Hope

Hope

 

Hope, it is an interesting word; one that can be used as a noun or a verb.  Hope has kept a people going when it seemed all was lost.  Hope has allowed man or woman to laugh at impending death and face it without fear.

Miriam Webster defines hope as to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true.  That kind of makes it sound like believing in Santa Claus.  But, if that were the case why does it have such a remarkable effect on us?  We need to explore this concept further.

Paulo Coelho stated:  “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”  So here is another concept of hope, it encompasses the concept of love and what love inspires people to do.  It is true that for love of another, for love of a land, for love of a people, or an idea people strive with hope and commitment to achieve a goal.  Is that not why in the late eighteenth century hundreds of men and women fought and died so that this country, the United States of America, could gain its independence.  It was that belief, that hope in a future free of the dictates of the King of England that made these people face the overwhelming odds they did and win.  So perhaps love has something to do with hope.

Let’s look at another viewpoint of hope.  In the Bible, the writer of Hebrews in the New Testament states that faith is “the assurance of things hope for ” (Hebrews 11:1). Hope, therefore, is the object upon which we direct our focus and energies.

As a Christian, hope is my trust in God’s promises.  It is a conviction that God can take this life that I have used so poorly and turn it around to accomplish something wonderful, something that will advance His will and His Kingdom.  It is the trust that not only will I be in heaven because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, but that those members of my family will come to accept Christ as their savior as well  In this is evidenced a natural trilogy of faith, love. and hope.  Eath one neech the other to exist in its whole.

Such was Jesus’s message.  It was given in love and invited each of us to  take His words as truth and accept them in faith so that they could provide us with hope in our own future .  

To accept Jesus as your personal savior truly gives you the beginning of hope.  My faith and hope in Jesus’s saving grace has born fruit.  My husband has returned to Jesus. his faith deeper than ever.  Hope?  You can find true hope in the name of Jesus Christ.

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Moving All That Stuff!

 

Moving

By:  Katy Curry©

Moving.  Taking a person or persons and placing them in a new location.  It should be easy, right.  If I want to give my daughter-in-law a dress, I put it in the car, drive for two miles, and give her the dress.  Done!  It is moved!

It should be almost that easy!  When Abraham was alive, the people lived a nomadic life; they were always packed, just take down the tents, pack up the cooking stuff, put the kids in a cart and off they went to their next location!  Even then it was complicated, those huge tents!  The herds alone were huge and not always cooperative.

It is no better today.  Frank and I are moving, downsizing to a retirement home.  We are finishing one part of our lives and embarking on a new chapter.  We can bring little or nothing of what we have accumulated over thirty-seven years with us as that chapter in our lives finishes, the things, the stuff with it are necessarily leaving as well.  That should make it easy, right?  Welllllll, not exactly.  The china tea set from my great grandmother, she protected it all the way from Ireland!  The flatware that is sterling silver, the desk that belonged to my grandmother, the books I have accumulated that are a necessary part of my life, not novels, mind you, but study guides, reference books.  Then there are the art supplies, enough pictures to decorate two houses much less a two bedroom apartment!

As I look around me I have a mess, so much has already been thrown out, now the decisions about what stays and what goes.  What will the kids take?  Then my brother contacts me; he wants a few things too!

Jesus told us to store up our treasure in heaven, not here on earth.  He had an excellent point; not only can you not take it with you, but it sure is a pain to move around from point A to point B!

This “stuff” concept has been driven even closer to home for me during this particular move.  Frank is in the hospital.  He was diagnosed with sepsis.  I did not know if he was going to live or die.  The sepsis is gone, but there are other indications of an even more serious problem.  As I have watched my wonderful husband fight the sepsis, beat off a high fever being packed in ice, fade in and out of deliriousness, all this stuff has become totally unimportant.  Instead of worrying about where it will fit and looking forward to seeing it unpacked, it has become an encumbrance.   This stuff is right now not a blessing; it is a pain.

My point is, I need, we all need, to get over this having stuff!  We acquire it, accumulate it, pay a moving company a lot of money to pack it and take it to our new location and for what?  So we can say “Look what I have?”  We humans are so foolish!  We so quickly lose sight of what is truly important in life, sometimes even when the reality of it all is staring us in the face.

Our Savior, Jesus Christ must come first both individually and as a couple, He must be first in our lives.  Our second most important thing is our spouse or family, then our job, our church; our commitment to others, the stuff will come at one point or another.  The important thing to remember is that it is just stuff and worth a lot less than we would think, nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Jesus had the clothes on His back.  He was a homeless itinerant preacher.  His “stuff” was in heaven and what He shared with us was and is far more precious than the biggest diamond in the finest ring.  Each of us needs to develop a new perspective on “stuff.”

So, even if you have “stuff” that you truly need around you for your work or hobbies, stuff that brings you joy in your home, make sure it is there not for vanity but to give honor and glory to God.  It is a lesson I am working hard to learn.

So, on that note, would anyone like a pink and white tea set that is over one hundred years old?

Writing As a Way of Life

This is serious food for thought and reason to be humble, we need to live, learn, appreciate, take it all is like a connoisseur of fine wine, then share only the very best …

boy with a hat

woman writing painting

Many people want to become authors these days, to be published and make a living writing fiction. And many of them work hard on their books. Yet only relatively few writers bloom into authors in the true sense of the word — dedication doesn’t guarantee success. I sometimes wonder what makes the difference between those who work hard and succeed and those who work hard and don’t.

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Clash of World Views

It happened in the days of Adam, in the days of David, in the days of Jesus and still happens today.  Worldviews are a politically correct way of explaining why people put their own ideas in front of God’s ideas. The majority of the world follows a post modernistic or an Islamic worldview (which will not be discussed).  Postmodernism is a term used to describe a way of thinking ruled by humanistic relativism.  Its beginnings can be found in the writings of Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud.  These ideas are very close to new age thinking  which allows each individual to create his own reality and morality.  God and traditional teachings tend to be ignored.  There is no absolute truth, no absolute right and wrong.

This flies in the face of a Christian or Biblical worldview which is founded on the Bible and accepted by Christians and Jews to be the infallible Word of God.    It sets moral boundaries as found in the Ten Commandments and requires a total commitment to all of its tenants.  If you disagree with one part, you must then disagree with all.  In addition,  if you agree with a Biblical world view, as stated in James, you must live it for faith without works is dead.   A Biblical Worldview requires action while a Post-modernistic worldview requires adherents to do nothing.

We are constantly under a barrage of messages from a worldly view of today’s society through the  TV shows we watch, the commercials we see, the emphasis in most news reports to even the teachings in the classroom.  Just recently this country celebrated the legalization of gay marriage.  And those who would normally offer services for wedding ceremonies and would prefer not to be involved in such a union can be sued and their lives and livelihoods destroyed.  Those who did not agree with this were called intolerant, homophobic, haters, and a raft of other unflattering names.  Similar things happened in the days of Noah, people had left what they knew was right and fell into sexual sin.  As a result of the sinfulness, which went far beyond deviant sexual appetites, God had Noah build an ark and He flooded the world and started again with Noah’s family.   But people again fell away from God and it became most apparent in Sodom and Gomorrah which were eventually destroyed once Lot was rescued by angels.

It does not take long to see that although those with a post-modernistic view may say that everything is relative and truth is relative; adherents become extremely intolerant of a Biblical world view.  Those who believe in public prayer, disagree with sex before marriage, abortion, selling of fetal body parts, transgenderism, same sex marriage and the right to adopt and raise children are ridiculed, targeted as the object of crude jokes, skipped over for promotions, or run out of business.  The two philosophical concepts are totally diametrically opposed, there is no common ground.

There are many “Christian” churches that are not Christian at all.  They have set aside teachings in the Bible and replaced them with statements such as “God is Love” and theorize from that statement that God loves all mankind and would never sentence anyone to an eternity in hell.  While it is true that God does love all mankind He loves the sinner, but hates the sin.  Thus, if the sinner does not repent of his sin, there is no alternative but hell.  For if we do not accept the mercy offered by Jesus Christ, we must face the judgement of the law.  As Jesus stated in John:

John 3:16-18 (NIV)

“16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

One can say that he believes in Jesus Christ but then again, so does Satan.  It is not enough to acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God and that He came to die for our sins.  One must repent of sin and acknowledge that His only way to heaven is through the blood of Jesus Christ.  To purposely live in sin indicates that in your heart and soul, you have one accepted Him as your Lord and Savior because you are following your rules rather than His.  Think of what Psalm 19 says.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.

If the law of the Lord is perfect and his statues trustworthy and the precepts right, then it is incumbent on a believer to follow them.  If an individual can set aside emotion and simply compare the two worldviews, it begins to become obvious that some serious introspection needs to be done.  I will leave you with one more bible verse to consider.

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body,                                                                                       but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your                                                                                          bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?                                                                              You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.Therefore honor God with your bodies.”  

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Papa Learns to be Wise

 

It was a sunny afternoon in July and Papa Frank stopped by to see Jackson, Jasmine, and Jackson.  They had been to the beach and had just gotten home.  Momma had just given each of them a shower to get rid of all the salt and sand and was getting them ready for nap.  Of course, nap was not a favorite thing and they were complaining bitterly.

When Papa came to the door, Matthew, greeted him.  “Hey, Dad, come on in.  Is Mom out shopping again?”

“Her and her shopping; she’s getting her nails done too.  I just don’t understand what all the fuss is about.  Women are always worrying about nails, make-up, new clothes all the time.  I’ve been wearing this same pair of jeans for … oh I don’t know, three years now.”  said Papa Frank.

Matt chuckled; Teresa is the same way, when we have the money.  I think it is some sort of urge women are born with.”

“Daddy!  Daddy! Do we have to take a nap?” cried Jasmine as she ran out from the bathroom all clean and refreshed from her shower.   “I’m not sleepy and if you make me go to bed I will be very sad. “

“Hi Papa Frank”

“Hi Princess “Papa Frank responded. “Did you have fun at the beach?”

“Oh, yes,  Daddy and I built a sand castle but then my brother runed it;  and we went in the water.  I stepped on a star fish, I did not like that so Daddy threw it in deeper water.    We saw little fish swimming and then a heli…helichopper came and told everyone to get out of the water because there was a shark!  We waited and waited but Mommy and Daddy said we had to come home.” Jasmine said.

“Well it sounds like you had a wonderful day.”  replied Papa Frank.

“Yeah, but it’s nap time and I hate nap time!  It’s not fair!  I’m not sleepy, I don’t want a nap!”

Momma was just walking out of the bathroom with a very fussy Jackson who also did not want a nap and said, “Now you know tonight is the first night of Vacation Bible School.  You want to be ready for that, don’t you?”

“Oh, Yes Mama!  We are going to King Solomon’s Court tonight!”  Jasmine was jumping up and down with excitement.  “Is my shirt ready?  Did you finish my special hat?”

“Everything is already,” Momma assured them, “and you need your nap so you can have fun in King Solomon’s Court tonight.  Remember, we are learning about being wise.”

“What’s wise, Daddy?”  Jackson looked up at his dad, yawning.

“Well son being wise is knowing how to make the right decision even when you really want to do something else that seems to be more fun.  Having wisdom is very hard unless you look to God and know His Word.  We are not wise, but we can be wise by reading the Bible.”

Papa Frank had been listening to this.  He was quiet for a minute and then, in a soft voice said, “You know, it’s my naptime too.  But all this talk about being wise has made me remember a time when I wasn’t very wise.

“When was that, Dad?” asked Matt, sitting down with Jackson in his lap.  Jasmine clapped and scrambled on the couch to get close to Papa Frank.  Teresa just shook her head and sat down too, knowing the story would come before the nap.

Well, when I was younger I was in the Air Force….

“Did you fly those big fast planes, Papa?” asked Jasmine.

“No, Princess, I never piloted any planes, I did other stuff.

It was in 1971, before even your dad was born, the Air Force sent me to work in a country called Turkey.”

Jasmine giggled, “You lived in a bird?”

“No, Princess, it was a country like the United States where we live is a country.”

“Well, it sure has a funny name.” countered Jasmine.

“I’ll agree with you there, Princess,” chuckled Papa Frank.

“Well, what about this story about wisdom?” Teresa said.

“Turkey had a lot of people living there who did not like Americans or people who believed different from them.   They wanted to shoot Americans.”

“That’s mean, Papa.  Didn’t Jesus say we have to love each other?”

“Yes, Princess, but not everyone believes in Jesus and these people did not.  The Air Force told us we should not walk around the city alone so when we left our base, a whole bunch of us would go.  One night, we went to a place to have dinner and some fun.  We had a really good dinner and I was having such a good time I did not notice how late it got and did not pay attention to the group I was with.

After a while, I looked around and the people I came with had gone home, I was alone.  I had no choice but to go home alone.  That was very stupid.  I should have paid attention to what the rest of the group was doing. “

Jackson was curled in Dad’s lap, he had fallen asleep.  Jasmine was struggling to keep her eyes open; she wanted to hear the rest of the story and why Papa said he had been stupid.  She was not even allowed to say that word!

“The Air Force let me live in the city and I had to walk five or six blocks to get to my apartment from where the club.    I put my head down and walked as fast as I could.  I wanted to get home and be safe.  Suddenly I heard a car coming up behind me.  It didn’t go passed me just stayed going really slow behind me.  I figured it was those people who wanted to kill Americans.  I thought they were going to shoot me and I got ready to run.  I knew I was going to be shot, probably eventually killed and at first I was really scared, then something happened I decided They would have to kill me, they would never take me alive.  So I took one quick look behind me before I took off running and saw it was a sport’s car, a Mustang.  I knew that terrorists did not drive Mustangs and it turned out to be someone dropping off their friend.  But I had gotten myself so worked up thinking I was going to get shot that my knees got weak and I couldn’t walk too well.”

Jasmine, despite all her efforts had fallen asleep while in the cradle of Papa’s arms.

Papa looked down at her, “Looks like an angel, doesn’t she?”

Matt looked over at his daughter fondly, then at his father.  “I seem to remember that story, Dad.  Your point about wisdom was a good one.  You should have paid attention to your group.”

“That’s right, Matt,” responded Papa.  If I had learned my Bible I would have learned I can have fun and stay safe at the same time.  Solomon even talked about it in Ecclesiastes.”

“That’s right,” responded Matt.  “It’s in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, a time for everything.”

“That’s right, son.  As I recall, pretty much all of proverbs is about wisdom too.”

“Well, we will have a whole week to talk about it in VBS and around the table at dinner.  Don’t forget, dinner is early this week because of VBS.”

“I’ll remind your mother, see if she wants to eat early when she isn’t working.”

“Good idea, Dad.  Hey, thanks for helping get the kids down for a nap.”

Papa laughed softly.  “Well, my stories are good for something!”

“Oh, Frank, they are great! “  said Teresa.

“Well, let’s get these young’uns to bed.  I’m ready for a nap too!”

 

 

Proverbs 4:5-9 (NIV)

Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom.
Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding.
Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown.”

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14  (NIV)

 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

*When fear is used in this way it means respect.