Thursday, October 27, 2016

Choose H.O.P.E.

Happy Fall Y'all!

I see the temperatures dipping.  I see pictures of fireplaces roaring.  I hear friends getting their jackets and sweatshirts out of storage.

Here in FL, we're just thankful for the reduction in humidity!  Very grateful indeed.

As soon as the temperatures fluttered here last week, our local stores rolled out the boots in hopes of selling a few pairs, at least.  We buy them ( I confess I have two pair) because we are people of hope. We know that flip flops and sandals are going to be comfortable footwear right through November.

But we eagerly watch for the two or three days when the forecaster promises nothing above 75 degrees.  That's when you'll hear the shouts of, "Break out your boots and scarves.  There's a cold front coming!!"

Yes, we are people of hope.

However speaking seriously, the world around us has gotten extremely tangled and fearful lately.  Our church sign this week reads, "Hope is the only thing stronger than fear."   It's an attitude choice; a decision of where we'll focus, isn't it?

I prepared a message to share with our church family about the importance of taking steps to invite hope into all our lives.  It's a simple acrostic using H.O.P.E.  The highlights are given below.  I hope you enjoy it.

H - Hands Out
      I prefer to live with my hands out toward others in a posture to give.  A hopeful person can afford to live generously toward others.  Our girls have always been especially generous souls.  But since they usually worked two part-time jobs and took classes full-time, people would often say to them, "You can't afford to do this."  One daughter finally started answering,  "It's okay.  I have all the money in the world!"

     She certainly didn't have much money at all but she understood the power of generosity.  There's always something we can give.  And giving is the best antidote for selfishness which manages to suck the joy right out of life.  

Ps. 112:5 puts it this way, "Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely."

O - Open Arms
      Those who go through life with an "arms crossed" attitude are seldom ever satisfied and usually unhappy.  I've not always had what I wanted in every relationship but I do try to offer open arms to those around me.
     We're seldom given the opportunity to control how blessing comes into our lives.  More often, we stumble into the most wonderful relationships and friendships by offering open arms to whoever is around.

Proverbs 18:24 in the King James Version says, "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly."

     And besides, when I consider all Christ has given to me I clearly understand, "I can afford to be generous!"

P - Peace-filled Countenance
     There is a woman written about in Proverbs 31.  This lady is a super-hero that all women can aspire to emulate.  But I especially love this description of her, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."

     A simple smile is powerful.  Did you know that psychologists have done studies proving if you give someone a smile it will trick your body into feeling better?  True story!  Just try it for yourself.
      Proverbs 1:33 says, "...but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm."  That's a promise able to create a feeling of genuine peace.  And that feeling will creep right up to your face breaking out into a smile every time.

E- Expectant Heart
     God is faithful and you can trust Him!  It's a phrase Frank has shared with each congregation we've served.  When I believe this, I'm able to live with an expectation of good things.

     In fact, Paul wrote to his friends in Rome and urged them to expect good not evil.  He also told his friends in Corinth, "Since we have such hope, we are very bold."

     How we choose to live our lives really does matter.  Others are watching us and usually, they could use some HOPE as well.

I finished my sermon by reminding people of this, "What you look for, you will find."

I'm a person choosing to live life filled with HOPE.  How about you?


  1. Thank you for these words of wisdom. As I enter the holiday season I need to keep life in perspective and less stress by keeping my faith. Karen

    1. Ah Karen, you identified a need I think we all have. Glad you were encouraged.