Wednesday, June 30, 2010

THIRD DAY AT ALC - ALL SAINTS CAMP

Today (really yesterday...I couldn't post yesterday because of an internet issue!) we went had breakfast, group devotions, and then drove to All Saints Camp. This property is for those with A.I.D.S. and other diseases. There are about 40 residents who live in tiny cottages. Each habitation is subdivided into two so the square footage is appr. 8’ by 10’ each. A vast majority have no bathrooms but use bathhouses at the edge of the camp. Adventure Learning Center has linked up with All Saints Camp to improve their dwelling conditions.

We spent the day taking a tour of the camp and then spending time one on one with the residents. We then made sandwiches for them and passed them out cottage to cottage furthering our relationships with them. Some know the Lord and some need to come to know the Lord. We encouraged everyone we met and lifted them up to the Lord.

(Mat 25:36) 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'

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ENTRANCE INTO ALL SAINTS CAMP

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HERE IS A ROW OF TINY COTTAGES

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HERE IS THE SMALL SPACE THE RESIDENTS LIVE IN. MANY ARE NOT ABLE TO GET OUT BECAUSE OF THEIR DISABILITIES.

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HERE IS THE BATHHOUSE THE COMMUNITY SHARES. IT HAS TOILETS, SINKS, AND SHOWERS. GROUPS HAVE COME IN AND PAINTED SCRIPTURES WITH LIVELY COLORS.

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THIS IS THE CHAPEL IN THE CENTER OF ALL SAINTS CAMP. BAHAMAS IS RICH IN CHRISTIAN BACKGROUND AND IS PREDOMINANTLY PROTESTANT.

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INSIDE OF CHAPEL
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THIS IS MISS MOXEY. SHE LOVES THE LORD AND WE HAD A CHANCE TO READ THE WORD WITH HER AND PRAY.

(Rom 1:12) that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

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KELSEY IS ON THE LEFT AND HER FRIEND KELSIE IS ON THE RIGHT. KELSIE IS FROM A DEDICATED CHRISTIAN FAMILY BACK IN CORONA, CA, AND CAME ALONG WITH OUR FAMILY. THIS IS KELSIE'S FIRST MISSION TRIP AND SHE IS LEARNING SO MUCH ABOUT MISSIONS AND IS ADJUSTING WELL TO THE CULTURE AND THE WAY OF THINGS. (BOTH YOUNG LADIES JUST GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL)

(1 Tim 4:12) Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

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THIS IS ON THE WAY OUT OF MISS MOXEY'S COTTAGE. WHAT A GREAT REMINDER FOR US AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WHO ARE TYPICALLY SPOILED AND HAVE THE TENDENCY TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE SMALLEST OF ADVERSITIES.

(Phil 2:14) Do all things without complaining and disputing,

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WATCH A BRIEF CLIP OF GO! MISSIONARY KIM CHILDERS EXPLAINING ABOUT ALL SAINTS CAMP.



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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SECOND DAY AT ALC BAHAMAS

Today we rose early to be ready for breakfast at 7am and then 8am devotions with the Adventure Learning Centre (ALC) staff. I had the privilege of teaching about God’s grace from 1 Chronicles 17 where David wanted to build a temple for God. God said no, I want to build you a house, David. You will always have a son to sit on the throne of Judah. David was blown away by God’s grace. And sure enough, his descendants ruled down the line. And when Jesus came this promise was fulfilled completely because Jesus is the son of David! I love God’s grace.




This is Ed Yuhas and Andrew Ruiz, two of our GO! missionaries who were our hosts.
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We experienced God’s grace all throughout the day. After devotions we went to a woman’s house who has a special needs child in her twenty’s that was abused and raped and became pregnant. Her house is dilapidated but the Adventure Learning Center has outreaches to the poor and neglected in the community. A group of teenagers from the states came in and worked with ALC to put on a new roof for her because it was leaking so much. The inside is partially gutted and plans are to bring in another group to finish off her house and give this family a decent dwelling. Currently there is no electricity or water. And it is hot and humid! This family knows and trusts in the Lord!



(Psa 32:10) .. But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him

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Next…we went to a poor church that has a building project going on to renovate the chapel. It’s a Haitian church. The Haitians are the despised and looked down upon in the Bahamas. ALC is reaching out and letting the Haitian people that Jesus cares!




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Then afterward we went to a government facility that has daycare for the handicapped. Once a week ALC goes in and spends time with the clients. They talk and interact with them and let them know they are loved by others and mostly by the Lord. We were able to go into a room of severely disabled Bahamians in their teens and twenties. I was not able to take pictures but what I saw will forever be stamped on my mind.



After we filled up the van with gas (appr. $5.00 a gallon!) we grabbed some lunch (Bahamian fish and chips) and made our way back to ALC where we spent more time with the Bahamian children and ALC staff. Kelsey and her friend Kelsie interacted a bit with the children and their water games. A great way to cool off in the afternoon heat!


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As I was blogging the electricity went off. Ed, the director of ALC, said that is common and can last from about ten minutes to three hours. This brings up a point. Little did we know that this vacation island has so many needs! The tourists are on the other side of the island in nice resorts. But there is a poor side that I never knew about. We saw it right away as we were driving to ALC and had to go through the real Bahamian neighborhoods. I’m so glad I came to discover this and I will now pray more for these dear people. There’s always “the other side” that you don’t usually hear about. “Open my eyes, Lord, to the needs around me that I may bring Jesus to the needy.”

God’s grace covered the day. Thank you Lord for your amazing grace!

(1 Cor 15:10) But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

MISSION TRIP TO ALC BAHAMAS


Today we reached the Adventure Learning Center in the southeast corner of New Providence, Nassau, Bahamas. It’s where nine of our GO! Missionaries serve. It was so great to meet them one by one after we arrived. We took a quick tour of the grounds and then showed us our accommodations adjacent to the property. Then one of the GO! Missionaries knocked on our door and we had a nice time of getting acquainted and then prayer together.

The week is going to be busy as each day we are linking up with a different GO! missionary and observing and serving in their particular ministry.



I’ll have more pics for you tomorrow for sure so check back!

Thanks for your prayers. And don’t forget to check out the Adventure Learning Center webpage to learn more about this awesome ministry.

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(Acts 10:4) …"Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL 2010

Here is Maddy interviewing the kids as a Good News Reporter.
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Kelsey leading worship with Julie Kirkconnell.
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Fun game where the children put the "cut up" Bible verse back in order.

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Shannon, Julie, Amber, and Susie in the Good News room.
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Shannon doing the "weather."
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(Psa 34:11) Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
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video

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

FOR THE GRADUATE


SHEPHERD TO SHEEP


FOR THE GRADUATE

(Dedicated to my daughter Kelsey on her high-school graduation).

(Jer 29:11) For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (TLB)

Ahhh. You are graduating! Doesn't it feel great? You've worked so hard for this day and now it's here! Think about how much you've learned, the things you have experienced, and the people you have met. You've grown, you've changed, and you've matured. And now it's time for the grad line! Your name is going to be called. You'll get a diploma and a hand shake. You'll sit back down and wait for the others. You'll change your tassel (is it right to left, or left to right? I forget!) Then it will be all over. You'll say goodbye to your friends and then you'll probably have a party in your honor with your family (or maybe an outing with your friends so the good-bye won't be so hard!) Then it will likely hit you. I've graduated! I can't believe it!! Time to move on. What will the future hold?

Israel didn't know much about their future. They had been taken captive to Babylon for their idolatry for seventy years. They were in a foreign land thinking of home and how cool it would be to back there again. They were in such despair over their future that they lost hope. They started to think that maybe God forgot about them. They had nothing to look forward to. Nothing to get excited about. What lay ahead of them was gray prospects, like a bad weather forecast...the same as yesterday. In the midst of this despair came the voice of God through the prophet Jeremiah. God was for them...not against them! He loved them. He had plans for them. These plans were for good and not for evil. God wanted to assure them that they had a future and hope.

Just like Israel, God has plans for you too! Isn't that great news? You don't have to worry about what will be because God already sees it and says it's great! (Isa 46:10) Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure. You can trust your future to God because you are His child and He has a course for you to take. He figured it out before you were even born! (Eph 2:10) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. All you have to do is seek the Lord and let Him unfold His plan. (Mat 6:33) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. If you make a mistake don't worry about it. God knows how to get you back on course! (Isa 30:21) Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.

I remember when I was graduating everyone was asking each other what they were going to do. Some had a course of action and some didn't. But everybody was hoping for the best and for a good life altogether. But the believer can be an achiever because the Bible says God will work things out even when things look fuzzy in the distance. (Isa 42:16) I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them.

So, are you excited about your future? That's great because God is too! (Jer 33:3) ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ Congratulations, graduate!!

Louie
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Friday, June 11, 2010

HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MARTYRDOM


SHEPHERD TO SHEEP


HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MARTYRDOM

(Rev 17:6) I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus…

Would you die for your faith? If someone put a gun to your head and said either deny Jesus or I’ll shoot, what would you do? I have thought about this and have answered myself that if it was God’s will for me to lay down my life for Christ then He would give me the strength and courage to do so. But how do you really know until you’re in that position and you’re sweating bullets before the bullets even come?

The history of Christian martyrdom begins with Jesus Himself. Jesus laid down His life and died on the cross for the redemption of mankind. He warned His followers that they too would suffer persecution: (John 15:20) "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you... Then in the book of Acts we see the martyrdom of Stephen in Jerusalem (Acts 7:57-60) and later the mention of the faithful martyr Antipas in Pergamos (Rev 2:13).

But this was just the beginning. Church history states that during the first century after Jesus' death nearly all of his disciples suffered martyrdom for His sake. James the son of Zebedee was beheaded in approximately 44 A.D. Philip was crucified in 54 A.D. Matthew was killed with a halberd, an ax-like weapon, in 60 A.D. James was beaten to death, Matthias was beheaded, Andrew was crucified, Mark was torn to pieces, and Peter was crucified upside down. Jude, Bartholomew, and Thomas were also martyred. Paul suffered martyrdom in Rome where he was beheaded. Other early apostles Luke, Barnabas, Timothy, and Simon were also killed for the sake of Christ.

The history of Christian martyrs does not end with the death of the disciples. Thousands willingly gave their lives under Roman persecution by the emperors Nero, Domitian, Diocletian and others. The Roman persecution lasted well into the fourth century A.D. and did not end until Emperor Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of his empire. But Christians have been martyred all through church history. Consider these famous martyrs: Polycarp, Justin Martyr, John Hus, William Tyndale, Thomas Cranmer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jim Elliot to name a few.

Are Christians being martyred today? Yes, in many countries there is fierce opposition to Christianity and the gospel message. We must pray for our brothers and sisters and not forget their plight: (Heb 13:3) Remember the prisoners as if chained with them; those who are mistreated; since you yourselves are in the body also.

Doesn’t this make you feel like a wimp? I mean we tend to get so upset when we are teased for being a Christian or called a “Jesus freak.” Then we feel guilty when we hear these stories of martyrdom and consider ourselves so weak in the faith. Would we give our life for Christ? Maybe…if we give our life to Christ now while we are living! And then if we do that perhaps we would give our bodies when called to die for Him. That’s what you call a “living sacrifice”: (Rom 12:1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Paul said he died daily (1 Cor 15:31). That is real Christian martyrdom. Dying to your old life and desires and living for Jesus. Maybe persecution will get worse in America and who knows if some will even be called to lay down their lives? But why not die right now so if a gun ever came to your head you would say why not? I’ve given myself as a living sacrifice…why not give myself as a dying one?

Louie

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

SEE YOU AT THE POLLS TODAY!



Hey saints...don't forget to vote today! Pray, study the issues, go out to the polls! Need help deciding the candidates and issues? Go to:

http://www.electionforum.org

for help from a Christian and Biblical perspective.

(Titus 3:1) Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,

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SHOULD CHRISTIANS VOTE?

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. -Exodus 1:8

Should Christians vote? Some say that since our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20) we shouldn't get involved in politics down here. Others become very zealous and try to make the kingdom of God this present earth. Should believers try to change the political landscape or should their focus just be on spiritual matters? Should we just trust the Lord and let things play out or should we be active and preach at the polls?

Let's look at some Scriptures first:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. -Romans 13:1

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, -Titus 3:1

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, {14} or to governors…
Why don't some Christians vote? Here are some of the suggestions: -1 Peter 2:13-14

"What good will my one vote do?"

"So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. -Ezekiel 22:30

God plus one is a majority! Consider this: In 1845 ONE vote brought Texas into the Union…in 1868 ONE vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment…in 1876 ONE vote gave Rutherford Hayes the presidency of the United States…in 1939 ONE vote passed the selective service act…in 1960 ONE vote per precinct elected John F. Kennedy President. Your vote does count!

"A Christian shouldn't get involved in secular matters."

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
-Matthew 5:13

"Every life is a profession of faith, and exercises an inevitable and silent influence." (Henri Frédéric Amiel)


"It takes too much work and I'm busy!"

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so. -Provrbs 3:27

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

In addition to prayer, I believe that if we still have influence as believers we should use it!

Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. -Matthew 6:10


Louie (decipher this: CUATTHEPOLLS!)

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

ENJOYING MARRIAGE


Last night was the potluck for the Enjoying Marriage home fellowship. This is an 11-week video course led by Tony and Gracie Fasano. They have taken many couples from our church through this series. Why not pray about you and your spouse signing up next time? The couples' testify that it has done so much for their marriage because it is based on Jesus Christ and the Word of God.


Here's a video of Tony's teaching:

video

(Ecclesiastes 4:12) Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

NEED PRAYER?

This is from today's Press Enterprise newpaper!:



Need prayer?

Shawn Heggi is your man.

Two evenings a week, when he isn't driving a trash truck for the city of Redlands, the burly, 35-year-old father of two sets up a roadside prayer stand in Loma Linda.

A pair of lawn chairs, the tailgate of his white 1998 Toyota Tacoma pickup and a popup tent cover on rainy days serve as his sanctuary. Training comes from his Bible and his friend's BlackBerry, which can summon verses to match a subject on demand. Passing motorists are his congregation.

The small roadside sandwich board with the simple message -- "Need Prayer?" -- is his advertising.

Over the last seven months, his roadside prayer stand has become a fixture Monday and Friday evenings on the south side of Barton Road, a four-lane Loma Linda street that jams with traffic when the job-heavy town of 22,000 residents swells with 60,000 commuters.

People want prayers for their health, for their family, for the troops overseas. But jobs, the economy and troubled marriages are tops these days, Heggi said.

"There are a lot of broken families out there," he said. "I thought we were just going to pray, but there is so much stuff that goes on out there. People have given their lives to the Lord. We've seen kids delivered from drugs. We've seen families put back together."

That's not all.

"A lady one day wanted us to pray for her dog," Heggi said. "It was sick and she had just come from the vet."



Heggi has no formal training as a minister or missionary. He attends Calvary Chapel church in Redlands, some members of which occasionally sit with him by the side of the road. The church is not involved.

God planted the idea in his mind last year, he says, when he was helping a friend move some furniture in Murrieta.

"We were getting on the freeway when I saw this guy on the side of the road," Heggi said. "He had this sign that said, 'Need prayer?' I thought, 'Is this a ministry?' "

Heggi said he talked to members of his church about it and prayed.

"It probably took about a month for the Lord to confirm it. One day we made a sign and came out here and started going for it," he said.

The roadside prayer stand is located in a dirt and gravel field across from an Arco station.

Nearby residents often wave as they drive by, as do many of the commuters. Some motorists honk their horns.

Heggi insists he didn't pick the location. "The Lord did. I was driving down here and he kept putting in my mind, 'This field right here.' There is tons of traffic, tons of people all the time."

With the prayer stand situated midway between Loma Linda University Medical Center and Redlands Community Hospital, medically related prayers are frequently requested.

Debbie Miller, of Big Bear Lake, stopped one recent evening on her way to the Redlands hospital for a CAT scan.

"I just felt like I'm not supposed to go," she said, sobbing. "I felt like the Lord was telling me it is not a good thing to do right now."

She prayed with Heggi and fellow church member Calvin Hart and listened as they took turns reading Bible verses.

Hart, who has the BlackBerry, is a 38-year-old Yucaipa resident who works in construction.

Between prayers, Hart and Heggi read verses.

"This was valuable for me today," Miller said. "They are comforting. They make me realize that I don't have anything to fear."

The roadside prayer stand is a good idea, she said.

"If somebody needed help, I would definitely tell them to stop," she said.

As she pulled away from the stand, Miller headed in the direction of the hospital, but only she and her doctor know if she went there.



Heggi normally sets up shop about 3 p.m., in time to catch the evening commute, and stays until dark.

Motorists stop at random, sometimes nobody for hours and sometimes three or four at a time.

"You can see them coming by and sizing us up," said Hart. "Some people, you can tell by the look on their face, they think we're crazy. That's all right."

Prayer seekers wait patiently for their turn as Heggi and Hart read from their Bibles and kneel in prayer by the side of the cars.

Some people come often. Heggi and Hart call them repeaters.

"One day we were getting bombarded with people," Hart said. "There were three or four people parked here and another car pulled up in the left turn lane and the lady waited and waited. When one of the other cars left, she pulled in. It was like she was at a drive-through."

Ken Stewart, a Loma Linda roofer, recently stopped to pray for his family and to visit Heggi.

"These guys are friends of mine," he said. "I go out there and pray with those guys sometimes.

"You look at the world in which we live, with high unemployment, and you realize there is a lot of need for prayer," Stewart said. "There seem to be a lot of suffering people."

Heggi said he'll be out there until he gets a message from a higher power to stop.

"People stop and get coffee," he said, gesturing to the mini mart across the street. "They stop and get gas. They do everything else, but they forget about prayer. That's the number one thing. I believe prayer is number one."

(Reach Darrell R. Santschi at 951-368-9484 or dsantschi@PE.com )


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I HOPE SO!


SHEPHERD TO SHEEP

I HOPE SO!

(Heb 6:18-19) …we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. {19} This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…

Hope has been defined as the expectation of future good. It means to cherish a desire with anticipation. It is looking forward to something that you are sure will come to pass. It is confidence that tomorrow will be better than today. Now that might sound rosy to some and sort of idealistic to others because life hasn't been that fair to them. They don't like happy faces because that smile has gone south so the best they can do is strive to maintain a straight face. Don't expect much from life because life is hard and will take a lot out of you. Take a lickin' and keep tickin' but I ain't gonna smile. Protect yourself from hurt by keeping your guard up and never trust anyone. Is this your attitude lately? Would you like to change that? I HOPE SO!

Some people have no hope. It's all nope. They can't cope. They mope. They take dope. Some choose a rope. What a slippery slope! Better to grope for hope. Hope is soap. It'll wash away the gloom. Are you ready for high noon?...that brighter tomorrow?? I HOPE SO!

Do you know what I deal with most as a pastor in counseling believers? It is Christians who have lost hope. Believers who have stopped believing. There is nothing to look forward to but misery and despair. Something happened and they lost hope. There is nothing to long for and this plunges them into despondency. They emotionally short circuit and then begin to isolate themselves. In their desire to be comforted they turn to the things of the world. So you can say they isolate and medicate. But to them it's better than hurting.

God gave Abraham a promise that he would have a son. But this was impossible! He and Sarah were passed the child-bearing age. It would have to be a miracle! His faith wasn't perfect and he faltered along the way. But he did have hope! (Rom 4:18-21) who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.


Hope is looking into an empty future and believing God will furnish the house of tomorrow! It is placing faith in the character of God and the promises of God. God is good and His promises are true. God has said He will give me a future and a hope (Jer 29:11). Life might stink now and I see nothing ahead. But my hope is not in what I see but in the Lord who loves me and has a plan for me. I don't know what lies ahead or how things will get better but that's not my problem. God has a way of turning things around. So my hope is not baseless. I'm not just an idealist masking a phony smile and wishing for a better day...someday. Hope increases and maintains my faith. It keeps me believing and achieving all that God has for me.

Have you been a pesky pessimist lately? I ask you, does it feel good and do any good? Do you like the gray and negative world you live in? I'm not asking you to be an idealist or even optimist. I'm encouraging you to stop and refuse to just exist. Will you try it just for one day? How about one week? I HOPE SO!

(Rom 15:13) Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Louie
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