Hope in the Midst of Despair

In life we will inevitably encounter seemingly impossible situations and circumstances. The paths we have chosen in life, however carefully, will at times lead us to confront insurmountable obstacles. These obstacles may take the form of people, events, places, or situations even when we think that we’ve plan for every contingency. When we inevitably fail to find solutions to our circumstances, our first instinct is to despair and seek someone to blame. We blame God, the people around us, even ourselves.

Billy Graham tells the story of a man who became shipwrecked on a deserted island many years ago. Upon reaching safety, the man built a hut and filled it with all the supplies he’d managed to save from his boat before it was wrecked. He built a fire and each day he would watch and wait for some sign of a ship or airplane passing by. He prayed to God for help. Some days he would get discouraged and wonder if he would ever get off that island, but still … he prayed.

Then one day while he was exploring the other side of the island, he noticed some smoke coming from the direction of his hut. With sudden realization and horror, the man ran as fast as he could back to the hut only to find it and all his supplies caught in a blaze of fire. He sank to his knees, realizing that everything he’d needed to survive had gone up in a pillar of black smoke.

He shook his fist skyward demanding to know why God had allowed this to happen. Then he lowered his head in dispair.

Several hours later as the man gazed out into the endless ocean, a small speck appeared on the horizon. The man watched elated as a ship grew closer and closer. He yelled greetings as a landing party arrived, took him onboard, and told him that they were plotting a different course but noticed smoke off in the distance and thought the smoke was a signal for help.

It was then the man knew that God had sacrificed his meager possessions on the island for a much better future elsewhere.

This life is full of trials; storms that erupt suddenly leaving us to struggle to merely stay afloat. We may not understand what God is doing, but we can keep our confidence in His plan for our lives.

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'”

(‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

So where do you go to find peace and security in the midst of the struggles of this life? There is only One who can provide lasting refuge. Just One! His name is Jesus Christ. In the midst of the storms of this life, I choose to place my hope in Jesus.

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Hope in the Midst of Harvey

For the past three days I have watch, and experienced, the catastrophe known as “Harvey” as it unfolds in the Houston area and other areas of Texas and Louisiana. Fear, dread, hopelessness. These emotions wash over us here in Houston as we watch our city sinking beneath the floodwaters. I see on TV entire neighborhoods vanishing beneath the floodwaters; people in neighborhoods just down the road from our home needing to be rescued by boat. And the worst news of all comes as the meteorologists remind us that there’s more to come…

So, what do we do? Get mad? Shake our fists at heaven? Play the blame game? 

No. 


This life is full of trials; storms that erupt suddenly leaving us to struggle to merely stay afloat (metaphorically and literally). When this occurs, we find the things that we believed would hold us up and keep us afloat fail miserably. So what can we do? Where do you go to find peace and security the midst of the struggles of this life? There is only One who can provide lasting refuge. Just One! His name is Jesus Christ. 

Please, in the midst of this crisis, keep your eyes on Jesus and He will see you through. 

Praying for all of us. 

Will You Believe?

I posted this nearly a year ago, but I was in church this past Sunday and heard a wonderful sermon regarding this passage. I felt the need to reshare this post.
“And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house- for I have five brothers-in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'””‭‭(Luke‬ ‭16:27-31‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

This is a parable told by Jesus prior to His death. He was refuting the Pharisees who place more importance on strict adherence to rules and religiosity rather than faith in God and love toward others. The parable is about a rich man and a poor man and how their actions influence their eternal destination. One placed his faith in money and the other in God. I’ve read this passage many times, but this time I finally saw what Jesus was saying. The Pharisees were men who spent their lives studying the law written down by Moses and the writings of the prophets. Yet with all their knowledge of the scriptures,they could not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Even when He’d died and risen from the dead, the Pharisees refused to believe.

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” ‭‭(Romans‬ ‭1:21-23‬ ‭NASB‬‬)


Today, people of the United States have access to the Bible (the law of Moses and the Prophets) in the palm of their hand (smartphones) or they can purchase one in any Barnes and Noble. Yet they ignore the truth and turn towards their own desires. The saddest part is that they won’t realize their mistake until it’s too late and they will have no excuse. 


“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” (‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:19-20‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

The scariest part of these passages still remains that last verse from Luke 16, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’ Have you ignored the Bible or mocked the words of your Christian friends? Ask yourself a question: Wherever you are reading this blog, if Jesus Christ were to suddenly appeared to you right now, would you believe in Him? What would it take for you to accept Jesus?

A Quick Thought…

“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:9‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

“Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:21‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

Our dreams. Our plans. There’s an old joke that I will attempt to paraphrase: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” Now I certainly don’t believe that God laughs at our plans, but I’m sure He chuckles at our arrogance. We think we can plan for the future; tie up every possible contingency in a beautiful bow and the sit back and wait our brilliant scheme come to fruition. 

How many times do we think that our plans and schedule are better than Almight God’s? Take an example from Scripture, Moses. This guy was an arrogant jerk in his youth, but God taught him humility and servanthood. 
Moses took it upon himself to free his people (a noble cause), but in the process he murdered someone. (Exodus 2:11-14) Then Moses expected to be applauded but instead was forced to flee into exile for forty years. During that time Moses’s prideful and arrogant ways were humbled and softened so that when the time was right God could use him in a mighty way to free the Hebrews. (Exodus 3:1-



It’s the same with us today. We tell God our plans and moan and groan when He tells us “no” or “not yet.” What we must remember is that God’s plan is perfect and He can turn what others meant for evil into good. He sees much further down the road than we could ever hope to see. Why don’t we give Him the driver’s seat. 

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

They will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.

“And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house- for I have five brothers-in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'””‭‭(Luke‬ ‭16:27-31‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

I was reading this passage last night and the last verse hit me like a train. ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’ This is a parable told by Jesus prior to His death. He was refuting the Pharisees who place more importance on strict adherence to rules and religiosity rather than faith in God and love toward others. The parable is about a rich man and a poor man and how their actions influence their eternal destination. One placed his faith in money and the other in God. I’ve read this passage many times, but this time I finally saw what Jesus was saying. The Pharisees were men who spent their lives studying the law written down by Moses and the writings of the prophets. Yet with all their knowledge of the scriptures,they could not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Even when He’d died and risen from the dead, the Pharisees refused to believe.

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” ‭‭(Romans‬ ‭1:21-23‬ ‭NASB‬‬)


Today, people of the United States have access to the Bible (the law of Moses and the Prophets) in the palm of their hand (smartphones) or they can purchase one in any Barnes and Noble. Yet they ignore the truth and turn towards their own desires. The saddest part is that they won’t realize their mistake until it’s too late and they will have no excuse. 


“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” (‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:19-20‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

The scariest part of these passages still remains that last verse from Luke 16, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’ Have you ignored the Bible or mocked the words of your Christian friends? Ask yourself a question: Wherever you are reading this blog, if Jesus Christ were to suddenly appeared to you right now, would you believe in Him? What would it take for you to accept Jesus?

In the Midst of the Storm


Billy Graham tells the story of a man who became shipwrecked on a deserted island many years ago. Upon reaching safety, the man built a hut and filled it with all the supplies he’d managed to save from his boat before it was wrecked. He built a fire and each day he would watch and wait for some sign of a ship or airplane passing by. He prayed to God for help. Some days he would get discouraged and wonder if he would ever get off that island, but still … he prayed.

Then one day while he was exploring the other side of the island, he noticed some smoke coming from the direction of his hut. With sudden realization and horror, the man ran as fast as he could back to the hut only to find it and all his supplies caught in a blaze of fire. He sank to his knees, realizing that everything he’d needed to survive had gone up in a pillar of black smoke. 

He shook his fist skyward demanding to know why God had allowed this to happen. Then he lowered his head in dispair. 

Several hours later as the man gazed out into the endless ocean a small speck appeared on the horizon. The man watched elated as a ship grew closer and closer. He yelled greetings as a landing party arrived, took him onboard, and told him that they were plotting a different course but noticed smoke off in the distance and thought the smoke was a signal for help.

It was then the man knew that God had sacrificed his meager possessions on the island for a much better future elsewhere. 


This life is full of trials; storms that erupt suddenly leaving us to struggle to merely stay afloat. We may not understand what God is doing, but we can keep our confidence in His plan for our lives. 

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'”

(‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

So where do you go to find peace and security the midst of the struggles of this life? There is only One who can provide lasting refuge. Just One! His name is Jesus Christ. 

A Quick Thought…

Life is not about the number of milestones, but each step in between. Neglecting to cherish each moment in life robs both you and others of joy and all of life’s gifts. 

“Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.” (‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭NASB‬‬)