GRANDCHILD’S BIRTH: HOPE AND NEW LIFE

Some days are more memorable than others. A day may have been so extraordinary and so wonderful that it remains in our hearts and minds. Such is a day of a grandchild’s birth. Few blessings in life are as memorable as this event.

Children and grandchildren are precious gifts. Life is a precious gift — a miracle — and only God gives life. Only He forms the tiny baby that blesses parents and grandparents as nothing else.

Psalm 139 has long been one of my favorite psalms. David, the writer, had an understanding of our God Who created babies, the tiny gifts that bless our lives like no others. This psalm is worth pondering whether considering your own life, a child’s life, a grandchild’s life, or any other life.

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me when as yet there was not one of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.

When I awake, I am still with You.”
(Psalm 139: 13 – 18)

Twelve years ago today was memorable for our family. We received a precious gift, a tiny bundle of joy, that instantly filled our hearts with love. October 13, 2009, brought hope and new life for which I was — and still am — very thankful.

Happy twelfth birthday to our beloved granddaughter!

“THANK YOU, JESUS, FOR THE BLOOD”:  GLORY & HOPE

Charity Gayle recorded and co-wrote a song, “Thank You, Jesus, for the Blood.

It says — because of Jesus —  “For the first time I had hope and gives glory to His name. Also she has written “Amen,” “Enter In (Psalm 100),” “Written Down in Glory,” “Cleansed,” and other songs as well.

Charity has been involved in church worship and ministry since she was a child. Today she and her husband, Ryan Kennedy, lead worship together and minister in the US and other countries as well.

Like Charity, I have hope because of Jesus Christ, and I, too, give glory to His name. Find and listen to the song that is presented below. May it give you hope, and may you give glory to the name of Jesus. May you also be able to say as the song says, “For I have been transformed by the blood of the lamb.”

THANK YOU, JESUS, FOR THE BLOOD

I was a wretch;
I remember who I was.
I was lost, I was blind.
I was running out of time.

Sin separated.
The breach was far too wide,
But from the far side of the chasm
You held me in your sight.

So You made a way
Across the great divide;
Left behind
Heavens throne
To build it here inside.

And there at the cross
You paid the debt I owed,
Broke my chains,
Freed my soul.
For the first time I had hope.

Thank you, Jesus, for the blood applied.
Thank you, Jesus, it has washed me white.
Thank you, Jesus, You have saved my life;
Brought me from the darkness into glorious light.

You took my place
Laid inside my tomb of sin.
You were buried for three days,
And then You walked right out again.

And now death has no sting,
And life has no end
For I have been transformed
By the blood of the lamb.

Thank You, Jesus, for the blood applied (thank You Jesus).
Thank You, Jesus, it has washed me white.
Thank You, Jesus, You have saved my life;
Brought me from the darkness into glorious light.

There is nothing stronger
Than the wonder-working power of the blood,
The blood that calls us sons and daughters.
We are ransomed by our Father through the blood, the blood.

There is nothing stronger
Than the wonder-working power of the blood,
The blood that calls us sons and daughters.
We are ransomed by the Father through the blood,
The blood.

Thank You, Jesus for the blood applied.
Thank You, Jesus, it has washed me white.
Thank You, Jesus, You have saved my life,
Brought me from the darkness into glorious light.

Glory to His name.
Glory to His name.
There to my heart was the blood applied.
Glory to His name.”

(Written by Charity Gayle,  David Gentiles, Ryan Kennedy, Bryan McCleery, Steven Musso)

 

“And on that day you will say, ‘Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; make them remember that His name is exalted.’ Praise the LORD in song for He has done glorious things; let this be known throughout the earth.” 

(Isaiah 12: 4 – 5)

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT:  CHOICE & HOPE

Today’s post focuses on the fruit of the Spirit as taught in Scripture.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
(Galatians 5: 22 – 25)

When believers share the fruit of the Spirit by their lives, I think the world gets a glimpse of hope. I consider that living the fruit of the Spirit results from a choice. While choosing may be simple, living it may be less simple and can be done only by Spirit-filled believers in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today I must answer the following questions….

Will I choose Love?

Will I choose Joy?

Will I choose Peace?

Will I choose  Patience?

Will I choose Kindness?

Will I choose Goodness?

Will I choose Faithfulness?

Will I choose Gentleness?

Will I choose Self-Control?

I think intentionally choosing to live by the fruit of the Spirit and yielding to the Holy Spirit will result in those traits becoming evident in my life.  In such days of unrest as we experience all around us, this is worth pondering.  I believe it is God’s will for every believer to share this fruit:

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. 

I want to remember that walking in the Spirit is a daily choice. The good news is I will not be struggling on my own in this worthwhile quest. God’s Holy Spirit will lead and empower me. With His help and strength, may I share hope by demonstrating in my life the fruit of the Spirit:  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.

“WHAT A FRIEND”: GRACE & HOPE

Matt Maher is a contemporary Christian singer, musician, songwriter, and worship leader. He has written hundreds of songs and co–authored others that have blessed me by sharing hope.

A five-time GRAMMY nominee, Maher has written and recorded songs that have blessed many including “Lord, I Need You,” “Hold Us Together,” “Christ Is Risen,” “All The People Said Amen” and “Your Grace Is Enough.”

One song Maher co-wrote  that has blessed me is What A Friend. This song reminds us of God’s grace, and that gives me hope. Thanks, Matt Maher, Adam Palmer, Matthew Hein, and Abbie Parker for sharing its truth. Thank You, God, for the truth of its lyrics and for Your grace.

If you need a true best friend forever, read the lyrics below then find and listen to this song. Be touched by grace and hope.

WHAT A FRIEND

Everybody has trials and temptations.
Everybody knows heart break, isolation.
But we can lay our burdens down (our burdens down),
Lay our burdens down.

What a friend we have in Jesus.
East to west my sins are gone.
I see grace on every horizon,
And forever and ever His heart is my home.

Everybody has fears; everybody got worries.
Everybody knows sorrow, devastation.
But we can lay our burdens down (our burdens down),
Lay our burdens down.

What a friend we have in Jesus.
East to west my sins are gone.
I see grace on every horizon,
And forever and ever His heart is my home.

No more betrayal for He is faithful.
He fills me up, and my cup runneth over.
No more betrayal for He is faithful.
How He has proven it over and over.

No more betrayal for He is faithful.
He fills me up, and my cup runneth over.
No more betrayal for He is faithful.
How He has proven it over and over, over and over.

What a friend we have in Jesus.
East to west my sins are gone.
I see grace on every horizon,
And forever and ever His heart is my home.

What a friend we have in Jesus.
East to west my sins are gone, yeah.
I see grace on every horizon,
And forever and ever His heart is my home.

Forever and ever His heart is my home.”
(Written by Maher, Palmer, Hein, and Parker)

What better friend can I find than the One Who brings grace and hope to my heart? He is the One Who forever and ever His heart is my home!

 

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
(Psalm 103: 12)

“A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
(Proverbs 18: 24)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1: 14)

being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3: 24)

And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.'”
(2 Corinthians 12: 9)

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope  completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
(1 Peter 1: 13)

 

WESLEY’S FAITH: COMFORT & HOPE

There is a quote by John Wesley that reveals his strong faith and trust in the Lord God:  “I have never known more than fifteen minutes of anxiety or fear. Whenever I feel fearful emotions overtaking me, I just close my eyes and thank God that He is still on the throne reigning over everything, and I take comfort in His control over the affairs of my life.”  (John Wesley, 1703-1791)

Wesley’s faith and trust gave him comfort.  When I live by faith and trust in the Sovereign Lord, it gives me comfort and hope. Wesley’s life of successfully walking with God makes me want to follow his example of always trusting the One Who is on His throne. It is important to remember it is His throne not mine or yours.

Anxiety and fear are very prevalent in our world today. No one wants to live beneath the weight of fear or anxiety. I believe that Wesley’s faith is the solution to those problems and will work for any of God’s children. The key is to know that I am His child then make a conscious decision to trust Him and exercise faith with which He gifted me.

If one wants to replace fear and anxiety with  comfort and hope, then follow Wesley’s example. Accept God’s salvation through Jesus Christ to be born again into God’s family and experience His forgiveness. Receive His Holy Spirit Who will give comfort and hope. Life here will be better, and a heavenly home in the life-to-come will be so glorious that we can only imagine!

 

But I have trusted in Your faithfulness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.” 
(Psalm 13:5)

“The LORD has established 

His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” 
(Psalm 103:19)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 
(Romans 15:13)

“For our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; Who will transform the body of our lowly condition into conformity with His
glorious body, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
(Philippians 3:20-21)

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”  (1 John 5:23)

"I can only imagine 
when that day comes,
When I find myself 
standing in the Son.
I can only imagine 
when all I would do 
is forever,
Forever worship You.
I can only imagine,
I can only imagine." 
(from the song,"I 
Can Only Imagine," 
written by Bart 
Millard and recorded 
by MercyMe)

REMEMBER SEPTEMBER 11, 2001: THERE IS HOPE

Today marks the twenty-year anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil that took the lives of thousands and changed the lives of the rest of us. We remember September 11, 2001, one of the darkest days in the history of the United States. It was a day when intentional violence and death was inflicted against fellow human beings that left hurting and broken hearts throughout our nation and among our allies around the world.

For Americans who experienced that day, we remember 9/11/2001, as an emotional time marked by fear, sadness, despair, anger… even hatred because of the huge loss of innocent lives. Some may have lost hope, but in the midst of such suffering, still there is hope if one knows in Whom to trust.

On that day and days following we witnessed innumerable  examples of heroism, patriotism, bravery, and compassion. The best of the human spirit shone forth after evidence of the worst of the human spirit. Lives were saved that can only be explained by the grace and providence of a loving Sovereign God. Feelings of peace to gradually comfort the deep personal sorrow of those who lost loved ones became real to many. Hope brings healing and is found when God’s people look to Him for help even in the midst of the worst storms — and continues even after twenty years. Surely remembering experiences rooted in hope is  better than harboring roots of bitterness.

What caused the evil that deliberately struck America on that tragic day? It was ultimately caused by demonic forces that rule rebellious hearts of sinful humans. I believe our nation is right to defend and protect, but humans who war even for right reasons must also act in righteousness. War is necessary to stand against terrorists — forces of darkness — which must be stopped.

Light is the only effective weapon against the darkness of evil. If America is led by the Light and the Glory of God upon which it was founded, we will stand as the land of the free. If we continue to replace godly principles with ungodly living, then we will not.

Judgment is real when God’s people ignore His warnings. Today we risk losing everything we hold dear. Will America heed God’s warnings and know His forgiveness and healing or be condemned to fall amid future tragedies?

Lest anyone considers this to be a hopeless message, realize there is hope always if we repent and follow Biblical instructions. God’s promises are found throughout Scriptures, including 2 Chronicles 7:14:  “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

 

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.” 
(Hebrews 12:15)

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  (Ephesians 6:12)

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the Light of life.”  (John 8:12)

OUR GREATEST ADVOCATE:  OUR ONLY HOPE

Many of us are praying for covid patients all around the world as well as for those much closer to home. Many have prayed during recuperation of a loved one and some perhaps even at the time he or she passed from this life into the Savior’s presence.

It is then that the Holy Spirit surely intercedes and prays for that which is needed. We pray for healing and then trust that prayers are always answered according to God’s purpose.

Sometimes our loved ones receive ultimate healing — no more sickness, no more pain, no more weakness, no more infection… ever again. Everything God does — including healing — is for His glory and for our ultimate good.

When passed into heaven our loved one becomes perfectly whole and well — and waiting for a reunion with loved ones. This may come soon as Time seems to be winding down toward the Lord’s return.

May God’s comfort, peace, and strength help grieving families through times of huge loss, and may joy of precious memories and thankfulness of times shared gradually overtake the deep pain and overwhelming grief. May anticipation of a future reunion become a greater reality in hearts and minds.

Everything God does has purpose, and He wants His children to trust Him in all things — even loss of loved ones.

There is an essential condition for a future reunion. We must be adopted as God’s children, joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Be sure you are God’s child, that you have accepted His free gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ, and be sure your loved ones have the opportunity to choose that relationship with Him.

For those who have suffered loss, I pray for your needs: peace, comfort, strength, perseverance to keep praying, healing of a broken heart, faith to trust God. Whatever comes into our lives may we continue to pray and trust God, Who is our greatest advocate  and our only hope.

 

“…But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
(Romans 8: 11)

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He Who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8: 26 – 28)

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”  (Romans 8: 31)

“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”  (Romans 10: 9, 10)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works so that no one may boast.”  (Ephesians 2: 8, 9)

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”  (1 John 5: 13)

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.'” 
(Horatio Spafford)

HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH:  FAITH, HOPE, & LOVE

Today is our wedding anniversary. I cannot help thinking how quickly the years (decades) have passed! I remain thankful for my spouse and for God’s blessings.

Together we have tried to build a home filled with faith, hope, and love. Some days we succeed but only with help from the God of faith, hope, and love  and only by His grace.

I wish to dedicate a song to my spouse of 34 years. Since early in our marriage we have been blessed by Steve Green’s music in concert and by recordings. The following song is especially meaningful to us.

HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH

“Here we are at the start committing to each other
By His word and from our hearts.
We will be a family in a house that will be a home,
And with faith we’ll build it strong.

We’ll build a household of faith

That together we can make,
And when the strong winds blow, it won’t fall down.
As one in Him we’ll grow and the whole world will know,
We are a household of faith.

Now to be a family we’ve got to love each other
At any cost unselfishly,
And our home must be a place that fully abounds with grace
A reflection of His face.

We’ll build a household of faith
That together we can make,
And when the strong winds blow it won’t fall down.
As one in Him we’ll grow and the whole world will know
We are a household of faith.”  (Marijean Green & Steve Green)

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
(1 Corinthians 13:13)

“Let all that you do be done in love.”  (1 Corinthians 16: 14)

We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  (1 John 4:16)

(You may listen online to “Household of Faith” sung by Steve Green to be blessed.)

TERMINAL:  HOPE AND HEAVEN

Terminal! Typically this is not good news when included in a medical diagnosis. However here is an important revelation that I think needs to be understood. We are all terminal! Each of us enters life with a terminal condition. A long and healthy life is generally desired and planned, but there is no guarantee of either.

Today I will share a few of the many Bible verses regarding life. I believe God’s Word is the best Source of wisdom and knowledge. When understood and obeyed, Scriptures will lead me to the best life possible no matter its length or health.

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every matter under heaven — A time to give birth and a time to die….”  (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 2)

So teach us to number our days that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”  (Psalm 90: 12)

If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” 
(1 John 5:  9 – 12)

The best news is that there is hope! There is another life after this one — a much better one that is filled with glory, grace, and the presence of the Savior of the world, Who is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3 : 16)

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.'” (John 11: 25)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23)

To enter the next life in heaven, I must have received the free gift of the Savior Jesus Christ. Faith alone in Him alone determines our eternal home in heaven.

Trusting Him with the next life makes getting through this life more bearable. The better that I know Him, the better I trust Him and rest in Him. Death is not so fearful when I trust that a heavenly escort will carry me home.

Death can be a welcome transition when I understand the joy, perfection, and glory to come. I have a sure hope that heaven will be even better than I imagine!

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if that were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you also will be. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.'”
(John 14: 1 – 6)

“For our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3: 20)

“…I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk by Your side.
I can only imagine
What my eyes would see
When Your face is before me.
I can only imagine.

Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel?
Will I dance for You, Jesus,
Or in awe of You be still?
Will I stand in Your presence,
Or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah?
Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine.
I can only imagine….”
(Bart Millard)

2020 OLYMPICS: HOPE AND PEACE

Earlier this month the 2020 Olympic games were held in Tokyo, Japan. Many of us viewed the televised competitions of the strongest, fastest, highest, and best. We cheered for those who are now Olympians for life whether medal winners or not.

We were amazed by athletes who broke world records and were inspired by results of years of training, discipline, and dedication. We were proud of those who represented their home countries well and were touched by true examples of sportsmanship. We were awed by those whose triumphant accomplishments overcame seemingly impossible challenges. We witnessed the best of the best regarding athletic competitors and sport successes.

Many viewers came to know and love favored athletes, such as American swimmers, “queen” Katy Ledecky and “king” Caeleb Dressel. I think their humility formed the invisible crowns on their physically fit and gold medal-draped bodies. It pleased me to learn that these two as well as others use their positions and influences to make our world a better place. 

This gives me hope, and this is needed throughout our planet today. Most of us will never occupy such renowned platforms as Olympians, but we can still impact others. May we each do that which we can to share hope and spread peace.


International Olympic Committee mission: to build a better world through sport  (www.olympics.com)

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also shall rest in hope.”  (Psalm 16: 9)

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31: 24)

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…. A time for war and a time for peace.”
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 8)

With love in mind you can’t go wrong
For love it is that fosters peace,
So sing it loud and sing it strong.
With love in mind you can’t go wrong….”
(Richard Doiron, poet)