Thoughts On Praying About The Weather

Just over a week ago we had a snow storm along the east coast states of the USA, including New Jersey, where I live. The weather reports were forecasting this for at least two days before the storm was due. It’s good to have some advance warning. You can then prepare for the storm. However, my complaint was that we were being warned about this for about every half hour, over and over again. More than that, it was being hyped as the worst snow storm in recorded history in our area. As it turned out, it was one of the biggest snow storm we in New Jersey experienced in recent years. However, depending on exactly where you were and whether or not you had to go out in the snow to get to work, the storm was more along the lines of a major inconvenience than a massive disaster.

Yesterday at church someone asked me if I prayed that God would not let the snow fall on us. My answer was “no”. I said that about ten years ago I decided that there was no point in praying for the kind of weather I or anyone else wanted or didn’t want. I explained that from time to time, in the warmer months, the church I then served as pastor planned a number of Sunday afternoon outdoor events. One of these events was a concert by a local bluegrass band. When the band arrived and people took their places on the lawn outside the church building, it was a beautiful sunny day. Not too hot and not too cold. Just as  the weather reports had predicted. However, about half way through the concert some very ominous looking dark clouds appeared overhead, It looked and felt like a big rainstorm was about to start. So I prayed, asking God to prevent this storm from raining on our concert. As it happened, the concert went on as planned, and there was not a drop of rain in our town. I was convinced that my prayer worked. But there was more to it.

The day after the concert, I was telling someone from the church in the town adjacent to ours about what happened. Then that person told me that right around the time our concert was being held, he noticed those ominous clouds that I saw. However, while we didn’t get a drop of rain, they experienced a huge downpour. I was convinced that from then on I should be sure to pray about the weather, because God listened to me.

Now let’s move a year or two into the future. I was now serving as pastor of the church in the town that experienced that downpour, when God said yes to my prayer that it would not rain on our bluegrass concert. Now it was the morning of Memorial Day. I had learned that the Memorial Day parade was the greatest annual event that took place in that town, year after year. I was told that this town’s Memorial Day parade had been conducted every year since it was first organized about 135 years before. It was the longest running Memorial Day parade in the state of New Jersey.

As I left my house it looked like a very good day for a parade. But soon after I arrived at the location where the ceremonies started, it began to look like rain. Ominous dark clouds again. Remembering my successful prayer asking God not to let it rain on our bluegrass concert a few years earlier, I prayed, asking God to assure that the rain would hold off until the parade was over. But this time, just about the time the parade was to begin, it started to rain. The parade organizers got together to decide what to do. It was unanimously decided that we would proceed, rain or no rain. The only changes would be that there would be no stopping along the way for some of the usual ceremonies, and we would march and drive quite a bit faster than usual. The closing ceremonies would be held in the church that I served. And so, spectators with umbrellas over their heads, cheered the fastest moving parade anyone had ever seen. And the closing ceremonies at the church were well attended.

Later that day, I had to admit that my prayer asking God to hold off the rain until the parade was over had not worked. So I asked God why my prayer for good weather on that Memorial Day had not been answered as I had requested. There was no answer specifically concerning the concerning the Memorial Day storm, but over the next few days I discerned what God wanted me to understand. First, God wasn’t going to explain why specific prayers for specific weather events  did or did not take place. What I and others needed to understand was that when God created the universe, he created weather, and a system which would determine how, when, and where various kinds of weather would take place. God’s purpose in all this was and is to keep the natural world functioning in such a way that it would support various forms of life, including human life. As long as human beings don’t tamper with this weather system (such as polluting the atmosphere and destroying forests), but adapt to it (for example, don’t build houses too close to the ocean), the world will continue to go around and life will go on.

The end result of my speaking and listening to God resulted in my understanding  that there is no need to ask God to prevent troubling weather events from taking place. The weather system God devised at creation, has worked effectively for  more millennia than I can imagine. God knows what kinds of weather are needed in this world at any given time  or location. Sometimes we will be pleased with what God is doing with the weather (no rain on the bluegrass concert).  Some times we won’t (rain on the parade). We just have to have faith that God knows and does what is best. God I good. All the time. 

I’ll be honest, despite all that I have just said, I’ve been praying that there will be no more snow in my part of the world for the rest of this winter. That’s what I hope for. But I know that God might or might not answer “yes” to that prayer and might not fulfill that hope. It depends on weather or not what I am hoping and praying for is in accordance with God’s will. Maybe God has another snow storm for us. Maybe not. All I know is that God knows and will do what is best.

At the same time, as I’m writing this blog, it is Ground Hog Day in the USA. It’s the day they have a ceremony in a place called Punxatawn, Pennsylvania, in which they bring a ground hog out of his nest and then watch to see if the groundhog sees his shadom. If he casts a shadow, that means there will be six more weeks of winter. Which could mean one or two more snowstorms. On the other hand, if he doesn’t see his shado, it means that Spring arrive early. That means probably no more snow. Now, I’m not praying about the results of what happens with the ground hog. What I am doing, is saying a prayer of thanks to God, for assuring that, year after year, in this part of the world, Spring eventually arrives.

This doesn’t mean that there is no need to pray about the weather. We need to always be  asking God to get us through the various weather related and other storms of life that we all face from time to time.  My experience has been that God will answer those prayers in his time and his way. We also always need to offer God our prayers of thanks for  the ways he does get us through the storms of life.

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's Will, Good News, Ground Hog Day, Hope, Memorial Day, Prayer, Spring, Uncategorized, Weather, Winter | Leave a comment

Turn Your Anxieties Over To God

Yesterday (Sunday), the sermon I heard at my church service had to do with anxiety. The fear and worry that often arises when we are faced with difficult and unpleasant issues, problems, and concerns in our lives. The Biblical recommendation was to listen to God’s will as to how to deal with anxiety and then turn the anxiety over to God. Then hope that God would give me everything I need to do my part in dealing with the issue at hand. That recommendation was similar to the theme of our Today’s Enlightenment blog. If you are hoping for something, and it is in accordance with God’s will, then God will fulfill your hopes, in God’s time and God’s way.

I remembered some of the big anxiety producing issues I had faced in my life. Some of them I had written about in my book (mentioned at the end of today’s blog) Hopes Fulfilled. When I placed my hopes for positive resolutions of those troubles (financial debt, unemployment, health, etc.) in God’ hands, God fulfilled those hopes, not always as I expected, but in God’s time and God’s way.  By the grace of God, I have learned how to deal with those big problems, troubles, and issues of life, without experiencing anxiety.

However, I have noticed that since I’ve been retired, I tend to experience some anxiety over some small things in my life. Maybe that’s because I’ve been thinking that God isn’t concerned about those small thing in life. But I am now discovering that God cares about the small things in life,  and there is reason to hope. Here’s an example.

About a month ago my wife Joan received a notice from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission(MVC) that her handicapped parking placard would expire at the end of February. To get a new one we had to fill out a form, have our doctor fill out a form, and take those papers, with a statement from our doctor, to the MVC office, which was not far from our home. So far, so good. But then the anxiety started to set in. It seems that the MVC had a bad reputation concerning customer service. And there were times when I experience that in the past. Didn’t have the right papers. Or the papers weren’t filled out right. Earlier in 2015 they lost our original marriage certificate. Fortunately we had a certified copy in our safe deposit box.  In any case, I began to dread going to the MVC. I was sure they would find something wrong with our papers. Or we’d have to come back in two weeks to pick up the new placard.

So I kept postponing the dreaded visit to the MVC. Finally, we  could delay no longer. And so we went to the reception window and were referred to window 6. Good. Before I got to window 6 a man stopped me and, noticing that Joan was handicapped, asked me if I was there for a new placard. I said yes. He said that I should have Joan sit in the waiting area and I could take the papers to window 6. Again, good. At window six there was one person being waited on  and I was next in line. No waiting. Also good. It was now my turn to be served. A very pleasant, friendly young woman greeted me, took our papers, prepared a new placard, and assured me that everything was okay.  I thanked her profusely. From the time I walked into the office until we departed took no more that ten minutes. In 50 years of doing business with the MVC, this was the best. It was even enjoyable. Not one moment of anxiety. I thanked God that my hope for a bearable visit was more than fulfilled.

Two other examples happened just this morning. I won’t go into the details, except that on this past Saturday I received letter from two organizations, which immediately gave me some anxiety. Basically it amounted to some changes these organizations were making, which would apply to us. One had to do with the retirement of our family doctor. The other had to do with a change in the organization’s billing system for purchases via the internet. In both situations I had questions and a need for clarification. My past  experience with similar situations was that it had been difficult to get clear answers to my concerns and questions from the customer service representatives. Nevertheless, I decided to contact them by phone for the information I needed. So I immediately phoned them, only to be advised that they were closed and I should call back on Monday. Already the anxiety began to set in. I vowed that I would make the calls on Monday morning, and expect the worst. So I made the calls. Once again it turned out that my past experiences were not repeated. Instead, in both cases, I was able to speak with very pleasant, patient and helpful customer service people. Everything I requested or asked about was promptly answered. My anxiety faded away. I again thanked God for fulfilling my hopes for clear and helpful responses to my questions and concerns.

My expectation is that as the new year goes by, there will be a good number of big and small issues and problems of life that will confront me. But instead of letting anxiety come over me, I will just pray and expect that I will seek God’s will fulfill my hopes concerning whatever it is that I will have to deal with, big or small. There will be good news in the midst of bad news Hope where there seems to be only hopelessness. And if it turns out that anxiety rears its ugly head, rather than let it negatively affect my days and nights, I’ll just turn all that over to God

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 anxiety, Bible, Church, Complications of life, Financial Stewardship, God's Directions, God's grace, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Thank God For Hopes Fulfilled In The Past, Present And Future

As we start a new year, I’ve been thinking about how quickly time is moving. That’s not unusual. I have heard that said by a lot of people over the past few years, from close fiends and family members to famous people I admire. But why are so many people, like me, aware of this. I’m sure it’s partly because we have just said goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016. And maybe it’s because a few days ago we celebrated our granddaughter’s first Christmas and birthday. It seems it wasn’t that long ago that our daughter was born. But it was really 40 years ago. Maybe it’s because during this past year I had to admit to myself that, at age 75, I was really a senior citizen and starting to experience the aches and pains that come with aging. Maybe it’s because so many people who I admired passed away during 2015. For example, Natalie Cole’s death at age 65 was announce just a few days ago. Maybe it’s because every time (once a week) I review my list of projects and activities I want to accomplish, most of them are still just items 0n a list and I’ll never even get started with some of them. Oh, how I wish time would slow down.

It used to be that I wished that time would move much faster than it really seemed to. I wanted the calendar to move quickly to the day I could get my driver’s license, graduate from high school and become a U.S. Navy musician. And on and on and on. There eventually came a time when I realized that I was wishing my life away. I don’t do that any more. Well, maybe I do wish for the days to get longer. For the cold weather to be over.  But mostly I wish that time would slow down.

At the same time, I realize that time is not going to slow down. I believe that when God created the universe, part of that creation was the establishment of various laws of the universe, necessary in order to keep the universe going. One of the laws of the universe was and is time. So as far as I know, that’s not going to change. Time is what it is. So while I might wish for time to slow down, so there would be more time to get things done in this world. I don’t hope for that. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I believe there is a difference between wishing and hoping. The overall message of this blog is HOPE. I believe that anyone can hope for those things that are in accordance with God’s will, and in God’s way and God’s time, God will fulfill those hopes. Anything is wishful thinking. I believe this based on my experience and that of others I know or know about. That’s what my book, Hopes Fulfilled, mentioned at the end of this blog, is about.

The hope I now have and expect to be fulfilled, is that if I make an honest effort to discern God’s will for myself, day by day, during however many days, months, and years I have left to live in this world, God will let me know what he wants me to be doing, or what God wants to do with me, and will give me the grace I need to do whatever that is. I call that  faith-based hope. Beyond that, I have no doubt that when my time in this world is over, I will still go on living in some form or other, somewhere and somehow (call it heaven, kingdom of God, paradise, or whatever). It will be a state in which I experience total and permanent  peace, love, and joy. It is called eternal life, where there will be no need for time . More than that, I will be reunited with friends and family members form my life on earth. And I believe that you will ultimately be there too. What will we all be doing there? I have no idea. As one of my seminary professors always suggested when a question like this came from someone in the class, “ask him (meaning God) when you get there.” I’m sure that whatever it is will be worthwhile. That’s good news for the new year and any time.

I’m going to leave it at that for now. I am thankful for all the hopes God has fulfilled for me during my time in this world so far. I am thankful in advance for the hopes God will fulfill in future years in this world, and for the ultimate hope which will be eternally fulfilled when I leave this world. I hope the same for you, as we all experience nothing but the peace, love, and joy that God wants us to have.

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, Eternity, Faith, God's Will, Good News, Heaven, Hope, Life Style, New Year, Time | 1 Comment

Participate With God In Bringing The Peace, Love, And Joy Of Jesus To The World

Recently, my son, Rev. Raymond A. Gough, pastor of New Limerick Baptist Church in Maine, wrote the following paragraph on Facebook:

As I was vacuuming today I was reminded of James 2:26 says, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” Here’s the analogy that ran through my head. While not spiritual in nature I can apply it. For a week and a half I have been studying the internet on the best way to keep the house straightened and clean. Lot’s of great info on the net by the way. All very useful. However, I noticed that no matter how much I researched, the house did not clean itself; very disappointing for me! So I had to stop my research on cleaning and actually do it. Then the verse from James came to me. It wasn’t enough to study and learn how to clean and straighten the house I actually have to get up and do it to see results! As Christians it is not enough for us to attend church, read our bibles and pray. If we want to see the results of God’s Word carried out in our world today we must apply what we have learned in order for us to see the fruit of love and grace spread throughout the world. Amazing what you can learn from vacuuming!

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While my son doesn’t mention Christmas in his post, I believe it does relate to Christmas, which is only two days from now. During the past four weeks of  the Advent\Christmas season, Christians have been preparing for and celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus. Christian churches have been well attended. We have sung the songs of Chritmas. We have read and heard the Bible stories about how Jesus will bring peace, love, and joy to the world. But on the day after Christmas, most Americans, including Christians, will get back to business as usual. And if the near future is going to be anything like the recent past, it will seem that there will be very little peace, love, and joy in the world. The question then will be, where is all the peace, love, and joy we were singing and hearing about during the Advent/Christmas season? As in previous years, many will go back to hearing all the bad news and feeling hopeless.

I believe that the problem is what my son mentions in his post above. The authorities who know all about house cleaning, and the products they suggest we use, aren’t going to clean our homes. Actually, they will all do their parts, through their advice and guidance on house cleaning, but we will also have to do our part. You might say that we will have to act as partners with the authorities and their products, if we really want to make and keep our homes clean.

In the same way, we will have to do our part. God is looking for us to partner with him in fulfilling the promises of peace, that came with the birth of Jesus. The question is not simply, “What is Jesus going to do about the bad news and hopelessness in our world these days”. The question is, “What does he want us to do about it?” Or to put it another way, “What does he want to do with us?”

As the Advent/Christmas season comes to an end, our responsibility is now and has always been to discern God’s will and plans for us as we go through another year. And then use the grace that God offers to all people to participate with him in fulfilling our hope for peace, love, and joy. The good news is that to the extent that we do that (participate with God), we will be able to see evidence and experience  good news in the midst of bad news and hope where things seem to be hopeless.

Grace and peace, Ray

Posted in Bible, Christmas/Advent, Church, Discernment, Faith, God's Directions, God's grace, God's Promises, God's Will, Good News, Hope, Jesus, Listening, Love, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Big Hopes And Small Hopes, God Can And Will Fulfill Them All

If you are a regular reader of this post, you know that our themeiwsHOPE. We believe that if you are hoping for something, and if that hope is in accordance with God’s will, then that hope will be fulfilled, in God’s time and God’s way. Otherwise, what you are hoping for will just be wishful thinking. Therefore, it’s important that you do our best, using the ability God has given you, to discern what is God’s will for you. As I look back on my life (75 years), I have seen how true that is.

I also have come to know that patience is required on my part (remember – in God’s time). Also, there have been times when I eventually realized that God arranged things so that the result was just the opposite of what I was hoping for. Some of those situations are described in my book Hopes Fulfilled – A Spiritual Autobiography. For example, there was a time when I had hoped to become the CEO of an organization like the one I worked for. However, as it turned out I ended up getting fired, and I had no job. But God’s plans for me were for something so much better – and some years later I became a United Methodist pastor. It took a few years to adjust my hope, so that it would be in accordance with God’s plans for me. But once that happened, God made sure that hope was fulfilledIt was  all a matter of having faith that God will always fulfill hopes that are in accordance with his will.

It often takes years before some of our hopes are in tune with God’s will and those hopes are fulfilled by God. But what about the little everyday things that we go through in life? Like when we are suddenly faced with a difficult situation. A situation that causes us to hope for a resolution right now – today, in an hour, or maybe in the next few minutes. On this past Sunday I was faced with just such a situation. 

While I am now a retired pastor, Joan(my wife) and I attend one of the churches that I once served as pastor for eight years. However, recently I was given the responsibility of supporting our new pastor  in serving communion. Our church has two worship services on Sunday mornings, so I assist with communion at both services. The normal process is to assist at the first service, then drive home  to pick Joan and bring her to the church for the second service, where I again assist with serving communion.

Ususally this whole process goes very well. But this time  there was a problem. After the first service was over I got in my car to drive home to pick up Joan. But my car woudn’t start. My immediate thought was to call Joan on the phone to tell her that I couldn’t pick her up since the car wouldn’t start. Then I realized that there would still be the problem of getting myself hom after the second service. I started to feel some anxiety, worrying that my mind would be so focused on the situation with the car, that I would make a mess of assisting with serving communion. This was really bad news. I felt hopeless. So I did what I would suggest as the first thing to do to anyone else in a hopeless situation. That is, pray and ask God to provide for whatever was needed to  get through the problem, and have hope that God would  provide whatever was needed.

I quickly realized what was needed.Two things.  First, that God would take away all of my fears  and anxiety over this car situation. That I would be able to totally focus on and effectively do my part in serving communion. God provided. During the service there was absolutely no fear or anxiety about the car. All went well. Hope fulfilled.

The second thing I needed was that I could find some way to get from the church to my home to pick up Joan, and how to arrange for the AAA service to get my car atarted, and get back home again. God quickly provided a solution. The first thing that God did was to assure that my wonderful friend and partner in ministry, Patty Perez, would provide whatever transportation was needed. She would pick up Joan so she could attend the second service as planned. In the meantime one of the church members who knows something about cars tried to get the car running, but his efforts were to no avail. Nevertheless, I was thankful to him for giving it a good try. After the second service was over Patty took Joan home and then came and waited with me for the AAA emergency auto service truck. Eventually the truck arrived, but the technician still couldn’t get my car started. Do he called a tow truck to take my car to the place where it would be repaired. Since it was Sunday, they wouldn’t be open, but I could leave the car there and contact them by phone on Monday morning. Patty gave me a ride to the repair shop and then home.

I was feeling very good about how this was all working out. In addition to all that I just mentioned, our new pastor, Rev. Claire Cvetkovski, offered to give me a ride if needed. Then she followed up with a phone call to assure that things were going according to plan. I was glad to know that she was so concerned about me. I also checked with another friend from church, Rich Bamford, if he could give me a ride from my house to the car repair shop on Monday, so I could pick up my car when it was repaired. Finally the car was repaired, a few hours earlier than expected. Good News. One of the first things that came to my mind when all of this was over was that God almost immediately began fulfilling all of my hopes for a quick and relatively easy resolution to my car problem. Good news in the midst of bad news I can assure you that whether your hopes are big or small, sometimes God’s timing means patiently waiting for long periods of timed. But sometimes God fulfills our hopes almost instantly

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 Bad News, Complications of life, Faith, God's grace, God's Will, Good News, Hope, Life Style, Patience, Perseverance, Prayer, Uncategorized, Worry | 1 Comment

What God Wants To Be Done, Will Be Done – In God’s time And God’s Way

When I was ordained and began serving as a fulltime United Methodist pastor I was advised that United Methodist pastors are expected to take an annual week for a personal spiritual renewal retreat. At first I used that time to do a lot of church planning that I never seemd to have time to do during the rest of the year. In other words, I was doing church work away from the church.

Eventually, I heard God telling me that a spiritual retreat wasn’t about doing church work. It wasn’t a vacation either. It was to be a time away from the daily routine of church and personal life, to do nothing but listen to God.  During my remaining years of service as a full-time pastor I did just that. Usually my wife, Joan, and I spent that retreat week at the Ocean Grove  Camp Meeting on the Jersey shore.

I have a special memory of something that happened during one of those weeks. This happened at one of the boardwalk praise services that we attended every evening. We were singing Shout to the Lord. As we sang “…mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of His name…”, the worship leader pointed to the ocean in front of us.  There, on this stormy night, we saw and heard the waves of the sea literally roaring as they came crashing onto the shore, demonstrating how even nature, as part of God’s creation, worhips him (Psalm 98). I’m sure it was due to neither coincidence or human planning that this was followed by the scripture text and a sermon about Jesus calming the storm on the lake (Luke 8:22-25).

In all this I heard God reminding me of his awesome power to make the seas roar and to calm them. God is in charge. No matter what things look like, God can and ultimately will do whatever he wants to. I was reminded that God doesn’t depend on me or the church to accomplish His purposes. However, because he loves us, he has chosen to give all of us the opportunity of working with him in accomplishing his vision, mission, and ministries.

I came back to my church with a renewed understanding that what God expects of us is simply this – to worship and praise him, listen to and discern his will for us, and then faithfully do whatever that is. Then firmly believe that he will give us all the grace we need to do whatever we are called to do and to be. Even when, because of our own sinful nature, we don’t always do it right, and never get it perfectly right, it doesn’t matter. What matters is our faith, trust, and obedience. Our awesome God, who is ultimately in control of everyone and everything – will make sure that whatever he wants to be done, will be done. That’s what we pray for whenever we say in the Lord’s Prayer, “…They kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”And our hope that God will answer that prayer, will be fulfilled, in his time and hos 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

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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

 

Posted in Bible, Discernment, Faith, God's Directions, God's grace, God's Will, Good News, Hope, Jesus, Love, nature, obedience, Prayer, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stewardship Is A Way to Participate In God’s Ministry In The World

Before you read our latest post, we want to apologize to you for not posting for the past month or so. Unfortunately, my computer needed some repairs, which took much longer than I expected. All seems to be in order now. Thanks for your patience.

Grace and peace,  Ray

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Yesterday it was announced in our church that we were starting our annual stewardship campaign. This takes place every year as we make commitments to support the annual budget which will provide funds for our ministry in the coming year. At the same time, many of us, in addition to supporting the annual budget, are invited to support specific ministries around the world. We are also reminded that stewardship is not just about money. It also includes commitments of our time and talents.

I began serving as a pastor 26 ears ago. It didn’t take me long to discover that when I talked about giving (especially giving money), someone was likely to get upset with me. So there came a time when I prayed about this situation. God suggested that I think back to the time before I ever thought about being a pastor. What were some the reasons that my wife and I gave in response to stewardship campaigns and other appeals for financial support. So I came up with a list of the top ten reasons for giving. As I was developing that list I realized that those top ten reasons for giving might better be described as  the top ten (not so good)reasons for giving. Here’s my list: 

  1. The church was doing what we wanted it to do.
  2. We liked the pastor
  3. We liked the people (some of them, anyway)
  4. We got a lot of pats on the back because we were doing important things for the church
  5. We thought giving made us look good
  6. We felt guilty if we did not give
  7. The church said it needed money and was depending on us
  8. We were told that God was depending on us (later on we wondered what God ever did  before he created us)
  9. The finance leaders used inspiring slogans like “give until it hurts”, “Give until it feels good”, “now is the time”, etc.
  10. They used gimmicks that worked for a few years.

As I went through that list I realized that somewhere along the way our reason for giving changed. I remembered that nowhere in God’s Word, The Bible, does God give any of these as reasons for giving. After searching the scriptures, I realized that the one and only good, Biblically based reason for making a financial commitment to or through the church or other agency, is that God says “do it”.Why? Because God created us and the financial resources we use. We belong to God. Our resources (money, time, talent) all belong to God. God has entrusted us to use all of these resources for God’s purposes.God says we should give some of it back, through the church, or other agencies, organizations, and causes as a way of participating with God in carrying out God’s ministry in the world.

I was reminded that even in the most financially difficult times in our lives, God made sure that we always had enough money to take care of our needs, and to tithe (give at least 10% of our combined incomes) to God and his ministry through the church. That’s why. during the coming year we will again ncrease our financial commitment.

God says, “do it”. Can you? Believe me, based on my experience, “yes you can”. God never tells you to do anything you cannot do. But God then leaves that up to you to decide what you will do.

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

 

Posted in Bible, Church, Commitment, Financial Stewardship, God, Good News, Life Style, Uncategorized | 2 Comments