Finding Hope, When Everything Seems Hopeless

FINDING HOPE ON THE ELEVENTH HOUR

Pulling Peter from the Water 

 

Can you really find any hope when everything seems hopeless? Wittier remarked, “The steps of faith fall on the seemingly void, but find the rock beneath.”

The lake was in rage, lashing and clawing like a monster at one little boat. A dozen fellows rowed desperately to escape its fury. But the harbor was three miles away across the raging water. The sea dog could not control the boat. It was a moment of desperation and loneliness. They were in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps the easiest way out for them was to give into the last breath. They wished for a quicker death. Then suddenly they saw a figure appear, right in the middle of the sea. Like a ghost out of the golden gloom and spray, they thought they were delusional.

Photo by Tyler Nix on unsplash

It was out of the ordinary. There were no highways in the sea, no other boats within their vicinity. But someone was walking on the water, treading the waves under His feet like a snarling wild creature. He walked straight across to the boat; they trembled and cringed on each other for dear life. “Take courage!” He said. “It is I, don’t be afraid!” Then he climbed into the boat with them. They were amazed, “how can anyone walk on the water without drowning?” They thought amongst themselves. Before they came out of the frenzy, He commanded the winds to cease.

Like a well – trained pet to it’s owner, the winds obeyed immediately! It was non other than Jesus Christ. He appeared to his disciples at a time of hopelessness. Perfect timing to show the power of God. They witnessed one supernatural event after another. While still at the deep sea, before they could process what had just taken place, another miracle took place, they found themselves at the shore straight away.

Nothing is Impossible with God:

A glimpse into the past takes me on a journey with the disciples. It was a time when life knocked me to the ground. I became an emotional wreck and was scared of life itself. If anyone took a gun to my head, it would be a waste of bullet because l was dead on the inside. I remember longing for nights because people appeared as I’ve always known them. Imaging being so disconnected with the world that you only feel alive in your dreams? Denial had lead to anger and the urge for revenge, then depression and finally acceptance.

“Where do l go next?” I thought to myself. I had some tough choices to make. But before l did, l needed the counsel of some greater authority. I sought wisdom from above, It was at that time of emptiness – when l became one with Jesus Christ. In the same way He appeared to His disciples, He stretched His loving arms towards me and healed my broken pieces. He fully restored my life and gave me a reason to live on. Jesus is real, you don’t need anyone to intervene. Seek Him on your own, you do not need a degree in bible studies to know and understand His message.

Why I’m I saying this? From the book of Exodus, Moses evidently had a speech impediment. Exodus 3:10 says “Moses now said to Jehovah: “Pardon me, Jehovah, but l have never been a fluent speaker, neither in the past, nor since you have spoke to your servant, for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue”. Moses looked for reasons why he wasn’t good enough to deliver God’s message.

In exodus 4:11, God answered Moses, “Who gave human beings their mouths, who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

God Is, Was and Always Will Be:

Today, Miracles are taking place the same way. Lives are being transformed in an instant. In the book of John 14:12, Jesus said, ” I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the father.” He’s declaring an amazing truth. You will perform miracles, even greater than He has done! The truth of Christ’s teaching is not only a comforting idea or pious meditation. Jesus taught these principles as a reality for anyone who would truly listen to his word and believe.

Nobody could have said it better than Bryan, “Some skeptics say, “oh, the miracles. One may drop a brown seed in the black soil and up comes a green shoot. You let it grow and by and by you pull up it’s root and find it red. You cut the root and it has a white heart. Can anyone tell how this comes by? How brown cast into black results in green, and then red and white? Yet you eat your radish without troubling your mind over miracles. Men are distressed by miracles in the dinning room – they reserve them for religion!”

Put God First:

“When we put God first, everything else falls into place. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for out affection, the demands on our time, the interest we pursue, and order of our priorities.”

When you’re difficult situation, remember the disciples of Jesus out in the storm. They witnessed multiple miracles right after they hit rock bottom. The same is true with life, the stars are always shinning but you don’t see them until night time. When at you’re lowest and all seems lost – that’s the moment you’re well seasoned to receive. Your brokenness makes you see beyond yourself and the world around you.

I don’t know the nature of your struggles, your storms may be fierce, but don’t give into defeat. Perhaps you wish for healing of an illness, for you or a loved one. Maybe it is the salvation of a husband, wife, child or grandchild. You could be asking for restoration of a relationship, or financial breakthrough, a new job – or a dream which has yet to pass. I want you to know that you belong to a God of miracles! His desire is to show Himself strong on your behalf. He is the creator of all that is and ever will be. He will not only calm the winds, He will carry you off shore! There is hope for you even when everything seems hopeless.

“It is impossible for that man to despair who remembers that his helper is omnipotent.” Jeremy Taylor.

 

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Foster Parenting Is an Important Calling

A mother with her two daughters cooking at home in their kitchen

By John W. Kennedy

 

 Listen to Jessica’s broadcast The Complicated, Beautiful Life of a Foster Mom.

__________

When my wife and I felt God prompting us to become foster parents, we knew that we wanted to provide a loving, stable environment that would nurture kids in need of godly values. After becoming licensed, however, we quickly discovered that our desires were rather idealistic. Our training hadn’t covered the reality of how to interact with a traumatized child who has severe trust issues — one who may be suffering the fallout of being physically beaten, malnourished or sexually abused.

We concluded that foster parenting requires energy, patience and compassion. Here’s what else we’ve learned about this important calling:

Surround yourself with support

We can’t expect outside assistance to come from an overworked caseworker, who may take days to return a frantic phone call. That’s why we need “wraparound care.”

Often organized by churches or small groups, wraparound care helps sustain foster parents. Church members and friends can spearhead efforts to collect diapers, formula, clothes and car seats for the new arrivals; cook an occasional meal; or arrange for respite care to give us a break by baby-sitting. Find those who will help and don’t be afraid to ask for their support.

Stay unified

A hardened, mistreated child often develops unhealthy survival skills and may be an expert at pitting one foster parent against the other. Stay unified, remembering that you and your spouse are on the same side and want to see a successful outcome.

Offer patience and compassion

Foster parenting isn’t about making a child see logic or obey but about being patient and compassionate. Recognize that meltdowns will come, sometimes multiple times a day. We must see circumstances from the child’s perspective, which often means looking past an outburst and realizing that something else is causing the misbehavior.

Our primary job isn’t to correct wrong behaviors and to enforce rules; it’s to build memories, to offer a safe, stable living experience and to provide some fun along the way.

Include them Have your foster kids participate in activities, give them responsibilities and provide the affirmation they desperately need for good behavior or a job well done. Make them feel like part of the family. Include them in conversations, Bible readings, daily chores, fun activities and family photos. Introduce them as your children, not as your foster children.

Most importantly, pray — for God to sustain you and for you to have a heart to understand the inner turmoil the children are experiencing.

John W. Kennedy is a freelance author.

https://origin.focusonthefamily.com/pro-life/orphan-care/foster-parenting-is-an-important-calling

America, Our Great Nation, Was Built on Faith

We’re seeing a relentless push to secularize society and demoralize institutions, yet our heritage will keep us free

 

July 4 marks the 243rd anniversary of the signing of America’s Declaration of Independence. Over the years, our presidents have spoken freely of the centrality of God’s Word, the certainty of God’s providence, and the reality of God’s blessing.

I believe their words and their faith will inspire all of us — and give us a new vision for our great land.

More importantly, we will see that the road we’re traveling as a nation was feared by our Founding Fathers — and while there’s still time, their warnings must be heeded.

We’ll begin with our first president, George Washington. He wrote a prayer to “O most glorious God, in Jesus Christ,” and concluded, “Let me live according to those holy rules which Thou hast this day prescribed in Thy holy word … Direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the life.”

John Adams, our second president, wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Thomas Jefferson, our third president, asked, “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?”

Our sixth president, John Quincy Adams, said, “Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?”

Andrew Jackson, our seventh president, confided, “I have full confidence in [God’s] goodness and mercy … The Bible is true … I have tried to conform to its spirit as near as possible. Upon that sacred volume, I rest my hope for eternal salvation, through the merits and blood of our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

The Christian writings of Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, would fill an entire book. In 1863, Lincoln declared in a proclamation calling for a national day of prayer and fasting: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven … We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined … that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. … we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

“We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us.”

Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 26th president, wrote this: “In the actual world, a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid downgrade.”

Woodrow Wilson, our 28th president, stated plainly, “America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness, which are derived from the revelations of the Holy Scripture.”

Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president, said this about America’s Founding Fathers: “They were intent upon establishing a Christian commonwealth in accordance with the principle of self-government. They were an inspired body of men … Who can fail to see in it the hand of destiny? Who can doubt that it has been guided by a Divine Providence?”

Franklin Roosevelt, America’s 32nd president, observed, “With every passing year, I become more confident that humanity is moving forward to the practical application of the teachings of Christianity as they affect the individual lives of men and women everywhere.”

Harry Truman, our 33rd president, understood the spiritual heritage of this nation. He said, “If men and nations would but live by the precepts of the ancient prophets and the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, problems which now seem so difficult would soon disappear … That is a supreme opportunity for the church to continue to fulfill its mission on earth … No other agency can do it. Unless it is done, we are headed for the disaster we would deserve.”

Gerald Ford, the 38th president, quoted a speech by Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Without God, there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first — the most basic — expression of Americanism. Thus, the Founding Fathers of America saw it, and thus with God’s help, it will continue to be.”

Ronald Reagan, our 40th president, observed the growing hostility toward religion: “The frustrating thing is that those who are attacking religion claim they are doing it in the name of tolerance, freedom and open-mindedness. Question: Isn’t the real truth that they are intolerant of religion? They refuse to tolerate its importance in our lives.”

Our 43rd president, George W. Bush, when asked in a debate to choose a political philosopher important to his life, chose Jesus Christ, saying, “He changed my heart.”

Donald J. Trump, our 45th and current president, recently said, “Faith is central to American life and to liberty. Our Founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence. Our currency declares, ‘In God We Trust.’ And we place our hands on our hearts as we recite the Pledge of Allegiance and proclaim we are ‘One Nation Under God’ … Throughout our history, we see the story of God’s providence. And in every city and town, we see the Lord’s grace all around us, through a million acts of kindness, courage and generosity. We love God.”

These are but a handful of the expressions of faith offered by our presidents throughout American history. Hundreds of other quotes exist in the record.

I can’t read their writings without marveling at the spiritual heritage handed down to us.

But these statements of faith also evoke a certain sadness over what is happening to our great country today.

We are witnessing an unprecedented campaign to secularize our society and demoralize our institutions from the top down. Most forms of prayer have been declared unconstitutional in our public schools — even if student-initiated.

The Ten Commandments have been prohibited on school bulletin boards. Secular universities are blatantly hostile to Christian precepts, and the media scream “Foul!” whenever someone speaks openly of his or her beliefs.

This is the wonderful land of the free — yet we have gagged and bound many of our public officials, our teachers, our elected representatives and our judges.

Since we have effectively censored expressions of faith in public life, today’s youth are growing up with little understanding of the spiritual principles on which our country was founded. No wonder so many of them can kill, steal, take drugs, and engage in promiscuous sex with no pangs of conscience.

We have taught them that right and wrong are arbitrary — subjective — changing. They learned their lessons well. Liberty — the liberty we enjoy as Christians and the liberty we celebrate as Americans — rests upon knowing the truth.

As Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

This Independence Day, let’s celebrate our godly heritage — and recommit to the truth that made us free and will keep us free.

Dr. James Dobson is founder and president of Family Talk, a nonprofit organization that produces his radio program, “Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk.” He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to the preservation of the family.

https://www.lifezette.com/2019/07/america-our-great-nation-was-built-on-faith/

AUDIO Millennials and the Bible

“Not What You Think”

by: John Stonestreet & David Carlson

There’s so much talk these days about so-called “Millennials.” Millennials are the generation born between 1980 and 2000. They are “digital natives,” and the defining events of their lives include the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, the War on Terror, Harry Potter, the Great Recession, and the birth of social media. Oh, and by the way, they love avocado toast.

They are also the “biggest” generation: Some 78 million strong. In the next five or six years, they will comprise 75 percent of the American workforce.

On the whole, Millennials tend to be skeptical of absolutes, and anyone or anything claiming to be the authority on life and the world. Thus, they tend to be skeptical about the Bible. Only 9 percent of Millennials claim to read the Bible on a daily basis, and only 30 percent believe that the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God.

All of this leads to an acute challenge for many in older generations: How to pass on the faith to their children and grandchildren. I’m happy to tell you there’s a new book that can really help.

Two Millennial Christian thought leaders, Michael and Lauren Green McAfee, seeking to overcome the skepticism of their peers about the Bible, have written a new and engaging book, “Not What You Think: Why the Bible Might Be Nothing We Expected but Everything We Need.”

Michael is director of community initiatives at the Museum of the Bible. His wife Lauren, who now works at the Hobby Lobby corporate offices, helped get the museum up and running. So they both have a deep, sincere passion to share their love for the Bible.

The first part of “Not What You Think” is devoted to explaining exactly who Millennials are: their demographics, aspirations, preferences, etc. One of the key characteristics we must understand is that Millennials came of age at a time when the very notion of truth was, well, fuzzy at best.

“Our era is one in which truth has moved from objective reality to personal response,” they write. “Our generation generally hesitates to accept truth outside of personal experience and opinion.”

This is the first huge obstacle for approaching Millennials with traditional Christian apologetics, which depends on the absolute and objective Truth claims revealed in the Bible.  And yet, this is where these millennial authors succeed as they invite their fellow Millennials to engage Scripture. While being upfront and honest about the truth claims of the Bible, they make the case that the Old and New Testaments, unlike other religious holy books and texts, are not primarily a set of rules. Instead, they present a grand Story woven together by God through various authors over a millennium and a half. It’s a story that God invites us all to join.

Throughout their book, the McAfees argue convincingly—and in detail—that both Testaments, from Genesis through Revelation, point to the God-Man, Jesus. Thus, the Bible not only invites us into God’s cosmic drama, it invites us into a relationship with the Creator of the universe.

“What if,” they write, “truth is not just a point of view . . . not just a list of rules—yours, ours, or anyone else’s? What if truth is not the ever-changing consensus of the crowd but instead is a person whom you get to know and who knows you. This person’s story is told in the Bible. His name is Jesus.”

This is exactly the kind of book that will not only help you communicate the importance of Scripture to younger generations, it’s a book you can actually give to younger generations. And, it’s a great resource for Sunday School classes and small groups to learn more about the “biggest” generation, while also learning about how to better reach them.

Listen here

http://www.breakpoint.org/2019/08/breakpoint-millennials-and-the-bible/

Bible Proclaims ‘God Is Love’: Here’s What That Means for Us

The more time we commit our minds, bodies and souls to the Lord and find others who do the same, the more secure we become in our Christian faith

By Kimberly Faith | August 16, 2019

When the Bible proclaims “God is love” (1 John 4:8), what does that really mean for us humans?

I remember a young lady in my office who was sobbing her heart out as she told me, “I’ve been crushed by love.”

She had anticipated something beautiful and wonderful — but instead had experienced something ugly and disappointing.

Who among us has not been there?

Was it really “love” that caused her terrible pain?

Well, only as a feeling or expectation in a culture in which “love” is defined superficially, that is.

In our fallen world, however, in order to survive, “love” must be something much deeper, wider, broader and higher than a feeling.

Just ask Christ: Love cost Him everything.

On how we should love, the Bible says: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John‬ ‭4:7-8‬).

To “love” is to give others what God gives us rather than pursue a feeling or expectation from them.

Most of us have missed this mark.

How do we get this deep and abiding love?

There is no greater human love-relationship than one with another person who loves God best.

The more time we commit our soul, mind and body to God — because we love Him — the more completely satisfied and secure we become in His love and the less we have needs or expectations from others.

God’s love, in other words, fills us to overflowing.

There is no greater human love-relationship than one with another person who loves God best. Whether it be a parent, child, spouse, or best friend, no greater love between two imperfect humans exists than when it is bonded by the love of God.

If “love” has sorely disappointed you, then seek God with as much passion as you sought love from the one who shattered your heart.

You will never be disappointed by God’s love.

https://www.lifezette.com/2019/08/bible-proclaims-god-is-love-heres-what-that-means-for-us/

I Am a Soldier. This Is My Creed.

In honor of the home-going of a godly man and combat veteran of the European campaign of WWII, W. L. “Red” Sims, I re-post the following.


Soldier’s Creed

Hearing a soldier in the United States Military recite his particular “Solder’s Creed,” whether it be with the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard, is something quite stirring.

Probably inspired by the military creeds of this world, an unknown author penned the following for soldiers in God’s Army, the Church: those bought with the blood of Christ, wearing the whole armor of God, and marching onward toward victory with the Sword of the Spirit in their hands.

The sooner we come to the realization that we are most certainly engaged in a spiritual war, the better. May we all be willing to stand unashamed…”and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).

The Christian Soldier’s Creed

I am a soldier in the Army of my God.

The Lord Jesus Christ is my commanding officer.

The Holy Bible is my code of conduct. Faith, prayer, and the Word are my weapons of warfare.

I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience, tried by adversity, and tested by fire.

I am a volunteer in this Army, and I am enlisted for eternity.

I will either retire at the Rapture, or die in this Army; but I will not get out, sell out, be talked out, or pushed out.

I am faithful, reliable, capable, and dependable.

If my God needs me, I am there.

If He needs me in the Sunday school to teach the children, work with the youth, help adults, or just sit and learn, I’ll be there.

He can use me because I am there!

I am a soldier.

I am not a baby. I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up, pumped up, picked up, or pepped up.

I am a soldier.

No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me, or lure me.

I am a soldier.

I am not a wimp.

I am in place saluting my King, obeying His orders, praising His name, and building His kingdom!

No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards, candy, or give me handouts.

I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for, or catered to.

I am committed.

I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around.

I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside.

I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.

If I end up with nothing, I will still come out ahead.

I will win.

My God has, and will continue, to supply all my needs.

I am more than a conqueror.

I will always triumph.

I can do all things through Christ.

Devils cannot defeat me.

People cannot disillusion me.

Weather cannot weary me.

Sickness cannot stop me.

Battles cannot beat me.

Money cannot buy me.

Governments cannot silence me, and hell cannot handle me.

I am a soldier.

Even death cannot destroy me, for when my Commander calls me from this battlefield He will promote me to Captain and then allow me to rule with Him.

I am a soldier in the Army and I’m marching, claiming victory.

I will not give up.

I will not turn around.

I am a solder marching, heaven bound.

(Author Unknown)

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. – 2 Timothy 2:3

https://logosdot.wordpress.com/2019/08/16/i-am-a-soldier-this-is-my-creed-2/

I Am a Soldier. This Is My Creed.


There are only two defining forces who have ever offered to die for you. 

One is Jesus Christ and the other the American Soldier.  

One died for your sins and the other for your freedom!

source


Arkansas Town Passes Measure Calling Itself a Pro-Life City, Tells Planned Parenthood Take a Hike

MICAIAH BILGER AUG 6, 2019

An Arkansas town council recently joined a growing list of U.S. cities that are taking a stand against abortion.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports the Springdale City Council Committee of the Whole voted unanimously Monday to adopt the pro-life statement. The full city council plans to vote on the measure Aug. 13.

The statement declares Springdale to be a pro-life city. It also tells the abortion chain Planned Parenthood that it is not welcome there, according to the report.

Though the statement does not have any legal weight, it sends a message that Springdale supports life, said council member Colby Fulfer, who proposed the measure.

“There’s no way we’re going to ban abortion,” because Roe v. Wade is still in place, he said. “We want to say the government of Springdale supports life from creation to conception to the end stages of life.”

Fulfer said he is concerned about Planned Parenthood opening a new location in their city after it closed its Fayetteville branch in July. The abortion chain said it had trouble with its landlord, and it is looking for a new location.

The city’s pro-life statement is “respectfully asking the abortion provider to find another city,” he added.

According to the local news, Fulfer also brought up programs that the city supports to help families in need.

Springfield is not alone. A growing number of towns and cities have passed resolutions this year in response to the radical pro-abortion agenda that is being pushed on Americans. The Democratic presidential candidates all support forcing taxpayers to fund abortionsand oppose minor, common sense restrictions on abortions after viability.

Several states, including New York, Illinois and Rhode Island, also passed pro-abortion laws this year to allow viable, late-term unborn babies to be aborted for basically any reason.

In response, Roswell, New Mexico city leaders passed a pro-life resolution in March after state lawmakers considered a radical pro-abortion bill to expand late-term abortions. The bill narrowly failed to pass.

In New York state, Batavia city leaders and Putnam County legislators also passed measures condemning a radical new pro-abortion law in their state and supporting protections for the unborn.

Then, in June, the eastern Texas city of Waskom adopted a pro-life ordinance declaring their home a “sanctuary city for the unborn.” In July, another Texas city considered a similar pro-life measure, but the council voted against it after the ACLU threatened a costly lawsuit.

In May, the Riverton City Council in Utah passed a similar resolution, declaring the city a “sanctuary for the unborn.” In June, the Utah County Commission unanimously passed a resolution supporting protections for unborn babies. Then in July, the council in Highland, Utah passed a similar pro-life resolution.

 

Original here