PRAYING THE VIOLENCE AWAY
June is a celebratory month. It is a month of reflection and having fun. It is a time of thanking God for sunny weather, vacations, weddings, graduations, and so much more. Graduating from high school is a major milestone marking another chapter of one’s life which includes making tough decisions for the future—will it be college, trade school, or technical school in your future? This has been a trying time for our teens. Some of the classmates or teachers they journeyed through high school with won’t be there because of the recent gun violence in our most precious and safe place—school.
The surviving students, parents, and families need your prayers. Who would have ever imagined that a day that should be so festive and exciting instead is filled with sadness and emptiness. Some of our children will never be the same. Tragedy struck and left an indelible impression on their young, tender minds. They are forever tarnished by gun violence. The radiance of graduation became a cloud of gloom hovering all over the nation as we reflect on those gone too soon. What can we do to cover the pain of those horrific events or repair what is shattered in our society?
Stop, think, and be mindful of something we can all do: pray. It takes little effort. Try this:
Heavenly Father, ease the torment that is afflicting our youth. Heavenly Father, renew minds and restore the innocence of life. Heavenly Father, lay your merciful hands on all that see no end to an unforeseen and unknowing tunnel of life. Heavenly Father, open our eyes and unplug our ears so that we can experience the beauty of all creation. Heavenly Father, teach us to respect life and not take pleasure in tearing each other down. We are Your children, created in Your image. Heavenly Father, restore safety and peace in the land, but most of all fill our empty hearts with deep and lasting love for our fellow man.
This is the month to honor mothers. A mother’s heart is a strong and enduring vessel of love, understanding, and forgiveness always prepared to serve her children. Mom is a protective mama bear for her offspring from birth until death. Celebrate your mother as the wonderful person she is on Mother’s Day. Do something unique that expresses how special she is to you. A mother is a delicate flower that expresses her inner beauty in so many ways. When you are in pain, your mom feels your pain. She is an emotional, calm spirit that feels sick when you are sick and overjoyed when you are happy; she shares your feelings. She is an angel spreading her wings over your life—guarding, supporting, and celebrating your successes. She has ample strength and power to spread love and care among many children. What an excellent gift God has given to us.
Mothers should never be overlooked, or what she provides taken for granted. Honor her for the nights she was awakened to sit at your side and nurse you tirelessly back to health when you were sick. She kept you looking your very best; just think how many heads of hair she had to comb, little bodies to bathe, many loads of laundry to wash, and countless delicious meals to prepare. And, she did these things lovingly and willingly.
Remember, you have been blessed to have your mom from the moment she held you proudly within her own body until birth, and throughout the time she delicately cared for and protected you from infancy to where you are now. We should all pause to thank God daily for His enduring and consistent expression of love that He has bestowed through our loving mothers.
New life is springing forward. Look for it. Nurture it, water it, and watch it grow. What died in the fall and decayed by the snow and cold is gone forever. But new growth in opportunities, health, relationships, employment, and more are waiting to sprout in your life. Do not stomp it out with negative thoughts, unhealthy behaviors, and lack of understanding. Feed the new life the fresh water of hope. A good life is built on learning, positive people, and positive thinking. There is so much out there waiting for you to harvest. Don’t look back. This is a new day—the old is gone.
Create a big dream, like a beautiful picture puzzle. Start putting the pieces in place one at a time. If you can’t find a piece, don’t stop—once you put all the other pieces together, the few you couldn’t find will show up or be more visible in the end.
In a world of uncertainties, what is for certain? One is the truth and the other is what is in your heart. We cannot change the entire world, but we can change the piece that is in us. What are the reasons for hate, prejudice, and greed? They are all feeding off the same evil fruit and that is fear. Fear is said to be false evidence appearing real. Ask yourself, when is the last time someone broke into a home and the homeowner’s gun was handy enough to use it? How many muggings do you personally know about? When was something taken from you and given to another? These abuses are uncommon and rare occurrences and not the norm. But THEY—whomever THEY are—would have you become paranoid.
We cannot live by or in fear. We must live by hope and in hope. The glass is always half full. 350,000,000 people live in our country. Why are we frightened by insignificant numbers of abuses we see on TV? I hope life gets better, I hope people care about each other, I hope we ignore the ignorant and educate the illiterate, support the weak and feed the poor. Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not be mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (KJV).
God set this world in place and He alone will have the last word. It doesn’t matter how or when He does it, it doesn’t matter what you see and hear with your own eyes and ears. Realize today that He is in control; when you think everything is out of control, it isn’t.
Live your life by the Word of God and please Him in all you do. We must rise above our humanity into the spirituality of God. Then you will become strong. Put His word into practice—that is our challenge. Judge nothing.
SIT BACK AND ENJOY THE RIDE
My desire is to affect even one person’s life with the positive message of hope. Yes, this one word, like a rudder of a great ship or the tail of a 747 jetliner, guides you out of a downward spiral into an acceptable peace. I am truly thankful if Grain of Hope steered you in the right direction.
I have been blogging about the brighter sides of life—the hopeful side of life. I challenge you to make this the only side of life even when tragedies or disruptions happen. Be patient, talk to God, and wait on Him. He’ll come. Setbacks are just detours. Relax; detours only make the journey a little longer and maybe difficult. You will eventually arrive at your destination or a resemblance of it or something better. Life is very similar to starting out on a journey of good anticipations. Be very careful on roads that are narrow or tight, or roads that you might have to carefully navigate to avoid bumps and potholes. Not all roads will be wide, newly paved, clearly marked stretches of highways with beautiful nature scenes. That’s not realistic. Some journeys are short, others long. Keep going. Don’t stop—your journey’s end is awaiting.
Prepare for your journey, set your internal navigation system, and have faith that it will lead you there. God can be your internal navigation system and it takes faith or hope in Him to find the “right” destination. Buckle your seat belts (which is prayer) and do everything you can possibly do (which is believe) and you will get there safely most of the time. I say most of the time because sometimes the unexpected or disappointments occur. The best set plans can run amuck even if you trust God. I can’t explain why this happens, but I can declare that there is a lesson to be learned or a life to be changed. One thing is for sure: someone is going to experience spiritual growth in the grand scheme of things.
I quit trying to figure out God’s plan or even minor setbacks in everyday life. LIFE HAPPENS! We will never know the answer to most everything because truth resides in the bosom of our Creator. He only gives us a quick kiss of His wisdom and a small portion of His love in our heart. We don’t have the ability to contain the full capacity of God. We are helpless and sometimes hopeless in a crisis and maybe that is the only way we can reach higher into the heavens for answers. I believe I was never nearer to God than in my crisis. I learned how to trust and have faith in God in a way I don’t believe I would have if I had not experienced the death of my sons.
It is the greatest spiritual comfort to believe and rely on God. Even in the midst of danger and fear, His warmth burns through like the tiny ember that created a forest to burn. I can’t imagine daily life without believing and having faith in God.
START THE NEW YEAR “NEW”
What would you do if you didn’t need money to do it? Well, get started doing it before it is too late. My New Year’s resolution is a great resolution for anyone. I want to be a new person in 2018. How about you? It’s time to try something new, be something new, and do something new. Now, what can that be? For me, I am going to create a utopia. No matter what goes on in the world, I am not going to let it upset or disrupt the equilibrium of my utopia. That means I must take control of my feelings and emotions and allow them to guide me into goodness. If evil prevails, how much more can goodness prevail? My days are going to be sunny even when there are dark clouds and rainstorms challenging my emotions.
Sometimes we must hunt and gather goodness as squirrels hunt and gather nuts for the winter. Be persistent—whatever we are searching for to fill our soul, we will find it. Store up in your soul enough good to carry you through the stormy nights and high floods that create obstacles in your life along the way. Never let gloom cast a dark shadow over the fact that you have good health, plenty of food to eat, and a warm home in which to live—not to mention the many good things God has done for you and continues to do for you. I know you have reasons to be thankful for something God has done for you. Keep His light is shining through everything you do. Let all your intentions please God. He is the creator of joy and fulfilment and He makes all things new. Politics, history, pain, and diversity are passing moments and must never be given permanence in your utopia; patience is the virtue of a new day and change is what you can be sure of.
If you create your own utopia, happiness will ooze out of your spirit in the form of good deeds. Who can you help? Who could use a little money? Who needs a helping hand? Is there a lonely soul that needs a friend? Find one and be one. Spread peace and love generously. The benefits are enormous. Good deeds result in good health; a healthy glow on your face and your spirit will never be thirsty.
Be new in 2018. Whatever you were in 2017, be a new person in 2018.