CAR ART CREATOR:  AMERICAN DREAM and HOPE

Isaac Cohen, owner of Classy Art Wholesale in Houston, was featured on the History Channel’s tv show, “Larry the Cable Guy.” Larry described him as, “… this guy who’s typical of what the show is about: ‘Only in America.'”

Cohen is a designer and woodworker creating car art that has earned awards for entries in the unique Car Art Parade in Houston, Texas. His cars are beautifully and artistically crafted of wood, and he has received offers as high as 6.5 million dollars for a car. As special as his car art, his personal history is equally amazing!

Cohen had dreamed of becoming an American since he was a child in Israel. He grew up, got a green card, and journeyed to America with nothing but a dream. He met a girl who had come from Mexico without resources. Their meeting must have been orchestrated, and together they shared a beautiful dream! Both determined, both hard workers, and within five years they were both citizens of the United States.

According to Larry the Cable Guy, “Now the guy’s a millionaire because of woodworking, and it’s the perfect American story, and it’s awesome.”

I have never met Isaac Cohen, but I have learned some important things about him. He is patriotic and loves his country; he is incredibly creative, highly-skilled, hard-working, and successful; and he cares more about helping others than building his wealth. I think Isaac Cohen exemplifies the American dream and inspires hope!

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”  (Jeremiah 29: 11)

Commit your works to the LORD, and your plans will be established.”  (Proverbs 16: 3)

Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men.”  (Colossians 3: 23)

“IF”:  HOPE, TRUST, HOLD ON

Happy Birthday to my dear son! My tribute today features a well-known poem by Rudyard Kipling. “If” was published over a century ago and still offers good advice for challenges that a man often faces.

Son, after these years and the experiences that you have faced, I hope you know that I am proud of the man you have become. You’re the man! You give me hope! The poem below advises to trust yourself and hold on! I’ll add to trust God more than yourself and trust that He is the One holding you (better than you holding Him)!


IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!
(Kipling)


“The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who sires a wise son will be glad in him.”  (Proverbs 23: 24)

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD.”  (Jeremiah 17:7)

“Do not fear for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’”  (Isaiah 41: 10, 13)

“Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you, and I will deliver you.”  (Isaiah 46: 4)

“ALIVE AND BREATHING”:  JOY, HOPE, AND PRAISE THE LORD

Happy Birthday today to my beloved spouse, to whom I dedicate the song, Alive and Breathing” (recorded by Matt Maher and written by Elle Limebear & Matt Maher).

No matter your age, if you’re still alive and breathing, then you can know joy and hope and praise the Lord! May you have many more days to know joy and hope and many more days to praise the Lord!

ALIVE AND BREATHING

What holds your heart?
What stirs your soul?
What matters come to mind?
The cares you keep,
The thoughts you think;
It’s not all wasted time.
Seek and you will find.

Joy still comes in the morning.
Hope still walks with the hurting.
If you’re still alive and breathing, praise the Lord!
Don’t stop dancing and dreaming.
There’s still Good News worth repeating,
So lift your head and keep singing.
Praise the Lord!

Years roll by;
We wonder why
We lost our way from home.
Our Father finds
The child inside
We had left for growing old.
Awake, awake, awake my soul.

Joy still comes in the morning.
Hope still walks with the hurting.
If you’re still alive and breathing,
Praise the Lord!
Don’t stop dancing and dreaming.
There’s still Good News worth repeating,
So lift your head and keep singing.
Praise the Lord!

Let everything, let everything, Let everything praise the Lord!
In the working, in the waiting
Praise the Lord!
In the blessing, in the breaking
Come on, praise the Lord!
In the dying, the rising
Let it praise the Lord!
Let it praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Joy still comes in the morning.
Hope still walks with the hurting.
If you’re still alive and breathing,
Praise the Lord!
Don’t stop dancing and dreaming.
There’s still Good News worth repeating,
So lift your head and keep singing.
Praise the Lord!

Joy still comes in the morning.
Hope still walks with the hurting.
If you’re still alive and breathing,
Praise the Lord!
Don’t stop dancing and dreaming.
There’s still Good News worth repeating,
So lift your head and keep singing.
Praise the Lord!

(Limebear and Maher)

“…Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.”
(Psalm 30: 5)

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful.”
(Hebrews 10: 23)

“Let everything that has breath Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!”
(Psalm 150: 6)

SILENT FILM: HOPE & BETTER ADVENTURES BEYOND

Occasionally I enjoy a good silent film, and I recently viewed one I had not seen in a long time. It was “The Iron Mask” from 1929 that was based on Alexander Dumas’ novel. This featured a heroic D’Artagnan attempting to save the King of France with help from fellow Musketeers — Aramis, Athos, and Porthos. Unfortunately each was called to sacrifice all for the glory of France.

Even without speaking there was much swashbuckling, swordfighting, and suspense before it was all over. Finally the future of France was secure, the rightful king was returned to his throne, and good had triumphed over bad although at a cost of heroes’ lives.

The movie ended with D’Artagnan, who had been fatally stabbed, being beckoned upward by the other Musketeers already deceased. Words appeared on the screen regarding “…better adventures beyond.” The Musketeers were joined a final time, and the last message on the screen was “The Beginning” rather than the usual “The End.”

I thought it was a satisfying ending for a work of fiction. It was appropriate that the Musketeers would be together forever because of their deep bonds of loyalty to one another in this life.

I believe that leaving this world for the next is a beginning not an ending for God’s child. The Bible teaches that Eternity is an everlasting and eternal life for those who go to heaven. On the other hand those who reject Jesus Christ in this world will suffer eternal death. It is simply a matter of choice. We choose life by choosing Christ.

As the movie expressed silently, my hope is for better adventures beyond in heaven than even the best ones on this planet. I can only imagine!


I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.”  (Deuteronomy 30: 19)

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

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

“AMERICA AGAIN”: THE ONLY HOPE FOR AMERICA IS JESUS

Happy Birthday, America! As we celebrate this national holiday, may we remember that which made America great. May we remember to pray, “God bless America!”

I encourage Americans who may have forgotten our nation’s origins to review “America Again, a song by Carman. Here is a small but important part of its lyrics:

The only hope for America is Jesus.
The only hope for America is Him.
If we repent of our ways, stand firm, and say,
We need God in America again!'” (Carman)

If My people who are called by My name 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.”
(2 Chronicles 7:14)

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.”  (Psalm 33: 12)

Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin is a disgrace to any people.”
(Proverbs 13: 34)

AMERICAN SPIRIT: SHARE THE SPIRIT & HOPE

As the birthday of America will be widely celebrated tomorrow, I think about the American spirit. I am proud to say that I am a patriot, which is not to say that all Americans are perfect just as not every American law is right. Still there is hope that many Americans try to be their best and that most American policies promote freedom around the world.

One recent opinion column by Dana D. Kelley reinforced my view. Kelley is a freelance writer from Jonesboro, Arkansas. Based on her personal experiences in Mississippi, she wrote, “That’s the spirit,” which describes the best in Americans. May it add hope to our national holiday. She began with the following paragraph:

Independence Day is the supreme American holiday. The reasons, principles, and ideals explaining the colonies’ separation from England formed the foundation for everything else the United States would ever be or hope to become.”

I invite you to read the entire article: “That’s the spirit” by Dana Kelley, 7/2/2021. It is definitely worth reading.  The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette article is found @ www.nwaonline.com/news/2021/jul/02/thats-the-spirit/.

Kelley compares today’s American spirit to how it was in 1776 where I believe it was rooted in love. She ended the article with these two paragraphs, of which I fully agree:

That’s the spirit. Same as ’76. Thank God it still lives and lives forever.

Celebrate it this weekend. Even better: Practice it every time you get the chance.” (DDK)

Enjoy our birthday celebration, and ponder our nation’s beginnings. Be thankful, and share the spirit and hope!

We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and yet he hates his brother or sister, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother and sister, whom he has seen, cannot love God, Whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him that the one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.” 
(1 John 4: 19 – 21)