Archive for April, 2020

The Book of Hope

Posted: April 12, 2020 in Uncategorized

I’m on a journey to discover more about hope. There’s very little that’s familiar about the world in which we live right now, and I think everyone needs hope more than ever.

But how do find hope? I went to buy petrol for my car the other day and was delighted that fuel prices are down. A great reason to feel hopeful. With industry closing down and people using less cars, I’m told the levels of carbon dioxide in the air are decreasing.  Could that be good for our planet? Perhaps a reason to feel hopeful?

I read the other day that there are all sorts of stories on social media about animals moving into cities, finding their place that have been deserted by humans who have gone into isolation. Hopeful? Well, apparently most of those stories were fake news.  You see people try to drum up hopefulness, and they’ll even tell porkies to try and make people feel hopeful.

So there’s got to be a better way. My search for hope has been centred on the Bible and I’m astounded at the amount of hopefulness that is present in the Bible.  I was reading a passage that talks about our need to help people do what is right and to build them up in their relationship with God, and the passage concludes like this:

And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

The very purpose of the Scriptures, another word for the Bible, is to give us hope and encouragement as we wait for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

Don’t you just love it that all those meetings that were in your calendar have all been cancelled? And perhaps you’re thinking to yourself right now that maybe there’s something else you can do to put this time of isolation and social-distancing to good use. 

I’d like to suggest you take the time to read the Bible.  I know there’s some bits in there that are hard to understand, but if the purpose of the Scriptures is to give us hope and encouragement, take the opportunity to specifically look for hope and encouragement as you read.

I love the Psalms, right in the middle of the Bible, because although they sometimes express hardship and doubt and even fear, they are expressing life as it really is. But almost inevitably the writers to the Psalms, after they have had a whinge about God, and their enemies, and their own doubts, they focus back on God, and his beauty and majesty; they talk about his love and grace, his generosity, and his hopefulness. 

Here’s an example: Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings. Our land will yield its bountiful harvest. Righteousness goes as a herald before him,preparing the way for his steps.

The Bible is a source of hope. Take this opportunity when the busy-ness of life is on hold to a certain degree, to read the Bible. In fact this is a great time to develop a habit of reading the Bible every day. Set aside a time each day when you can read the Bible and explore what it says about hope.

After all, it says itself that the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

Eager Expectation

Posted: April 8, 2020 in Uncategorized
Photo: Monarch Butterfly –

I’m on a journey to discover more about hope. One of my favourite stories is about how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. When you get a chance just look online for a video of this incredible event which is known as metamorphosis. (you can find it here)

I can’t explain exactly what happens to the caterpillar, but there comes a time when the butterfly begins to emerge from the cocoon. And when you’re watching it’s an incredibly frustrating process. You really want to help the poor butterfly get out of this messy prison that it seems to be in. But the reality is that it needs to go through this incredibly complex and frustrating process, so that it it will emerge whole, as a beautiful butterfly. 

In my journey to discover ideas about hope I came across this verse in the Bible that says this: I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hopethat the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

It seems that right now throughout the world, we’re becoming more aware of this idea that creation is in bondage to decay, the words that are used in the Bible. Whether it’s climate change, pandemics, bushfires, floods and drought, or wars and famines, there’s a lot of decay occurring all around us.

The person who wrote this passage that we now read in the Bible may have been writing a couple of thousand years ago, but he could have been seeing something that was going to happen well into the future. I get it, and I suspect you do, when we read the phrase, that creation was subject to frustration.

Butterfly life cycle: Shutterstock

It’s like the process of metamorphosis. For that butterfly to emerge as a beautiful creature that flitters around from flower to flower, brightening up our day, it has to go through a time of frustration. 

And maybe creation needs to go through a time of frustration as we prepare for something better. The Biblical writer referred to hope: He talked about creation being subjected to frustration, then added that this frustration occurred in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

So there’s hope, not just for us, but for the whole of creation. There’s hope because God’s got things under control. Just as I would like to reach down and help the butterfly out of its cocoon while its struggling to develop its wings and emerge in all its beauty, I suspect there are times God would like to step in and sort out the mess that we’ve made. And I’m sure many of us wish God would step in and sort out the mess.

But for our good, perhaps God is allowing his creation, including us, to go through a time of frustration, so that we can learn more about him, and that, in time, we can emerge, like a butterfly, from this time of frustration and decay, fully developed, brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 

Join me each week as I take you on the journey to hope. You can also hear these on 98.5 Sonshine fm.

Pearls of Hope

Posted: April 5, 2020 in Uncategorized
Photo: Rob Douglas

When the world’s messed up there’s one thing you really need, and that’s hope. But how do we find hope?

Over the years many people have found the answer in a rather surprising place. 

I’ve read stories from people in all parts of the world, and at different times in history, who have found hope in this surprising place and over time they’ve been able to confirm that it was real.

Stories about people who have experienced illnesses and in their suffering they have found hope when everyone around them seemed to be giving up hope. Stories about people who have found hope during times of war when they didn’t know if they’d get back home to see their loved ones. Stories about people who have suffered in concentration camps and prisons and on the darkest of days, they have experienced hope. Stories about people who have had accidents and experienced life-changing injuries and disabilities, yet have experienced hope at the worst of times. (Check out this story of a doctor who came back to life)

It’s pretty hard to believe, but the stories are true. People have found hope during times of suffering and they have achieved that hope through their faith in Jesus.

The funny thing is – well maybe not so funny – the Bible confirms all these stories. I’m on a journey at the moment, searching the Bible to find out what it says about hope, and this is one verse that I came across:

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.


We love pearls and we are often amazed at the beauty of pearls. Natural pearls form when an irritant – usually a parasite – works its way into an oyster. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. This coating is deposited layer upon layer until a beautiful pearls is formed. 

I think we’ve got a great picture here of suffering and how to deal with it. To start with it’s not a pleasant thing, and it actually seems to be incompatible with a good life. But various layers are developed over that suffering. According to the Biblical writer, suffering produces endurance, the next layer that grows over endurance is strength of character.  Then over this layer is another layer which is described as hope. And hope, we’re told, doesn’t lead to disappointment.

I reckon it’s also possible to cover suffering with a whole lot of other layers that don’t lead to the production of that pearl of hope. To that initial irritant of suffering, we can add layers of fear, anxiety, regret and guilt. And the final result is not nice.

For us to become pearls of hope that will brighten the lives of the people around us, requires us to allow the love of God to fill our hearts and to begin to change us from the inside out. To take the irritant of suffering and to add those layers of endurance and strength of character.

These are times when we need hope and we need more people to become pearls of hope that will enhance and brighten the lives of the people around us.  

Check out my previous blogs on Journey to Hope here and here. You can also hear them on 98.5 Sonshine fm.  If you are looking for a 9-minute message of hope, you can also check me out on Youtube.

Peace in an App

Posted: April 1, 2020 in Uncategorized

Welcome to Rob’s Ramblings. I’ve decided to develop a series of blogs entitled Journey to Hope as a way of addressing some of the fears and uncertainty that we are currently facing in our world. I’ll be running them twice a week so I’d encourage you to check it out on a regular basis and let your friends know to read it as well. For those who live in Western Australia, these blogs can also be heard on 98.5 Sonshine Radio.

When things are tough there are many places you can go to find hope. Some find hope in music, poetry or literature, while others find it in a bottle. I reckon the most hopeful place to look is in the Bible. That’s right the Bible, that old book that God botherers seem to go on about all the time.

I’m on a journey at the moment, and I’d like you to join me. I’m looking for hope and I’ve decided to see what the Bible says about hope. Here’s a verse I came across. It says this: Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Some translations put it this way: We confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 

If you’re looking for peace, one of the options is to download an app. There’s a bundle of them. Peaceful music to help you go to sleep, deep relaxation and mindfulness apps, happy mind guides, stress relief and heaps more. But the Bible talks about being at peace with God.

What’s that you ask? Peace with God – what do you mean?

Well, we all have built into us, the ability to connect with God in some way. It’s kind of a God meter that many of us don’t even realise is there.  But when this God meter is out of sync all sorts of things can go wrong. We may doubt that God exists, or we may just have the sense that we’re not really connecting with God.

To put it simply we are not at peace with God. In fact, we’re probably arguing with him, resisting him, or simply trying our best to ignore God.

The verse I quoted says that we can have peace with God, and it’s made possible by what Jesus Christ has done for us.  Then it goes on to say that when we have that peace we can also have hope. We can confidently and joyfully look forward to living at peace with God for the rest of our lives … and for that matter, even beyond our death.

You can sit and listen to relaxation music all day, but when the kids start whingeing about the amount of screen time you’ve allocated them and other pressures are crowding in, it seems that peace is a long way off.

So there’s got to be a better way of discovering peace. The thing is, it’s not something that we can achieve by downloading an app, or having another drink, or reading more poetry. Peace with God is achieved through what Jesus Christ has done for us.

What did he do?

  1. Well he came to earth and set up camp here with us. He needed to prove that he’s not as distant as you think he is.
  2. Then he died to show just how far he was prepared to go to fix up the mess that we’d made.
  3. Then he came to life again to show that when he talked about eternal life he really meant what he said.

Being at peace with God doesn’t just help us cope with the here and now, it gives hope for the future … and that helps us cope with the here and now.