Another Personal Example of Hope Fulfilled – Part 2

Here’s another Hope Fulfilled story from my personal journal. This was written 15 years ago, a few days after my second Easter Sunday worship service at the church I was then serving as pastor. This journal entry is about that service. I have to explain that in this service I was introducing something which would break a long standing tradition at this church. Communion was served at this service. Communion was served with the ushers taking the communion elements to the people, who remained seated. What was going to be different this time, was that I would invite the people to come forward and stand or kneel at the communion rail, where I would serve each person. Does the statement “We never did it that way before” sound familiar? My hope was that at least a few people would participate in what was to them, a new thing. My fear was that no one would participate. Here’s what happened. Also new was a dramatic sketch  as part of the sermon, and the recently introduced praise band (in which I played saxophone):

I believe it was the most glorious Easter service I’ve ever experienced (attended or conducted). All the elements of the service fit just right – the dramatic sketch (our first), a song by the praise band (The Witnesses), the choir, ministry with children, the sermon – which I truly preached from the heart, and the call to the communion rail. Would the people come forward to the communion rail? I wasn’t sure. Again, I had heard the now familiar words, “we never did it that way before”. But they did come. They filled the rail. Two deep in one spot.

I had to stop singing. I was so overwhelmed as they came down. And then – to top it off – my daughter Christine, who was home from college, came down. That was too much. Oh yes, Jesus was alive and present – standing in our midst. And we did all that  (or God did it) in the frame of the usual service.

I believe that God used this and  other situations like it to instill within me this belief that if you hope for something, and what you are hoping for is in accordance with God’s will, then God will assure that your hope will be fulfilled, in God’s time and God’s way. I have also come to understand that this means that all of us, individually and collectively (church, family, community, nation, etc.), if our hopes are to be fulfilled, then we have to listen to God and discern God’s will concerning whatever we are hoping for, to the best of our ability. Otherwise, what we are hoping for will be nothing but wishful thinking.

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 Change, Church, Discernment, Easter, Faith, God's Will, Good News, Holy Communion, Hope, Jesus | 1 Comment

A Personal Example Of Hope Fulfilled

If you are a regular reader of our Today’s Enlightenment blog, you know that our theme is HOPE. I believe that if you are hoping for  something to happen, and if it is in accordance with God’s will, God will assure that it will be fulfilled, in God’s time and God’s way. Otherwise, it will just be wishful thinking. Recently I got out my personal journals, written over the past 15 years. As is probably true of most pastors, there were a lot of things I wanted to happen during those years. Now I wanted to see if there was evidence of hopes fulfilled.  during the years in which I had served as a United Methodist pastor. I was pleased to find that in my first journal entry am there was about a hope fulfilled. As I read, I am found a good amount of wishful thinking, but also a lot of hopes fulfilled. So I thought that if I shared some of the stories of hopes fulfilled, they might encourage you to see how God has been and is fulfilling hopes in your life. So that’s what I will be writing about in my blog posts from time to time. Here’s one example.

I had served as the pastor of the church in which this incident took place just under two years. It was about that time that I felt that God was leading me toward change in the church, including the worship service. During the preceding months some of the members of the congregation and I had been attending training events concerning various areas of church life. Each session was taught by a person with expertise in the topic of the day. For the most part these presentations provided both spiritual and practical content, with the intent of encouraging revival in the churches. Here’s what I wrote  about one of these training events, a few days before I had scheduled a healing service as part of our Sunday worship service. This would be something entirely new for this congregation. It would be looked upon as a big change.

The last few days have been filled with both  challenges to my faith, and assurance that God’s will, will be done and there would be positive results). The April 1 Training Program was not good. Nothing spiritual or uplifting about it. No recognition by the speaker of God being at work. Then one of the long-term, vocal and  active members of the church made some negative comments about the healing service, which would take place in a few days at the regular Sunday worship service. It was one of the few times that I actually heard someone say “we’ve never done that before.

Early on the morning of the healing service I wasn’t feeling good about it. So I asked the choir to pray for me about this. Then one of our newer members gave me some words of encouragement. One of our long-term members assured me that God would make everything okay.

The worship service proceeded as usual. Then it was time for the healing service.  I thought that  three or four people might come to the communion rail for healing. Or maybe no one would come. But to my surprise and amazement, 30 or more came forward and kneeled to be prayed over and anointed with the healing oil. That was about a third to a quarter of those present that day. I knew that God’s will was being done that day. I heard so many sincere comments about how meaningful it was to them. No question about it. Jesus was present with us. God id good. All the time. God fulfilled my based-faith hope for a positive response to this service.

After that we continued to have a healing service once a month. While we never experienced an instant “miraculous” healing, almost every time, during the week or two after each healing service, one or more people would let me know  that they had experienced some kind of healing. Someone  would tell me  that the physical  ache or pain they were experiencing had disappeared. Another person  would report  that a broken relationship with a friend or relative had been healed. At other times I would hear from someone who had experienced a new relationship with God.

These were the kind of responses I was hoping for. Because that was my response when, years before I became a pastor, I attended a healing service at the church in which I was a member. The particular physical ailment I was experiencing was healed. Based on my own experience and the message I received in the Bible(James 5:13-16), I was sure that God was now inspiring me to introduce the healing service at the church I was serving. As it turned out, my hope for the effectiveness of the healing service was not just wishful thinking. It was a faith-based hope which God fulfilled. God will do the same for you. If you are hoping for something, take time to seek God’s will for you. If your hope is in agreement with God’s will for you, then you can expect God to fulfill that faith-based hope, in God’s time and God’s way.

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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 Bible, Change, Church, Discernment, Faith, God, God's Will, Good News, Healing Service, Hope, Inspiration | 1 Comment

People Are Looking For Jesus, Even If They Don’t Realize It

For about a year, I have been putting off replacing my hot water heater. The one I have is working okay, but it has probably been in my house for about 20 years. Better to replace now, than be faced with an immediate emergency later. A few days ago I decided to take action. I turned to the internet and found a supplier who showed a number of models, which I narrowed down to one which had the right specifications and price. But I needed some additional information, such as costs of delivery, installation, disposal of the old unit, permit fee, etc.

The web-site of the supplier showed a phone number to call for information not shown on the web-site. My past experience in calling organizations has not always been good. Maybe that’s also been your experience. Too many times I have dialed a number as directed. After a few rings someone speaks. I hear a recorded message, which says  “all of our representatives are busy at this time, but your call is important to us. Someone will be with you shortly.” The minutes go by –5, 10,15. Then they cut you off. My call is important to them? Yeah, right.

Or maybe I hear a different recorded message. “For your convenience, we invite you to use our automated system.” Then the voice give me a menu of numbers to press. But the problem is that my questions don’t fall into their neat little categories. “For my convenience”, you say. I’ll believe it when I believe we had snow in New Jersey on the 4th of July.

In this case, I went through all of that and eventually got to talk to a live person, who asked “how can I help you?”. I explained that I was considering buying this particular unit which I had on my computer screen. I told her that I needed to know some of the costs. She promptly replied by giving me the price of the unit, which was a few hundred dollars more than what the web-site was showing for that model number. I told her what the web-site said. She told me that I must have read it wrong. I then told her that I was looking at the item on the web-site at that very moment, and I did not read it wrong. Then she went on to say some things which made no sense to me, asking me if I was looking at a dotcom web-site or something else. When I asked to speak to a management person who would know just what I was talking about, she again said something I didn’t understand, but probably meant “no”. At which time I hung up.

I called the suggested phone number again, but this time when the voice announced the menu numbers, I chose the one which was the equivalent of “other”. That was a good choice. In less than five minutes I had all the information I needed. The person I spoke to also apologized for the response I received in my first call.

Now, you might wonder why I am telling this to you. You might be thinking, “what does this have to do with with the subject of HOPE, which is the theme of this blog?” Just this. People are tired of the runaround they all too often get when they contact government, non-profit agencies, and corporate organizations. People are looking , even longing, for someone who will not just say “we care”, but will actually show that they care. To put it another way, people are looking for Jesus, even if they don’t realize it.

In The Bible we find stories telling about how Jesus talks about caring for (loving) others, and demonstrates how to do that. There is a general assumption that one of the primary purposes of a pastor is to “help” the people of the church they serve. That is, to be like Jesus for them. While there is some truth to that, and as a pastor I have tried to do that, my experience, as a lay person and as a pastor, has been that many times I have needed people who cared about me. Many times I have   prayed and continue to pray, expressing my hope that God would provide someone who would be there for me. That I would not be “placed on hold”. That I would not be contradicted about whatever it was at the moment that I needed.  And God always fulfilled those hopes, in his time and his way. At just the right time, God always assured that people were there for me. Not churches, religions and forms of faith. People who nevertheless, were and are Christ-like people. People who God used to assure me that when I hoped for something which was in accordance with the will of God, then God would fulfill those hopes in his time and his way. People who God used to help me see and hear good news in the midst of bad news.

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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 Bible, Church, Faith, God, God's Will, Good News, Hope, Jesus, Love, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

———————————————————————————————————–

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

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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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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

 

 

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