DANNY GOKEY: HOPE IN FRONT OF ME

You may think that little has changed since my last post… still a pandemic around our planet… still problems in most places… still pain in many people… still panic in some hearts.

Where is hope? Today this is an important question to ask. It may be even more important to answer this question.

Danny Gokey saw the answer through eyes of faith. He expressed it musically and shared it in a song. Listen to “Hope in Front of Me” as often as needed and be blessed by his answer.

HOPE IN FRONT OF ME

“I’ve been running through rain
That I thought would never end
Trying to make it on faith
In a struggle against the wind.
I’ve seen the dark and the broken places,
But I know in my soul
No matter how bad it gets
I’ll be alright.

There’s hope in front of me.
There’s a light, I still see it.
There’s a hand still holding me
Even when I don’t believe it.
I might be down, but I’m not dead.
There’s better days still up ahead.
Even after all I’ve seen,
There’s hope in front of me.
There’s a place at the end of the storm.

You finally find
Where the hurt and the tears and the pain All fall behind.

You open up your eyes and up ahead
There’s a big sun shining.
Right then and there you realize
You’ll be alright.

There’s hope in front of me.
There’s a light; I still see it.
There’s a hand still holding me
Even when I don’t believe it.
I might be down, but I’m not dead.
There’s better days still up ahead.
Even after all I’ve seen,
There’s hope in front of me.

There’s a hope still burning.
I can feel it rising through the night,
And my world’s still turning.
I can feel Your love here by my side.

You’re my Hope.
You’re the light; I still see it.
Your hands are holding me.
Even when I don’t believe it
I’ve got to believe.
I still have hope.

YOU ARE MY HOPE.”

(Danny Gokey)

I am thankful for Gokey’s song and for his many others, too. I am thankful for faith to know the One Who is Gokey’s hope and my own as well.

Regardless of temporary darkness in this world, I am not hopeless. I know I am blessed. Christ’s light burns eternal, His grace is sufficient, His peace sustains, and His love never fails.

Where is hope? His HOPE is right in front of me.

 

Sometimes we don’t discover our purpose until the darkest moments strip us of everything, and all we are left with is brokenness and heartache. It is in these moments, ironically, when hope becomes our strength and carries us.”  (Danny Gokey)

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep for You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.”  (Psalm 4:8)

PEACEMAKERS: BLESSING AND HOPE

Protests… unrest… chaos… violence…. In many places on this planet there is no peace. In many lives peace has never been known. Does this describe your place… your life?

Sadly where there is no peace, there may be no hope.

I realize injustice exists. I understand life is too often unfair. Abuse and suffering reign in too many lives. What is to be done? How does one experience relief? Is peace even possible?

Peace… calm… rest… comfort…. To ponder these words may inspire some to reach toward achieving them. Unfortunately these words describe the opposite of reality for many who do not know how to obtain them.

Is there an answer to this dilemma? Is peace obtainable? The Bible teaches there is One Who is the Prince of Peace. Not only can He be known, He wants us to know and experience Him and the peace He offers.

It is no accident that He is called Prince of Peace. It was not on a whim or by chance. God knew this world would need peace, His peace. Contrary to those who do not understand His character and His timing, God provides that which we need. God understands our need, and He is our Provider, because He loves us so. That should give us hope.

When we seek Him and find Him, then we can become peacemakers and share the Prince of Peace and His peace that He gives. Then we are promised blessing.  “Blessed are the peacemakers” is a promise that brings hope.

As I am now mature enough to reflect on my life and past, I regret my failure at times to be a peacemaker. Although it is the past, these recollections should stir me to try harder and do better in the present to bring peace to others, to situations, to this planet.

I confess that those times of failure were when I chose to be defensive, to escalate situations, and even to retaliate. How much better it would have been to have chosen peace instead… to have been led by the Prince of Peace. I admit that so often I failed Him and missed His blessings.

Remembering that I can share peace only if I know the Prince of Peace, I look to Him — Jesus Christ — and to the Source of Wisdom, the Bible. I am thankful God provided this Book of Truth and especially that He gave the One Who is the Truth.

I am also thankful that when I make peace, I reap benefits — God’s blessings that include hope. God is good and faithful all the time. When I believe this, then it is my desire to be faithful, and that means making peace in a world where peace is desperately needed. Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant (you and) me peace (and hope) in every circumstance.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  (Matthew 5:9)

Finally, brethren, rejoice! Be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”  (2 Corinthians 13:11)

Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance.”  (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”  (James 3:18)

Setting your goal to become a peacemaker like Jesus will bring God’s love and peace to your life.”  (Lynette Kittle)

“… if we can catch God’s vision of what it looks like to be a peacemaker — to bring harmony, security and rest to a difficult situation — it will allow us to feel secure and at rest in the midst of conflict. We can stand confident as children of God. By learning to give peace the way we receive peace from Jesus, His peace flows through our lives.”  (Nicki Koziarz)

“World peace through nonviolent means is neither absurd nor unattainable. All other methods have failed. Thus we must begin anew. Nonviolence is a good starting point. Those of us who believe in this method can be voices of reason, sanity, and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred, and emotion. We can very well set a mood of peace out of which a system of peace can be built.”  (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Continue reading “PEACEMAKERS: BLESSING AND HOPE”

JEREMY CAMP: HEARTBREAK AND HOPE

Jeremy Camp has more than a decade of successes as a minister singer and songwriter. With four million albums sold, four RIAA Gold albums, a multi-platinum DVD, three American Music Award nominations, and a GRAMMY nomination, he is influencing this planet with his inspired music. He has toured 25 times across the US and has performed in more than 30 countries. Camp calls himself, ‘a minister who happens to play music as a way to minister.'”

If you are not very knowledgeable about Jeremy Camp, then you may think his life is all rosey. Great musical successes… and now there is a movie that features him, his wife, and their marriage. “I Still Believe,” is a new movie about Camp… and his wife who died.

Wait…. His is a love story touched by death? He suffered great loss? He has known spiritual lows? Suddenly it does not sound so rosey. He has experienced lots of love… but love AND loss.

Focus on the Family’s Plugged In review of the film stated, “‘I Still Believe‘ is a poignant portrait of faith and doubt, love and grief, heartbreak and hope.'”

Jeremy Camp has allowed his experiences to bring into focus his priorities that give him hope and help him share that hope with the rest of us. His is a hope that helps him live through each day of his life and will lead him home when it ends. His hope is in Jesus Christ.

I remember hearing for the first time his song below. I immediately loved its meaningful and powerful message. I relate to its lyrics, and I think they will become even more meaningful as life becomes more challenging.

I am thankful that Camp expressed so beautifully his need and desire, because I realize they are mine also. Jeremy Camp, his ministry, his music, and especially his Savior all give me hope.

“Give Me Jesus”

“In the morning when I rise,
In the morning when I rise,
In the morning when I rise
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world.
Just give me Jesus.

When I am alone,
When I am alone,
Oh, when I am alone
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world.
Just give me Jesus.

Jesus.
Give me Jesus.

When I come to die,
When I come to die,
Oh, when I come to die
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world.
Just give me Jesus.”

(Jeremy Camp)

EDGAR HARRELL:  SURVIVAL, COURAGE, AND HOPE

To commemorate our recent Memorial Day I viewed David Barton’s 2017 interview with Edgar Harrell (1924-2020).  He was one of the Greatest Generation and endured extraordinary circumstances in 1945 shortly before WW2 ended. Those circumstances found him in desperate need of hope.

The USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by an enemy submarine and quickly sank in only 12 minutes. Onboard were 1,196 military members from both US Navy and US Marines. Sadly only 316 would survive the sinking known as the greatest single loss of life at sea from a single ship in US Naval history.

Harrell’s testimony of his experiences relate hope even today 75 years later. He received much-needed hope by recognizing God’s providence, by receiving His peace and courage, and by a miraculous survival against great odds.

To learn more about this American hero’s true story of how God’s providence helped him survive shipwreck, shark attacks, and being lost four days in the Pacific Ocean, then read his book or visit his website at Indysurvivor.com.

Harrell’s personal story is featured in his book, OUT OF THE DEPTHS: An Unforgettable WW2 Story of Survival, Courage, and the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis, co-authored by his son, David Harrell.

Also an interview with Harrell can be heard anytime at WallBuildersLive.com. Parts of his story are given below in Harrell’s own words from a transcript of an interview by Rick Green.

“From a spiritual standpoint, I have to say that I was just so fortunate that somehow, someway that the mercy of the Lord that I know and serve; somehow, someway He enabled me to endure…. It’s just a consolation just to hear and know and to be able to tell of the providence of God to bring me through such an ordeal….” (Edgar Harrell)

“I can’t take any credit for the fact that I endured other than the fact that when I left that ship… I was actually believing, praying, and asked the Lord to give me some assurance that I’m going to survive.” (EH)

Then to have a Scripture come to mind from just a little Sunday School boy a few years before, ‘I’ll never leave you or forsake you.’ Not audibly, but I knew.Peace I give unto you not as the world give unto you, let not your hearts be troubled, don’t be afraid.’ That was ringing in my ears. I say to the Lord, ‘You’re speaking to my heart; I’m going to make it.'” (EH)

“But then I wondered, wondered, wondered these next… days when I would see a buddy next to me that… his torso is gone, then maybe he bumps into you, and he leaves part of that residue of the decayed body on you, and you wear that, you know you wonder if you’re not going to be the next one. But then to look back on all of that, and it makes a different person out of you….” (EH)

Wounds, aggressive shark attacks, dehydration, and hypothermia were now increasingly against those who had lived long enough to get off the rapidly sinking ship. By the time they were rescued four days later 20-year-old Harrell was still alive.

“Now there was a big story in those four and a half days… from the time that I left the ship until I was picked up…. Now that is God’s Providence working in my life. I have a wonderful story to tell, and that’s recorded in my book, too.” (EH)

Many will remember Harrell’s unforgettable experience as a story of survival and courage. To me it is also a story of hope, and I shall remember that God provided the hope for Marine Corporal Harrell just when he needed it most.

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them for the Lord your God is the One Who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”  (Deuteronomy 31: 6)

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”  (John 14: 27)

“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  (Matthew 14: 27)

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.”  (Psalm 139: 7-10)