Special notice to our readers!
Please accept my apology for not posting on our Ray of Hope Ministries web-sites for the past few months. This was the result of the combination of serious health issues experienced by my wife Joan and a move from New Jersey to Florida. We are still dealing with the aftermath of some of this, but we have been hoping and praying that we will be able to overcome this disruption in our lives. I can tell you from personal experience that as I have often said in our Ray of Hope Ministries posts over the past few years – When what you are hoping for is in accordance with God’s will for you, God will assure that those hopes are fulfilled, in God’s time and God’s way. Every day I’m discovering how true this is. Thanks for your faithful support.
Also, please note my new e-mail address email@example.com. I will be happy to hear from you.
Since the day I moved from the Jersey City Medical Center, where I was born in December 1939, I have moved from one house or apartment to another at least ten times, not including the time I spent in the U.S.Navy during 1957-1960. During those Navy hears I can recall at least six more moves from my civilian home to various Navy ships and bases, as well as rented apartments. Except for my first move, from my home in Jersey City to Navy boot camp, I had no problem with those moves. Looking back, I believe the difficulty I had with that first move was that at the young age of 17, I had to leave behind everything that was familiar to me – my family and friends, familiar surroundings, favorite activities, and what had become my normal way of life. But I quickly adapted to my new way of life in the U.S.Navy.
All the moves which followed over the years took place without much difficulty. Until this most recent move to Florida. Even though this move it was the result of a positive, planned decision, not something I had to do, it turned out to be very difficult. To a great extent that was because only a week before moving day, Joan was diagnosed with a very serious illness, which had to be dealt with immediately. I believe another reason is that our most recent moves were between homes that were only a few miles from each other. So we didn’t have to give up very much. But this time we were moving between locations about 1,500 miles apart. Also, over the years we had accumulated a lot of stuff, and much of it we didn’t want to leave behind. So there was a lot of packing to be done and arrangements to be made for the actual move.There were arrangements to be made for the sale of the property we were leaving. Then there would be a lot of unpacking to be done at our new home, along with notifying many people and organizations of our change of address. I’m still working on that. Then we have had to arrange for a good number of doctors to replace those we left behind. We’re still working on that too.
As I was going through all of this, people asked why we were moving when we didn’t really have to. I asked myself that question. I began to feel like Abraham, when he understood that God wanted him to take his family and possessions and move from his familiar home to a new place that he knew nothing about, and God was planning to use him to accomplish great things in the world. So Abraham did what he understood God wanted him to do, and God’s promise was on it’s way to being fulfilled. Now I don’t make any pretense of being another Abraham. And so far I haven’t heard God speaking to me with words about doing great world-changing things through me. However, I recalled a few other times when I did literally hear God telling me to take some action, in accordance with his will. In those cases, my first response was to say “no” to God, but eventually I said “yes”, and began hoping that what I believed I was hearing from God was going to be fulfilled by God. I was reminded that’s what my spiritual autobiography (Hopes Fulfilled) was about. Seeking and complying with God’s will, hoping that in some small way God would use me to fulfill some of his purposes, believing that God would fulfill those hopes, in God’s way and God’s time.
My experience with God, before, during, and after my service as a United Methodist pastor, has been that it is true that if something is God’s will for you, but whatever that is looks too difficult or even impossible (like becoming a pastor), God would see that my God-based hopes would be fulfilled. So once again, after saying “no” to God, I eventually got over the idea that this move was all one big mistake, and decided to keep on trying to discern God’s will and plans for me concerning this difficult move. As in years past, when God called for major changes in my life, I believe that God had a will and plans for me as I moved into the future. And now I will seek and apply God’s guidance and direction as to just what those plans are going to be.
What it comes down to is this. Despite the problems and difficulties I and anyone might face, like moving, there’s always going to be something good in it. Here’s an example that was part of my experience with moving 16 years ago. I had been appointed to leave one church as pastor and become the pastor of another church. At that time, things were going well in my ministry, and I really didn’t want to move. But I had no choice. In the United Methodist Church, when the bishop says says it’s time to move, you move. Eight years later, when I was retiring and planning to serve as a part-time pastor at a small nearby church, I made the following observation. As difficult as moving might be, there are some good things about moving. Primarily, it meant an opportunity to serve God by serving new people in churches new to me.
While I will no longer serve as a pastor, there are many ways that I can serve God by serving more people who are new to me. I can participate in the ministries of churches which are new to me. I have the opportunity to spend time discerning God’s will and plans for me as I move into the future in a place that is new to me, among people who are new to me. I believe that God will be calling upon me to use all that I have learned and experienced in the past, both as a pastor and a lay person, to this new place of ministry. It will take a while for me to discern and say “yes” to God, but one thing I know for sure, is that God will assure that my God-given hopes will be fulfilled, in God’s time and God’s way. One other thing I know for sure is that if you take the time and effort to discern God’s will and plans for you, and you say “yes” to God, God will assure that your hopes toward that end will be fulfilled, 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 hopes 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.
You can contact me via e-mail at “firstname.lastname@example.org”
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:
A Spiritual Autobiography