PRAISE GOD IN THE STORMS:  PEACE AND HOPE

I think it is understood that one aspect of humanity is experiencing storms of life. It is reality that in this life those storms come, but how we respond is important and makes a huge difference.

If we believe we are alone, then storms can devastate us and leave us hopeless and in despair. However when we trust a loving Sovereign God, we can choose to praise God in the storms. This kind of faith leaves us with peace and  hope.

Casting Crowns is a contemporary Christian rock band that has sold over ten million albums, has been awarded Grammy and Dove Awards, and set a record for longest-reigning No. 1 song on Contemporary Christian charts. Their songs indicate that they understand the importance of praising God.

Their song, “Praise You In This Storm,” calls us to praise God in life’s storms. As this song rightly says, God is Who He is no matter where we are. Here are the words as recorded by Casting Crowns.

PRAISE YOU IN THIS STORM

I was sure by now, God,
You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away,
Stepped in and saved the day,
And once again
I say, “Amen,” and it’s still rainin.’

But as the thunder rolls,
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain,
“I’m with you,”
And as Your mercy falls,
I’ll raise my hands and praise the God Who gives
And takes away.

And I’ll praise You in this storm,
And I will lift my hands
For You are Who You are
No matter where I am.
And every tear I’ve cried You hold in Your hand; You never left my side,
And though my heart is torn,
I will praise You in this storm.

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry.
You raised me up again,
But my strength is almost gone.
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You?

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain,
“I’m with you.”
And as Your mercy falls,
I’ll raise my hands and praise the God Who gives
And takes away.

And I’ll praise You in this storm,
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am.
And every tear I’ve cried You hold in Your hand.
You never left my side,
And though my heart is torn,
I will praise You in this storm.

I lift my eyes unto the hills.
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
The Maker of heaven and earth.
I lift my eyes unto the hills.
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
The Maker of heaven and earth.
(I lift my eyes unto the hills.
Where does my help come from?)

And I’ll praise You in this storm,
And I will lift my hands
For You are Who You are
No matter where I am.
Every tear I’ve cried You hold in Your hand;
You never left my side.
Though my heart is torn,
I will praise You in this storm.

And though my heart is torn,
(Though my heart is torn)
I’ll praise You in this storm.
(Praise You in this storm)

(Casting Crowns)

“Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, And praise the mention of His holiness.”
(Psalm 30:4)

“I will praise the name of God with song
and magnify Him with thanksgiving.”
(Psalm 69:30)

I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart and will glorify Your name forever.”
(Psalm 86:12)

MIKE FOY:  LEGACY OF CHILDREN & HOPE

Father’s Day will be observed tomorrow in the U.S. to celebrate and honor fathers. I am blessed to have known my father’s love and am thankful for my father and for my father-in-law.

Today I want to honor a father who left a legacy of children. He was Father to eight — two sons and six daughters. They are all living, all loving, and all faithful Christians. This kind of legacy gives me hope. This father was Elwood M. Foy (1916-1996) known as Mike Foy by many friends.

Mike met his parental responsibilities with help from Mary Frances, his faithful wife and the mother of his children. More importantly he looked to his heavenly Father and to Biblical instructions to guide his path as husband, father, and friend. He was blessed with success in these roles.

One son wrote poems to honor his dad’s example. His poetic tribute expresses that he can follow Jesus by following his dad, a wise and godly man. I can think of no better gift for a father to give his children!

MY EXAMPLE, MY DAD

I have seen faith and honesty walking the street.
I have seen self-respect and humility meet.
I have seen serving others stretched out to full length.
I have seen the true melding of meekness and strength.
I have seen self-control over what was deemed bad
As I watched through the years my example, My Dad.
(James Foy © 2016)

FOLLOWING DAD

I’ve been taught ever since I was a kid
In this life, live as Jesus lived.
I may not know what Jesus would have done,
But I have Dad, the Guide God gave this son.
I have Dad, a wise and godly man,
And I can follow Jesus by following my dad.
(James Foy © 2016)

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers who love their children and who are loved by their children. You are blessed and are a blessing!

 

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.”  (Psalm 127: 3 – 5)

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.”  (Psalm 103: 13)

I will guide you in the way of wisdom, and I will lead you in upright paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered, and when you run, you will not stumble.”  (Proverbs 4: 11, 12)

ANDREA BOCELLI CONCERT:  FAITH, HOPE, AND OPTIMISM

My opinion is that anytime is a good time for beautiful songs by world renown tenor, Andrea Bocelli. Last week I thoroughly enjoyed his concert, “BELIEVE: Live in Malta” on the PBS television series, “Great Performances.”

Andrea’s song choices and candid conversation reflected his personal “faith, hope, and optimism.” Impressive scenes of Malta’s churches, beaches, sunsets, and more accompanied the music.

Andrea explained the location, “Today Malta stands as an example of rebirth after such a troubled history as it has experienced. Today it teaches us that there is always hope that we can overcome any situation even the most difficult.”

Andrea perfectly performed the following songs: Gratia Plena,” “Angele Dei,” “Ave Maria,” “Oh, Madre Benedetta,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna,” “Pianissimo” (with Cecilia Bartoli), “Hallelujah,” and “Inno Sussurato.”

I especially appreciated the inclusion of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” It reminded me that I will never walk alone in Life. That means not alone through perilous times of pandemic and never alone without my Source of faith, hope and love as Guide.

If you missed this meaningful concert, you may view it online. I am thankful for the gift that Andrea Bocelli shared with us. As always I loved hearing his extraordinary vocal talent and was blessed by his testimony that he believes in sharing faith, hope, and optimism. Bocelli’s reasons for his beautiful concert are the same as my own reasons for this blog. May you share them in your life, too.

***
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”  (John 14: 1)

“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)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  (Proverbs 3: 5, 6)

TAKING CHANCE:  A JOURNEY OF DIGNITY, RESPECT & HOPE

The film, “Taking Chance,” is a moving tribute to a 19-year-old Marine who did not return home from military service in Iraq the way his family would have chosen. Instead his body was escorted by Lt. Col. Michael Strobl back to Wyoming for a hero’s burial.

On the day he died, Chance was voluntarily manning a .50-caliber machine gun in the turret of the lead vehicle of a convoy. When facing intense fire, Chance returned fire as he had been trained and saved the lives of fellow Marines until becoming fatally wounded.

During his service of less than a year in the United States Marine Corps, Private First Class (posthumously promoted to Lance Corporal)  Chance Phelps had earned a marksmanship medal, six ribbons, and the Purple Heart medal.

Lt. Col. Strobl’s journal writing about escorting Chance on his journey home inspired the movie, “Taking Chance.” Strobl experienced Chance being treated with dignity and respect by military personnel and civilians throughout the journey. It touched him in a way he would never forget.

Besides dignity and respect this true account includes duty, honor, and hope. Chance stepped up to fulfill his duty, served with honor, and even sacrificed his life to save others for the cause of freedom and to make our world a safer place. In his heroic actions I see hope for our future and our world.

I highly recommend the 2009 movie, “Taking Chance,” which starred Kevin Bacon. It is an unforgettable journey of dignity, respect, and hope.


Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” 
(John 15: 13)

Read “A Marine’s Journey Home” by Michael Strobl (sfgate.com)

Watch “Taking Chance,” 2009 HBO film.