Hope and Faith = Hanging On

This Bible verse from KJV greeted me every day for seven years in very large print as it was painted on the wall across the entrance to our lunchroom at Sans Souci Elementary when I attended from 1956-1963.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” Psalm 19:1
Many will say that we can’t be so brazenly bold today in schools, but that is not the case. Christian teachers have every right to tell school children what they believe and many take steps to do so. With that freedom comes the chance that an atheist or teacher of other faiths may share opposing views. My wife Joy taught mostly grades 3-6 over her many years in education and allowed her students to “return thanks” each day before lunch. (Christian, Jew, and a few others over the years) That time was spiritual, educational, and special. I kept my study Bible on my desk every day in the high schools, middle schools, and college classrooms where I taught. Students saw me read it in the mornings, and heard me read from it as a reference in literature classes. I had a Muslim student one year and took every chance to witness to her in very appropriate ways. One day she wore a Christmas shirt that she had bought at a local store. It showed baby Jesus in the manger and said “Silent Night.” I complimented her shirt and asked her if she knew what those English words on her shirt meant. She said that she did not know. The door was opened as I interpreted to her the special message that the hope of baby Jesus brought our world that Silent Night.  I hope today that she still remembers that message. And I hope that others have found open doors to witness to her and to many others like her. Two Christmases ago as I lay in ICU asleep in a coma for over 2 weeks, our three grandsons Jarron, Tabor, and Hewson  sang “O Holy Night” and prayed over me . The nurses and doctors could not wait to tell me what a special family I had with  our son Anthony praying over me daily. Jennifer prayed over me and her dad who was also in ICU at the very same time – likewise with cancer related struggles. And to top it off, Joy was in the hospital as well. Our family was facing one of its biggest sorrows ever. Hewson looked  up to his dad and asked him, “How do people without faith handle a time like this? What do they lean on or trust in?”…. Good question Hewson. Even today as a 14 year old along with your teen brothers, I hear of how you witness to your home school friends in classes, and how you witness to neighbors, and even to near strangers on Facebook…Well I see hope in you guys…I feel the Hope in your futures and I know that as Billy Graham is in his last days, you are in your youthful days of doing what he did for decades…You are leading others to that faith….That faith of hope. That faith that awakened me through the prayers and eyes of your dad that day….and that faith that wiped out the largest tumor in my spine. That faith that brought Nana home – and your other granddad home for two years when the doctors gave him two weeks…God Can…..and you guys Will…..Amen today and into the Heaven we call our real home.
Revelation 21:4 – And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.


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