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).

GRANDDAUGHTER’S BIRTHDAY: JOY AND HOPE

Happy birthday to our beloved, bright, and  beautiful granddaughter! This is a day of joy and hope as we celebrate our granddaughter’s birthday.

Our circumstances are not fully joyful, because her Poppa  is ill. Yet it is possible to have joy touched with sadness (caused by a stroke more than eleven months ago).

Poppa and I remember her birth with great joy. We have been blessed to share 13 years of joy from many precious times together with her. We are thankful for joy and hope that come from being her grandparents.

Today I am led to ponder that Jesus felt joy even as He endured the cross, a circumstance far more excruciating than anything we have ever experienced.

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Weeping and sadness have come to us throughout this life, but we trust that joy comes in the morning! It gives us hope that joy is eternal while weeping and sadness will end someday.

“For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

Our joy will be complete only by having the same mind, same love, and united in spirit as Christ according to Scripture. Dear Lord, we thank You for the truth of Your Word!

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (Philippians 2:1-2)

SEPTEMBER 11 ANNIVERSARY: COMPASSION AND HOPE

Today on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack on the US, I read as I usually do the daily devotional at odb.org and encourage you to as well.

Today’s devotional is entitled, “Compassion Over Bitterness,” and this one is well-written by Winn Collier. Our Daily Bread’s devotionals begin with a Bible verse and end with a simple prayer. In between those I always find a blessing. 

Today’s verse:  “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger.” (Ephesians 4:31)

Today’s prayer:  Dear God, there’s so much wrong in the world. Please help me be filled with compassion instead of bitterness.”

I believe if we know God, pray sincerely, and intentionally choose compassion not bitterness then we will be able to live with compassion and hope. God’s help is necessary, because He is the source of both. May we daily look to God and choose His compassion and hope.

“Then the Lord passed by in front of him [Moses] and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in faithfulness and truth.’” (Exodus 34:6)

”Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

OLD POEM: RENEWED HOPE

If a poem was written more than twenty years ago, then I may consider it as an old poem. If a poem is written from my heart, then it allows me to express emotions that benefit me by releasing those  emotions. If an old poem is rediscovered years after it was written, then it can still move this poet.

Words are powerful whether poetry or prose. If the words are from Omnipotent God, then they are more powerful… beyond powerful.

Through The Holy Bible God declared, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty without accomplishing what I desire and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”  (Isaiah 55:11)

Today I am sharing an old poem that brought renewed hope and encouragement to me years after it was written and when I needed to remember its message. May this old poem that was written in 1999 help you to gain hope or renewed hope if you relate sometimes.

SOMETIMES… BUT…

Sometimes I’m in the valley
Between the mountains tall;
But when I look to Jesus,
The blessings always fall!

Sometimes I’m in the fire
Like Daniel’s furnace hot;
But not alone for I recall
The Savior that I’ve got.’

Sometimes I’m in despair
With troubles ’round me deep;
But if I sow for Jesus,
His blessings I will reap!

Sometimes I’m in great pain
But only for a time;
For one day faith will turn to sight —
Heavenly heights I’ll climb!

(Judy Gillum Foy)

OUR ANNIVERSARY: FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE

Today is our wedding anniversary. We are celebrating 35 years of a blessed (not perfect) marriage. We plan to spend our day together and share faith, hope, and love. I can think of no more priceless ingredients in our marriage recipe.

I thank God for my beloved. He is my love, my joy, and my blessing. How grateful I am for him! I am learning not to take our love or a day together for granted. I am realizing more and more that each day I spend with him is a precious gift.

Our lives are different now but still filled with those God-given gifts of faith, hope, and love. Those aspects of our marriage did not originate in us but from the One who joined us together and blessed us so richly. From The Holy Bible we learn that of faith, hope, and love, the greatest is love.

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

What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”  (Mark 10:9)

”This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  (Psalm 118:24)

REAL EMOTIONS: GRIEF, LOVE, HOPE

Sometimes I read that which perfectly relates to my feelings. There are three very real emotions that many of us either feel, have felt, or will feel. Yet it is rare to find grief, love, and hope  expressed so well and beautifully as by one writer. If you can relate to these emotions, then I think you will be blessed by the following thoughts written by James E. Foy.

GRIEF, LOVE, HOPE

“Many of us have experienced and endured the loss of a spouse, a child, a sibling, a relative, or a close friend. When a loved one leaves this world, leaves us behind, we experience unfamiliar aspects of grief, love, and hope. Intense emotions that descend upon us as a storm cloud.

Sometimes each of these will be experienced separately: consumed by GRIEF, for example, that expels other emotions. Almost like being in the grip of a monstrous boa constrictor depriving one of oxygen. Grief that is a weight heavier than one can carry. Grief that threatens to be a constant companion from now on as the once familiar has instantly become unfamiliar and accompanied with indescribable emptiness and loss. Grief under which one cries out: ‘I can’t do this.’ In one sense, grief at a time of personal loss is a cryptic expression of affection.

Grief is not bad — in truth it can be good, because it enables release. A release that is necessary for one’s well-being. As the release (that may be thought of as unattainable) is experienced, the grief will gradually subside. Grief — natural and reasonable grief — is not to be rejected, quenched, or denied. On the other hand, one need not exaggerate or wallow in grief. Grief probably will not totally evaporate but will accomplish its vital purpose and retreat into the background.

Meanwhile, even in the throes of grief sometimes one will be flooded by LOVEthe warmth of the physical presence now absent; overwhelmed by the closeness that was known; the vivid, palpable re-living of deep affection and desire; the reality that this person cannot be replaced; the awareness that the loved one is still present in a new and incomprehensible manner. Love that defies description. Love that enables one to carry on. Love that encourages acceptance of the new normal. Love that strengthens. Love that will remain always but allows enjoyment of new relationships.

Moreover there is HOPEAnd sometimes this hope drives out all other awarenesses. It may be accompanied by physical sensations like a tingle in the spine, a tightening of the solar plexus, even the proverbial goose bumps. Though that will be rare, it is a beautiful sensation.

This hope in its highest and most precious assurance is reserved for those who know the resurrected Jesus and therefore have cause to anticipate a reunion with the loved one. A reunion that will enable a more perfect, more satisfying, and more intimate relationship with the loved one than could ever be realized on earth (regardless of the type of earthly relationship). This can bring a joy beyond comprehension or expression. Hope based in Jesus Christ is a beautiful reality.

Of course after losing a loved one, all three of these mentioned emotions may come and go, increase or decrease, and be felt together rather than distinctly. In various combinations and intensities. The sorrow of GRIEF is bearable because of the certainty of our HOPE. And LOVE will prevail throughout eternity for those reborn into God’s family.

 

Grief is a cry of the heart, a sigh of the soul, a despair of the mind.

Love is the beat of the heart, the breath of the soul, the joy of the mind.

Hope is the grasp of the heart, comfort of the soul, the resilience of the mind.

I hope these thoughts bring comfort to others as they have to me.” (JEF)

 

“Therefore you too have GRIEF now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” (John 16:22)

”This is my commandment that you LOVE one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

“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)

OVERCOMER: STRENGTH, FAITH, POWER, HOPE

The front of the book jacket states its title, OVERCOMER: 8 WAYS TO LIVE A LIFE OF UNSTOPPABLE STRENGTH,
UNMOVABLE FAITH, AND UNBELIEVABLE POWER. Authored by David Jeremiah, it is today’s focus, because it offers hope that I want to share.

The back of the book jacket reveals more. “In OVERCOMER bestselling author Dr. David Jeremiah uses Paul’s instructions in Ephesians 6. His command for us to overcome the forces of evil by putting on the armor of God — to lay out a pathway for spiritual victory. Dr. Jeremiah also reminds us we’re not alone in this fight. God knows what we need, and He provides us with His power so we can face life’s challenges assured of success.

‘These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)’”

This is the book my beloved was reading shortly before his stroke. I helped him finish it by reading aloud to us. Since then we have finished that book, and together we have read other encouraging books and devotionals that share hope.

We recommend this book. Take time to prayerfully consider what God wants you to learn from it. I pray God’s Holy Spirit will help the Scriptures in it and God’s purpose for it reach into hearts of all who read it.

I believe He wants each of His children to be an Overcomer. Read the Bible daily, and read this book also! Discover His strength, faith, and  power! Hope is a bonus!

“Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the full armor of God so that you will be able to resist in the evil day and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And  take THE HELMET OF SALVATION and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-17)

MY BELOVED SON: JOY AND HOPE

Today, July 22, is a special day to celebrate the birth of my beloved son. I have not always been a perfect parent, but I have loved him with all my heart as long as he has lived. I am a proud parent of the man he has become.

He brings smiles, laughter, and delight when he expresses his sense of humor. He often brings amazement and sometimes bewilderment (to me) when he explains his  understanding of areas of expertise concerning his profession. He brings feelings of joy and gratitude to me when he demonstrates his God-given gifts to bless others.

Son, may you have a blessed birthday today with many more to come. You are a life worth celebrating from the first time I held you to the last hug we shared! I am grateful for your love, encouragement, positive communication, and reminders of God’s care even in difficult times — signs of your maturity and spiritual growth. Your life gives me hope, and I pray your life will overflow with hope and abundant living as you walk in the truth. Enjoy a blessed birthday!

“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.”
(Proverbs 3:1-4)

“It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself if his conduct is pure and right.”
(Proverbs 20:11)

“So that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you appear as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15)

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17)

A GOOD MAN: JUST, KIND, HUMBLE, AND HOPEFUL

Today, July 18th, I write to honor my beloved husband  on his birthday. I have been privileged to be his wife for almost half the years he has lived on this planet, so I know him well. I loved him when we married, and I love him even more today.

In the Bible’s Old Testament, God tells us in Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

From this verse I understand that a good man is just, kind, and humble as he walks with God. Observing a good man like this makes me hopeful. Being with such a man is a privilege, and loving him and being loved by him is a blessing!

My husband is a good man! That makes me privileged and blessed, and my life is richer by his presence. My faith and hope are stronger because of his example I have observed through the years. He is just, kind, humble, and walks with God. Together we share faith, hope and love.

Birthday blessings to you, my beloved! A 19th century poet surely must have known love to express so beautifully the following wish. I now dedicate it with all my love.

This is my wish for you;
Comfort on difficult days,
smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882)

LIGHT FROM A TOLL BOOTH: BLESSING AND HOPE

As I travel to spend my days at the hospital where my beloved is a patient, I stop at a toll booth to pay the required fee. Here it is typical to hear a voice say, “Have a nice day,” as I resume driving.

However one day from one certain booth I heard a heartfelt, “Have a blessed day.” It was that which I needed to hear at that moment. It led to a brief dialogue and to my looking forward to seeing this caring person as I drive through whenever she is on duty.

She learned my name and my beloved’s name and promised to pray for us. We have even discovered that we share a common friend. I have grown to appreciate her and her role on the toll road. I have expressed appreciation for her allowing herself to be used to bless this driver.

I consider her as a light reflecting the Light of the World, Jesus Christ. Her love and compassion originate from Him Who loves us with a sacrificial love. Our faith is our common bond between a driver with a heart full of concern for a loved one who has spent months in a hospital and a stranger who one day chose to share a blessing. I pray for this toll collector to continue to reflect the Light of the World to toll road drivers, of which I am one that she shared a blessing and hope.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 16)