SUCCESSFUL FAMILIES: HOPE IN WISE COUNSEL

A Focus on the Family bulletin had something interesting to say about traits of successful families. According to a study of more than 500 family counselors, below are the top traits of successful families.

Communicating and listening;

Affirming and supporting family members;

Respecting one another;

Developing a sense of trust;

Sharing time and responsibility;

Knowing right from wrong;

Having rituals and traditions;

Sharing a religious core; and

Respecting privacy

Giving serious attention to these traits may lead one to heed instruction found in the New Testament book of Luke. “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37) Do it, and then be hopeful that a successful family may be your reward!

Please visit focusonthefamily.com for more about strengthening your own family. Ministries at Focus on the Family have brought hope and have blessed individuals, marriages and families for decades.

“Listen to counsel and accept discipline that you may be wise the rest of your days.” (Proverbs 19:20)

ZACHARIAS & VITALE: HOPE IN SUFFERING

WHY SUFFERING?

Life on this planet includes suffering. Perhaps you’ve heard or even asked this question: “Why would a loving and powerful God allow so much pain and suffering?”

I recommend an important book, WHY SUFFERING? FINDING  MEANING AND COMFORT WHEN LIFE DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.

Co-authors Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale offer an answer that makes sense even when life’s circumstances that are full of pain and suffering don’t. I believe reading this book will bring hope, comfort, and sense to even hearts that are hurting.

When thinking eternally and one considers the possibility of love, doesn’t one have to consider the reality of freedom? Of the possibility of pain?

This book is “written for the Christian struggling for an answer, the seeker who thinks suffering disproves God’s existence, and the sufferer who needs a glimpse of a loving God.” In other words, it is for all of us. Surely each reader is described here at one time or other!

Whichever description fits you, I believe you will be blessed with comfort, meaning, and hope by reading WHY SUFFERING?

Ravi Zacharias is founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, and Vince Vitale teaches at Oxford University. I wholehearted recommend any book either author has written. I am thankful for their ministries that have blessed my life.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

FROM CUSTODIAN TO PRINCIPAL: HOPEFUL EXAMPLE

According to a BBC News article this week, an American man became principal of the school he once cleaned.

Michael Atkins’ life was changed by his second grade teacher, Mrs. Brown. Years after he left school and because of helpful guidance, “doors he once cleaned were opened up for him in the education system.”

Michael had a custodian job in a local school before being hired at an elementary school in Denver, Colorado. It was this job that helped lead him onto the path to become the principal of a school that had been his own neighborhood school when he was a child.

“It’s truly meaningful to be back in my own community,” Michael told the BBC.

He had liked school, but it was difficult for him when “some teachers made students aware of their differences based on where they came from and what they looked like.”

“Schooling was more like compliance for me,” he realized.

After high school Michael’s life lacked but still needed guidance from caring teachers.

“There was no-one to show me how to access higher education. No-one in my family had the tools to guide me.”

When he was about to become a father at 19, he needed to earn money fast, so he got a job and decided to go to state college.

Michael knew he was good with children and  applied for assistant teaching jobs while he attended college part-time to study business.

He wasn’t hired for that but instead was hired for positions as a school custodian. As it turned out the principal of one of the schools was Carolyn Brown now Riedlin.

“She embraced me, asked about my family. I told her how I wanted to work with kids.” Riedlin even created a new position and hired him as a reading and writing paraprofessional.

“She was one of those teachers in elementary school who instilled a few good things into me — self-worth and love. She was very caring. She’d ask questions beyond school. Those things were meaningful.”

Her attitude and approach had made a difference to Michael. According to him, social and emotional development and wellbeing are just as important as academia.

“If we have children struggling with identity, culture, self-worth, then it’s hard for them to learn. It’s difficult to ask a child who’s experienced something traumatic in their lives to sit down and learn academic subjects. That’s a big ask.”

Today Michael Atkins is the new principal at Stedman School. Mr. Atkins acknowledges that becoming a father when he was so young and that his past experiences have helped him “…to model excellence and strive for more.”

Also he notes the value of hard work and dedication when “the cards might not be set up in our favour….”

When a student is struggling, Mr. Atkins has helpful advice for the adults in the student’s life.

“I’d tell their parents and teachers to give them the tools of advocacy…. by creating self-worth and celebrating the student. It’s our responsibility as educators to create self-worth and celebrate our cultures.”

Mr. Atkins’ hopeful example impacts more than just students. His story touches many teachers across the United States who wish to visit his school. Hope continues to spread, and that means his example really is full of hope — all the way to overflowing it seems.

(Inspired by “US man becomes principal of the school he once cleaned” by Sherie Ryder, BBC News, June 2019)

“Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their lives.”
(Proverbs 22:6)

“But as for you, continue in the truths that you were taught and firmly believe. You know who your teachers were, and you remember that ever since you were a child, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14-15)

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing.” (Psalms 127:3)

“Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples scolded the people. When Jesus noticed this, he was angry and said to his disciples, “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. Then he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on each of them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16)

D-DAY: HOPE FOR RIGHT WEATHER

Today is the 75th D-Day anniversary, and my focus is the weather forecast that changed the tide of WWII.

One of the most important weather forecasts in world history occurred in early June 1944, as Allied meteorologists prepared the final word for the long awaited D-Day invasion of Normandy. Thousands of lives and the tide of the war fully depended on Allied meteorologist teams who decided on possible weather conditions for the invasion within a small window of time.

Allied forces needed low tide on the landing beaches and the airborne needed a full moon for proper dropping conditions. The circumstances needed for Allied success were not dependent upon military genius, leadership, strength, nor might but on forces of nature —  on God Who is Sovereign over natural elements that include weather.

High winds and rough seas could impact the amphibious assault, and low clouds could block vital air support. Weather factors, such as wind, visibility, and cloud cover, would definitely impact the invasion.

“On the Allied side, six meteorologists working in three different teams were responsible for the D-Day forecasts,”  reported James R. Fleming, President of the International Commission on History of Meteorology.

On June 4, just hours before the launch of D-Day operations amid an approaching storm, British Group Captain James Stagg urged General Eisenhower for a last-minute delay of 24 hours, according to Television’s History Channel.

Also according to History Channel, only a few invasion dates were possible because of the need for a full moon for illumination and for a low tide at dawn to expose underwater German defenses; June 5 was the first date in a narrow three-day window.

“The American team used an analogue method that compared the current weather with past conditions. Their forecast was overly optimistic and would have resulted in disaster on June 5, 1944,” Fleming said.

Gen. Eisenhower postponed the invasion at the last minute, heeding Stagg’s and other British forecasters’ advice. “June 5 becomes quickly off the table because of a terrible storm that is coming in, and it’s going to make any invasion basically impossible,” McManus said.

So… the Allied invasion at Normandy was on Tuesday, June 6, 1944. Despite heavy casualties its success was a turning point to end the war. Thank God for Allied victory over tyrannical Nazi forces that threatened world peace and freedom.

Is there any doubt that God created an environment to help the side whose cause was to bring peace to the world? Does this give you hope that God is involved in such affairs of humans? The full story offers more details if history interests you and if you choose to investigate D-Day and its weather aspect.

Peace has always been a condition important to God and is a result of knowing Him. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

Peace is also a gift or fruit of the Holy Spirit along with love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5: 22, 23)

The Bible instructs, “If possible so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Romans 12:18) If peace is important to you, then follow God’s instruction and be hopeful.

PLANET HOPEFUL: HOPE TO CONTINUE

Today marks a one year anniversary of Planet Hopeful by this hopeful messenger. This blog has nearly 100 posts published, and I continue a second year with today’s post #89. I hope to continue as long as I am able.

 I am humbled to know others are reading these posts (evidenced by comments). It is my sincere desire to remind readers that hope can be found if our hearts are open to receive it. When I find hope in my observations and experiences then I like to share.

I want my efforts to make a difference in  lives. I believe hope is needed in our world, and there may be someone who desperately needs it.

I’m incredibly blessed to recognize hope as I encounter it. I urge you to share hope as you recognize it.

The most important thing is to know the One Who is the Hope in the world Who actually IS the difference needed. If you’ve read many of my posts, then you know I refer to Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

What a difference He’s made to me! He is my Hope for each day, each night, every aspect of my life! He makes life worth living on this planet. Regarding what’s to come in the next life, He’s even more vital if one believes the Holy Bible. I do! My faith is in the One Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

I’m thankful that He is always with me. I am never alone. When problems come (and they do in this life), I have peace that comes from His presence (via His Spirit).

My beliefs are based on Biblical teachings and result from a personal relationship with Jesus, the Source of my confidence and hope. May His hope be real to you, too!

“Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Matthew 16:16)

“Jesus said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” (Hebrew 13:5)

“Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.'” (John 14:6)