2020 JPV Press, to be released April 28, 2020. Used with permission

We have more life coming

This is God’s ultimate Romans 8:28 triumph: Out of death, the Creator who loves us will bring life. In the face of Satan’s most powerful weapon against us, God works His most miraculous promises. Throughout the Bible, we see the theme that life will come out of death: Dying to self unites us with God; Jesus’ death gave us life forever; and even though our physical death is wrenching, our heavenly Father uses it to bring us to Himself, making it the most wonderful day of our lives. Even as we experience earthly sadness and loss, we have the joy of knowing that physical death is the doorway through which we step into even more and greater life.

God’s plan from before the beginning of the world was that His created people would have immortal lives in immortal bodies. God’s sticking to His plan. It’s our hope for the future, changing everything about today.


Thoughts from  Facing the Future, Copyright © 2020 JPV Press, to be released April 28, 2020. Used with permission

We’re on a mission

Many people today feel as though their lives have been “put on hold.” Almost everything that defined life two months ago is now limited—or off limits completely. Jobs, social circles, everyday errands and shopping, church services, sports events—the list goes on and on. “We’ve just got to get through this.”

The apostle Paul makes a jarring statement in Acts 20:22-24: He says he has no idea what lies ahead, but the Spirit has shown him that in every city, he’ll meet suffering and jail time. We have no idea what lies ahead, either, but I have to wonder what my response would be to a revelation that my future holds constant suffering and even jail.

Then comes this statement from Paul: “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it to finish the work Christ gave me.”

That lights a fire in me.

Christ made us partners in His mission to bring people back to God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Our mission has not been put on hold during these days when life has changed so drastically. No matter if the world is blasted with a pandemic, shredded by an economic collapse, torn by war, living in uneasy peace or rocketing prosperity—we’re partnered with the one about whom prophecy said, “The Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.”* Our mission still shapes every day. That’s what defines and gives meaning to our lives, children of God. And we’re in His hands.

(My apologies for “stretching” this a little further than the promised “short” blogs. Today, I felt compelled to expand these thoughts to include our current life situation.)

*see Isaiah 53:10

Thoughts from  Facing the Future, Copyright © 2020 JPV Press, to be released April 28, 2020. Used with permission



Staying strong

We get tired. Discouragement creeps in. We might even get to the point where we throw up our hands and say, “Lord, this is just too hard. I can’t do it.”

But the Word we live by tells us not to get tired, not to give up. How do we stay strong? 

The eighth chapter of Facing the Future looks at God’s answers to that question.

Many passages about the future and what is ahead of us speak of one important source of help and protection: Knowing what is ahead, the Scripture says, don’t stop loving, encouraging, teaching, and counseling each other.* A favorite phrase of the epistle writers is “build each other up.”

God works through His children on earth by His Spirit within, and the Spirit has given each of us a special gift. It may be hospitality, the ability to teach well, listening with compassion, or being kind to a weary heart, among many other things. Your gift was not given to you for your benefit; it was given so that you could help me. 

Building each other up. Body building. It will keep us strong.

* see Jude 1:20, 21


Thoughts from  Facing the Future, Copyright © 2020 JPV Press, to be released April 28, 2020. Used with permission


Expectation of our tears

A familiar scene at our local nursing home: a family standing outside a window, talking to a loved one on the other side of the pane. Separated. This morning as I walked my usual route that includes a loop around the facility, I caught a glimpse of an aide entering a room, her face covered with a mask. My father lived there for two months before the pandemic, and I can well remember how one smile and cheerful spirit could brighten the day. These masks everywhere now—although necessary, they cut us off from even the warmth of a smile. 

We know that there will be hard times of tears in our journey. With equal certainty, we know we are never cut off, separated, distanced from our God who loves us. Our hope depends on Him who “keepeth covenant”* even in the hardest times of grief, stress, pain, and storms that threaten to swamp our boat.  

Sometimes we are not able to look beyond today’s pain to even imagine a better day. We might not think we can hold on for even “a little while.” Pain numbs us. Darkness can be so heavy that it’s difficult to see even a tiny speck of light. The roar of conflict and battle might shut out voices of encouragement and hope.

But none of that deters Him. His promises hold true, no matter the circumstance.

* Deuteronomy 7:9 KVJ


Thoughts from  Facing the Future, Copyright © 2020 JPV Press, to be released April 28, 2020. Used with permission