The Bible exhorts all of us to praise God. When I do that, it gives me hope. The 100th Psalm is perfect to prepare a heart for giving thanks.
“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He Who has made us and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.”
(Psalm 100: 1-5)
My traditional Thanksgiving holiday will be observed differently this year and will be missing loved ones who usually gather with us. However, it is still a day to give thanks to God and praise His name.
Having an attitude of gratitude pleases God, Who gives every good thing. Below is an acrostic for the word, grateful. It reminds us of His love, a great reason to be grateful.
While my calendar indicates that next week brings the official holiday of Thanksgiving Day, my Bible teaches to have an attitude of gratitude every day. As I prepare to observe Thanksgiving Day, I will ponder the message of Psalm 100.
My heartful of gratitude and hope is more important than a tableful of traditional turkey and trimmings. I am blessed and hopeful, because “His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of Lights, with Whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1: 17)
Established in 1861, the Medal of Honor is my nation’s highest military decoration for valor. It is awarded to members of the US armed forces, who distinguish themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty….”
Of more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients, nine were chaplains. These included four during the Civil War, one from World War II, one from the Korean War, and three from the Vietnam War.
In commemoration of Veterans Day I will feature one decorated veteran to represent other honorable veterans. All of them are worthy of high regard and remembrance. Today I will share about one hero, the only Chaplain from WW2 to receive the highest honor.
Lt. Commander Joseph Timothy O’Callahan (1905–1964) was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1946:
“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Chaplain on board the USS Franklin when that vessel was fiercely attacked by enemy Japanese aircraft…” in March 1945.
“A valiant and forceful leader, calmly braving the perilous barriers of flame and twisted metal to aid his men and his ship, Lt. Comdr. O’Callahan groped his way through smoke-filled corridors to the open flight deck and into the midst of violently exploding bombs, shells, rockets, and other armament. With the ship rocked by incessant explosions with debris and fragments raining down and fires raging in ever-increasing fury, he ministered to the wounded and dying, comforting and encouraging men of all faiths; he organized and led firefighting crews into the blazing inferno on the flight deck; he directed the jettisoning of live ammunition and the flooding of the magazine; he manned a hose to cool hot, armed bombs rolling dangerously on the listing deck, continuing his efforts, despite searing, suffocating smoke which forced men to fall back gasping and imperiled others who replaced them.
Serving with courage, fortitude, and deep spiritual strength, Lt. Cmdr. O’Callahan inspired the gallant officers and men of the Franklin to fight heroically and with profound faith in the face of almost certain death and to return their stricken ship to port.”
I am thankful for such veterans of our military. Many did selflessly go above and beyond their duty, and even more veterans honorably met their duty. They are all heroes. Their sacrificial service and valor give me hope. The gallant actions of Medal of Honor recipients give me hope.
These heroes have inspired young men and women all across America to follow their example, and it is an honorable choice to represent our country, protect our freedom, and serve under the flag of the USA.
“A nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.” (Abraham Lincoln)
“For by You I can run upon a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. He trains my hands for battle so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your help makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped. I pursued my enemies and destroyed them, and I did not turn back until they were consumed. And I have devoured them and shattered them so that they did not rise; And they fell under my feet. For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.” (2 Samuel 22: 30-40)
“The LORD lives, and be my rock; And exalted be God, the Rock of my salvation, the God who executes vengeance for me, and brings down peoples under me, Who also brings me out from my enemies; You even lift me above those who rise up against me; You rescue me from the violent man. Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the nations, and I will sing praises to Your name.”
(2 Samuel 22: 47-50)
Are you worried about… a little scared of… or even terrified by your world today? I understand that it is difficult to maintain calmness in an unsettled and uncertain world.
I was just reminded of Romans 8:28, and it gave me hope and peace. If you need hope and peace just now, consider one of my favorite verses.
“And 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)
I believe this verse; I have experienced it again and again in my life. When something shakes my world, I am learning to trust God to work together all things for my good. It is neither magic nor coincidence. It is the hand of Almighty and Sovereign God Who loves me enough to take care of me.
If you do not have a relationship with Father God through faith in Jesus Christ, then make the decision now to invite Him into your heart and life. I have found that trusting Him is better than coping with this world on my own. He is big enough to change things when I can not.
Sometimes He may not change things; sometimes He changes me. He knows that which is best. He can lead me through that which I must face, and with His strength and help, I can get through it. I can know His peace and hope as I trust Him.
Try Him, trust Him, learn to love Him, and you, too, will see that He will work together all things for your good. Peace and hope are certainly better than unrest and fear today or anyday.
Three W’s may be good reminders and prescriptions for health, safety, and hope in our world today. They make it easy to remember new behaviors that are now commonly accepted in the midst of pandemic. The letter W issues a call to (1) wash hands often; (2) wear masks when in public; and (3) watch our distance around others.
Washing hands may or may not prevent spread of covid19 germs, but it does wash away many germs and bacteria. That has to keep us healthier in some ways.
Wearing masks may or may not prevent spread of covid19 germs, but it decreases likelihood of breathing in many germs and bacteria. That must keep us safer in some ways.
Watching our distance to keep at least 6 feet away from others may or may not prevent spread of covid19 germs, but it protects us and others from transmission of many germs and bacteria. This social distancing surely promotes health and safety of us all.
To commit behaviors intentionally that are good for me gives me hope. I have a more positive attitude if I feel I am doing the right things to prevent illness especially if the illness is potentially serious. So I wash, wear, watch, and hope. Also I pray, which is always good for increasing my hope.
Health, safety, and hope relate not only to my physical being but to my spiritual being as well. It can not be wise to be concerned only with my physical body and ignore my spiritual being, which is far more important. Based on Biblical teaching I believe that my physical body will return to dust someday while my spirit is eternal so will live forever.
Therefore I will be sure I have asked Jesus Christ to wash me by His blood that was shed for all humanity to pay our sin debt. He alone can cleanse me from all sin and leave me whiter than snow.
“Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)
I will be sure I now wear his garments and that I am clothed in His righteousness. He alone can wrap me in robes of righteousness leaving me forgiven.
“I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)
I will watch my distance and be intentional to remain near His love, mercy, and grace. He promised to never leave me nor forsake me, but I need to be constantly aware of His presence and choose to abide in His love and care.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” (John 15::4)
If I choose Him and His way of salvation, then I will be healthier, safer, and more hopeful in this world and better suited for the world to follow. Unlike this sin-infected and death-ravaged world, the world to come will be perfectly perfect. Christ Jesus will rule and reign, and there will be no more sin, death, sorrow, nor tears.
“and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)
I now allow the 3 W’s to remind me of Biblical truths that fill me with hope. They are the best prescription available and just what the Great Physician ordered!
“And hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.'” (Mark 2:17)
Voting is a privilege that unfortunately is not meaningful to all Americans. If you are not a registered American voter eligible to vote in the national election on November 3, then this post may not interest you. If you are, then some of you will agree with me, some will disagree, and some will not care either way. Whatever your view, voting is important to me as a civic action in which good citizens participate.
As I plan to vote, I do so with feelings of duty and responsibility. Military service men and women have sacrificed so I have the privilege to vote. I also have hope for an outcome that matches my vote. I may be pleased or disappointed after votes are counted, but I will vote my conscience, values, and faith. I will never vote at a toss of a coin.
If asked what I consider as I make my voting decisions, I will name some issues that are important to me. Overall issues that align with Constitutional and Biblical views are my strong preferences.
These major concerns are listed in no particular order: (1) supporting a strong military; (2) supporting a good relationship with Israel; (3) promoting capitalism (avoiding socialism); (4) promoting pro-life; (5) protecting civil rights and religious liberties; (6) less taxation; (7) less government control; (8) maintaining 2nd amendment rights; (9) truthful leaders who do what they say; and (10) party platforms.
If you are uncertain about how to vote, consider issues that are important to you. Voter guides are available to show voting records of candidates regarding your most important issues. Pray for wise choices then be sure to vote! If you fail to vote then do not complain about election results!
“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)
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.” (Psalm 111: 10)
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14: 34)
“When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2)
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
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: 1, 2)
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2: 1, 2)
If this post has interested you, please visit this website:
I remember a brief encounter with a young man named Robert that took place at a small airport when I was a student pilot more than 40 years ago. I am not sure why that conversation remains in my memory while so many others have not!
Robert had just flown solo in a small Cessna plane, and I asked him if he had been afraid. He replied, “Just a little,” paused, and added, “…terrifed.” His honesty and way of answering amused me then and brings a smile when I have recalled it through the decades since.
We never carried our conversation further regarding his fear of flying solo nor discussed his motivation to overcome his fear. I assume he continued his flying lessons and became a licensed pilot (although I did not). I imagine more flying solo lead to his fear gradually being replaced by more courage. Robert had flown solo that first time while feeling fearful showed he must have known hope as well.
I know a young sailing enthusiast who has been taking lessons and has sailed solo in a small sailboat. Earlier this year ten-year-old Bella overcame fear and demonstrated courage. While sailing solo and from a sitting position she leaned straight back parallel with the water with her head only inches above the water while controlling the boat as it sailed along.
Photos document her accomplishment, and the look on her face shows exhilaration not fear. It seems that once she performed this courageous action with success, she discovered how fun it was! Trying new activities often shows courage and gives hope in future endeavors.
Today many on our planet face some kind of fear, whether of a pandemic nature, financial loss, political upheaval, relational loss, career risk, personal failure, survival struggles, and on and on goes the never-ending list. Perhaps too often the fears are faced alone, although the healthiest way to cope may be to share with a trusted friend or a professional counselor depending on the degree of fear. Another option not considered enough is to take our burdens to the Lord God.
I do not know Robert’s source of strength and courage. I know Bella believes Philippians 4:13 that says, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” I think that belief gives her courage and hope.
I do not know how I would be able to face this world that is growing darker without experiencing the joy of the Lord as my strength and having a solid Biblical worldview. I know all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose as Romans 8:28 teaches. Such verses give me courage and hope.
I do not know your fears, strengths, or coping methods. I will urge you to seek the One Who created this universe and holds it together for the time being and Who has a plan and purpose for each of us. If you do not know Him nor His teachings please read His Holy Bible and seek Him with an open heart and mind.
You may be surprised to receive much more than courage and hope. With fear to lose, there is faith, love, forgiveness, peace, joy, and more to gain! The good news is that no one must face life solo.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with your whole heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
Today is a happy and hopeful day for me. It is my granddaughter’s birthday! This blogpost is in her honor. I do not know who penned the following poem, but it expresses my thoughts for my “bella” Bella.
GRANDMA’S PEARLS OF WISDOM
I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk,
Learned lessons old and new;
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you.
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad.
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side.
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense.
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold.
Keep hope right in your pocket.
It will guide you day by day.
Take it out when it is needed.
When it’s near, you’ll find a way.
Remember friends and family,
Of which you are a perfect part.
Love deeply and love truly;
Give freely from your heart.
The world is far from perfect;
There’s conflict and there’s strife,
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life.
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do,
Because you are my granddaughter,
And I believe in you.
I especially like the line that says to keep hope in your pocket. To me that means to keep hope near your heart so at any moment when you need it, you will remember and will never become hopeless.
It may not be as easy as pulling something from your pocket, but I think you know it is easy for God to provide anything you need. So if you stay close to Him, His hope will always be there whenever you need it. Be hopeful; believe He will take care of you …now …when you are older …even when you are really old like your grandparents!
Know you are loved — you are loved more than you know! Perhaps you cannot understand how much you are loved until you become a parent or grandparent. Enjoy your youth. Keep hope in your pocket. Have a happy birthday, dear granddaughter!
“For He will give His angels charge concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11)
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”
(Psalm 139: 13 – 14)
“For by Me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you.” (Proverbs 9:11)
If we look to the condition of the world today, we see tribulation. However the Bible tells us that tribulation brings hope, and hope does not disappoint. Because we exult in hope, we can exult in tribulation. What?!?!? That may not make sense in our world of pandemic, but God’s ways are higher than our ways. His infinite thoughts are higher than our finite thinking.
Rest assured… He has a perfect plan. There is nothing more I need to say. Let God’s message speak to you today. Keep reading….
Book of Romans, chapter 5, verses 1 – 21:
1 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through Whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received the reconciliation.
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned — 13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(New American Standard version)
Last week I noticed this online news article:
“A 72-year-old Woman Was Quietly Living in a Dilapidated House. Then an Electrician Sparked a Community to Help Her Rebuild” by Ryan Bergeron for CNN.
I think it is a great story detailing how rebuilding a home builds hope! It’s important to share such real-life examples when so much news today is sad and troubling.
Electrician John Kinney is a hero in this story. He entered Gloria Scott’s home in Massachusetts for a job that presented him with a challenge. It became his opportunity to help someone and also to build hope — for both Ms. Gloria and for me.
Ms. Gloria had a problem that needed attention because “sparks were shooting out of one of her light fixtures.” Kinney succeeded in getting the lights on, however it was obvious that Ms. Gloria’s home needed additional work. Kinney explained, “There was extensive plumbing damage… holes in the ceiling, raccoons were getting in.”
Running water was a definite problem. Because the kitchen sink was spewing hot water, Ms. Gloria had shut off the water to her home. Every couple of days she turned it back on only so toilets could be flushed.
Ms. Gloria lived alone and unfortunately could not afford needed repairs. Kinney described her home: “It was definitely a hazard. It was a rough condition she was living in, and I noticed immediately.”
After leaving her house, Kinney continued to think about the elderly woman alone in her home that was plagued by so many problems. He was compelled to return with his tools and begin work — at no charge! He realized that she needed help, and he understood she was not going to ask for it.
Soon friends joined in helping with yardwork, but Kinney needed even more help. He began a fundraiser entitled, “Nice old lady needs help.” Local individuals responded overwhelmingly. Donations have poured in to exceed $100,000.
Professionals with the skills needed to work on the house were now paid, and volunteers still came to help. Materials and supplies were donated. Restaurants provided meals. Kinney reported: “The project kept growing and support kept pouring in.”
While Ms. Gloria’s house was being improved, her whole life was being impacted by the kind acts of Kinney and so many others. Kinney described the effect: “She’s been here by herself for over 10 years, so I’m sure it’s a big change for her, but she’s warmed up to everybody…. She’s so happy, she’s got all types of new friends. She’s out here making lunch for us, laughing, joking. It’s just a miracle to witness.”
In just over a month Kinney’s initial electrical work was upgraded to a total home renovation. Ms. Gloria’s home has new electrical and plumbing systems, new roof, new windows, new insulation, new paint, new back porch, and new grass in her backyard.
Hero Kinney and other heroic helpers are now known as Gloria’s Gladiators with a Facebook page and more than 6,000 members so far. Kinney hopes for similar chapters starting across the country to help other elderly folks who have such needs. He explained, “It’s about getting the whole community to be gladiators and fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves.”
Even more lasting than home improvements, Kinney and Ms. Gloria have formed an unexpected bond since this project began. He shares: “She reminds me of my grandmother. My daughter has bonded with her, my wife has bonded with her. It doesn’t stop here. Gloria is a part of my life.”
Newsman Bergeron expressed it perfectly: “What started around a broken electrical fixture has lighted up both of their lives.” That reality builds hope in me and makes me thankful for John Kinney and other heroes like him!
“How blessed is he who considers the helpless; The Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble.” (Psalm 41:1)
“Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy….” (Psalms 82:3 – 4)
“He has given freely to the poor, His righteousness endures forever….” (Psalms 112:9)
“One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.” (Proverbs 19:17)
“The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; The wicked does not understand such concern.” (Proverbs 29:7)
“For when the ear heard, it called me blessed, and when the eye saw, it gave witness of me, because I delivered the poor who cried for help and the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, and I made the widow’s heart sing for joy.” (Job 29: 11 – 13)
“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Acts 20:35)
“Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good to his edification.” (Romans 15:1-2)
“Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (1 Corinthians 9:7)
“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)
“And do not neglect doing good and sharing for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:10)
“But whoever has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17)