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)


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 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 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)


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.”
(Proverbs 3:5,6)

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.


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).


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)


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)


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 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)


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)


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.


“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)