Why Lazarus is Silent

“Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.   In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’  But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’  And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house– for I have five brothers– in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’  But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’  But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’  But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'” (Luke 16:22-31 NASB)

Have you ever thought about why the only character named never says anything in this parable?  I have (shocker).  I’m not sure I’ve figured it out, but I suspect it has do with Jesus (another shocker – can your heart take it?).  Okay, duh, of course it has to do with Jesus, He’s the One telling the parable, but I mean beyond that.  I think it has to do with the role of Jesus in our lives as believers.

What drew my attention to that possible explanation was the last statement of Abraham which obviously refers to Jesus’ resurrection.  That reference to resurrection is more than the event, it’s the meaning.  The reference is to the role it plays in increasing our faith, or at least the faith of those who already have faith.  Did you catch that element?  The brothers won’t believe someone rising from the dead if they don’t already believe Moses and the Prophets.  Part of what the resurrection of Jesus does is increase the faith of His followers.  I know, duh again.

What that got me thinking about was my own desire to justify myself (which is what Jesus accuses the Pharisees of earlier).  Jesus justifies does He not?  So I don’t need to justify myself.  In this parable, Abraham fills that role.  He justifies Lazarus to the rich man who ignored him his whole life.  So Lazarus doesn’t say anything in this parable because he doesn’t need to.

What if I let God defend me?  What if I followed the pattern of Jesus before the Sanhedrin, before Pilate, before Herod, and just refused to defend myself?  Not very American of me is it? (and there was applause in Europe)  I like to defend myself.  I feel competent to defend myself.  I waste my time defending myself!  Think about it, I have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus!  What am I going to do to top Him?  Better arguments, better understanding of the people involved, situation leading up to and following, what?  I waste my time.

Lazarus is at peace.  Perhaps he wasn’t at peace as dogs licked his sores.  But in the bosom of Abraham he’s at peace.  What would be the danger of living my life like that now?  People would accuse me of pride and arrogance, but I’m silent.  I’d be accused of baseless groundless belief, and I’d be silent.  I’m a bad leader, and I simply take their shoes off and wash their feet.  No PowerPoint slides, no graphics or charts, no clever bullet points, just silence.  What if?

I used to live about an hour from the school I attended in Texas back in the 90’s.  My wife and I would jet out of the house early and try and beat the rush-hour traffic into town to get to class.  One day, the stress of it was particularly bad, I wasn’t able to drive my desired 65 in a 55, or whatever, and I just decided to drive 55…exactly 55.  In fact I may have been a smidgen below that.  Stress gone.  I’m no longer competing for the next spot on the off-ramp, I’m no longer trying to keep someone from getting between me and the person in front of me I’m tailgating.  Peace.  Okay, I had to leave earlier to make it work, but not much earlier.  As it turns out, 55 makes a pretty good average speed when the freeway is crowded.  My point is this, once I stopped trying to make my own way, God made a way for me.

So I’m learning the lesson of Lazarus: There’s no need to contend for your own justice.  This frees me up to do stuff like forgive others.  I see my forgiven state much more clearly when I stop trying to cover up or explain what needs to be forgiven.  Funny how that works.  It’s something I need to repent of or actually repent toward.  Stop defending myself.  Go ahead and attack me.  My Defender is my Master.  I stand, or fall, because of Him, not my own ability to reason my way out of my predicaments.  It’s scary to trust Him with that, but there’s so much peace that goes along with it.  It’s kind of nice really.

So if you’re looking for me, I’ll be resting in the bosom of Jesus.  You’ll have to talk to Him if you have any issues with me; He’s handling my personal “complaint department” today.

That was my view today, what do you learn from this parable?


Some Rich Guy…And Lazarus

“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.  And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.”  (Luke 16:19-21 NASB)

This parable isn’t one of the more difficult to understand, it’s just one of the more disturbing that Jesus tells.  It’s possible there are some literary genius elements in it, like that Lazarus is the only named character between the two, but never speaks.  But other points, primarily the details of the setting after death are particularly troubling.

For instance, does it bother anyone else that heaven and hell are within sight, and close enough to discern actual people?  Does it bother anyone that in heaven it’s possible to see tormented people in hell?  I think, if you’re like me, you sort of figured that they would be “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” for eternity.  I just never thought about it actually.  You, know, except for now.

Does it bother anyone that Abraham and the unnamed rich-guy can talk across the gulf that no one can travel across?  There’s no bridge, but they can shout at each other.  Isn’t that a bit too close for “comfort”?  How is the blessed existence of heaven possible when you can witness the torment of those who refused the kingdom of God?  That sounds a bit morbid or at least sadistic in nature.

So now the real question: If all that is accurate about the parable, did Jesus intend for it to be an accurate depiction of heaven, what John saw from Patmos?  I have heard it various ways: heaven & hell prior to the cross, heaven & hell prior to the final “new heaven/new earth” (during the “church-age” – nonsense), and so on.  Jesus simply leaves that question unanswered.

John’s vision on Patmos was different in a lot of ways, but some details he simply didn’t mention.  For instance, John mentions the “lake of fire” but doesn’t say whether it was visible from the “New Jerusalem”.  He has an abyss, but again it sounds like a lockable hole, temporary place for the Devil prior to the final battle.  Still no mention as to the “layout” and whether there was this “chasm fixed” that no one can cross.  So, it’s possible that John’s vision and this parable describe very similar settings.  How’s that for uncomfortable?

One of the real problems here is how this depiction seems to cast God in a unloving light, at least by our definitions of love.  Even if people in rebellious ignorance chose to go there, why leave both places within sight of each other for eternity?  Can you imagine an eternity of worship before the Throne of God with tormented souls as “backup”?  You can see them and hear them while worshiping with an unnumbered throng before the throne.  Seems some how discordant.

So what do we do with this depiction?  My favorite choice is to go with the main point, and trust God for the setting.  The main point is that the wealthy need to reach out to the poor in recognition of the Sovereignty of God; viewing themselves as equal with the poor.  It’s a matter of responsibility with the resources God has provided us, rich, comfortable, getting by, barely making it, stretching, or homeless.

If I focus on the obvious point, and let God worry about the “setting” after this life, then I’m not distracted sitting as judge over the Maker of the entire universe.  See the problem?  When we call God’s character into question, we do so at a very core level.  It erodes our faith just to do so.  If we believe that Scripture is inspired, that Jesus actually said these things, then draw the conclusion from those beliefs that Jesus reveals God as a very unloving harsh God; we reject other passages that say otherwise.

Part of the problem we face on this side of the “afterlife” is that we have little idea what we will be like on that side.  It could be that “the glory to be revealed” so far surpasses our ability to comprehend now that any vision of the torment of others actually becomes incorporated into the glory of God and His character.  To say that’s not possible from this side is fine, but impossible to actually know.  So the challenge is to learn the obvious lesson, and also hang on to what we already know about God.

That’s my view through this knothole…you?  What do you see?

Wait, Who Missed The Point?

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him.  And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.  The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.  But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.  Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.  (Luke 16:14-18 ESV)

It almost sounds like the opening of a joke, “So, the Pharisees were money-lovers…” and in some ways it is.  But the punchline is sort of hidden and jumps out at us, revealing that the joke was actually on us not just them.  The reason is that “money-lovers” gets us thinking financially, and for our Master, money in general is an idolatry issue.  And of course those sorts of issues in others are fine, but in ourselves are very uncomfortable.

Right away, Jesus goes for the heart.  The heart (not emotions, but intent and focus) was His point all along, even though He was talking about money.  It seems peculiar, but pragmatism when it comes to finances can actually be a poor choice for disciples of Jesus.  Think it through, was Peter, John, and James’ choice to follow Jesus financially pragmatic? Yet we espouse pragmatism as a financial approach most of the time.  Then we wonder why Jesus seems to be willing to do so little in our lives.  I believe we’ve actually become content for the little we have of Jesus unwilling to give of ourselves more to receive more of Him.

There are some motives that Jesus unveils here.  He points out that the Pharisees were more interested in what people thought than what God thought.  We do that a lot.  After all, people abound all around us, and God is invisible (out of sight-out of mind).  And yet Jesus also points out than an opportunity is available, and the Pharisees are missing it (because of their focus on money).  I think because of our focus and approach to money, so are we (and I include myself here intentionally).

Jesus makes the really confusing statement that until John, there was only the Law and Prophets (i.e. Scripture), but since John the Kingdom of God has been preached.  We can see that in each of the Gospels.  But next He says that everyone forces their way into it (it=the Kingdom I’m assuming).  The Kingdom is being preached, and the Pharisees, and those looking for it expressly, are missing it. Others force their way in and they pass on by because of their money-focus.

The reason I include myself in this current application of this problem is because I do struggle with the use and focus on money.  My wife and I make decisions about vocation based on money.  I consider my job as “financing” my ministries (like this blog).  But on the other hand, I look at the things my Master has provided as belonging to His Kingdom more than to me; at least most of the time.  At other times I’m distracted by what we have, and to my shame, what we don’t.

Then Jesus states that the very laws these Pharisees pride themselves on, even though the Kingdom of God is passing them by, will never pass away.  To me that means that the Scripture isn’t being replaced, only the covenant they contained.  Yet Scripture proclaimed another covenant to come, and it was this covenant the Pharisees were missing.  Even so, the Pharisees had to wonder at Jesus’ statement about the Law not passing away, so He makes another, seemingly random statement.

Divorce.  We hate this term because it belies a problem we’d rather not face in our nation and especially in our churches.  Like so much of our lives, marriage has become disposable.  In the Pharisees day no one considered marriage disposable except for kings, and even then it wasn’t always politically wise to “dispose” of a wife.  The issue then was that they used the rules of divorce to disenfranchise women.  It was a tool of oppression.  Many times it is today as well, but it is also far more common today.

The point Jesus makes with His random statement on divorce is that these who love money and think they know the law so well break that law in respect to their marriages.  They love themselves far more than they love God, and Jesus dragged their hidden view of themselves into the sunlight.  And so it is for us.  We are shown that we are in the same school of thought, where we love ourselves far more than God.  Think of our choices, our use of our time, what we purchase.  The proof is right there staring back at us from Amazon shopping carts and our favorite TV shows.  What’s most important to us?

What’s most important to you? What do you see in these statements of Jesus?

Contrasts And Dilemmas

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.  Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?  And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?  No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Luke 16:10-13 NASB)

Finances schminances, what’s the big deal?  Why is Jesus so interested in finances?  Most of the people in the crowds around Him didn’t have much “finance” to worry about.  They were more concerned with the next meal.  Of course that does beg the question of why they were in a crowd around Jesus and not working for that next meal.  And still Jesus continues into finances as part of His discussion with His disciples (those having left everything to follow Him).

In this discussion Jesus contrasts having much and little, managing unrighteous wealth versus “true riches”, managing another’s and being given your own, and finally, serving two masters.  Essentially, He says that if we can’t handle a little, why would we expect a lot?  I’m fairly certain that some or many among the crowd were of the opinion that wealth was proof of God’s favor.  So, they considered the source of wealth to be God.  Jesus’ point has to do with the irony of wanting the blessings of God without first honoring God with the blessings already received.

This is like when I teach on “giving” and the response (or rather excuse) I get back is that the people are too strapped to give.  They don’t have enough to give right now, but when they do, they’ll give more and then some.  Jesus teaches that is not actually the case.  Those unaccustomed to offerings when they have little, will not be overly inclined once they have much.  Keep in mind that biblical giving is in proportion.  So if we don’t even give the smaller amount when we have less, why would we be inclined go give the larger amount when we have more?  Ten percent is ten percent, little or much.  If we don’t do it at one end we’re not going to be doing it at the other.

But think through these contrasts.  I’ve already touched on little versus much, but what about unrighteous versus true riches?  What does that mean?  I wonder if unrighteous wealth is that which is gained apart from the Kingdom of God?  That doesn’t sound right since I believe that my Master gave me my job.  It’s not vocational ministry, but I wouldn’t consider the money made to be unrighteous.  On the other hand, the corporation for which I work is not what I would consider righteous either.  Does that make the money I’m paid unrighteous?

I think in this case I would again defer to the historical context and say that it may refer to those with wealth gained prior to their relationship with Jesus.  I don’t have any proof of that though, it’s just an easier interpretation, absolving me of any requirement to apply it to my current situation, except where some rich person joins our church and follows Jesus as His disciple, at which time it would apply…still, kind of a cop-out as well.

The other though may be easier.  Being faithful in what is another’s could refer to the “stewardship” used to refer to how we manage our households.  In other words, seeing all you have as truly belonging to God, and yourself as His steward.  If so, then what is “your own” you might receive later?  Heaven?  Not sure on that one, but I would hesitate long and hard before I made how we manage our finances the key to our gaining heaven.  It may be a marker of how dedicated a disciple we are, or perhaps whether or not we’re a disciple.  But it does not work as criteria used by our Master for who He allows into His heaven.

The final statement, serving two masters, is not that difficult.  Matthew uses it in the Sermon on the Mount.  And who hasn’t seen this truth in the lives of people attending church who seem more caught up their things than the Kingdom of God?  It’s easy to fall away from church attendance unless we engage in it.  Each summer here people seem to vanish each weekend.  Is that sin?  Well, sort of.  It’s indicative of a choice to not be a disciple.  It may not be that they hate God and His Kingdom, but it does seem they love their “recreation” more.

I think that this section can be understood as a nice corollary to the cost of discipleship.  It’s about finances, but that is often one of the biggest deterrents to discipleship and the required devotion to Jesus.  Let’s face it, honestly, isn’t it easier to let our relationship with Jesus lapse when we have more to enjoy doing?  Sunny weekends, camping, boating, dining, traveling, enjoying life, you name it; it all can easily wind its way in between us and our Master.  I get tired, stressed, frustrated, and so on; and the answer is to “get away”.  Why is it always getting away from church though?  It’s work and daily grind of the week that stresses me out, but I when I get away it’s from my family of fellow disciples.  Really?

What do you really think about these contrasts?

Financial Management?

“And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:8-9 NASB)

Last time I said that the parable of the Unrighteous Steward was financial in meaning.  Then I proceeded to draw an application that was generic rather than specific to finances.  Basically I said that disciples of Jesus should be able to endure the trials of this life better than people who don’t know Jesus.  Yet Jesus’ statements strung together by Luke are more specific.

First of all, the problem or challenge before the steward had to do with his livelihood.  While some understand him to be seeking a new place to live.  I believe that he sought other employment as his goal.  That makes his problem financial.  And Jesus continues this “theme” into the next three statements.  I want to look at the first of these, which is arguably the most puzzling as well.

First off, who is this “they” referred to who will welcome us into eternal dwellings?  I prefer the view that they are the “friends” made with the unrighteous wealth (or mammon).  If this is the case, then the process of making friends with such resources really would either include or entirely refer to making disciples. In our day that would mean spending money on making disciples, which seems an overly easy way out.  But that doesn’t make it wrong.  On the other hand it doesn’t seem to relate at all to the actions of the steward.

But what if the reduction of debt followed by the steward might be understood to mean that we “reduce” the debt (or sin?) of those we seek to disciple?  I’m not sure how that would look today, perhaps in being willing to overlook someone’s sin instead of considering it to be a barrier to discipleship.  Since repentance is such an integral element of discipleship, that might make sense…might.  But then how would we be using the “mammon” to reduce debt?  It still doesn’t fit all the elements, regardless of how attractive it might be to any point of view, I can’t accept overlooking sin as the point of view of this passage.

The idea of reducing debt and the use of wealth are connected though.  The problem is determining how they are connected.  If the parable characters refer as so often to the Father as the master of the house, then who becomes the steward?  What then would be the “wealth”?  Wouldn’t that almost completely divorce the application from the financial arena?  So then why would Jesus clearly state the use of unrighteous wealth to be the point?  Clearly Jesus sees this entirely as a teaching about the use of wealth, unrighteous wealth at that.

Yesterday I said that the lesson of the steward was that we “children of light” should be able to deal wisely with adversity, even more so than those considered “sons of this age”.  I don’t recant that, but I do further believe Jesus is tying His point to the use of wealth gained by unrighteous means.  So, in adversity where we have at our disposal unrighteous wealth (ours or another’s) we are to focus on making eternal friends.  In the case of the steward, he was losing his source of income, his livelihood.  What would that look like for us, especially where the process involved having unrighteous assets?  And what would we do with such assets in such a situation which would result in friends in heaven?

I have a cop-out.  Suppose this results from Luke as “editor” preserving the words of Jesus, but choosing the order in which he presents them?  What if he is using his arrangement to address a problem with which he knows “Theophilus” (or that church, or churches) would be familiar?  What if this is something we don’t face today, but which was of concern then?  What if monkeys suddenly sprang from my closet, stole my laptop, and made off into the desert riding wild horses?  There are definitely problems playing “what if”?  I play it anyway, but since it often ends with senseless monkeys springing into existence it’s usually a short game.

What if a church is faced with a large donation from the winner of a gambling venture, who then, the next day, impoverishes himself?  What if a church is presented a gift which turns out to be from a noted criminal trying to assuage his guilt for his many sins; but then who is also determined to remain in his current life?  What if then the FBI asks for the money donated by the criminal, after it has been used to “make eternal friends”?  Again with the monkeys.

My point is that the specific application depends on the situation, but the basic concept remains that all financial adversity should be approached with the goal of making those eternal friends.  In other words, when financial decisions have to be made the goal of our Master in such decisions is that His Kingdom grows, He has more disciples, and the result is eternal friends.  So that should be our goal as well.  At least I think so.  That could be overly reductionist (can you believe I actually got to use that word in a sentence?).

Now you know why this passage is so difficult for disciples to understand.  But even so, what’s your understanding?

Espousing Unrighteousness?

Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions.  And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’  And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’  Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’  And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. (Luke 16:1-8 NASB)

I have made a point of not skipping as I go through Luke, and therefore it has taken over a year to reach chapter 16.  But it also means that some of the things we really wish Jesus had not said we still study.  Yes, there are things that most people wish He had not said.  For instance, using a cheating steward as a positive example is kind of embarrassing for us as we hold up the holiness and deity of the Jesus, the Son of God.  Yet, here it is.  So, now, it’s up to us to wrangle with what we know of Jesus on the one hand, and this parable on the other.  So, here I go…

The meaning of this parable has been debated for centuries, and many even from the Apostolic Fathers found it at least odd.  Commentators can’t decide whether Jesus is praising the steward for cheating his boss as he goes, or whether he had a change of heart (which would need some serious explaining), and Jesus didn’t feel we really needed any explanation.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  Luke follows this parable with three or four quotes of Jesus, one of which is also in the Sermon on the Mount.  The context of the chapter as a whole has to do with wealth in general, so the specifics of this parable are supposed to be understood in that context.

With those things as clues, the meaning Jesus ends with “…for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light” can be examined.  Jesus’ point is clearly some sort of contrast between “sons of light” and “sons of this age”.  I suppose we can assume that “sons of light” refers specifically to “disciples”.  The reference to “sons of this age” would then refer to those who have no share in Jesus and the Kingdom of God.  With those two terms defined this way, then the steward would fit nicely into the category of “sons of this age”.  And such a view would save Jesus some embarrassment I suppose.

But still, this “son of this age” remains a positive example, as if Jesus is saying, “be that guy”.  That is hard to swallow precisely because the guys is clearly a “son of this age”.  So the challenge is to perceive how is this son of this age a positive example.  Jesus’ clue for us in the explanation is “…more shrewd in relation to their own kind…”. This can also be understood as “…are more sensible into their own generation…”, which is, of course, even more difficult to understand.

So, here’s my “spin” on this steward, son of this age:  This steward, when faced with personal defeat, figured out how to ingratiate himself with others using the resources of he had at hand (his master’s) so that his “defeat” would not be total.  Exactly how this “ingratiation” worked in his favor isn’t the point, so the debate around this issue is literally pointless.  That he figured out how to do so is the point.  That he was able to do so is the point.  That is why his boss praised him.  It’s not that in such situations boss praise those who cheat them.  Jesus wanted to point out the shrewdness of the steward, and did so through the house holder, the steward’s boss.

In application, this means that, faced with dire situations, the sons of light should be more able to deal with…whom?  Our own generation?  Our own people?  The sons of this age?  Who?  And in what way are we to demonstrate this shrewdness?  It’s not an easy thing to bring forward into our own life situation, because the solution found by the steward was to cheat.  So what’s the application for us, if not to “cheat our brethren”?

Maybe the answer is in the thought process of the steward.  He says, “What shall I do…I’m not strong enough to dig, and ashamed to beg?”  But then he also states his goal, “…so that people will welcome me into their homes.”  When faced with the certainty of loss (of his position), he saw the situation for what it was, himself for who he was, and the goal he needed to attain.  I think that part of the lesson is this:

  • When faced with loss, the sons of light are surprised by setbacks, “how can this happen to us, the children of God?”  Jesus is saying in a sense, “get over it, and move on” just like sons of this age – deal with it.
  • When faced with loss, the sons of light may doubt who they are, “how can this happen to us, the children of God?”  Jesus is saying in a sense, “this happens to everyone in this world, move on” just like sons of this age – deal with it
  • When faced with loss, the sons of light may doubt the goal, “how can this happen to us, the children of God?”  Jesus is saying in a sense, “show how the ‘children of God’ fare in foul weather better than the sons of this age.”

Basically, as God’s children (children of light) we are called by God our Father to live differently in the same trials and problems of this world.  It’s the result of discipleship, of repentance, of our close proximity with our Master.  It is all too often the opposite, we crumble when trials come because we believe we should receive preferential treatment from God in this world.  Jesus is saying it’s not going to happen, get over it, and move on; and thereby demonstrate to the sons of this age that the sons of light have a better life here, and to come.  It’s our proof of the good news, that we can endure this age as well and hopefully better than those trapped within it.  This is all they have and what a sad circumstance that is.  We have heaven as a destination, the Holy Spirit as our present guide, and Jesus as our Advocate before the Father.  What can we possibly lack?  So, buck up, and get back in there!  Not exactly “Knute Rockne”, but there it is.

Well, anyway, that’s my view through this knothole.  What’s yours?