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.

DECEMBER 7, 2021:  PRAISE AND HOPE

Today is December 7, the day to remember an event of historical significance in  America. That event on December 7, 1941, led this nation into World War 2. Rather than post new thoughts about it, I will invite you to my December 7 posts of the past three years. See below….

PEARL HARBOR DAY:  HOPE & PEACE
(December 7, 2020)

JOE GEORGE:  HOPE & A HERO AT PEARL HARBOR
(December 7, 2019)

DATE OF INFAMY:  HOPE TO TRIUMPH SO HELP US GOD
(December 7. 2018)

Right now my time is mostly spent at my beloved’s bedside at the hospital. There are many improvements for which I praise God and have continuing hope. I am thankful for His blessings. As I told a dear family member, there is no place I would rather be than with my loved one — even here.

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God for I shall yet praisepraise Him, the Help of my countenance and my God.”  (Psalm 42: 11)

Thank you,

Readers, for your prayers.

 

MEMORABLE THANKSGIVING: HOPE AND GRATITUDE

Thanksgiving Day this year will be memorable for me. Any plan for a traditional holiday has gone by the wayside to accommodate an unplanned need that arose following a major medical event in our family. I never anticipated a hospital as my setting for any holiday much less the day set aside to give thanks for blessings.

However as I am  beside the hospital bed of my spouse of 34 years, I know I can give thanks for much and especially for hope. I am learning that it is possible to have hope at a hospital that was never in my plans.

Hope is not dependent upon my surroundings or situation but upon the One Who resides in my heart. If I have Jesus in my heart, then I have hope in my heart.

Even little things — maybe especially little things — come to mind with gratitude in my heart. I agree with the quote that the most important things in life are not things. The one with whom I am able to share this day is far more important to me than the most bountiful feast or picture-perfect Thanksgiving gathering that I can imagine.

Sometimes our perspectives change after major medical events change our lives or the lives of loved ones. My perspective is changing toward my having more gratitude. Hope brings thankful thinking in my head, and it brings thankful feeling in my heart.

I need to keep letting God’s Word fill both my head and my heart to have gratitude for the place where we are. I don’t mean this hospital location. I refer to being in God’s care, in His shelter of refuge, under His wings. We are loved supremely by Him and in His care. There is no better place to be.

I have hope that He will see us through this challenge. Having this perspective allows me to rest in Him. I can recognize and be thankful for blessings both large and small. I am grateful that our God is an awesome God!

Then you would trust, because there is hope;
And you would look around and rest securely.”
(Job 11: 18)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;”
(Psalm 46: 1, 2)

“He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.”
(Psalm 91:4)

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”  (1 Peter 5: 7)

“O God our help, our Creator, our Saviour- Redeemer, our Guide, our Fortress and our Healer… may we always make You our God, our Focus, our Life.  Amen.”  (Wynona Behling)

[Thank you for prayers. I am praising God for significant improvements in my loved one.]

Search this website for previous Thanksgiving-related posts listed below.

THANKSGIVING: GOD OF HOPE (November 26, 2020)

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: HOPE IN THANKSGIVING (November 27, 2019)

JAMES MERRITT: GIVE THANKS TO GOD OF HOPE (November 27, 2018)

FIRST THANKSGIVING: A GREAT HOPE, part 3 (November 22, 2018)

FIRST THANKSGIVING: A GREAT HOPE, part 2 (November 21, 2018)

FIRST THANKSGIVING: A GREAT HOPE, part 1 (November 20, 2018)

PILGRIMS: LABORED IN HOPE (November 15, 2018)

MAJOR MEDICAL CHALLENGE: INTENTIONAL HOPE

I do not think that hope happens spontaneously or randomly. I think that hope comes following an intentional decision when I choose to trust God Who is the Source of Hope.

My beloved is in a hospital after a major medical challenge, yet I am blessed with hope for recovery and rehabilitation. Our family and friends are praying from the West Coast of our country to the Caribbean. The common characteristic required to be on this prayer team is hope.

I have chosen to be hopeful, because hopelessness leads to despair. Hope is life-affirming, and that is our need.

Father God Who gives hope is in charge of the medical care plan, God’s Holy Spirit gives comfort and strength as needed, and Jesus the Great Physician is primary care provider. Our loved one is in the most capable loving hands. This is reason to hope!

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  (Psalm 46: 1)

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust!’ He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.”  (Psalm 91: 1, 2, 4)

“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.”
(Romans 5: 5)

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
(1 Peter 5: 7)

[Please join in praying for my beloved’s recovery and rehabilitation.]

GENERAL COLIN POWELL:   INSPIRATION & HOPE

Today we commemorate Veterans Day in America. I wish to express thanks to our veterans and honor their service. I also want to feature one veteran who was laid to rest last week.

During 84 years of living Colin Powell (1937-2021) was an American Patriot,  politician, diplomat, statesman, US Army veteran, four-star general, national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 65th United States Secretary of State, and first African-American Secretary of State.

Powell was born in Harlem, NY, son of Jamaican immigrants, raised by caring parents in a humble home, educated in public schools, and graduated from high school without any definite life plans. While at City College, he found his calling in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). He became commander of his ROTC unit and began an historic military career and gave direction to his life. The rest is history… literally.

After being wounded twice during tours of duty in Vietnam, he was awarded a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and a Soldier’s Medal. Also he served a tour of duty in Korea and received a total of 11 military decorations that included the Legion of Merit.

Gen. Powell served over US Army Forces Command and was appointed by the President as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the US Department of Defense, and was the first African American officer to receive that distinction.

Colin and Alma Johnson Powell were married more than 59 years and raised three children. Together they founded America’s Promise Alliance, because they were dedicated to the well-being of children and youth of all socio-economic levels and committed to young people having the necessary resources for success.

 General Colin Powell was more than a successful veteran. He was a successful man, who was an inspiration for others as they worked to succeed in life. He had a strong faith in God, was active in church, and taught Sunday School where he shared hope. Colin Powell was a rare human example by which following his footsteps would lead others to find inspiration and to live with hope.

I did not know Colin Powell personally, however I did have the privilege of hearing him speak at a motivational business seminar about ten years ago. I was in the audience to be motivated and learn from those who had successfully “been there and done that.” Of the many top speakers on the program he was a memorable personality. He was a man who impacted world leaders as well as an ordinary person like me.

I am thankful to General Colin Powell, for making a difference. I am thankful to God, Who gifted him to be an inspiration and to share hope.

***

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
(Colin Powell)
***

General Powell’s
13 Rules of Leadership:

1.  It ain’t as bad as you think! It will look better in the morning.
2.  Get mad then get over it.
3.  Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
4.  It can be done.
5.  Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
6.  Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
7.  You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
8.  Check small things.
9.  Share credit.
10.  Remain calm. Be kind.
11.  Have a vision. Be demanding.
12.  Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
13.  Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.
(Colin Powell, 1937-2021)
***

“LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straightbefore me.”  (Psalm 5: 8)

“Do not fear for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will strengthen you,surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  (Isaiah 41: 10)

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'” 
(Jeremiah 29: 11)

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  (Matthew 6:33)