The Eleventh Hour and Hope

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10003054_10152356401453674_875811908_nI’m sure you’ve heard of the eleventh hour–that crucial time when everything changes for good or for bad. It is worse than a mega deadline, more challenging than rocket science, more dramatic than chaos and crisis, more frightening than a full fledge panic attack.  It represents the impossible.  It stings like a two-edged sword.  It crushes all positive energy and has the potential to render you speechless or to knock you into paralysis.

The dreadful eleventh hour feels like Doomsday.  It has the capacity to ruin your life. It can cause you to give up–to simply stop trying.

It is a huge clock ticking too fast, too loudly and too close.  It is constantly looming in the forefront of your mind reminding you that something must happen soon or else the ramifications will be horrid.  It represents streams of irrational thoughts and obsessive, compulsive fear.  It suffocates and forces you to feel helpless and perhaps even hopeless because whatever the situation is you know it is out of your control and there’s nothing you can do but wait.

You nervously twitch and stammer.  You avoid confrontation.  Cortisol levels deplete as you ready yourself to flee or fight.

The eleventh hour can kick-start a physical, spiritual and mental breakdown.  It is laden with fear and can catapult you into depression.  It flashes like a neon sign until even the most patient person goes just a little bit mad.

Anxiety! Stress!  And fear!  Oh dear . . .

So how do we combat this ungodly state of being?  How do we overcome?  How do we lift the veil of desperation and replace the pent up frustration with promises of prosperity, goodness, joy and peace.  Were do we find serenity?

How do we trust God in the midst of our trials?

We start by admitting we don’t have the answer.  We come to the end of ourselves.  Once have used up all our ideas, energy and resources we can finally receive whatever help and hope we need to overcome.

I’m reminded of something I once read about a child taken all of his broken toys back to his father so they could be repaired but the father could not fix them because the child held on too tight and would not release them.

It all begins with trust.  To restore or revive hope in the eleventh hour we must come up for fresh air.  We must dig deep to find the faith that may have waned or faltered in the midst of the struggle, the hardship and the wait.  We need to think back on past victories and recall all the times life has nearly failed us but somehow never left us forsaken, desolate or begging for bread.

1897701_236586189867755_4299517923560215641_nThe best way to restore hope is to find and cling to every promise, every plea, every cry and every encouraging word.  Read God’s Word out loud and you will soon see that even the prophets, the disciples and biblical heroes had their times of difficulty and doubt.  And yet God has always arrived on the scene with solutions and miracles and things have always worked out. God is seldom early.  He is always right on time.

Hope emerges even in the eleventh hour.  Fear subsides.  Life goes on.  We overcome.  The battles we thought would defeat us can be won ad in the end we wind up stronger and better prepared for the days ahead.

People perish without hope–so above all else we must hang onto whatever positive energy we can muster up even in the worst of times.  How we handle our difficulties builds patience and perseverance and character.  When we learn to count our blessings instead of wallowing in our troubles we are better off.

We can learn to be content even when we are uncertain or tired or even a little bit scared.  No matter how bad it seems there are always others who are worse off than we are.  We must remember that and stop moaning and groaning.

When we have a bad attitude or allow fear to hinder our faith we fail to realize how greatly we are blessed.  Its kind of like complaining because we have no shoes and then meeting a person who has no feet.

In the past month I’ve interviewed for three really great jobs that I thought I would surely enjoy and have a great chance of being selected for the positions.  Each time someone else was hired–people I know and admire.  I could respond to this in a couple of ways.  I could become jealous and puff myself up into thinking I could do a better job or I was somehow more deserving or I could recognize the strengths of these others and rejoice in their good fortune and be willing to wait my turn.

At times like this I can either lose hope or renew it.  My choice . . . 1620985_284997665026607_6086199100685123919_n

The question is simple–do I trust God has a perfect plan for me or not?  Do I believe He wants to give me favor and to see me prosper?  Am I willing to keep doing good and not grow weary?  Can I find my faith and renew hope  or will I throw in the towel and decide I just can’t cope?  My choice:  I can either abide in hope or wallow in the mire.  I can find faith or fear in the eleventh hour.  What we believe often determines what we shall receive.

Wings of Hope: Watching Birds in Flight

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“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (NIV)


IMG_5384Yesterday I went on an unexpected detour.  I do that sometimes.  I get lost or make a wrong turn and end up taking the scenic route.  Generally I think nothing of it and spend more time getting back to my original destination than paying attention to anything along the new path.

This was different.  Somehow I knew there was an unrevealed purpose in the mix0up.  This time I paid close attention.

It all began as I left the downtown Titusville area where I’ve been volunteering at a week-long art show.  I deliberately headed north to try and make my way to the next town where I had heard a new golf club is hiring an events coordinator. I had been calling that venue daily because I’m really needing to find a job.

IMG_5291At the same time I was considering an appearance at the golf club I was also thinking a quick drive around Black Hawk Drive at the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge might also do me some good.  I’ve been under a lot of stress lately and the best way I know of to fight off the blues is to get back to nature–just grab my camera and chase some birds or butterflied.

With conflicting thoughts in my head I made a sharp turn and decided to follow the river road,  I had also read somewhere that there might be a small cottage for rent. So I spun of on my little detour . . .

Driving slowly along the river was soothing to my soul.  Windows rolled down, I could feel the slight wisp of an autumn breeze.  The sunlight streaked through fluffy white clouds and sparkled when it hit the water.  Boats rocked gently back and forth as I counted the planks on an old wooden dock.  I marveled at the serenity of it all.

Soon I found myself at the end of the road with a big bridge to the right and another smaller bridge up ahead–a little to the left.  Without hesitation I mad a right turn and immediately realized I was heading across the wrong part of the river if the next town was my true destination.  I was now aimed at the wildlife refuge and, eventually, the beach.

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Oh well, I thought.  Moments before I couldn’t choose between a little time with nature and investigating a job lead with a company that was not returning my phone calls.  Maybe my soul will accomplish more at the beach.

I kept driving east.  The entire time I knew I was going on a detour that would eventually produce something.  What I didn’t know.

Deep in thought, I nearly wrecked the car when a large bird swooped amazingly close to my windshield.  This was not an ordinary bird–and it wasn’t one to normally fly so low.  Oh no . . . it was a big bald eagle!

I tried desperately to multi-task–slamming on the break with my left foot and swerving the steering wheel with one hand while turning my head and body to the side as I frantically dug through my camera bag trying to find a decent lens.  I was hopelessly slow and narrowly avoided the deep ditches on both sides of the road.

Determined to get a good shot of the eagle, I left my car running and still in the road as I stepped out, attached my camera lens and scrolled the sky for signs of the bird.  All to no avail.

Bummed out I proceeded to Black Hawk Drive where I believed I would find more wildlife.  When I arrived I was double bummed to find the roadway blocked and no entrée signs.  Weeks of endless rain made all the paths unsafe.

Now what?  I sat in my car and almost cried.  I seemed like a weird confirmation that I couldn’t even spend an hour or so photographing birds.  Yep, the pity party was setting in and I was starting to feel that everything I set my hand to was uncontrollably doomed.  For a brief moment I even considered stepping on the gas, flooring it through the barricade, ignoring the rules, no fear and no common sense.

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I decided to step out of the car and chase a black and yellow butterfly instead. A couple dozen photos later, I realized I may not always get what I want but I can find other options and learn to be content.  There is always something fabulous to be found in nature if we only take the time . . .

With that itty bit of insight I decided to go back where I started–across the bridge and either head on home or maybe head north to where I had initially planned.  Heading out of the wetlands, I found myself distracted once again.

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This time it was a big black bird that flew unnervingly close to my windshield.  Once again I slammed on my brakes and reached for my camera.  Never in all my bird watching and nature shooting had two birds flown so dangerously close to the front of my car.  This one wasn’t a bald eagle–there was to tell-tale white tip on the tail or white heathers all over the head.  But I don’t think it was a vulture either . . .

IMG_5313Vultures collapse in the middle of the road.  They simply flop out.  Or they congregate and lurk.  They pace back and forth.  They fuss and they fret.  They strut with an evil eye.  They peck at the ground and are drawn to their prey.  They thrive on discord and strife.  Vultures turn on each other.  They lie down in the middle of the road.

Lurking and looking to devour . . . Vultures don’t glide like eagles and those who watch them are never in awe of their beauty or their wonder.  No, they are creepy and vile.

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Meanwhile, eagles soar.  They astound us.  They inspire us.  They fly in circles picking up momentum as they go.  They allow the current of the wind to lift them higher and higher. The secret to the eagles success is not of their own accord–it is found in their confidence in the wind beneath their wings.

Eagles differ from other birds because they depend on something beyond their control and in that, they have a steady stride and an air of surety.

Ah, perhaps this is the lesson for you and me.  Depend on the force of nature or the hand of God to help us rise.  Too often we respond like vultures.  We fall or fly below the radar and we don’t know how regain the momentum needed to rise up and overcome.  She’s a sparrow when she’s broken but an eagle when she flies.

I’ve never seen an eagle flap or falter or fail.  They cut through the air like mighty warriors.  They fly sideways and circular with perfectly synchronized movements.  Wings up; wings down.  They go full force and pierce through the clouds without flinching.  They have great vision and relentlessly aim for the highest landing.  They never settle for anything less.  They probably never take detours and they get there quickly because they never get distracted.

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Once an eagle arrives, they simply sit and rest.  They scope out the land seeing what was left behind as well as what lies ahead.  Eagles inevitably arrive at their destination–safe and sound. They look regal and marvelous perched high and full of favor for all to see simply because they found the secret to success.

The secret is getting there, not of their own accord, but rather from trusting and relying on the wind beneath their wings.  When we are tired and hopeless and ready to give up trying, we should look to the birds and watch the way they fly.  There we can find new hope as we turn to the One who guides the wind.

Natures Way, Crawdads and Hope

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imagesCAK11KB1A wise man once told me if I stopped striving and stood still long enough to watch some little crawdad’s scooting around near the bottom of a shallow muddy creek I would learn all I needed to know about managing too much stress.

The secret is in the way of nature . . .

What he was saying made no sense.  I knew nothing about nature or its ways.  How could a little bug in the mud teach me anything?

Crawdads are freshwater crustaceans resembling tiny lobsters to which they are related.  They are also known as crawfish, freshwater lobsters, or mudbugs.

Crawdads breathe through feather-like gills and are found in bodies of water. Some species are found in brooks and streams where there is fresh water running, while others thrive in swamps, ditches, and rice paddies. Most cannot tolerate polluted water. They feed on living and dead animals and plants.

My friend told me I could learn a lot about stress management by simply watching these little mud bugs.  I wasn’t so sure . . . but I knew he had plenty of opportunity to observe them since he works year round on oil rigs–sometimes in the rough seas off the coast of Norway and other times along the Gulf of Mexico.

I guess when you are miles from land and loved ones and surrounded by nothing but miles of open sky and endless water you get insight and clarity that the rest of us miss.  Such may be the case when it comes to connecting the behavior of crawdads to something we, as people, could employ to help rejuvenate ourselves into a better state of being.

To me it was just a really odd analogy.  It was almost silly.  Yet I was willing to entertain the thought since I so desperately needed anything that might help me to relax and de-stress.

It has been over five years now but I remember the conversation as if it happened yesterday.

“Watch . . .,” he said.  “Watch closely and see how these little critters make their way over to this tiny stick in the water.”

He was bent down, smiling and pointing his finger down towards the dirty creek.

I saw nothing but dirt and debris.  We were glaring into a small creek next to a boat launching area at the western end of the Louisiana Bayou off Highway I-10.

“Surely you see them,” he said.

I had no idea what he was talking about.  As he motioned forward, I stepped a little closer. He kept talking and I listened because I had a deep respect for just about anything he said and because I was desperate for any ideas on how I might get de-frazzled and back to a calm and normal state of being.

We had stopped to take a rest after a very tiresome ride and a week long mission trip to help rebuild houses in Galveston–homes that had been destroyed by Hurricane Ike. I was especially out of sorts and under some sort of emotional, physical or spiritual attack.  I had been unable to sleep and seeing all the damage and suffering the storm victims experienced had reminded me too much of a house fire my mother and I had endured.  Making matters worse Murphy’s Law had kicked in and as a team leader almost everything I set my hand to do seemed to fail or get overcomplicated.  I had lost sight of the mission I was on to serve and help others because I had let my emotions and my feelings get way out of control. I was a wreck because I believed I had disappointed myself, my team, those we came to help–and mostly my God.

All of this threw me into an almost manic state of mind.  So I was eager to get a release.  If watching crawdads in the water would help me, I was certainly willing to do so.  All I needed was some rest and all I wanted was a hug and some peace.

The crawdads might not have helped me that day but the idea that nature has a way to make us relax and that valuable life lessons can be found in the way nature and animals and God intertwine is something I did manage to take away–and that has never left me.

My friend pointed out that these tiny little mud bugs instinctively gravitate to sticks and plants to get nourishment and to find their rest until they are ready to drift back out into the murky water.

“See how they cling to that branch,” he asked while still pointing his finger into the water.

“Yes,” I slowly agreed.

“They hang on right there for just as long as they need to,” he said.  “They stay as long as it takes for them to get restored, re-energized and ready to go back out into their muddy little world.”

I nodded again because I finally understood where his talk was leading.

“We have to do that too–we have to find a safe place and then cling to the branch, cling to Jesus . . . ” he said.

Ah . . . suddenly I got it.

It was the first time in my whole life that I had ever stopped and stepped away from my busy-ness long enough to contemplate nature.

imagesCADU42C8Today I am so glad I spent that time watching those tiny lobster-shaped bug-like creatures swim around in dirty water.  It was an odd lesson but one I still remember and cling to whenever I get restless or weary.

Mud bugs clinging to sticks.  The fuel for life is in the plant.  Jesus is the branch . . .

When stress comes look to nature.  That simple lesson never left me.  When I feel stressed, I now know I can simply walk or sit or use my camera to capture the beauty and the mystery of how God works wonders in the sunrise or the sunset, in the flight of a butterfly, in the intricate details of a strand of wheat or a flower–in nature.  God clearly cares for and restores all of us (from the tiniest mud bug to the most anxious, stressed out and complicated person alive).  Our hope is always found in nature and the secret is in the stillness and in a total reliance on God’s plan and His provision.

An ASAP Hope Request

Originally posted on The HOPE Report:

“Restoration and hope is available each time you return to God.”
Jim George

When an emergency arises on the mission or the battle field or on a deserted terrain, a seasoned traveler instinctively knows what to do:  they send up a smoke signal, light a flare and carve an urgent message in the dirt.  Its called an SOS.

1621785_743041732373962_1850938442_nThe same is true when a person of faith reaches the end of their rope or has taken on so much of an emotional, physical or spiritual struggle they know they can’t make it alone.  They feel trapped even when there is no cage or chains to bind them so they send an emergency prayer to the heavens–an ASAP hope request.

I have been to that place.  I am not ashamed to admit I can’t make it on my own.  I need God’s help.  I rely on His mercy and His grace.  Too often…

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An ASAP Hope Request

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“Restoration and hope is available each time you return to God.”
Jim George

When an emergency arises on the mission or the battle field or on a deserted terrain, a seasoned traveler instinctively knows what to do:  they send up a smoke signal, light a flare and carve an urgent message in the dirt.  Its called an SOS.

1621785_743041732373962_1850938442_nThe same is true when a person of faith reaches the end of their rope or has taken on so much of an emotional, physical or spiritual struggle they know they can’t make it alone.  They feel trapped even when there is no cage or chains to bind them so they send an emergency prayer to the heavens–an ASAP hope request.

I have been to that place.  I am not ashamed to admit I can’t make it on my own.  I need God’s help.  I rely on His mercy and His grace.  Too often I get stuck and I don’t know which way to turn.  I pray and I wait.  I wait and I pray.

I fall down but He picks me up again.  I ask God to reveal any hindrances, to cleanse me from all unrighteousness and to renew my strength so I can carry on.  I humble myself to the realization that I must daily rely on God’s help.  I search diligently for answers.  I investigate every lead trying to find the delicate balance between what I want and what I need.

My family and friends encourage me but I feel I am more of burden than a blessing in return.  I grow weary but I keep on doing good even when it seems like what I do is insignificant, unproductive and not leading toward a solution.

I want to believe I’m moving I the right direction.  But too often it seems like I’m not even dancing the one step forward and two steps back routine.  No I’m just stuck–frozen in time or hanging in limbo not knowing what comes next.  Its an awkward paralysis.  A heaviness.  My knee jerk reaction is to find someone or something to blame but I’ve come too far in life for that.

As a problem solver I don’t spend too much time trying to decide if the glass is half full or half empty.  I just drink the water and end the debate.

I’m not scared because I know my Father in Heaven has a perfect plan for me–but I am restless and weary and anxious for that plan to unfold. I strive to make it happen but doors that seemed ajar suddenly slam shut as I reach out to touch the handles.  Its as if God says “hands off” and gives no other explanation.  I want answers but all I get is silence.

My intentions get me nowhere and I feel totally helpless in situations beyond my control. I say the Serenity Prayer out loud but it does very little to ease my mind.  Words . . . just words.  Its hard to praise Him in the hallway.  I crank up worship music and read bible verses out loud to chase away the negative voices in my head.

I try to take all this in stride but the truth is I’m losing my cool.  I want to shake whatever I’m waiting for into existence.  I want to re-set the clock.  I want solutions and I want them NOW.

The older I get the harder it is to bounce back.  I keep thinking God will send a helpmate but that is probably my greatest delusion. I thought for sure he sent one but its hard loving someone who doesn’t love you back.  The truth is I am broke, tired, lonely, discouraged, hungry for adventure and losing my patience with life.  My heart aches–for me this time. Strike up the violin . . .

Yes I still have compassion for the lost and the hungry and the hurting and I want to inspire, educate, equip and empower others to reach their full potential–but how can I do so effectively when I am losing a grip on my own full potential in Christ?

I’ve always been great at clinging to the intangible things but now I need facts more than feelings. I need a job and a place to live and some clear direction ASAP.  I need to pay my storage bill.  I need car repairs, healthcare, funds for basic survival.  I need to lose some weight–physically, emotionally and spiritually I no longer feel fit for the journey bur I know I must carry on.

This morning I walked around the block and prayed out loud every step of the way.  I’m staying with friends in the country so it was not an ordinary little city block–it was a full mile in the Florida heat with hovering clouds, sticky humidity and more than a few drops of rain.  It didn’t matter.  It did me good to sweat and cry. I needed to stomp in the wet grass and to stick my shoes in the mud.  It was refreshing to soak my hair and to let the raindrops stain my face.

This blog is about hope and it was created to share inspiration and to help others find the best in every situation.  Sometimes we have to pep talk ourselves into still believing and into positive thinking. One of the worse things on earth is a preacher who doesn’t take their own advise.  Lord help me to stand behind my pen.

Sometimes we have to cry out and write our own Book of Psalms just as David did . . . Sometimes we have to wait for perfect timing and barge forth letting our petition be known before the King, just as Queen Esther did.  Sometimes we have to follow our dreams and stand firm even when those we love forsake us and when life circumstances come against us time after time–just as Joseph did.

The stories of the bible are there to help us get through whatever we face.  There are valuable and relevant lessons we must apply to our own lives if we hope to endure.

1551696_731964316815037_719326989_nThis morning I was also reminded of Job–a man whose faith was tested beyond measure; a man who lost everything but did not lose his faith.  Job never gave up on God even when it seemed that God had given up on him.  Job held onto faith  through unimaginable trials and hardships.  In spite of losing cattle, houses, riches even family and friends–Job did not stop believing in a God who would not forsake him.  In the end, everything he lost was once again restored. How can anyone read this story and not be willing to trust in God’s power to turn things around for good?

Life is not getting any easier–especially for people of faith.  In the days ahead, I believe we will need unfailing hope and a faith like Job’s in order to survive.  We will need to be hopeful and resourceful.  We will need to help others but never lose ourselves in the process.  We will need to find the balance between facts and feelings, between what we want and what we need.  We will have to be prepared to rely on our instincts; to strengthen our endurance; to send an SOS and an ASAP hope request whenever times get rough.

Mostly, we must never lose sight of the big picture and the promises God gives to help us through the trials we encounter in our daily lives.

Hope in the Bread and Water

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From the River Jordan in the Middle East to the waterways beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, along the eastern shore and anywhere else where Orthodox Jews might be gathered, you can expect to find plenty of bread crumbs floating down-stream or riding salty waves out to sea.

On this special day, each morsel of bread represents sins and the casting into the water is a symbol of atonement.  It is the “washing away” on the Day of Judgment known as “Tashlich”.

imagesjew2Tashlich (תשליך) is a ritual that many Jews observe during Rosh Hashanah. “Tashlich” means “casting off” in Hebrew and it involves symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces of bread or another food into a body of flowing water. Just as the water carries away the bits of bread, so too are sins symbolically carried away. In this way the participant hopes to start the New Year with a clean slate.

Tashlich originated during the Middle Ages and was inspired by a verse uttered by the prophet Micah:

God will take us back in love;
God will cover up our iniquites,
You [God] will hurl all our sins
Into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19)

Tashlich is traditionally performed on the first day of the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), but if this day falls on Shabbat then tashlich isn’t observed until the second day of Rosh HaShanah. If it is not performed on the first day, it can be done anytime up until the last day of Sukkot, which is thought to be the last day of the New Year’s “judgment” period.

In order to perform tashlich you must take pieces of bread or another food and go to a flowing body of water such as a river, stream, sea or ocean. Lakes or ponds that have fish are also a good place, because the animals will eat the food and fish are believed by folklore to be immune to the evil eye.

Some traditions say that fish are also significant because they can be trapped in nets just as we can be trapped in sin. In some communities people will also pull out their pockets and shake them to make sure any lingering sins are cast off.

Tashlich has traditionally been a solemn ceremony but in recent years it has become a very social occasion. People often gather at the same body of water to perform the ritual.  In New York, for example, it is popular to perform tashlich by tossing pieces of bread off the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridges.

imagesCAWIKMJWI find it interesting how this ritual so closely matches my own Christian baptism with Jesus as the ultimate “atonement” for my sins.  Just as the Jewish people long to wash away the sins of the past year so they can enter into the future with a “clean slate”, the act of baptism represents a “washing away” of the past before coming to the cross and accepting Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice for my own sins.

The Ten Day focus of Rosh Hashanah takes the sin, cleansing and renewal theme even further with a deliberate Old Testament style repentance. It is a radical, fervent, harsh and hard-core approach frequently neglected in modern synagogues and churches.

Call it extreme but the world needs this kind of feasting and fasting, an sharp and critical soul searching and a solemn soaking experience.  America needs a deep intense soul cleansing–an inner intricate finding and binding; a shattering, shaking, wide awakening.

I need it too.  I need God to prune me to the core.

We all need a reviving and life-saving experience like that of the Ninehvites when Jonah finally reached them.  We need a no escape, sack-cloth, shaved heads and ashes, fist-clenching, gut-wrenching and heart rendering face on the floor multi-day prayer summit.   We need an unscheduled revival.

Its not too late but how many of us are Orthodox, thirsty or determined enough to comply–just for 10 days?  Throw the clock out the window and get rug burns on our knees.  Disregard the agenda.  Shut off the computer.  Forget facebook.  Hold the phone.

I dare you.

This summerimagesCA93BQAK I set out to spend 40 days writing, fasting and praying.  I set my goal too high.  Yes, I got a good start but too soon I let everything slip.  Everything I set out to do got put on the back burner and suddenly I found myself hopelessly back in my rut.  Going nowhere.  Two steps forward and three steps back.  My spiritual growth on hold.

Brothers and sisters we are in times that are too critical for the normal routine of comfortable Christianity.  The two step dance leads nowhere.  Now is the time to break the routine and get out of the rut.  Whatever hindrances have you bound, now is the time to break free.

10402840_260456007480773_1268100802070448145_nI preach change and revival to myself realizing now might be a good time to go down to the river to pray with my own bag of bread crumbs and a renewed desire to repent, get closer to God and to seek His perfect will for my life.

Will you join me?

Hope on the Horizon: Trumpets and Fireballs

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Last night fire bombs flew through the sky.  Natural ones–at least four of them–large enough to be seen by several thousand people in various locations around the U.S.

The American Meteor Society reports that four large fireballs were seen in the sky over the eastern half of the United States.

imagesCAJ0VO2TThe first could be seen in Florida and Georgia.  Three of the four events occurred within 90 minutes of each other.  At least 77 witnesses from Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana reported a bright fireball over Michigan around 9 p.m.

“It is rare that multiple significant fireball events occur and are reported to the AMS in the same evening. After analysis of the time, proximity of witnesses and pointing data gathered, it was determined that each event was unique,” the AMS wrote on its website.

The recent increase in fireball sightings is a widely under-reported phenomena that apparently has been going on for weeks.

Every night, a network of Nasa all sky cameras scan the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. On Sep. 13, 2014, the network reported 253 fireballs.

That’s just in one night.

imagesCAT9NGQ1End times prophets and sign-watchers are reeling at the implications.  Could God be sending us signs?  On October 8, 2014 a second blood red moon is expected.  It seems no coincidence that tonight also marks the Jewish Feast of Trumpets.

Rosh Hashanah or Jewish New Year is called the Feast of Trumpets in the Bible because it begins the Jewish High Holy Days and Ten Days of Repentance with the blowing of the ram’s horn, the shofar, calling God’s people together to repent from their sins. During Rosh Hashanah synagogue services, the trumpet traditionally sounds 100 notes.

Rosh Hashanah also is a solemn day of soul-searching, forgiveness, repentance and remembering God’s judgment, as well as a joyful day of celebration, looking forward to God’s goodness and mercy in the New Year.

Hope Without Shoes

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IMG_5028I love going barefoot.  I also love the fact that I get to choose.  Many don’t.

On October 10, 2014 I will choose to wear no shoes.  I will join hundreds or thousands of other barefoot activists who join a Soles4Souls initiative to go shoe-less to create awareness about poverty in America and around the world.

Founded in 2006 and based in Nashville, Tennessee, Soles4Souls is a global not-for-profit institution dedicated to fighting poverty through the distribution of shoes and clothing. 

Soles4Souls distributes shoes and clothing in two ways. First it passes on new items donated by corporations and retailers who provide new but non-marketable overstocks, returns and discontinued items.  At the same time, Soles4Souls receives used shoes and clothing collected by individuals, schools, churches, faith-based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners.  After sorting items in its national warehouse, Soles4Souls typically sells the used shoes and clothing to carefully selected micro-enterprise organizations in countries like Haiti where there are virtually no jobs to generate personal income.

While Soles4Souls is making a difference worldwide, much of its work begins and ends right here in America. 

Soles4Souls was born out of a critical need to respond to natural disasters both domestically and internationally. While disaster relief continues to be a primary focus, other stateside initiatives include:

Appalachia Mountains Region
From Lynch, Kentucky to Bluefield, West Virginia the need for basic items is staggering. The request for new and gently worn footwear is always in high demand. This is one region where children do not have even one adequate pair of shoes for school. Shoes are designated for this region approximately once each quarter.

Summer Camps for Disadvantaged Children
Soles4Souls also provides two pairs of shoes for up to 6,000 children who attend one of 140 camps in the U.S. that focus on abused and neglected children. The children do not pay for camp as all their funding is raised by volunteers. Most of these children also do not have a pair of shoes in adequate condition or that fit properly.

Navajo/Hopi Indian Reservations
Soles4Souls currently is focused on Native Americans residing in the Winslow/Holbrook, Arizona region where footwear for all age groups remains in high demand.

Women Domestic Abuse Shelters
Soles4Souls continues to expand its network of supporting Women Domestic Abuse Shelters across the U.S. These women (and their children) usually begin to rebuild their lives from nothing. Low heel shoes in black, brown, and navy provide conservative footwear needed for women in transition during their job search.

Soles4Souls also organizes disaster response and short-term mission teams to travel the world and hand-deliver clothing and shoes.

In October, the Barefoot4Them initiative is looking for participants to help raise awareness.  On 10.10.14, we can make a choice to live one day without shoes. Go barefoot to represent someone who has been affected by wearing inadequate footwear, and be the voice of those in need.

To get involved is simple:

  • Sign up!
  • Take a photo of your bare feet and share it on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Include something like this: 

Will you go Barefoot4Them with @soles4souls on 10.10.14 to help the millions of kids w/o shoes? #b4t 

On October 10th, 

  • Go barefoot to raise awareness.
  • Share posts and photos with the #B4T hashtag.

To learn more visit http://soles4souls.org/barefoot4them

Wailing Women and Hope

cindicourbat:

Some random thoughts on the mysterious woman dressed in black . . .

Originally posted on The HOPE Report:

BtrohIiIQAAg2yLThe solitary figure of a woman dressed in black became the focus of feverish social media speculation after she was spotted silently walking the highways of several southern states. By the time her journey ended she was said to have spent an entire month walking and to have covered over 1,000 miles.

Who was the strange woman and why was she wearing an ancient costume from biblical times? The media, spectators, social media followers–even her own family couldn’t quite figure it out–and she made no efforts to explain.

Her relatives surmised she might have lost her mind due to post traumatic stress (PTSD) acquired during her military career. Or maybe it was her involvement with the church?

Interesting enough our passion is our greatest calling–and who better than a distraught military woman of strong faith willing to walk the highways demonstrating her silent strength–a powerful presence that would inevitably gain…

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Hope on Yasgur’s Farm

cindicourbat:

It has been 45 years since Woodstock . . .

Originally posted on The HOPE Report:

     
 

I’m a farmer, I don’t know how to speak to twenty people at one time, let alone a crowd like this. But I think you people have proven something to the world — not only to the Town of Bethel, or Sullivan County or New York State; you’ve proven something to the world. This is the largest group of people ever assembled in one place. We have had no idea that there would be this size group, and because of that you’ve had quite a few inconveniences as far as water, food, and so forth. Your producers have done a mammoth job to see that you’re taken care of… they’d enjoy a vote of thanks. But above that, the important thing that you’ve proven to the world is that a half a million kids — and I call you kids because I have children that…

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