THE DAYTRIPPER: A FUTURE AND A HOPE
I have always enjoyed watching travel shows especially about European destinations. Recently I viewed The Daytripper that featured a tour of Midland, Texas. It may not be an exotic location, but it inspired me toward hope and resulted in today’s blogpost.
Chet Garner is creator, host, and executive producer of “The Daytripper,” a 9-time Emmy-award-winning Texas travel show that airs on PBS. It features Garner’s adventures as he explores in a single day the food, culture, and history of Texas towns.
This episode visited the childhood home of George W. Bush that is now a museum. Its period furnishings and vintage decor took me back to my childhood. This humble home is the only site in America that has been home to two US Presidents, two governors, and a First Lady.
When Garner toured George W.’s childhood bedroom, he made a comment that caught my attention. He said something like this: When kids are young you don’t know what they will become when they grow up. I have been thinking about that simple statement and think of my baby grandson and his future.
A future and a hope…. These words give me hope as I am reminded of a verse in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah.
“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
It also reminds me of a song that my late spouse sang many times through the years. “Shepherd Boy” by Ray Boltz is about David, who grew from the boy shepherd to become Israel’s King David, author of many psalms and subject of other Old Testament books. His life has blessed untold lives with comfort, encouragement, strength, inspiration, instruction, examples of what to do as well as what not to do. It is all because of the providence of God Who authored the Holy Bible through those who penned His story according to His plan through the ages.
“But when others see a shepherd boy, God may see a king Even though your life seems filled with ordinary things. In just a moment He can touch you, and everything will change; When others see a shepherd boy, God may see a king.” (RB)
I pray for the future of my grandchildren. Their futures are in the hands of a loving Father Who can be trusted and does all things perfectly. May I always be ready to share hope of Jesus Christ, so they will grow up knowing they each have a future and a hope.
GRANDSON’S BIRTH: MIRACLE & HOPE
Yesterday was a memorable day in our family. April 16, 2023, was the day of my grandson’s birth! He is our blessing and a gift from God Himself described in Psalm 127:3. He appears strong and healthy, for which I have been praying, and I am grateful.
His mother was amazing, determined, courageous, and strong to successfully endure and deliver her son in the most natural and healthiest way possible. More than merely present and waiting, his father actively assisted in his son’s arrival into this world. They capably and lovingly welcomed their son into their lives. May they always be parents committed to being his examples of love, strength, and resolute protection.
This baby — as all babies are — is a miracle from God. I have hope for this little human made in the image of God, because I have hope in his Maker. God loves this baby boy and has a wonderful plan for his life (as He does for each of us). My heart is full of joy that I am here to love this little one that I love with all my heart (as I do my granddaughter).
I discovered a song to dedicate to my first and only grandson. May it bring hope to your heart as you ponder the miracle of birth and life.
Go to the link below to listen to “Welcome to the World” by The Lullaby Bear and enjoy a lullaby that gives me hope.
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.”
”Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.” (John 16:21)
”God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” (Bill Bright)
HOPE FOR EASTER: HOPE FOREVER
“He is risen!”
If you do not know to Whom this true statement refers, then please begin to search for Him by reading with an open mind and heart the gospel of John in the Holy Bible’s New Testament.
My prayer is that you can wholeheartedly reply with, “He is risen indeed!”
“He” is Jesus Christ, the One Whose resurrection believers celebrate on Easter Day. He is the Son of the only living God, the risen Savior of the world, the only One to offer hope to a lost and dying world. He loves us, wants a relationship with each of us, and promised that He will let us find Him when we search for Him with all our hearts. His Holy Scriptures tell us to search for Him while He may be found.
May you know Him. Know the joy in proclaiming, “Hallelujah! Christ the Lord is arisen today! I can live because He lives!” He is my hope for Easter and forever!
EMMANUEL CRAWFORD: BLESSINGS AND HOPE
I recently viewed a memorable interview on KTUL, a Tulsa tv station and affiliate of ABC. It touched my heart, because it is an amazing example of blessings and hope. It featured Emmanuel Crawford, son of Audrey and Stan Crawford of Grove, OK.
Emmanuel’s life story so far has spanned 6,000 miles from Ghana to Oklahoma, from child slavery to rescue and safety with Touch of Life and adoption into the Crawford family with 5 older children at home in Grove, OK.
Emmanuel thrived with his new family and as a running back set a state record in high school football and was named Gatorade’s Oklahoma Football Player of the Year in 2022. Seeking college football programs and opportunities, he felt a strong connection with the Arkansas Razorbacks and knew that’s where he wants to be to play SEC football.
I consider Emmanuel Crawford to be a soft-spoken young man with a lifetime of potential ahead. He expressed himself very well in the 5-minute interview and shared a positive and hopeful attitude.
He considers the blessings in his life “through the grace of God” and explained, “God blessed me with that.” He acknowledged that he is “appreciative of the little things.” Asked about his name, Emmanuel (meaning “God with us”), he believes he is “a vessel of God.” Other words important to him include “determined, wise, happy….”
Emmanuel Crawford, may you continue to be a blessing and give hope to others in your future.
Readers, please hear from Emmanuel in his own words, be blessed, and experience hope. Here is where to find the interview with Emmanuel:
”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)
DAUGHTER’S BIRTHDAY: WISHES AND HOPE
Today is my daughter’s birthday! This day always reminds me of one of my life’s greatest blessings and brings to my mind precious memories. Happy birthday to my “little dear.”
I discovered the writings of author and poet Bob Perks this week just in time to share this on her birthday.
I WISH YOU ENOUGH
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough ‘Hellos’ to get you through the final ‘Goodbye.’
(© 2001 Bob Perks)
Added to these wishes are my prayers for her. It is a privilege to pray for her and something I will do as long as God gives me presence of mind to continue.
Today I rejoice and pray for my daughter with hope. My prayers are inspired by hopeful words of Philippians 4:4-7.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
My message today is dedicated to my beloved daughter along with God’s love, sincere prayers, unfailing hope, and wishes for enough.
[If interested in reading more by Bob Perks, then check out one of his books, I WISH YOU ENOUGH: Embracing Life’s Most Valuable Moments One Wish at a Time.]
CHRISTMAS GIFT: JESUS CHRIST AND HOPE
Christmas is celebrated, because a baby boy’s birth brought hope into our world more than two thousand years ago. It is very appropriate to celebrate the virgin birth of Jesus because of Who He is. Who is He? He is God’s only begotten Son given because God loved the world so much that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life.
If we remember the Reason for the season, then we will trust Jesus to be Lord of our lives. If we miss the true meaning of Christmas, then we will miss the greatest gift ever given. The One True Living God loves us enough to provide the Way to save us from our sin.
This free gift costs us nothing, cannot be earned, and needs only to be accepted in faith. If you have not received Jesus Christ as Savior, then I pray that this Christmas season you will see Him for Who He is — the Light of the world, the only Hope for humanity, the Prince of Peace.
Seek Him, and you will find Him. Begin searching the Good News of the Gospels in the Bible, the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. God’s Holy Spirit will help you if you seek Him with all your heart.
No matter what heartache this troubled world brings in 2023, you will be blessed beyond measure if you find the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus Christ is the only hope for the new year and for eternity.
May you have a blessed Christmas and a new year full of hope!
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest in His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.“ (Isaiah 9:6)
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
“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)
“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the Light of Life.’” (John 8:12)
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” (John 14:6)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flocks by night. And an Angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the Angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ’ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’
So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told to them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen just as had been told to them.” (Luke 2:8-20)
DON’T QUIT: HOPE & KEEP PLAYING
After a courageous year following a severe stroke, my beloved entered eternal life earlier this month. He was my love, my joy, and my blessing. His presence is missed, his memory is precious, and his faith gives me hope that he is home in heaven. My faith gives me assurance of a reunion when God chooses to bring me home.
Today I heard a radio message by Dr. David Jeremiah, who shared a story about a little boy and a concert musician. I want to remember the musician’s words to the boy: “Don’t quit; keep playing.”
The boy had slipped away from his grandmother just before a concert. When the curtain opened he was seated at the grand piano and played a simple tune, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
The concert pianist quickly appeared on stage to offer him these instructions: “Don’t quit; keep playing.” The pianist then joined the boy at the piano, began accompaniment by adding first bass notes to the boy’s simple tune to develop a beautiful arrangement then ending with a concert-worthy finale on the treble keys all while adding to the boy’s novice efforts. The astounded and appreciative audience clapped their praises for the impromptu surprise melody and the difference of a master’s touch they had witnessed.
This story offers a spiritual lesson beyond that of a master pianist and a boy who followed his instructions of “Don’t quit; keep playing.”
A loving and wise God has provided instructions in His Word, the Holy Bible. We have only to follow His instructions for Him to bless with something beautiful in His time and in His way.
I choose to intentionally follow these verses: “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.”
I expect my next walk through this life will be much different from that of the past 35 years and more difficult in many ways, but I will not be alone. The same loving Father Who took care of us during the past year will continue to be with me. I am assured that He will never leave me nor forsake me as promised: “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 31:8)
My desire is to walk closely to Him, to follow His steps, and to let Him direct my way to keep my path straight. I pray you will do the same, dear reader. With God’s help and strength I will not quit, I will keep playing the music, and I will continue to live with hope.
PEARLS AND GEMS: WISDOM AND HOPE
Brian Hobbs, Editor of Oklahoma’s “The Baptist Messenger,” collected pearls of wisdom and gems of thought to share. The quotes he shared with graduating students give hope, and I want to share these today.
“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” (King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 7:8)
”Whoever in middle age attempts to realize the wishes and hopes of his early youth invariably deceives himself. Each ten years of a man’s life has its own fortunes, its own hopes, its own desires.” (Johann von Goethe, poet and writer)
”I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.” (C. S. Lewis, Christian writer)
“In our greed for more we may lose what we already have.” (Aesop, author of Aesop’s Fables)
”Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” (President Ronald Reagan)
”Having first gained all you can and secondly saved all you can, then give all you can.” (John Wesley, Christian evangelist)
“Never never never never give up.” (Prime Minister Winston Churchill)
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (The Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:33)
“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself a new one till you have read an old one in between.” (C. S. Lewis, Christian writer)
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” (President George Washington)
“Time moves so quickly and no matter who we are or what we have done, the time will come when our life will be over. As Jesus said, ‘As long as it is day we must do the work of Him Who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work.’” (Billy Graham, Christian evangelist)….
Thank you, Brian Hobbs, for sharing thought-provoking and challenging wisdom. May graduates — and I —acknowledge the pearls and gems you share and benefit from their wisdom and valuable insights. After all…“How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.” (Proverbs 16:16)
For the complete article entitled “Dear Class of 2022,” see Hobbs’ column, “Sword & Trowel,” in The Baptist Messenger newspaper (May 24, 2022).