SARI BY DESIGN: BEAUTY… PURPOSE… HOPE

Ravi Zacharias shared a story about visiting a site known for making the highest quality wedding saris in the world. His account reminds me that God’s child can trust the Father for He has a plan for creating beauty and purpose from even heartache and sadness. Any hope perceived is based on the fact that God is trustworthy.

Ravi shared, “With such intricacy of detail I expected to see some elaborate system of machines that would boggle the mind in production. But this image could not have been further from the real scene. Each sari was made individually by a father and son team.

The father sat above the son on a platform surrounded by several spools of thread that he would gather into his fingers. The son had only one task. At a nod from his father he would move the shuttle from one side to the other and back again. This would then be repeated for hundreds of hours until a magnificent pattern began to emerge….

The son certainly had the easier task. He was only to move at the father’s nod. But making use of these efforts, the father was working to an intricate end. All along he had the design in his mind and was bringing the right threads together….

God alone can weave a pattern from the disparate threads of our lives – whether suffering, success, joy, or heartache – and fashion a magnificent design. Perhaps today if you will stop and reflect on it, you will see that the Father is seeking to weave a beautiful tapestry in your life.”

I gain hope from Ravi’s account. It reminds me that Father God is the Master Designer. It challenges me to trust my Father enough to follow His leading. Then He will accomplish a work of beauty and purpose with my life. That truly gives me reason to be hopeful!

“For we know all things work together for good to those who love the Lord, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8: 28)

“Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.”  (Psalm 142: 8)

KYLA MUELLER: STRENGTH & HOPE

If you watched the final night of National Republican Convention’s televised program last week, then you know there was a focus on “everyday Americans whose stories are filled with hope and patriotism.”

We met two Americans who are suffering huge loss and unending heart-break. Marsha and Carl Mueller of Arizona are parents of Kayla Mueller, a 26 year old humanitarian aid worker, who was murdered by terrorists of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in 2015.

Kayla was taken captive in 2013 while aiding Syrian refugees in Syria and Turkey. She endured brutal torture for more than 500 days until her murder. Kayla’s story moves us to tears, yet it also gives me hope.

In addition to this work in Turkey with an international aid agency, her previous causes include work in India with Tibetan refugees; in the Middle East; in Israel helping African refugees; in her own country and abroad providing free food, education, and medical care for those in need; and other causes to alleviate pain and suffering.

While working to help children at an orphanage in India, Kyla expressed, “I find God in the suffering eyes reflected in mine. If this is how You are revealed to me, this is how I will forever seek You.”

To say that Kayla’s life mattered is an understatement! She lived to make a difference, and she left this world a better place. She was described as “a devout Christian,” who lived her faith. She shared her God-given gifts wherever she went. I believe Kayla’s life gives hope to anyone who seeks to live a life with purpose.

Other captives who were released or who escaped were impacted by Kyla’s “strength and compassion.” Her concern for others was proven even to the point of giving up an escape attempt for other women’s opportunities for freedom.

After months of ongoing torture and brutality, ISIS members tried claiming she had abandoned her Christian faith in front of men prisoners, but in fact she defended it…. According to another captive, a Danish photographer, the men in the room “…were impressed by the strength that she showed in front of us. That was very clear.” Her faith was real and strong even in darkest trials unto death.

Kyla’s mother shared a letter that Kayla had written about 8 months after her captivity that had been smuggled out by another hostage. Mrs. Mueller said, “As we read it, we could see that God was holding her in His arms.”

This statement reminds me that no matter our trial — even surrounded by the enemy — God is the Source of comfort and strength for one’s soul. According to Deuteronomy 33: 27, “The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms….”

Kayla explained that she “felt tenderly cradled in freefall.” As a believer in such “freefall,” Kyla found there is a foundation on which to land. That foundation is “The Solid Rock,” “Rock of Ages” — Jesus Christ Himself. During the hardest experience of her young life, she must have relied on hope in Christ for strength to endure. Then she was carried in loving arms to her eternal home to rest in peace. At last.

Kyla acknowledged, “I have been shown in darkness, light and have learned that even in prison one can be free. I am grateful….” She experienced freedom in her spirit that reflected her inner condition not her outer circumstances. Her response was gratitude. What an example for me — for all of us!

Kyla added, “None of us could have known it would be this long, but know I am also fighting from my side in the ways I am able, and I have a lot of fight left inside of me….” That resolve required strength beyond herself. Those who do not give up surely have hope.

I do not see Kyla Mueller as merely an “everyday American” but as a hero of faith. She was clearly a rare human with extraordinary courage and strength, whose story does not end with her murder. I believe hers is an eternal story that will continue forever. That is reason for hope.

I pray for Marsha and Carl Mueller to have strength until that blessed day when they will reunite with their daughter, Kyla, whose Christian faith became sight, the result of the glorious hope that was in her.

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
(Deuteronomy 31: 8)

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
(Psalm 23: 4)

“For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise His who are prisoners.”
(Psalm 69: 33)

“From my distress I called upon the Lord; The Lord answered me and set me in a large place. The Lord is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?”
(Psalm 118: 5 – 6)

“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)

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that He may be glorified.”
(Isaiah 61: 1 – 3)

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You or thirsty and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in or naked and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”
(Matthew 25: 34-40)

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled nor let it be fearful.”  (John 14: 26 – 27)

“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)

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His
purpose.”
(Romans 8: 28)

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. ‘But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
(Romans 12: 10 – 16)

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
(2 Corinthians 3: 17)

“We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; perplexed but not despairing; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed.”
(2 Corinthians 4: 8 – 9)

“For all things are for your sakes so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
(2 Corinthians 4: 15 – 18)

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
(Hebrews 11: 1)

“Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners as though in prison with them and those who are ill-treated since you yourselves also are in the body.”
(Hebrews 13: 1 – 3)


“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness… When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay… On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand….”
(from THE SOLID ROCK by Edward Mote)

“Rock of Ages, Cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee…
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling…
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death… Rock of Ages, Cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee.”
(from ROCK OF AGES by Augustus Toplady)

JULIE HERSH: FROM DEPRESSION TO HOPE

Depression is a real problem that can have devastating effects to many individuals and to their loved ones. Today in a world of pandemic concerns and social-isolation, symptoms of depression may develop or worsen in those who already struggle with it.

Too often those who suffer do not seek help. This is unfortunate, because it is possible to move from depression to hope. Today’s post features an important resource that candidly shares how its author learned to move from depression to hope.

One author is living proof that mental illness can be managed. Her informative book offers hope. She genuinely wants to share help and hope and knows from personal experience with clinical depression that hope is possible.

An advocate for mental health, Julie Hersh is well-credentialed. She earned a BBA at the University of Notre Dame. Her blog, Struck by Living, is a feature on the Psychology Today website. Hersh is a guest blogger on the Menninger Clinic website, ”Say No to Stigma.” She was awarded the Mental Health America Ruth Altschuler Community Advocate Prism Award and is President of the Hersh Foundation.

Thankfully Hersh has authored STRUCK BY LIVING: FROM DEPRESSION TO HOPE and is donating proceeds from book sales to help programs on, research in, and victories over mental illness. Hersh shared, “Despite medical advances, too many people die by suicide, because they are afraid to seek help.”

I agree with this author’s statement and am sharing about her important book. Now it’s your turn. If you or someone you know may benefit from STRUCK BY LIVING, then please check out this book that has been called a story of courage, love, hope, and victory. Do it today, because hope may be desperately needed now. Tomorrow may be too late.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24-hour crisis hotline):  1-800-273-8255

Confidential online chat is available @ suicidepreventionlifeline.org

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  (Psalm 34:18)

TIM HUGHES: WORSHIP AND HOPE

Timothy Hughes may be unknown to you unless you know modern worship music either as an active participant or contemplative listener. Those who have been blessed by this style of music may know well and even love his songs. His beautiful music does more than give pleasure — it gives hope and connects us with God.

British Tim Hughes has written songs that have led believers in worship all over our planet. “Here I Am to Worship,” “Happy Day,” “Beautiful One,” “Jesus Saves,” “At Your Name,” and “The Way” have won Dove Awards.

Here I Am to Worship” is even considered by some as the greatest modern worship anthem ever, and Hughes earned two Dove Awards while still in his twenties.

Tim Hughes, born July 23, 1977, celebrated another birthday last week yet is definitely still young in this blogger’s opinion. I am thankful that he blesses others with his talents and leadership activities.

A worship leader, a singer, a songwriter, and an Anglican priest, Tim also leads Worship Central, an international worship training and resource centre. Once the director of worship at a large Anglican church in London, he was later ordained as a minister in the Church of England and appointed Vicar of St. Luke’s in Birmingham in central England.

Tim’s heart, efforts, and music bless our world with hope, because he understands that he is here to worship Jesus Christ. He accepts Christ as the only One worthy of worship and leads us to join in a hopeful, worshipful, and life-changing experience.

HERE I AM TO WORSHIP

“Light of the World,
You stepped down into darkness,
Opened my eyes, let me see
Beauty that made this heart adore You,
Hope of a life spent with You.

Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You’re my God.
You’re altogether lovely,
Altogether worthy,
Altogether wonderful to me.

King of all days,
Oh so highly exalted,
Glorious in heaven above.
Humbly You came to the earth You created
All for love’s sake became poor.

Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You’re my God.

You’re altogether lovely,
Altogether worthy,
Altogether wonderful to me.

Well, I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross.
Well, I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross.
Well, I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross.

Well, I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross.”
(Timothy Hughes)

BEAUTIFUL ONE

“Wonderful, so wonderful is Your unfailing love.
Your cross has spoken mercy over me.
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart could fully know
How glorious, how beautiful You are.

Beautiful One I love You.
Beautiful One I adore,
Beautiful One, my soul must sing.

Powerful, so powerful Your glory fills the skies.
Your mighty works displayed for all to see,
The beauty of Your majesty awakes my heart to sing.
How marvelous, how wonderful You are.

Beautiful One I love You,
Beautiful One I adore. Beautiful One I love You,
Beautiful One I adore, Beautiful One, my soul must sing.

Beautiful One I love You.
Beautiful One I adore,
Beautiful One, my soul must sing.

You’ve opened my heart to wonders anew.
You’ve captured my heart with this love,
‘Cause nothing on earth is as beautiful as You, Jesus.

You’ve opened my eyes to wonders anew.
You’ve captured my heart with this love,
‘Cause nothing on earth is as beautiful as You, Jesus.

And You’ve opened my eyes to wonders anew.
You’ve captured my heart with this love,
‘Cause nothing on earth is as beautiful as You, Jesus.

Beautiful One I love You.
Beautiful One I adore,
Beautiful One, my soul must sing.

Oh, my soul, my soul must sing,
My soul, my soul must sing,
My soul, my soul must sing,
Beautiful One.

Oh, my soul, my soul must sing,
Oh, my soul, my soul must sing,
Oh, my soul, my soul must sing,
Beautiful One.”
(T. H.)

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised.” (Psalm 145:3)

“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power….” (John 4:11)

BIBLICAL WISDOM: BIRTHDAY HOPE

“Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul.” (General Douglas MacArthur at age seventy-eight)

As wise General MacArthur realized it is one’s  outlook more than one’s age that makes one old. Today is the birthday of my beloved. He has spent decades studying Biblical wisdom, and this is a good example the rest of us could follow. He maintains interest in this study; perhaps he will never grow “old.”

Happy birthday, Dear! May you always have HOPE. Below are some verses especially pertinent to one who is accumulating years and wisdom. I am thankful that God and His Word never change despite radical changes in our world. I am also thankful to share your golden years and God’s blessings.

“For You are my HOPE; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth. By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; My praise is continually of You…. But as for me, I will HOPE continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and of Your salvation all day long; for I do not know the sum of them. I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone. O God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me until I declare Your strength to this generation. For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; and my soul, which You have redeemed.”  (Psalm 71: 5, 6, 14 – 19, 23)

“They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green,”  (Psalm 92: 14)

“The glory of young men is their strength, and the honor of old men is their gray hair.”
(Proverbs 20: 29)

“Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.”  (Isaiah 46: 4)

ROSE DAY: HOPE & ROSES

For 29 years pro-life supporters have sponsored and attended an annual Rose Day inside Oklahoma’s state capitol. They present red roses to the governor and other state leaders, meet their legislators, and show their support of pro-life legislation.

This event allows face-to-face communication by constituents to express their views directly to OK State Senators and Representatives for a cause that literally means life or death to many. The “many” happen to be pre-born babies who are at risk to be aborted and who have no voice.

Today is Rose Day 2020. I consider it as a day of hope for the unborn. There is hope that there will be an end to abortions, that innocent lives will be saved, and that life will be chosen over death.

Attendees always hear an excellent thought-provoking speaker during a Rose Day gathering. Speaking today will be Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood worker and now leading pro-life advocate. Her  personal experiences resulted in both a book and a movie, UNPLANNED.

At the 2012 Rose Day I heard Johnson speak  about operating a Texas abortion clinic for 8 years where abortions killed babies up to 25 weeks into a pregnancy. Then in 2009 she assisted in an ultrasound-guided abortion where she watched a 13-week baby in the womb struggle to fight for life.

Johnson shared, “What I saw on the ultrasound was a child who was frantic, struggling for his life. The place that was the safest became the least safe…. The boy did not stand a chance. Nobody stood up for him. This happens 4,000 times a day in America.”

Sadly, that baby’s life was taken, but the reality of his tragic end caused Johnson to resign and to take up the pro-life cause. Her changed life and change of her life’s work offers real hope that is impacting our world by saving precious lives of countless babies. I thank God for this powerful example of hope!

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; The fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139: 13, 14)

There is no ‘right’ to kill an innocent person.”  (Lila Rose, President of LIVE ACTION)

ZACH WILLIAMS: HOPE IN THE CHAIN BREAKER

Zach Williams was a rock musician bound by chains of alcohol and drugs. He is now free of those chains, but his freedom didn’t happen in his strength. His new freedom — and a better life — happened by the power of Jesus Christ, THE Chain Breaker.

The song he co-wrote, “He’s A Chain Breaker,” reveals Williams’ personal experience. Real change and new freedom is visible in the transformed Zach Williams, who is now a Christian musician.

See if you can relate to the words of the song below. If you can, then consider accepting a better life in Christ free from chains.

HE’S A CHAIN BREAKER:

“If you’ve been walking the same old road for miles and miles;
If you’ve been hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies;
If you’re trying to fill the same old holes inside;
There’s a better life,
There’s a better life.

If you’ve got pain,
He’s a pain taker.
If you feel lost,
He’s a way maker.
If you need freedom or saving,
He’s a prison-shaking Savior.
If you’ve got chains,
He’s a chain breaker.

We’ve all searched for the light of day in the dead of night;
We’ve all found ourselves worn out from the same old fight;
We’ve all run to things we know just ain’t right;
And there’s a better life,
There’s a better life.

If you’ve got pain,
He’s a pain taker.
If you feel lost,
He’s a way maker.
If you need freedom or saving,
He’s a prison-shaking Savior.
If you’ve got chains,
He’s a chain breaker.

If you believe it;
If you receive it;
If you can feel it;
Somebody testify….

If you’ve got pain,
He’s a pain taker.
If you feel lost,
He’s a way maker.
If you need freedom or saving,
He’s a prison-shaking Savior.
If you’ve got chains,
He’s a chain breaker.

If you need freedom or saving,
He’s a prison-shaking Savior.
If you’ve got chains,
He’s a chain breaker.”

(Songwriters: Jonathan Lindley Smith, Mia Fieldes, & Zach Williams)

“Out of my distress I called upon the Lord.” (Psalm 118:5)

“For the law of the Spirit of Life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)

“So if the Son makes you free you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

RESCUED FISHERMEN: HOPE IN A GREATER PLAN

I remember reading the US NEWS & WORLD REPORT article entitled “Costa Rican Fishermen Rescued by Cruise Ship After 20 Days Adrift” (Alexa Lardieri, Dec. 24, 2018)… and thinking of hope.

Two fishermen found themselves lost at sea for twenty days, out of gas with little food and water gone.  This was their desperate circumstance when rescued by a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that “happened” along.

Their memorable near-death adventure lead them near Grand Cayman Island between Jamaica and Cuba. After leaving Costa Rica they cast their nets, and both men fell asleep while winds increased.

They awoke to find they had been blown far from their nets and ran out of gas trying to return to land. They had enough food and water for seven days. When food supplies were depleted, they fished for food, but the need for water became critical.

When rescued one of the fishermen was unable to walk and was carried aboard the cruise ship. Health care professionals examined them and provided needed care, food, and water.

Both fishermen disembarked the ship in Jamaica with both of them walking. The ship’s crew donated about $300 USD to help provide them with clothes and food.

The Royal Caribbean ship, Empress of the Seas, had not been scheduled to travel the route where the men were rescued. They were supposed to be enroute to Cuba, but storms and dangerous weather forced them to change course.

A ship spokesman commented, “Pure luck, lining of the stars, God, whatever you choose to believe, the facts are we would not have been in that area at the time had we not switched to go to Jamaica, and you can’t help but think there was a greater plan, but I’ve already seen a Christmas miracle.”

I agree with the miracle aspect of this deduction. I believe these two fishermen survived this near-tragedy because of a divine plan. I do not believe in coincidence; I believe the ship was divinely appointed to be in the location to rescue the men.

I hope they are thankful to the One Who coordinated their rescue on the Carribean Sea. I hope they trust the One Who can lead them through rough seas in storms of life and Who can see them to safe harbor when it really counts at the end of life’s journey.

May we all see the miracles in our lives and respond to the Miracle Giver with thanks, devotion, and love.

“Stretch forth Your hand from on high; Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters….” (Psalm 144:7)

“… Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name. You are Mine!  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior….” (Isaiah 43:1-3)

JAMES MERRITT: GIVE THANKS to GOD of HOPE

Today’s blog is a reminder to give thanks to our great God of hope. Let’s be thankful everyday not just one day each year as we celebrate a national holiday. If we Americans ever doubt there’s much for which to be thankful, then let’s consider the following.

We will eat more today than most people in this world will eat this week. We drive our air conditioned or heated vehicles while billions will never own a car.

We will sleep tonight in our heated or cooled bedrooms while most of the world will sleep shivering or sweating.

If we have more health than sickness today, then we are more blessed than the one million who will die this week.

If today we aren’t facing dangers of battle, loneliness of imprisonment, suffering of torture, or hunger pains of starvation, then we are better off than 500 million people.

If today we are not afraid of being harassed, arrested, tortured, or killed, then we have it better than 3 billion people.

If we have food in our refrigerator, clothes on our backs, a roof over our heads, and a place to sleep, then we are richer than 75% in our world.

If we have any money in the bank or even spare change in our pocket, then we are in the top 8 percent of the richest people in the world.

If we can read a paragraph in a book or sign our names, then we are better off than 775 million who can neither read nor write.

Dare we doubt that God has blessed us? Do we have any reason to thank Him everyday? He deserves our thanks, and He wants it. What will our thanksgiving do for God?

Pastor James Merritt stated eloquently, “Thanksgiving is the music that brightens the face of God. It is the spark that warms the heart of God. It is the love that kisses the hand of God.”

Let’s communicate with God today, but let’s not ask Him to bless us. Instead let’s give Him thanks and bless Him; He deserves it. The Bible instructs, “Enter His gates with  thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.”(Psalm 100:4)

I want to thank James Merritt for the reminder to give thanks to God everyday and for the numerical info that I gleaned from one of his messages. He is Pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Atlanta, Georgia. For years I have been blessed by his televised sermons.

Visit the website @ touchinglives.org for info about a ministry that is truly touching lives… including mine.

MATTERHORN: MOUNTAIN POINTS TO GOD OF HOPE

Have you paid any attention to the stunning picture when you visit this blog? Its inclusion here is not accidental and is for a specific reason.

You may recognize the peak, because it has been photographed countless times. Maybe you’ve seen the well-known mountain range of which it’s a part. Maybe you’ve even scaled heights that resulted in this view and feelings of awe and wonder.

I remember when I first saw those mountains 15 years ago. I was excited to see spectacular views both while I was flying directly over and from a distance while on foreign soil in Italy and Switzerland. Those were special moments in time that have remained in my memory. (I’ve reached an age where I realize more and more that remembering such moments is a blessing.) Anyway… it’s special to me personally, because I’ve been there, and recalling the beauty of those snow-covered mountains takes me back and makes me smile.

I’m referring to Europe’s amazing Alps. More precisely, this photo features the Matterhorn in Switzerland or called Monte Cervino in Italy. Both countries share this magnificent summit. I chose this image, because it does what I want this blog to do. It points up toward God, the source of hope.

This photo represents hope to me, so I chose it for this blog. My intent is that this blog is “where hope is found.” If the first image one sees on this website is an awesome mountain peak pointing heavenward, then maybe that’s a peek (excuse the pun) of what’s to come.

God is the Source of hope, and my desire is that others are finding His hope via these blogs. I’m thankful for the opportunity to share. Also I’m glad to have such an amazing photo to represent this blog and to greet readers.

Such an image also represents beautiful inspiration from Psalm 121: “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth….” Something that brings Scripture to mind brings hope.

As you now know, I love this particular Matterhorn picture. Perhaps you feel the same. It’s likely to be on this website for a long time to come!

I’ll close by acknowledging my thanks to God for His beautiful Creation that includes mountain peaks to point us to Him and to remind us from whence comes our help… and hope.