God Fulfills Faith-Based Hopes In God’s Time And God’s Ways

The theme of this blog has been and continues to be that “God fulfills faith-based hopes”. That is, when someone hopes for something, if what they are hoping for is in accordance with God’s will, then God will fulfill whatever is hoped for, in God’s way and in God’s time. That means that it is wise to do your best to discern what is God’s will for you with respect to the situation which is causing you to hope for something. Otherwise, your hope might simply be wishful thinking. It is also important to remember that God will not always fulfill what you are hoping for right away. God might take days, months, years, and even a life-time to fulfill some faith-based hopes. In fact, some hopes will not be fulfilled until after you leave this world. For example, in my service as a pastor, whenever I was called upon to give pastoral care or counseling, I always hoped that whatever I did for someone would be effective. Sometimes I found that God fulfilled my hope very quickly. Sometimes I found many years later that God had fulfilled my hope.

At the same time it is important to remember that hopes are always fulfilled God’s way. Sometimes that turns out to be just what you expected God to do. But sometimes the way God fulfills your hopes can be very different than what you expected. Often God will do much more than you even hoped for. God will sometimes enlarge your hope. Here’s one example that I experienced, which is an excerpt from my book HOPES FULFILLED, which is mentioned below.

 One evening, during a week when things at the church were just not going well, I wanted to put all that totally out of my mind. Sometimes I did that by thinking back to “the good old days” when everything was just fine. So on this evening, my mind went back about 40 years, to my service as a Navy Musician.

The thought came to me that there was one thing from back in those years that I would like to do again – just one more time. And that was to be able to play my saxophone in a big band (for those who don’t know, a big band is what today is often called a stage band). Yes, I still played my saxophone once in a while in church related activities, but to me there was and is nothing like playing in a big band. That was what I hoped for, but I knew this was just wishful thinking. I really had no hope of that ever happening. However, I thought that maybe, via the internet, I could somehow at least find and get in touch with some of the guys in the bands I played in back then. I gave it a try, with no results.

I was about to give up when I landed on a web-site on which I heard the familiar sound of a band playing the U.S. Navy theme song –Anchors Aweigh. That song we all got tired of playing over and over again back in “the good old days”. Now it was sweet music to my ears. I had found the web-site of the Navy Musicians Association (NMA). There I found a membership list, which included at least ten men I had served with or under. I contacted them via e-mail and received replies from all of them.

I learned that this organization was open to any person who had ever served as a Navy Musician, and all were invited to attend their five day annual reunion, during which most of the time was spent playing in the bands. Joan and I promptly registered to attend the next reunion. Upon arrival at the hotel I went to one of the rehearsal rooms to hear the big band playing. I sat there with tears of joy in my eyes. The next day I got out my saxophone, and the time came when I was able to take my place on the bandstand with the others, as I have done again and again at NMA reunions over the past twelve years. This God-given experience again reminded me that if you are hoping for something (like playing in a big band just one more time) and it is God’s will, no matter how impossible it seems, God will fulfill that hope, in God’s time and God’s way. And often God does this in a time frame and in ways that are so much more and better than you ever expected. I was reminded of that only a few weeks ago as I attended the 20th anniversary NMA reunion.

Now, as I continue in my retirement, I still have a lot of hopes. These are expressed in terms of  projects and experiences that I look forward to. Lately I’m realizing that there are so many things on my list  that I know I’ll never get to during my remaining years in this world. So I’m thinking that my most important hope is that God will give me all the wisdom and grace I need to discern which of those things on my list are God’s will for me in my remaining years in this world. Of course, I also have the faith-based ultimate hope that when I leave this world, I will spend eternity with God. I don’t really know exactly what that will be like, but I do hope that it will be a life of peace, love, and joy. And I believe God will fulfill that hope. I  believe God will do the same for you.

Grace and peace,  Ray

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Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.

Patty Perez and Ray Gough

———————————————————————————————————-

We also invite you to view our other web-site Ray of Hope Ministries On-Line Bible Study www.rohmbible.wordpress.com

We have also published the book shown below in the form of an e–book. We invite you to read, copy, or down-load it free at this  web-site:  

       http://www.pastorrayhopesfulfilled.wordpress.com/home

              HOPES FULFILLED

                  A Spiritual Autobiography

                             

     How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes

         of an ordinary guy from Jersey City

 

 

Posted in Discernment, Faith, God, God's grace, God's Will, Good News, Hope, Music, Navy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

God Works A Miracle – Love Wins, Hate Loses.

Last week I was writing my Bible Study blog post (www.rohmbible.wordpress.com). The title was Miracles Demonstrate the Power of God. The point I was trying to make was that while God does not cause disasters (whether natural of human caused) to happen, God can and does sometimes work miracles, which result in good news in the midst of or aftermath of bad news. Hope where there seems to be no hope.

As I was writing that blog I was reminded of all the bad news I had heard and read about over the past few days. War in Iraq and Syria, murders in Philadelphia and other nearby towns.  All sorts of evil going on around the world. I began to question God about all this. Where were the miracles which would tell me and the world that what I was writing was in fact the truth? Good news in the midst of bad news. Hope where there seemed to be hopelessness. My response to that concern was to remind myself that in God’s time and God’s way, God would provide answer. My experience, as a person who has faith in God, has been that this has often been the way God worked in my life. So I published my blog.

Then something happened which again raised my doubts. Later that day I heard the first news report about a human caused disaster. It was the report of the murder of nine black people, including the pastor, of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church of Charleston, South Carolina, as they were engaged in a prayer and Bible study meeting.  This evil act was committed by a 21 year old white man who wanted to kill black people in order to instigate a “race war”

As I watched the continuing news reports about this disaster, the more I wondered what kind of miracle could God possibly perform that would demonstrate good news in the midst of bad news and hope where there seemed to be no hope. The only thing that came to my mind was that maybe God would miraculously strike this evil man dead. That’s the kind of news I wanted to hear. That was the good news I hoped for. I imagined that the family members and friends of those who were murdered would feel just like I did. Surely they would in no uncertain terms condemn this man, or even take the law into their own hands, and do to him what he did to them.

The next day I watched news reports, which were all over the TV, about the capture and arraignment of  the murderer. The family members of those who he killed were allowed to speak directly to this evil young man. My expectation was that they would all tell him how much they hated him. They would condemn him with the strongest language imaginable. But that’s not what happened. The front page headline of my newspaper read ‘HATE DOESN’T WIN’… “victim’s families call for forgiveness”. The mayor of Charleston (Joseph Riley, Jr.)  was quoted as saying “This hateful person came to this community with some crazy idea that he would be able to divide and all he did was make us more united and love each other even more. This community wants to come together in prayer and unity and help each other “. As if to show that what the mayor said was in fact the truth, on many of the TV news show, I saw over and over again, the people of Charleston, black and white together, supporting each other. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this public response to this evil act was in fact a perfect example of God working a miracle. A miracle in which love defeated hate. A miracle which the whole world could see unfolding through the frequent news reports. Good news in the midst of bad news. Hope where there seemed to be no hope. A miracle demonstrating the love and power of God.

Grace and peace,  Ray

———————————————————————————————————–

Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.

Patty Perez and Ray Gough

———————————————————————————————————-

We also invite you to view our other web-site Ray of Hope Ministries On-Line Bible Study www.rohmbible.wordpress.com

We have also published the book shown below in the form of an e–book. We invite you to read, copy, or down-load it free at this  web-site:  

       http://www.pastorrayhopesfulfilled.wordpress.com/home

              HOPES FULFILLED

                  A Spiritual Autobiography

                             

     How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes

         of an ordinary guy from Jersey City

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Church, Faith, God, Good News, Hope, News media, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

There’s Nothing Confusing Or Misleading About God’s Directions

During my service as a pastor, I did a considerable amount of traveling to meetings and other events. One thing I discovered was that in my state, New Jersey, directions on roadside signs were often confusing or misleading. For example, I frequently traveled north on Interstate Route 295. Just after the exit for Route 1, there was a sign saying “Route 295 North Ends, Begin Route 95 South”. Just like that, at a point selected for what seemed to be no apparent reason, there was an official sign telling me that even though I had not turned around, but was continuing straight ahead on the same road, I was now traveling south instead of north, on a different highway. One day somebody explained to me there was a logical explanation for this. But still, for one who comes upon this sign for the first time, it was confusing.

Another time I was traveling to a town in southern New Jersey (the part which my wife Joan calls Never Never Land). My map showed that it should be an easy trip, with no confusion. As I traveled it looked to me like that was the case. No confusing road signs. Until I came to a point where the roadside sign disagreed with my map. I decided that the roadside sign was more likely to be correct, so I went where it told me to go. However after another few miles I came to a T intersection, and there was no roadside sign telling me which way to go for the town I was looking for, and no hint of a street name or highway number. At this point I was lost. Let me explain that if I find myself in the wrong place while driving, that does not mean I’m lost. It just means I know where I am, but that’s not where I want to be. Lost is when I don’t know where I am. Which was the situation at that intersection. However, using the sun to help get my bearings, I turned in the right direction and soon found the place I wanted to be.

Now this was years before GPS units were available. Once I did get a GPS unit, I felt at ease when driving to places new to me. I had faith in my GPS unit,and my faith seemed to be justified. That is, until I was on a long distance trip, and pulled into a mall parking lot. I took care of whatever it was I stopped for at the mall. Turned on my GPS unit, expecting that it would direct me to the exit I had to use to continue my trip. This was a really big parking lot. So I wasn’t surprised that I had to make a few turns in order to get to the correct exit. However, I soon realized that the GPS unit was taking me on a full scale tour of the parking lot. So I ignored it and relied on my intuition to found my way out of the parking lot.

I could go on and on about missing and faulty directions, but you get the idea. No doubt you’ve been there too. And there will always be roadside and other signs which are confusing and/or misleading. So we just have to learn to live with that. In fact, there are other aspects of life in which it is not clear as to what to do. However, I have found also that as the years have gone by, the one sure thing is the directions I receive from God as to how I am to live my life.

I admit that all too often I have tried to do some really good things with my life, but failed to first seek or accept God’s directions as to how to proceed. The worst time of my life was when I was unemployed (For the full details I invite you to read my free e-book (see details below). For a number of years I clearly heard God telling me that it was time for me to move on from my work with a Christian non-profit organization, and begin the process of becoming a pastor in the United Methodist Church. I could not honestly say I didn’t know what God wanted to do with me (what God wanted me to do). I just ignored God, saying that I could never become a pastor.I had three reasons for saying this. I didn’t have time to go to seminary, because I needed to work full time at my current job. If I gave up my job I wouldn’t have the money to pay for seminary. I didn’t have the mental capacity to go through seminary.

After a few years of saying no to God, I found myself unemployed. Eventually I came to realize that my unemployment was God’s way of telling me that those excuses no longer applied. So after trying to find all kinds of secular employment unsuccessfully, I said yes to God and applied and was accepted in seminary and began serving as a part time student local pastor, hoping that I would succeed. I found that I had all the time and money I needed, and no problem with my intellectual capacity. I don’t mean to brag, but I graduated four years later at the top of my class. That’s what happened when I finally sought, heard, and accepted God’s will. God provided everything that was needed. What God did with and for me, God will do for anyone and everyone who discerns and accepts God’s will for them. I can tell you from experience, there’s nothing confusing or misleading about that. Because there’s nothing confusing or misleading about God’s directions. When one’s hopes are in accordance with God’s will, God will fulfill those hopes.

Grace and peace,  Ray

———————————————————————————————————–

Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.

Patty Perez and Ray Gough

———————————————————————————————————-

We also invite you to view our other web-site Ray of Hope Ministries On-Line Bible Study www.rohmbible.wordpress.com

We have also published the book shown below in the form of an e–book. We invite you to read, copy, or down-load it free at this  web-site:  

       http://www.pastorrayhopesfulfilled.wordpress.com/home

              HOPES FULFILLED

                  A Spiritual Autobiography

                             

     How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes

         of an ordinary guy from Jersey City

 

Posted in Discernment, Faith, God, God's Directions, God's grace, God's Will, Good News, Hope, Life Style, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Memorial Day – A Day of Hope

May 25 was  Memorial Day in the USA. Memorial Day has a different meaning for different people. For some it is part of a long weekend, when you have an extra day to  take a rest from the busyness of daily life. For others it is the unofficial start of the summer season, after going through a long, hard, cold winter.There’s nothing wrong with any of that, as long as we don’t forget the real meaning and purpose of Memorial Day. It is the day we honor and remember those who gave their lives for God and country . Those who died while serving as members of the armed forces of the USA. Of course, we can do that any day and every  day, but we need this one day a year to be reminded that “freedom isn’t free”. The freedom we have in the USA has been bought and paid for with their  lives.

As we experience Memorial Day as a day of remembering and honoring them, it is a day of tinged with sadness and sorrow. We are reminded of the loss of loved ones who died in military service – parents, children, other family members and beloved friends. We have no hope of experiencing their physical presence with us as we go through the rest of our lives in this world. We will never know what they might have become or accomplished if they had not died so young.

When we realize how much we have lost due to their absence, Memorial Day can be experienced as a day of bad news and hopelessness. But in the midst of this bad news there is a good news. In the midst of feeling hopeless, there is hope. I know and believe this for at least three reasons.

1. While we can no longer experience their physical presence, we can experience their spiritual presence through the God-given gift of memory. Through old photos, movies, letters, and other artifacts, and as we talk about them with each other, we can experience the presence of their spirit. We can talk to them. And we can even hear them talking to us. Not in the form of actual sound, but in our minds. And some of us are fortunate enough to have actual sound recordings of their voices speaking to us from the past.

2. We can take comfort in our awareness that in some way they are now living in that place which Jesus told his first disciples that he was going to prepare for them.  The place we call heaven. I can’t describe what heaven looks like, or where it is, or exactly what’s going on there. However, I am convinced that our loved ones, whose lives in this world ended too soon, are alive and well in that place. They no longer experience the bad news that we all face to some extent in life in this world. My faith in God leads me to believe that God is not only a God of love, but is love personified.Therefore, I believe that our loved ones are experiencing nothing but love, peace, and joy eternally. That means for a long time. That means forever. And that is good news.

3. Finally, I believe that the time will come when we leave this world, however that happens, and we will join our loved ones. I can’t describe what they and we will look like or sound like. The only thing I can say is that God has arranged it so that we will know each other and be able to communicate with each other. We will experience each other. We will experience  what John Wesley, the founder of Methodism called “perfection in love”. We will be living with our loved ones as we all experience the presence of God.

Based upon my personal experience, I can tell you that on Memorial Day, I can’t avoid some feelings of  sadness and sorrow. But at the same time, through faith in the one and only true God, I celebrate Memorial Day as a day of  good news in the midst of bad news. Hope where there seems to be no hope. Hope for those who paid the price for freedom in the USA. Hope for those of us who continue to live in a world filled with bad new and hopelessness, and hope for the United States of America. I believe that God has and will fulfill all of these hopes, in his time and his way.

Grace and peace,  Ray

———————————————————————————————————–

Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.

Patty Perez and Ray Gough

———————————————————————————————————-

We also invite you to view our other web-site Ray of Hope Ministries On-Line Bible Study www.rohmbible.wordpress.com

We have also published the book shown below in the form of an e–book. We invite you to read, copy, or down-load it free at this  web-site:  

       http://www.pastorrayhopesfulfilled.wordpress.com/home

              HOPES FULFILLED

                  A Spiritual Autobiography

                             

     How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes

         of an ordinary guy from Jersey City

 

 

Posted in Eternity, Faith, Freedom, God, Good News, Heaven, Hope, Love, Memorial Day, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to Overcome the Complications And Burdens Of Life

Have you been feeling that life is getting too complicated? I came to that conclusion some time ago when I received a piece of mail from a government organization. It used to be that regardless of who sent you a piece of mail, there was nothing complicated about opening the envelope. It’s not the same anymore.

On the front of the envelope was the instruction “Read instructions for opening on other side”. So I turned the envelope to the other side and found further instructions. “Open ends first ends. Fold and tear at perforation at top”. Of course, I could have figured this out myself, but I am one of those people who always read the instructions first.

As it turned out, opening the envelope was only the first step. There were then instructions as to what it was they wanted you to with the contents of the envelope. But I won’t go into that. You get my point. If things have gotten to the point where we need instructions to open an envelope, life is really getting complicated.

Sometimes the complications of life get to be really burdensome. If only we could find a simpler way of life. To some extent we can do that, but in these times we can’t fully escape the complications of life in this world.

However, there is something we can always do.  Jesus said, “Come unto me, all that are weary carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

We cannot escape all the burdensome complications of life, but Jesus promised to lighten the load and make it much easier to get through them. Jesus promised that if we turn the things that are complicating our lives over to him, we will experience the joy of life, despite the burdens of life. If you are finding too many burdens in your life these days, then invite Jesus to lighten the load. I can tell you from personal experience, that it really works. Jesus keeps his promises. That is a hope that has been fulfilled for me. If you want to know more about my experience with Jesus, you might want to read my free e-book, HOPES FULFILLED. See below for details.)

Grace and peace,  Ray

———————————————————————————————————–

Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.

Patty Perez and Ray Gough

———————————————————————————————————-

We also invite you to view our other web-site Ray of Hope Ministries On-Line Bible Study www.rohmbible.wordpress.com

We have also published the book shown below in the form of an e–book. We invite you to read, copy, or down-load it free at this  web-site:  

       http://www.pastorrayhopesfulfilled.wordpress.com/home

              HOPES FULFILLED

                  A Spiritual Autobiography

                             

     How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes

         of an ordinary guy from Jersey City

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Instead Of Asking God To Fix A Problem, Try Asking God “What Should I Do?”

A few days ago, knowing that it would soon  be time to write another post for this blog, I had no idea what I was going to write. Of course, it would have to be something about the subject of hope, since that is the basic purpose of this blog. I thought I might find something in the newspaper that I could use as an example of hope being fulfilled or good news in the midst of bad news. Oh, there was a lot to hope for and a lot of bad news, but nothing that I read really inspired me at the moment. I was hoping that God would give me some inspiration, but I wasn’t hearing anything. So what to do?

Later that day I had to write a letter, using my computer. Nothing important. Just something to get out of the way. So I brought up the list of links on my external hard drive. I clicked on the link that said “letterhead”, which is where I electronically store letters I have issued. This should have taken about five minutes. However, it didn’t work that  way.  Oh, the letter I was looking for was there. But in the middle of the screen, covering the letter was an announcement from Microsoft. I can’t remember exactly what it said, but the basic message was along the lines of  “Microsoft Word has stopped working. We will let you know if we can find a solution”. Not good news, but I had hope that the problem would soon be resolved. So I waited. Nothing happened. I then brought up some other links I had stored on my external hard drive, hoping that the problem was just with that one link. However, every link which I had written with Microsoft Word had the same announcement. This was bad news. Especially since I don’t know a thing about fixing computer problems. But I still had hope that this could be resolved.

I then decided to do a complete check on the status of my computer, using my anti-virus/ malware program, which I have been using for years, and is very reliable. I had the program do everything it was able to do, and it gave me a complete status report on everything in the computer. This took most of the rest of the day. I wasn’t getting anything anything else done. The end result of all this was that there was nothing wrong with the computer. That was good news. The bad news was that the problem was still there, and the diagnostic report showed that “Microsoft Word is not working”. But I still had hope that I could discover how to fix this problem.

I spent most of the next day trying to figure out what I could do to fix my problem. I then remembered that the specific Microsoft Word program I was using was Microsoft 2003. About a week before I had received an e-mail from Microsoft about renewing and updating my program. At the time I decided that I didn’t need to respond to that. I didn’t really need upgrading, and everything was working okay. So I disposed of that e-mail. But now, about a week later, I began thinking that maybe the authorized use of the 2003 program had come to an end and I had to buy the program they were advertising via e-mail. By the end of the day I gave up hoping that I could get the Microsoft 2003 program working again. There was no good news in the midst of the bad news.There was nothing else to do but buy a new program.

After two days of dealing with this problem, with no success, I was beginning to feel guilty that I had given up on it. How could I honestly write in this blog that if what I was hoping for was in accordance with God’s will, then God would fulfill what I was hoping for? Early in the morning of the third day (today)I again prayed about this problem. Instead of asking God to fix it, I simply asked God “what should I do?” And guess what, God answered, reminding me that I still had the CDs which I used to install the Microsoft 2003 program. And there was no reason that I could not reinstall the program with those CDs. If I did that it might just start working again. So that’s what I did. And it worked.

Remember how I said at the top of this blog that I couldn’t find anything to write about? I was hoping for some inspiration from God, but I wasn’t hearing anything. Now as I’m finishing today’s blog I am realizing that this morning God actually fulfilled two of my hopes at the same time. Not only did God fulfill my hope for fixing my computer problem, but God used that incident to fulfill my hope for inspiration as to what to write in today’s blog. I was also reminded that even though God is usually faced with really big issues (war, natural disasters, crime, and all kinds f suffering), God is always available to deal with our much smaller issues (like writing a blog and fixing a computer problem). Also, God fulfills faith-based hopes, not necessarily according to our schedules or expectations, but in God’s time and God’s way.

Grace and peace,  Ray

———————————————————————————————————–

Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.

Patty Perez and Ray Gough

———————————————————————————————————-

We also invite you to view our other web-site Ray of Hope Ministries On-Line Bible Study www.rohmbible.wordpress.com

We have also published the book shown below in the form of an e–book. We invite you to read, copy, or down-load it free at this  web-site:  

       http://www.pastorrayhopesfulfilled.wordpress.com/home

              HOPES FULFILLED

                  A Spiritual Autobiography

                             

     How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes

         of an ordinary guy from Jersey City

 

 

Posted in Computers, Discernment, Faith, God, God's Will, Good News, Hope, Inspiration, Listening, Patience, Perseverance, Prayer, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our Hopes + God’s Will = Hopes Fulfilled

Thanks for visiting our web-site. We also invite you to view our other web-site Ray of Hope Ministries On-Line Bible Study www.rohmbible.wordpress.com

We have also published the book shown below in the form of an e–book. We invite you to read, copy, or down-load it free at this  web-site:  

       http://www.pastorrayhopesfulfilled.wordpress.com/home

              HOPES FULFILLED

                  A Spiritual Autobiography

                             

     How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes

         of an ordinary guy from Jersey City

———————————————————————————————————-

Our Hopes + God’s Will = Hopes Fulfilled

In my book, HOPES FULFILLED, which is described at the top of this post, I have written about some of my experiences in serving as a pastor in United Methodist Churches for 21 years. I am happy to say that, during those years the people of the churches I served accepted and pursued most of the ideas for ministry that I proposed to them. However, that was not always the case. There were times when I tried to convince the lay leadership of the church that we needed to start certain forms of ministry. These were ministries I was sure we could accomplish, but would take some commitment on the part of our people. However, sometimes the initial response to my suggestions ranged from “we can’t do that” to simple lack of interest or enthusiasm. So after a period of apparently failing to convincing anyone in the church to help start and proceed with these ministries, I lost hope and reluctantly forgot about them. Then, after a period of a few weeks to a few months or even years, someone would come to me and, to my joyful surprise, ask “when are we going to begin that ministry you were talking about?”. In one case, one of our new members, who had never even heard one of my proposals, asked me if she could use our facilities for a ministry very similar to one that I had proposed but given up on. Right away she proceeded to successfully organize and conduct the new ministry.

As I was writing my book, remembering all of those times when I had given up hope, only to eventually see those hopes fulfilled, I came to realize what I call the motto of Ray-of- Hope Ministries:

When just one person hope for something, and that something is in accordance with God’s will, God will assure that the hope will be fulfilled, in God’s time and God’s way.

This means that it is important that we, individually and collectively, do our best to seek God’s will in all things, and say yes to whatever we hear from God, and then use all the grace that God gives us, to pursue our part in doing whatever it is that we are hoping for. Then leave the means and the timing of fulfillment, in God’s hands.

Last Sunday I was again reminded of this motto, as the church my wife Joan and I now attend, Vincentown United Methodist Church, which I previously served as pastor for eight years, reluctantly ended its participation in a very effective ministry called Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN). When I began serving this church 17 years ago, I suggested that it join a number of other churches in our area who were helping the families  served by IHN. Each of the participating churches took turns providing overnight housing and some meals in their facilities for temporarily homeless families. Each of the participating churches provide this service for one week about every two or three months. Each church would provide a volunteer coordinator and about 35 additional volunteers or so volunteers to actively conduct the ministry.

When I initially proposed that we become one of the participating churches, the church lay leadership made it clear that we could  not be involved in that program. So it became another instance in which I was very disappointed, but  decided it was hopeless to pursue it any further.

A few years later, the church completed a spiritual growth study which was attended by a small number of people, including some who had recently become members. The purpose of the study was to encourage the people of the church to become involved in hands on service ministries for people in need. Shortly after the study ended, one of our newer members, unaware that I had proposed the IHN ministry some years earlier, proposed that we become participants in this program. This time our church leadership and everyone agreed that we should could and should be one of the participating churches. She agreed to be the coordinator. Once again, as in other churches I had served, my hopelessness had turned into a hope fulfilled – in God’s time and God’s way.

Just as these hope was fulfilled, it was time for my formal retirement. As a retired pastor, I then agreed to serve as a part-time pastor at a nearby small church. I served there for four years. After that, Joan and I then began attending the church I had last served as a full-time pastor, where the IHN ministry was still in operation. So I began serving as one of the volunteers who served in that ministry.

I continued to serve in that ministry for the next five years, until about a month ago, when participation by our church came to an end, due to the lack of a sufficient number of volunteers. I was very disappointed that the decision had been made to end our participation. However, I do understand that this was a reluctant decision that really had to be made. Nevertheless, I was very concerned that I heard no talk of finding a new form of ministry that we could realistically participate in.

With this concern on my mind, last Sunday I joined a group of most of the remaining IHN volunteers, for a lunch recognizing the service in this ministry by our church for the past about years. As we were all about to leave, one of the volunteers expressed that she was sorry to see our participation in this program come to an end, but she hoped that the leadership of the church would discover some other essential ministry which could take its place. She was expressing my feelings that we needed to be involved in some kind of community service ministry.

As soon as she mentioned this, the last person to serve as coordinator of our IHN ministry made a statement consisting of just five words. She said “We’re already working on it.” I then spoke up, briefly commenting on how, about 17 years ago, the IHN ministry had been rejected when I suggested it, but a few years later, it had been adopted. And even though I didn’t know anything about this new program that was in the works, someone did know about it and had hopes for ts fulfillment.

Once again, I knew that God was going to assure that whatever our new ministry is going to be,  when just one person hopes for something, and if it is in accordance with God’s will, God will assure that the hope will be fulfilled – in God’s time and God’s way. This means that it is important that we, individually and collectively, do our best to seek God’s will in all things, say “yes” to whatever we hear from God, and then use all the grace that God gives us, to pursue whatever it is that we are hoping for. Then leave the means and the timing of fulfillment, in God’s hands.

Grace and peace,  Ray

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Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.

Patty Perez and Ray Gough

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