INDEPENDENCE DAY: DEPENDENCE AND HOPE

In the USA a common greeting today is “Happy Independence Day.” Today we celebrate our freedoms. July 4th is known  as Independence Day, the gaining of independence from British rule 246 years ago. America was planned to be a hope to the world for the glory of God. (Sadly we Americans have failed to share hope or reflect God’s glory, but this is not my focus today.)

Recently our former pastor and valued friend texted, “Happy Dependence Day.” I understood his message. His point related to being dependent on Jesus Christ. Living independently of Christ is not the way to happiness while being dependent on Him is the way to abundant life here on planet Earth and beyond. The “beyond” refers to eternal life in heaven.

There is a heavenly home promised to those who by faith in Christ alone trust Him as Savior and Lord. It means a happy day or joyful life truly is found in living in dependency on Christ.

Pastor Rick’s reminder follows many past reminders such as to abide in Christ. We were privileged for a couple of years to have him as our pastor. He shared truths found in God’s Word, the Holy Bible. His messages and teachings focused on Christ, honored the one true living God, and blessed our hearts… always.

Today I acknowledge my faith in Christ and pray to become more dependent on Him daily. I need His help, strength, and hope to go through trials in this life until He takes me home to perfect peace and rest.

In the meantime I will continue to read God’s Word, abide in Christ, pray without ceasing, and look forward to being home someday. Dependence on Christ gives me hope, and today I will share, “Happy Dependence Day!” with you and pray this is your reality.

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation.” (Psalm 68:19).

“If I should say, ‘My foot has slipped,’ Your lovingkindness, O LORD, will hold me up.” (Psalm 94:18).

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26).

“For I am the LORD your God, Who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’” (Isaiah 41:13).

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5).

“I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

IDENTIFICATION BADGE: HOPE AND ASSURANCE

Early this  morning I happened upon my spouse’s identification badge from 2012 when he was receiving proton therapy, a successful cancer treatment. I was not looking for it nor thinking about it or that period of time in our lives. Yet there it was within my reach. I think it was not an accidental find. I think it was a divinely planned moment, and when I held it and remembered all it represented, I understood.

My loving Father God was reminding me that He took care of my beloved through cancer ten years ago and He will take care of him now through this stroke. In that moment I knew again God’s  hope and assurance.

I am wearing the id badge today at the hospital where my spouse is a patient and where I spend my days. I have shared it with many including my spouse’s doctor. He commented, “The One Who was in charge then is still in charge now.” Amen and amen!

Best of all, I pointed out the badge to my beloved, who nodded in agreement when I explained my thoughts. He understood. We continue to live with hope and assurance.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  (Hebrews 11:1)

FATHER’S DAY: LOVE & HOPE

Today is recognized as Father’s Day. I am pleased to commend all fathers who care for their children. I know one daughter whose father loves her and takes his role seriously. She is blessed because of this.

I recently received a photo of them together as they were smiling at one another. Expressions on my son’s and granddaughter’s faces clearly show their love that is real and strong. This kind of relationship between a father and a child helps a child to grow up with hope.

I’m grateful my granddaughter is growing up being loved and protected by the most important man in her life. One day he’ll likely have to share her love, but for now they will enjoy their special bond.

Thanks, Son, for being a caring daddy. I know you will always be the man our granddaughter needs who will be there for her no matter what the future brings. God has richly blessed you both, and I am blessed to share in your lives. I have hope for your future and will continue to pray for you both.

Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103:13)

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8)

“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”  (1 Corinthians 16: 13, 14)

MEMORIAL DAY: REMEMBER AND PRAY

Today is designated as Memorial Day in America. I think it is important. This is a day to remember  those lost to us especially those in the service to our country. I like to also consider it a day to pray for those currently serving to be strong and to be courageous.

”Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”  (First Corinthians 16: 13)

It is often challenging to be courageous and strong. There is a key word in this verse… we need faith. When we stand firm in faith, then it is easier to be both courageous and strong. It is easier to have hope.

Faith is a gift from God. We may ask Him for the gift of faith to access courage, strength, and hope. He is a loving Father Who wants to provide good gifts to His children. May we always be grateful for His gifts.

”For true believers and followers of Jesus Christ there are amazing promises given to us. Jesus said, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes’  (Mark 9:23). Let’s believe!”  (Rod Butterworth)

Please read past blogposts written for previous Memorial Days when you have time. In the meantime… remember and pray.

IN SICKNESS OR HEALTH: LOVE AND HOPE

Today I am sharing about a real couple on an unanticipated and heartbreaking journey. This day marks one year since a man’s wife had a stroke. The husband recently shared, “She’s still hereand I thank God every day.” I understand and relate to their heartbreak.

I also recognize his love that is expressed in thanksgiving for the blessing of their remaining together in sickness or health. This love not only lasts but often deepens through life’s hardest times. I believe it results from real commitment, and it gives me hope.

Even facing severe medical challenges and uncertain outcomes, with strength and help from the One Who joins couples together “until death do us part,” a couple can continue sharing a beautiful relationship. My beloved and I are experiencing such a relationship, and recently I learned another couple is too.

God bless you both, Mary & Christopher. You are in our prayers. May you always know love and hope.

[Love] “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”   (1 Corinthians 13: 7)

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13: 13)

PRAYERS FOR OUR NATION: OUR ONLY HOPE

Today has been designated as a National Day of Prayer. Many people who pray will specifically voice prayers for our nation. I think most believers realize this great need and agree that our only hope is Jesus.

“Taking a stand for our country begins by going to our knees in prayer before Almighty God. Today is the National Day of Prayer, and for the past 71 years, Christians across our country have gathered on this day to ask God for His help. Our country is in trouble — we’re in a free fall, morally and spiritually. We need to pray for our families, schools, churches, law enforcement, military, judges, and our political leadership in Washington. I hope you’ll join me in asking God to intervene and turn the heart of this nation back to Him. We also need to pray for world leaders and for an end to the deadly conflict in Ukraine. The Word of God promises ‘the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer’ (1 Peter 3:12).

My father Billy Graham once said, ‘A prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian.’ He also called prayer ‘the Christian’s greatest weapon.’ I couldn’t agree more. The most important thing we can do is come to God and ask Him for help and direction. He’s the only hope for this world, and that’s why I pray in the mighty Name of Jesus Christ on this National Day of Prayer. ‘Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16).”  (Franklin Graham)

A call to pray for our nation has been well expressed by Franklin Graham. His message says what I wish to share today. May we all use this opportunity to draw closer to our hope that is found in Christ.

 

CHEER FOR TEXAS: LIFE & HOPE

Way to go, Texas! Whether you cheer for Texas in sports or not, there is reason to commend a ruling last month by the Texas Supreme Court. There was a challenge to the state’s prohibition on the abortion of a pre-born child with a detectable heartbeat. The Texas Supreme Court ruled with a unanimous vote that only private citizens rather than state medical licensing officials may enforce the Texas Heartbeat Act. This ruling ends a challenge to the ban by abortion rights advocates and clinics.

I am pro-life, because God is pro-life. Life and hope are gifts from God, and as Creator He is sovereign.  Thankfully He’s also compassionate,  merciful,  and forgiving. I never want to vote in opposition to Him! I’m not close to perfect, but I strive to follow His teachings in His Holy Book, the Bible.

Jesus loved little children during Bible times, and He still does today. It is up to us to protect them before, during, and after birth. May there be more legislators and voters to take our role regarding life and hope seriously. Cheers for Texas!

From the Bible we learn God’s view on life: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3: 16) Our  lives are so valuable to Him that He freely gave His Son — the perfect Sacrifice — for us. May we accept His free Gift!

”For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” (Psalm 139: 13. 14)

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  (Romans 15: 13)

EASTER HOPE IN THE UKRAINE: HOPE FOR THE WORLD

While hope remains in my heart for continuing recovery of my beloved, I continue to see hope in the world around me. On Easter Sunday 2022 hope was clearly delivered by Franklin Graham in an Easter message in the Ukraine and beautifully expressed by the Ukrainian Easter Choir. It was an event to be watched and heard by anyone who has the technological ability, because it was hope for the world.

If you missed it or want to see it again, go to billygraham.org and choose the link for the Easter message by Franklin Graham and the Ukrainian Easter Choir.

It is important enough to make the effort. It can make an eternal difference in your life. I pray you will personally discover that Easter Hope in the Ukraine is Hope for the World.

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

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

DAUGHTER’S BIRTHDAY:  JOY & HOPE

Even when going through a very dark time,  certain memories of special blessings bring smiles and joy. Such are memories for me on January 31 this week recalling my daughter’s birth.

I am thankful for this gift that was delivered from the Creator God Who designed her with a plan for her life. I have trusted His loving heart and hands all her life to take care of her and will continue to do so. I find joy in thinking of her, being with her, and pondering God’s possibilities regarding her.

Our lives are in a stormy season right now, but enough sunshine peeks through the clouds to bring joy on special days. My daughter’s birthday is one of these special days. I savor it, find hope in it… and I am thankful.

 

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; He withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity. Lord of armies, Blessed is the person who trusts in You.”  (Psalm 84: 11, 12)

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”  (Proverbs 4: 18)

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith… be strong. Let all you do be done in love.”  (1 Corinthians 16: 13, 14)

LIFE CHANGING EVENTS: CHRISTMAS HOPE

Sometimes an event  happens that changes one’s life. When my beloved suffered a large stroke on one side of his brain weeks ago, our lives were drastically changed. It placed us on a road we have never traveled that is difficult with no map to show the way.

In many ways many things have improved since the stroke, yet some things may never be as they were. Our lives have changed; our lives are very different now. We are becoming different. Sometimes different means better; sometimes it means worse. Sometimes it just means different.

Our lives have been changed by our circumstances. Is it difficult? Yes. Is it hopeless? No. We still have hope that is found in Christ. He never changes even as circumstances change. God is present to meet the needs of His children no matter what. We are still His children. We still have a loving Father Who cares.

More than two thousand years ago a life-changing event happened. It changed the eternal lives of anyone who believes in the One and only Son of God. His Son, Jesus Christ, came to our planet to take away our sin. For God of the universe so loved this world…. (See John 3:16-17)

That life-changing event is Christmas. It may not have occurred on December 25, as we celebrate today, but it happened. Because it happened, we can celebrate Christmas hope. It never runs in short supply.

Christmas is so much more than a holiday of toys and joys for good girls and boys. It is a holy day to show a lost world that Creator God has a plan to love and forgive, to give a future and Hope. (See Jeremiah 29:11).

Whether we say “Hopeful Christmas” or “Merry Christmas,” we must acknowledge the Savior Whose birth, life, death, and resurrection were the life-changing events that we each needed. When we trust these life-changing events, then we receive the Greatest Gift ever — Jesus and His Christmas Hope.