‘Hope’ [v187]

SEPTEMBER 2014

‘Hope’

As I did last year, I spent an entire week down in Detroit (August 11-17)—specifically in the “Cody-Rouge” area—to help the non-profit “Life Remodeled” with executing their planned ‘makeover’ of Cody High School and the surrounding neighborhood. I was on the “PR Team,” and was responsible for some of the media relations, the design and production of promotional materials, PowerPoint presentations, signage, banners, t-shirt graphics, social media channel headers, the posting of the TV and radio media coverage, and capturing the project photographically. Most of the graphic work was done before the ‘build week’, and most of the the photography was done during the week-long ‘campaign’.

[ The following is a link to the daily “albums” of photos that the dozen photographers I coordinated and I took to capture all of the activities during the ‘build week’ (over 7,000 pics!):
https://www.flickr.com/photos/liferemodeled2014/sets/ ].

[ Note: I will be doing some photography of the “tour” that will be given in the next few weeks, to show the completion of the new ‘special’ rooms and overall ‘clean-up’ of Cody High School. The pics will be on the Life Remodeled Flickr site (I will make you aware when they are available there) ].

 

Life Remodeled’s goals were to build four “special” rooms at Cody High School, renovate 20 student houses (new kitchens, bathrooms, roofs, siding, doors, windows, stairs, wheelchair ramps, etc.), board up 100 vacant houses, and “beautify” 100 city blocks (remove blight, trim trees, cut grass, plant flowers, etc.)—all in SIX DAYS! On the seventh day, Sunday, August 17, 2014, at their celebration, they noted that they exceeded all of their goals: More ‘renovations’ were done inside Cody, Henderson, and Mann schools than planned; they remodeled 25 student houses; boarded up 254 vacant houses; demolished three dangerous houses; and beautified 303 city blocks! This was an unbelievable effort performed by over 10,500 volunteers—the largest volunteer effort in recent Detroit history.

 

So, what did all this effort accomplish? Well, here’s some comments from a couple of Cody High students:

“Life in the Cody Rouge community has been one of the most interesting experiences in my life. I came from the suburbs and to come here and see so much blight and poverty was intriguing. I saw so many abandoned buildings, uncut grass and graffiti I couldn’t believe my eyes. Seeing children walking to and from school with no supervision raised a high level of concern. Then I began to think how I can help. I began to do multiple Cody Rouge activities, and volunteering to board up abandoned homes. I had a vision that one day this neighborhood would soon look like a place with life.

I then began attending Medicine and Community Health at Cody High School. I saw hope within this school. It’s just like any other school. The only difference is we need someone to see the hope in us too.

In early April we heard that Life Remodeled would be coming to help remodel our school and neighborhood. I then began to thank God because that’s exactly what I had been praying for. I’m extremely happy to know they see something in Cody Rouge to want to help us. They are planting a seed that will soon blossom into something great. I am more grateful to be a part of this project because if we don’t change our community as youth, who will?”
[ Tia McMickel ]

Here’s another Cody student:

“In life there are obstacles, challenges and changes. There are people who care, and those that don’t. Some who choose to succeed, and others that fail and get stuck in situations that they can’t make it out of.

People who don’t live within the Cody-Rouge community may think these people are nobodies. They look at them like they’re meaningless or below them. As for me, I say otherwise.

Those people aren’t meaningless nobodies; they are strong fighters who believe in a better tomorrow, still living in a neighborhood playing “The Hunger Games.” Their reason for not being successful is not because they don’t want to be, or they don’t care. It’s because they have nothing to stand on.

Nothing but HOPE.

Being a young [person] living in the Cody school district, I speak for all when I say this neighborhood has come a long way. We went from seeing gangs bullying the innocent to students planting trees at the park. Innocent bystanders were scared to come out the house because they didn’t know what danger was in store for them. Now everyone wants to go out and have a nice time at the park with their families because there aren’t any reasons to be scared anymore. My neighbors and I—no let me rephrase that—my family and I have come together to make our community whole again.

It gives me greater honor to be able to work on the Cody Rouge community with my family because it will not only revitalize the neighborhood but it will allow us to work together on a project that will bring all of us together to build an enormous foundation.”
[ Aiesha Grayson ]

 

Did you catch the similarities in their comments? It was “HOPE”—and that’s what Life Remodeled ‘delivered’, and will continue to provide (since they will be returning to the Cody-Rouge area next year—in August 2015—with an expanded vision of ‘transformation’).

 

A year ago, when Life Remodeled was discussing their idea of remodeling a school with the management at Detroit Public Schools, they asked which schools had the most need. Cody was one of four schools D.P.S. cited.

The neighborhood around the school had the highest concentration of youth in the city, and the highest crime rate committed against young people. In 2007, only 23% of the students graduated.

But, a lot has changed since then. In 2008, Cody was ‘broken up’ into three “academies” (Technology; Medical; and Leadership), that would be focused on a specific curriculum. The goal was smaller, more intimate ‘communities’.

Each of the three schools has about 400 students—about 75-100 for each grade—and has its own ‘section’ on the campus. Last year (2013), the first class graduated from the new Cody academies—and over 80% of the students graduated!

 

So, even though there’s been tremendous success, there is much that still can be improved—and that’s where Life Remodeled comes in. Their guiding vision for the project was:

“Need + Hope + Life Remodeled = Radical Transformation with Enduring Sustainability!”

There’s that word hope again!

[ FYI: Check out the many stories of ‘transformation’ on Life Remodeled’s Vimeo site:
http://vimeo.com/liferemodeled/videos ].

 

In daily usage, the term “hope” is used a few different ways: a thing in the future that we desire; a desire for something good in the future; and the basis or reason for thinking that our desire may indeed come true, with reasonable confidence.

Ordinarily, when we use the word “hope,” we express ‘uncertainty’ rather than ‘certainty’. From a merely mathematical or logical perspective, we determine from ‘calculations’ that something may have a better chance of happening than something else. Then, most of the time, we put our ‘hope’ in the one that statistically has a better chance of being fulfilled.

“Hope” is a very powerful emotion. Author Hal Lindsey said it better than I can: “Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.”

 

Well, that might be an over-simplification, but many studies have shown that hope is the key to getting through tough times or surviving ‘a crisis’. They cited that with a strong hope, most things were overcome.

What are you hoping ‘FOR’ these days?

For many it’s an improvement in our economy as we deal with the uncertainties of our time. Some of you have incredible brokenness in your home and you’re desperately looking for signs of hope that will lead to family unity—and not divorce. For others, your concerns might be related to health issues that you or a member of your family are dealing with, and you’re hoping for a return to full health. For all of us, we can clearly see the seemingly steady worsening conditions of terrorist threats and moral degradation of society. Most people hope for world peace—specifically peace in the Middle East.

But, what is your hope ‘IN’?

Well, we vote in a new politician to clean up the corruption or fix the economy. We go with the new medical breakthrough in hopes it will cure our loved one. We desire that a caring friend, counselor or pastor can solve the critical family problem we are having. Well, some of these things might just happen, but now you’re back to ‘uncertainties’—statistical probabilities.

 

So, let me suggest WHO to put your hope IN—Someone that has always come through exactly as He has promised—100% of the time, for thousands of years! That would be “Adonai,” “Elohim,” “El Shaddai,” “Yahweh,” or just “Abba Father”—the God of the Bible.

 

The faithfulness of God fulfilling His ‘promises’ (prophecies) has been proven many times. In fact, accounts of covenants (promises) between God and His people can be found 277 times in the Bible. Deuteronomy 7:9 says “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.”

God made a land covenant with Abraham (patriarch of many nations), and though the Jewish people were scattered around the world, God promised that the people of Israel would again become a nation in the land He says was theirs. This prophecy, made in the Old Testament, was fulfilled in May of 1948, when Israel became a “nation.” Since then, the Jewish people have been returning ‘home’ in droves.

More examples of God’s faithfulness to keep His promises with others are found in the following verses:

– To Noah (God will save Noah and his family) [Genesis 6:17-18; 9:9-17]
– To Ishmael (God will bless Ishmael and his descendants) [Genesis 17:18-20]
– To Moses (God will spare the Israelites if they obey) [Exodus 19:5]
– To Jacob (God reaffirms everlasting covenant to Israel) [Psalm 105:10]

[ Note: Below in the “Resources” section, there is a link to a chart of fulfilled prophecies, and a detailed presentation of 45 major prophecies and the actual ‘proofs’ of fulfillment ].

 

There are literally dozens more scriptures of God’s faithfulness. None, however, may be the most life-changing as those that proclaim His forgiveness of our sins. There are many Old Testament prophecies promising a coming Messiah or Savior. God’s faithful promise was fulfilled in the New Testament when He sent Jesus to atone for our sins. No matter what sins we have committed, no matter how “bad” we are, God is faithful to forgive us if we accept Jesus and repent of our sins.

– God sent His Son, [Matthew 1:21-22] through Him we have everlasting life [John 3:16]
– Christ died for our atonement of sin [1 Thessalonians 5:9-10]
– God’s promise to remove sins [Romans 11:25-27]
– God ordained Jesus, author of eternal salvation [Hebrews 5:5-10]
– God will toss our sin into the depths of the sea (never to be remembered again) [Micah 7:18-19]

 

God is so faithful, that anyone who seeks Him, can ‘find’ Him—and if the person repents of their sins and accepts Jesus as their Savior, God will give them the ‘gift’ of eternal life!

In 1 John 1:9 we are told, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins an purify us from all unrighteousness.” With absoluteness we can have the confidence that God will forgive us. Without His ability to do so, He would not be God. He is the only true God [John 17:3] and the gods of no other religion promises this. Since He has made this promise, and we know He cannot break His word, we know that it would be contrary to His nature and that He cannot lie [Numbers 23:19].

So then, Biblical hope not only desires something good for the future, it expects it to happen—and not only does it expect it to happen, it is CERTAIN that it will happen—since God said so!

 

Hope is a small word, but it is one of the most powerful. Why? Well, because in hope lies the power of the human soul to turn to God and live as if His promises are going to come true. “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD” [Psalm 31:24.

Some people think hope is an emotion. “I’m feeling hopeful,” they say, but true hope is a discipline, a determination to believe in God’s reality and power, even when the world seems to be crashing down around you. That is the genius and the power of hope. It flies in the face of calamity, saying, “The world can do its worst to me. But still I will hope. Still I will know that this is the day the Lord has made, and He will take care of me.”

The key to surviving any challenge or crisis is hope. Hope that God loves you. Hope that He is, right now, working out a solution for you. Hope that the future you place in His hands will be better than the present you hold in your own. “’For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” [Jeremiah 29:11].

 

A German pastor, Paul Gerhardt, wrote a hymn that has brought comfort to many over the years. “Give to the winds thy fears; hope, and be undismayed; God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears; God shall lift up thy head. Through waves and clouds and storms He gently clears the way. Wait thou His time, so shall the night soon end in joyous day.”

It is often in our darkest times that God makes His presence known most clearly. He uses our sufferings and troubles to show us that He is our only source of strength. And when we see this truth, like Pastor Gerhardt, we receive new hope. Are you facing a great trial? Take heart. Put yourself in God’s hands. Wait for His timing. He will give you a “song in the night.”

 

Practice this hope, even if you have to will yourself to do it. With its power, you will overcome all things. “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” [Isaiah 40:31].

Biblical hope is a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future. There is “moral certainty” in it—because of the reliability of God’s character, and because He has kept 100% of the promises He has ever made!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” [Romans 15:13].

 

[ Excerpts from: AllAboutGod.com; The Interactive Bible; Bible.ca; John Piper; Norman Vincent Peale ]

 

RESOURCES:

CODY HIGH SCHOOL “TURNAROUND”:
http://www.freep.com/article/20130607/NEWS01/306070119/Detroit-turnaround-schools-graduation

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education-july-dec11-detroitgrad_11-25/

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The following links are for more information about the Cody-Rouge project Life Remodeled did at Cody High School and the surrounding are in Detroit, Michigan:

PHOTOS
VIDEOS (Day Recaps)
MEDIA COVERAGE
FACEBOOK PAGE
TWITTER FEED

Life Remodeled is a non-profit organization that exists to remodel lives—one neighborhood at a time. Our strategy includes remodeling a Detroit Public School each summer in order to create academic and athletic improvements. Additionally, we believe that if we partner with the local residents to remove blight in the surrounding area and create safe and inspirational pathways to the school, we will help to sustain and build up a neighborhood that radiates hope to the rest of the city!

All of this is made possible by thousands of phenomenal volunteers and very generous donors. Our partners are highly motivated and are unified in working towards a common goal. Such camaraderie produces an incredibly rewarding experience for all involved!

If you are also interested in more information, or supporting, this great non-profit, contact me, or click the link below to be taken to Life Remodeled’s website:

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ABOUT LIFE REMODELED

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60 BIBLE PROPHESIES FULFILLED
Prophecy is foretelling an event in such detail before it happens so as to necessarily require divine guidance. The Bible is a book containing hundreds of detailed prophecies. There are, for example, well over 60 distinct predictions in regard to our divine Saviour Jesus Christ. Here is a sample of just 10 prophecies that foretold the crucifixion of Christ. Not only were the predictions made 1000 years before Christ came from heaven to earth, but they were made over 500 years before crucifixion was first used anywhere in the world as a form of capital punishment! Crucifixion didn’t exist when the prophecies were made.

A scientist picked out 48 such prophecies and determined that the probability of one man randomly fulfilling them all is 1 in 10 to the exponent of 157. That is one followed by 157 zeros! Your chances of winning a typical lottery jackpot is about 1 in 108. (100,000,000) Yet, Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies!

Chart of the 60 Prophesies:
http://www.bible.ca/b-prophecy-60.htm

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45 OF GOD’S FULFILLED ‘PROMISES’ (Prophecies):
The Bible contains hundreds of prophecies that have been fulfilled. Notice just a few examples and consider how these predictions were made in detail, often many years or even hundreds of years before their fulfillment.

A. Prophecies Concerning the Nation of Israel
– The promises to Abraham
– Predictions of punishment for sin
– Other specific predictions
B. Prophecies Concerning Other Nations/Cities
– Tyre [Ezekiel 26:3-14]
– Sidon [Ezekiel 28:22,23]
– Nineveh [Zephaniah 2:13-15 (cf. book of Nahum)]
– Babylon [Isaiah 13:17-21 (cf. Jeremiah 50,51)]
– Jeremiah [30:10,11; 46:28]
C. Prophecies Concerning Jesus
– His lineage or ancestry
– His birthplace
– Birth to a virgin
– Fore-runner: John Baptist
– A prophet like Moses
– Both priest and king
– Triumphal entry
– Rejection by the Jews resulting in death
– Details of Jesus’ crucifixion
– Death for the guilt of others
– Buried in a rich man’s tomb
– Resurrection from the dead
D. Prophecies Concerning the Gospel and the Kingdom
– Predictions of the Gospel, the New Testament
– Predictions of the Kingdom of Christ
– Predictions during Jesus’ Lifetime
– Fulfillment of the Kingdom on the Day of Pentecost
– The Kingdom after Pentecost

http://www.gospelway.com/god/evidences-prophecy.php

This is part of a complete series of evidences for the major claims of the Bible that God exists, the Bible is God’s Word, and Jesus is God’s Son. This article must be studied in context of the whole series of articles. To start at the beginning of the series, please go to:
http://www.gospelway.com/god/evidences.php

—————-

“HOPE AGAIN”
by Charles Swindoll

Find hope to press on…
Hope to endure…
Hope to stay focused…
Hope to see dreams fulfilled…

Hope is more than mere wishful thinking. Hope is a vital necessity of life―a gift that God wants to give to you. And in a world that regularly writes dreams off as foolish and drains the hope from the heart with dark pessimism, Hope Again is a voice crying in the wilderness…a word of enthusiasm for life in the midst of any difficult situation you are in.

Combining the New Testament teachings of Peter and the insights of one of the most popular authors of our day, Hope Again is an encouraging, enlivening, and refreshing look at why we can dare to hope no matter who we are, no matter what we face.

As Charles Swindoll says, “If you want to smile through your tears, if you want to rejoice through times of suffering, just keep reminding yourself that what you’re going through isn’t the end of the story, it’s simply the rough journey that leads to the right destination.”

http://www.amazon.com/Hope-Again-Charles-R-Swindoll/dp/0849940885

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[P.S.: If you would like to investigate what the Bible says about a reason to hope, visit the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q5_d5_1of10.html

 

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v187) for SEPTEMBER 2014

If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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MY HOPE IS IN YOU LORD
I meet with You
And my soul sings out
As Your word throws doubt far away
I sing to You
And my heart cries holy
Hallelujah! Father, You’re near

(chorus)
My hope is in You Lord
All the day long
I won’t be shaken by drought or storm
A peace that passes understanding is my song
And I sing
My hope is in You alone

I wait for You
And my soul finds rest
In my selfishness You show me grace
I worship You
And my heart cries glory
Hallelujah! Father, You’re here

(chorus)

(bridge)
I will wait on You
You are my refuge
I will wait on You
You are my refuge
My hope is in You Lord
All the day long
I won’t be shaken by drought or storm
My hope is in You Lord
All the day long
I won’t be shaken by drought or storm
The peace that passes understanding is my song
And I sing
My hope is in You alone
My hope is in You alone
My hope is in You alone

[Aaron Shust – “This Is What We Believe” album ]

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=912C1FNU

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MY LIFE IS IN YOU LORD
My life is in You, Lord
My strength is in You, Lord
My hope is in You, Lord
In You, it’s in You

My life is in You, Lord
My strength is in You, Lord
My hope is in You, Lord
In You, it’s in You

I will praise You with all of my life
I will praise You with all of my strength
With all of my life
With all of my strength
All of my hope is in You

My life is in You, Lord
My strength is in You, Lord
My hope is in You, Lord
In You, it’s in You

My life is in You, Lord
My strength is in You, Lord
My hope is in You, Lord
In You, it’s in You
In You, it is in You!

[ Daniel Gardner – Performed by “Hillsong” ]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmZZr5NASu0

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HOPE FOR THE FLOWERS
It all started many years ago while sharing comfort with a friend who just experienced the death of someone close. What does one say? How can we dare imagine that life can go on—we have no proof? The amazing transformation of a caterpillar, a lowly worm, into a glorious flying creature is also hard to believe. But because we have actually seen a butterfly we can hope for other transformations invisible to the eye.

In face of loss beyond words I would draw a card with a caterpillar, a cocoon and a butterfly illustrating a favorite text, “Life is changed, not taken away.”

The next push came with the sixties. The air was full of the call for revolution, many were for tearing down the whole old order hoping for some sort of magical Phoenix to emerge from the ashes. I wanted change. I wanted a more just and beautiful world too, but I could not believe that destroying all that came before would produce a Phoenix or a butterfly.

There’s more, much more to the story of how “Hope For the Flowers” came to be—but somehow two caterpillars, Stripe and Yellow, crawled out of a little yellow book as butterflies. For four decades, they have been flying around the world carrying hope for the flowers and for millions of people. So here we are, let the 40th Anniversary celebration on the Web begin! Enjoy and cry a bit at the beauty and pain of relishing and protecting the “more of life!”

[ Author, Trina Paulus ]

http://www.hopefortheflowers.org/index.html

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STORIES OF HOPE
Guideposts co-founder and best-selling author Dr. Norman Vincent Peale once turned around the old saying, “Where there is life there is hope,” to “Where there is hope there is life.” Why did he do this? Because, as he put it, “You’re never beaten down as long as you have hope.”

The real-life stories of hope here show how individuals in desperate straits clung to a glimmer of hope and were richly rewarded. Read on and discover the message of hope in these truly inspiring stories.

http://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/stories-of-hope

[ FYI: Free e-Books: http://www.guideposts.org/free-ebooks ].

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DEEP THOUGHT(s):

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope or confidence.”
[ Helen Keller ]

“We tend to get what we expect.”
[ Norman Vincent Peale ]

“Hope never abandons you. You abandon it.”
[ George Weinberg ]

“He who does not hope to win has already lost.”
[ Jose Joaquin Olmedo ]

“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.”
[ Orison Swett Marden ]

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
[ Dale Carnegie ]

“There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them.”
[ Clare Boothe Luce ]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

GOD’S PROMISES BRING HOPE
“For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying:

“I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.” Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.

Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek” [Hebrews 6:13-20].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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One Response to “‘Hope’ [v187]”

  1. Are You ‘Prepared’? | LIFE'S DEEP THOUGHTS Says:

    […] details on the past two projects: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/remodeling-produces-hope-v199/ https://markbesh.wordpress.com/hope-v187/ […]

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