HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY: HOPE AND COMFORT

Some music and moments that we experience are meaningful and become memories that remain with us through decades of life. The lyrics of the song below include words, “hope and comfort,” which remind me that they go together. Having hope is a comfortable place to be.

The morning sun is faithful in its rising; I find hope and comfort in its consistency of purpose. Even more faithful and full of glory is its Creator, Who IS Hope and Comfort.

Many may know the following song won a Grammy Award, but fewer may know it was originally written as a prayer. I believe it inspires. It brings to my mind (and heart) inspiring memories that give me hope and comfort. 

HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY

“Have I told You lately that I love You?
Have I told You there’s no one above You?
Fill my heart with gladness,
Take away my sadness,
Ease my troubles,
That’s what You do.

Oh, the morning sun in all its glory
Greets the day with hope and comfort, too,
And You fill my life with laughter.
You can make it better, Ease my troubles,
That’s what You do.

There’s a love that’s divine,
And it’s Yours, and it’s mine
Like the sun.
At the end of the day
We should give thanks
And pray to the One….

Have I told You lately that I love You?
Have I told You there’s no one above You?
Fill my heart with gladness,
Take away my sadness,
Ease my troubles,
That’s what You do.

There’s a love that’s divine,
And it’s Yours, and it’s mine,
And it shines like the sun.
At the end of the day We will give thanks
And pray to the One….

Have I told you lately that I love You?
Have I told You there’s no one above You?
Fill my heart with gladness,
Take away my sadness,
Ease my troubles,
That’s what You do.

Take away my sadness,
Fill my life with gladness,
Ease my troubles,
That’s what You do.
Fill my life with gladness,
Take away my sadness,
Ease my troubles,
That’s what you do.”

(Van Morrison)

Today’s blog post is dedicated to my daughter on her birthday and features “our” song. Little Dear, have I told you lately that I LOVE YOU?!!

“This is what the Lord says, He Who appoints the sun to shine by day, Who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar — the Lord Almighty is His name.” (Jeremiah 31:35 NIV)

“He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.” (Psalm 104:19)

“The sun rises, and the sun sets and hurries back to where it rises.” (Ecclesiastes 1:5)

FROM COWS TO CHRIST: HOPE IN COLORFUL EQUATION

I grew up in rural America where the sight and sounds of white-faced hereford cattle in our pasture were part of my daily environment. Although our cows weren’t typically for milking, I remember we had one milk cow when I was a child.

My older brother’s chore was to milk that cow, and my self-appointed chore was to supervise. Anyone with a younger sibling may relate to how annoyed he was with me at times.

I remember that the milk did not always find its way into the bucket. If I stood too close I was sure to get “showered” by big brother’s accurate though wasteful aim. But I digress… back to the point I want to reach.

As a child I considered it a miracle that a reddish-brown cow could consume green grass and produce white milk.  I won’t attempt to explain that process in this blog, but I will mention another “mystery.”

There’s a colorful equation that seems somewhat miraculous as well. It can be simply expressed as black + red = white. No artist can solve this color equation except One. Only the Master Artist of the Universe can accomplish the steps of applying red to black and ending with white.

According to the Holy Bible, each human heart (past an age of “accountability” or spiritual awareness and understanding of right and wrong) is sinful and dark — let’s say black with sin.

When a person chooses Jesus as Savior and accepts His payment for sin, then His red blood that was shed as the payment covers the sin.

Then God the Father chooses not to see the sin but sees (through the red blood of Jesus) the person’s heart clean and forgiven. The new (reborn) heart has been washed white as snow.

It is a miracle, because only God is able to do it. No human can accomplish changing one’s own dark and sinful heart to one clean and white as snow. Only Jesus’ lived a purely perfect and righteous life, so His shed blood was needed for each of us. Thankfully He loved us enough to be our sacrifice and to pay our debt in full.

I think this can then be considered a miraculous equation: black + red = white. Of course, it may not be a literal equation, but I think it is a simple (and colorful) way to express a profound truth.

If this blog leads you to ponder this truth, then you may want to answer these questions:

Is my heart black with sin?

Do I trust Jesus to apply His blood payment and pay my sin debt?

Do I accept God’s forgiveness and receive rebirth and new life?

If you have already come to Him, then follow Him, live in hope, and share the good news! If you have not come to Him, then WHY NOT???

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:20, 21)

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”  (Romans 3:23)

“But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8)

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

“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  (Romans 10:9, 10)

“For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”  (Romans 10:13)

“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

Want to give your life to God but not sure how to pray? Prayer is simply talking to Him. Your heart’s attitude is more important than your words, but here’s an example of what to say….

“Dear God, I admit I am a sinner, I want to turn away from sin, and I ask you to forgive me.

I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, paid for my sins when He willingly became a sacrifice for me on the cross where He died. He was resurrected and now is in heaven praying for me.

I confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Thank you for new life with your Holy Spirit to help me obey You.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

Amen!

COME AS YOU ARE: HOPE FOR THE HOPELESS

Contemporary Christian songs can have lyrics that touch hearts just as traditional hymns have done in years past. One that speaks to me is “Come As You Are” by Crowder.

I noticed that it includes these words: “There’s hope for the hopeless.” (Hopeful truths just jump out at me….) My life has met the Hope referred to in this song. I invite you to find the song, listen with an open heart, and see if it speaks to you.

Even more importantly, I invite you to come to the Hope that is to be found in Jesus Christ. He’s ready, willing, and able to be your hope if you are hopeless. Come to Him now. Come as you are.

Come As You Are

“Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been.
Come, broken hearted,
Let rescue begin.
Come find His mercy.
Oh, sinner, come kneel.
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal.
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal.

So lay down your burdens,
Lay down your shame.
All who are broken,
Lift up your face.
Oh, wanderer, come home.
You’re not too far,
So lay down your hurt,
Lay down your heart.
Come as you are.

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed.
Come sit at the table,
Come taste the grace.
There’s rest for the weary,
Rest that endures.
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure.

So lay down your burdens,
Lay down your shame.
All who are broken,
Lift up your face.
Oh, wanderer, come home.
You’re not too far,
So lay down your hurt,
Lay down your heart.
Come as you are,
Come as you are,
Fall in His arms,
Come as you are.
There’s joy for the morning.
Oh, sinner, be still.
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal.
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal.

So lay down your burdens,
Lay down your shame.
All who are broken,
Lift up your face.
Oh, wanderer, come home.
You’re not too far,
So lay down your hurt,
Lay down your heart.
Come as you are,
Come as you are,
Come as you are.”

(Crowder)

Thank you, Crowder, for reminding us that there is no sorrow here on earth that God of heaven cannot heal when we come to Him as we are. That reality can bring hope to a hopeless heart.

“‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord,
‘Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.'”  (Isaiah 1:18)

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”  (Jeremiah 29:13)

“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” (St. Thomas More)

JOHN NEWTON: BEYOND HOPE to AMAZING GRACE

John Newton was a cruel and vile man who seemed beyond hope, but he became an example of God’s amazing grace. His true story gives me hope, because his heart and life were so radically changed. The same amazing grace that transformed Newton brought hope to his contemporaries and still reaches our generation with hope today. Newton was a man of whom I could believe that if God would give him a hope and a future, then He will do the same for me.

In Newton’s own words from his diary…(March 21, 1748): “On that day the Lord sent from on high and delivered me out of deep waters.”

And 57 years to the day later… (March 21, 1805): “Not well able to write; but I endeavor to observe the return of this day with humiliation, prayer, and praise.”

Of Newton and his ministry… from Christianity.com:

“Only God’s amazing grace could and would take a rude, profane, slave-trading sailor and transform him into a child of God. Newton never ceased to stand in awe of God’s work in his life.

…in 1764, at the age of thirty-nine, John Newton began forty-three years of preaching the Gospel of Christ.

In 1779 Newton left Olney to become rector of St. Mary Woolnoth in London. His ministry included not only the London poor and the merchant class but also the wealthy and influential. William Wilberforce, a member of Parliament and a prime mover in the abolition of slavery, was strongly influenced by John Newton’s life and preaching. Newton’s ‘Thoughts on the African Slave Trade,’ based on his own experiences as a slave trader, was very important in securing British abolition of slavery. Missionaries William Carey and Henry Martyn also gained strength from Newton’s counsel.

For the Sunday evening services, Newton often composed a hymn which developed the lessons and Scripture for the evening. In 1779, two hundred and eighty of these were collected and combined with sixty-eight hymns by Newton’s friend and parishioner, William Cowper, and published as the Olney Hymns.

The most famous of all the Olney Hymns, ‘Faith’s Review and Expectation,’ grew out of David’s exclamation in 1 Chronicles 17:16-17.* We know it today as ‘Amazing Grace.’ 

Newton lived to be eighty-two years old and continued to preach and have an active ministry until beset by fading health in the last two or three years of his life. Even then, Newton never ceased to be amazed by God’s grace and told his friends, ‘My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.'”

The words of the beloved hymn penned by John Newton acknowledges God’s amazing grace as he experienced in his own life.

AMAZING GRACE

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

T’was grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.

Thru many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.” (John Newton)

 

“Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things clearly: I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great Savior.” (John Newton)

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, … to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”  (2 Peter 1:2)

* “And David the king came and sat before the Lord and said, ‘Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that You have brought me to here? And yet this was a small thing in Your eyes, O God; for You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come and have regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O Lord God.’”  (I Chronicles 17:16, 17)

NEUROSCIENTIST QUOTE: HOPE for NEW MERCIES EVERY MORNING

According to Neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf, “…every morning when you wake up, new baby nerve cells have been born while you were sleeping that are there at your disposal to be used in tearing down toxic thoughts and rebuilding healthy thoughts.”

I found the above quote very interesting, because it reminded me of verses in the Bible’s Old Testament. I have always found hope in these verses especially because they relate to hope in the Lord.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” (Lamentations 3:22–24)

If God gives new mercies to us every morning, then perhaps He prepares new nerve cells to be ready to receive these new mercies. I fully believe God blesses us in many ways that we do not realize. Maybe Dr. Leaf’s “rebuilding healthy thoughts” equates to receiving hopeful thoughts. I have always believed that hopeful thinking leads to healthy thinking. Most doctors recognize that toxic thinking contributes to unhealthy minds and bodies.

Surely the Creator God Who knows everything knows best what we need even the time of day that we need His new mercies. I have no proof that we gain while sleeping new nerve cells to access when we awaken. However I like to consider Dr. Leaf may be right. It seems interesting to ponder. If it is true, then it’s one more blessing for which to be thankful… and one more reason to hope in the Lord.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

ORGAN DONOR: GIFT OF LIFE GIVES HOPE

In December 2018  KFSM 5News shared the information below about a young Arkansas man who became a hope donor, because he had chosen to be an organ donor.

“Ricky Joel Young will be honored… in the New Year’s Day Rose Parade.

Ricky Joel Young loved life and lived it to the fullest. He enjoyed helping others and never missed an opportunity to do so. His hobbies included fishing, hunting, fast cars, and working in the logging industry.

On April 29, 2012, Ricky was in a horrific accident…. airlifted to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas,…. did not recover from his traumatic injuries. His parents did not know until that day that Ricky was a registered donor.

While Ricky was in the hospital, his family was praying for a miracle. Through his generosity, Ricky provided a miracle to others.

‘It is a great comfort to know that part of Ricky lives on in the life of others,’ Donate Life Rose Parade Float wrote on Facebook, ‘His family has received letters from some of Ricky’s organ recipients, and they are comforted to know that each of them is very thankful for his gift of life.’

Ricky Young was an Organ, Eye and Tissue Donor who saved eight lives and enhanced the lives of over 140 people through his gift of life.

Organ donation is clearly a selfless act by a donor that provides recipients new hope. I chose to be an organ donor decades ago and ask you to contact Donate Life for more information. Organ donors give hope for a second chance!

Thanks, Ricky Young and countless other donors for giving hope on planet Earth.

Contact Donate Life at  donatelife.net. for more information.

ROMANS 8:28: HOPE FOR A NEW YEAR

Happy 2019! No matter what this year brings, I know that God causes ALL things to work together for my good, because I love God, because I am called according to His purpose. I believe this based on Romans 8:28 in the New Testament, and I have faith to believe the Holy Bible is the true Word of God.

If you want to start this new year with hope for the future, look to the One Who holds the future in His hands. Jesus Christ is the One Who can get us through the days ahead even if they are not filled with roses and rainbows. Even if there are dark days to come, God will cause ALL things to work together… if we are His.

If I have faith to believe in Him, then I can say, “Happy New Year” and mean it, because He gives me hope for the new year.

“For 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 8:28)