A place to find Hope

Tag: heaven

Pain and Suffering Are a Part of Life. How you Handle it is Important.

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I am off to the Oregon Coast today. Weather says it will be nice. Looking forward to it.

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I have been wondering when all my pain will go away. I have had so many different ailments and hurts it is hard to be positive all the time. I still manage to do that.

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How do I keep that attitude?

  1. All pain will cease when I am heaven.
  2. Jesus suffered much more than I can ever imagine.
  3. Suffering builds character.
  4. Suffering can be used to reach out to others who are suffering.

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I realize that what I am saying may be a little over reaching my abilities. However God has sustained me so far. He knows my pains. He knows my needs. He knows what is best for me. So I cling to his promises, and you should too.

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If you are suffering, I am so sorry, but try to use your suffering to help others. Try to seek God’s help through prayer. he will hear your pleas.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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One Step Forward, and Two Steps Backwards is Hard

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What a day so far! Had to get my car fixed so I was playing phone tag on the phone to get the appointment. Made an appointment at our favorite restaurant for May 7th. Our 34th wedding anniversary. Hunted for almost an hour to find the owners manual for our dryer. So I am very late in starting today.

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Have you had hectic days where it seems like you are taking one step forward and two steps backwards? I have been there with you!

What I learned from this:

  1. Make a list in the morning as to what needs to be done and what order it needs to be done.
  2. Only work on the list. No side exits.
  3. Be patient!
  4. Distractions are a given, but try to avoid them.
  5. Have a beer when you accomplished your list for the day. 🙂

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Speaking of distractions. We have so many in our lives right now.

  1. The war in Ukraine.
  2. The pandemic.
  3. Inflation.
  4. High gas prices.
  5. The southern border.

There are many more distractions you and I face each day.

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We need to lean on God to help us be calm and in charge. Knowing His promises always calms my spirit. If you are a Christian you are not part of this world and will be with God someday. That is an overwhelming sigh of relief right there. Really…we are only on this earth for a New York minute, and then spend the rest of eternity in heaven.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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How can We Survive in This Not So Friendly World?

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This is a busy day for me. Just got home from have a blood test done, and later today I am off to PT.

I thought the busyness of the holidays would go away, but I guess there is no rest for the wicked

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I promised you that I would be starting a new formatt today. What I will be doing, is sharing excerpts from my first book, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.

Each post I will share another excerpt. Keep coming back to read the excerpts. Better yet….

Go to the top of this page and click on “Subscribe.” When you do all future post will go directly to your inbox.

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Preface

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

Psalm 40:1–2

One of the most exciting things that can happen in your life is to have a close encounter with God. Moses had several. A burning bush started talking to him; he went to Mt. Sinai where God gave him the Ten Commandments. He raised his staff during a fierce battle to help fight off the enemy. Moses and the Israelites received manna directly from God.

Elijah had a close encounter with God when ravens brought him food while he was in the wilderness at God’s direction. Daniel met some lions that the bad guys thought would eat him. Instead God calmed the lions—and they became pets for Daniel. Everyone that met Jesus had a close encounter.

God showed His love through many close encounters in the Bible, and He can do it for you today. You may have already had a close encounter without realizing it ever happened. Did you ever turn a corner you hadn’t planned to turn and seen an old friend who would have missed otherwise? Have you ever happened on the scene of a horrible accident you would have been involved in had you been there just a second sooner? During a lightning storm, were you ever close to a strike that hit the ground? Have you ever felt alone and abandoned and cried out to God for help and then felt a real peace that you have never felt before?

You may have encountered some of these situations, or others. God is watching over you every day. He wants to protect you. He has a plan for you and me. If danger is near, He may choose to spare your life because He has a path He wants you to take to help others to know Him better.

I went through some tough times because I felt lost after I retired from teaching. I had no purpose. I tried being a salesman at several places, and even tried to run my own business as a salesman. I failed at all of them. I went into the lowest spot in my life and was ready to end my life. God saved me on March 31, 2001, after I cried out, “God I can’t take anymore of this!” I felt calmness in my heart and even the air around me seemed to cool. It was as if God were saying, “It is about time you came back to Me. I have been waiting for you to return. Let Me carry you the rest of the way.”

From that day on I kept praying to God to tell me why He had saved my life. It didn’t take Him long to point to a technical book I had been tinkering with for a few months. It was a book written for people who worked in the cash flow business that gave ideas on how to be a better salesman. Can you believe I was trying to write a book on that? Sure failure was lurking at my door—again!

I had failed at being a salesman, but God kept prompting me to look at the cash flow book very hard again. What was He trying to tell me?

Why did I keep getting the book-in-progress out? Then God finally woke me up. He wanted me to write about my own experiences with depression and share the love of God with others. As I looked at the manuscript I was working on, the titles fit perfectly into a book of encouraging others. I had been using phrases I had seen on bumper stickers to start each chapter.

            One sticker said, “Need Directions?” Another said, “My way is the highway.” Still another said, “Don’t believe everything you think.”

I had intended them to be chapter titles for teaching selling. As I looked at them, I saw what God wanted.

“Need directions?” was actually God telling us to read the Bible.

“My way is the highway” was God saying that we need to choose the right path that leads us to heaven.

“Don’t believe everything you think” was telling me that Satan can plant garbage in our minds to cause us to drift away from God.

The rest is history. I immediately dove into to writing this book. I was excited the day I started back in 2001, and I am still excited today. I started out writing a book about selling and ended up writing about getting eternal life for free. I had finally found something I could help give away free. No down payment. No monthly installments. No interest rates. Just accept the Lord into your heart and you have a free trip to heaven with its entire splendor.

As I worked on this preface, I searched my computer for the chapter titles I had used for the cash flow book to show how they had been transformed. I came across a statement on the very page I was looking at and saw something I had never seen before. I know I hadn’t typed it because it was in a different color ink. I never use any color but black in my work.

As I read it, I was sure God wanted me to read it. It said: “I love this! Let’s keep going! No catches. Just the peace in knowing that you are able to share God’s love and works to all those you have contact with, and even bless someone you don’t.”

That is exactly how it was typed. I didn’t correct any wording, or add any words to make it look more dramatic for you. It wasn’t sent to anyone but me. It was at the top of the page I was searching for. God may have placed it there way back when I first changed my direction, but I missed it then. But I found it, and it only confirms why I spent the last seven years toiling to get to the final outcome.

            God’s timing is amazing.

I had my own special close encounter with God, and He has been my refuge ever since.

This book hopefully leads you to have a close encounter with God. You may have chosen this book because it deals with the hurts in your life as well as other “afflictions” we all face. They can be crippling, and even deadly. I lived with depression, self-doubt, anxiety, hopelessness and fear of failure for many years until I turned back to God and found help through a doctor who determined I also had a chemical imbalance. Now through a close encounter with God and the right medication I am able to cope and have a productive life.

My original working title, Close Encounters of the Heavenly Kind, comes from a favorite movie of mine, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It is about a man who has visions in his head and can’t understand what is happening. So he goes on a search to find out. That is what people with the many closed walls around them are going through. They are sad, and they can’t cope. They do not know why they are that way. They, too, are searching for answers.

As the book progressed, I wanted a more “hopeful” title for it. And since it is based on sayings and signs I’ve seen and the fact I wanted the book to provide the same hope for others as I have found, I was easily persuaded that the title Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World might be a better fit. You will still find several allusions to “close encounters” throughout the book and I wanted you to know the how and why I use that term so often.

The bumper sticker idea came from my hobby of collecting them for many years. I looked at them again years later, and realized they had some meaning, and I started writing about everyday connections to them.

That is my story (so far) and I am stickin’ to it! I hope that through this book, you will also begin searching for some meaning to become stronger, and choose a path that leads you to a closer relationship with God.

Let the adventure begin.

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I shared the preface to start with to give you a feel of what is ahead from you as you travel with me through the book.

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Have you had those kind of days when you are not sure what is coming at you? You certainly are not alone.

Lean on God for help like I did. He brought me out of the muck and more, and today I am very excited for what life might have in store for me.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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It is So Hard to Lose a Loved One

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It was so very sad to hear that a Navy Seal Officer was killed while training. My prayers go out to his family.

I have been there. I have lost several dear people in my life. My mother and father have passed. One of my brother-in-laws has passed. A friend, who was a groomsman at my wedding has passed.

I lost four students I had while teaching. I was very close to each of them. One was a suicide, which struck my heart even more.

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We may ask why God has taken them away from us. I can’t give you a good answer except that God is in charge, and He chooses when we go to meet him in heaven. The loss is hard, at best, to accept, but we must carry on in this earth. We are only here a short time compared to the eternity we will be living in heaven.

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Be strong. Stay the course and enjoy each day God has given you. You will see all those you lost again in heaven.

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Never be angry at God for His choices. Praise Him; love Him: and obey Him. He loves you more than you can ever know.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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Just Because We’re Getting Older, Doesn’t Make Us Weaker

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I had a bad/good time going to see the Singing Christmas Tree in Tigard. It is a incredible show that has you feeling the Christmas spirit.

However, I have slowed down considerably the last couple of years. I had to have a cane to walk. Of course our seats were at the very top. I struggled big time going up those steps to my seat. People were looking at me with sympathy. Several wanted to help me, but I turned them down.

Of course I had to go to the bathroom twice during the performance! My nephew graciously helped me both times.

Like I said, the performance was incredible, with professional sounding singers. My favorite part was when the children’s choir sang. Their little angelical voices warmed my heart.

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Are you having similar problems? Do you struggle to go grocery shopping? Do you need someone else to get things for you?

You certainly are not alone. The number of 65 and older group in our world has grown a great deal. Many more people are getting past their prime.

Here is the most important thing for you to remember:

Having to need help does not make you any less of a person than anyone else.

You breathe the same air. You put your clothes on the same way. You have a lot to contribute to society.

Never let anyone degrade you for your slowness and incapacities. They will be there themselves some day.

God loves you the way your are. Know that you will have a new body when you get to heaven. There will be no pain, and no death.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are enver unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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How do We Handle Someone Who Hates Us and is Very Hurtful?

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I am feeling much better today. The side effects of the COVID-19 shot are gone. So many people still haven’t even received their first shot. They need to increase the amount of the shots, and move quickly.

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I had a “run in,” with a Facebook guy today. He was very bitter with life, so I took it on myself to try to cheer him up. He wasn’t very receptive.

He was despondent over the fact that I had the nerve to post these words,

” Have you been in an outhouse all of your life? Want to live in a penthouse? Let God be the throne of your life. He will raise you up out of the muck and mire and build a mansion for you.”

His reply,

I’ve heard that many times before. But I always end up in another outhouse. Can you please get god to explain why he’s not giving me what you keep promising?’

My reply,

“The mansion is in Heaven. Our time on earth for a short time. Enjoy it.”

His reply,

*Very graphic from here on. He became very bitter and attacked me verbally.

“Well, that doesn’t do me any good until I’m &%*#@! dead.

My reply,

“Sorry you feel that way. Hope everything works well for you.”

His reply,

“You are not sorry! You are just another con artist with nothing realistic to say. Everyone should just cry now and do some more dope. Get yourself an emotion meter and stick it up your &%$#! Then wait for God to unplug you.”

His last reply,

“Listen dummy when I say goodbye it doesn’t require any response.

My heart cried out to him. He is in a very dark place, and has allowed this world to overcome him. The only way to free himself from his world is to turn to Jesus.

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This type of person is all too common in our world today. They flounder around; not knowing where they are going, and are lost and struggling.

There needs to be people near him to love him and let him know there is hope. He thinks there is no where to go, and yet it is staring him in the face.

Does God love someone like this? Of course He does. He loves everyone. God doesn’t go checking how good or bad you are, God still loves you.

This man who attacked me, needs to find hope and love, I am asking for you to pray for him. I will not give you his name even though I know it. Pray and God will know who you mean.

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How are you doing? Are you drowning in the muck and mire and, can’t see a way out?

God picked me up from the muck and mire, and got me on the right path. He can do that for you too.

Do not let the dark side overcome you like it has for this Facebook person. Seek the light of Jesus. He will guide you on your path.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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Thoughts to Help You Survive

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Sorry I missed posting yesterday. Too may errands to do.

I have really enjoyed putting thoughts down for you to ponder.

I am going share some more today:

  1. We need to find encouragement in discouraging times.
  2. We will be given new bodies when we get to Heaven.
  3. Jesus didn’t have a New Testament, He IS the new testament.
  4. Selfish sin makes justice impossible.
  5. Who can test my faith when there is an army of Angels on my side?
  6. We spend way too much of our lives glued to the TV screen.
  7. When is the last time we have reflected on what Jesus has done for us?
  8. God’s plan is much better than anything we can expect.
  9. Are we living for ourselves, or for God?
  10. Some are always fighting not having enough, discontentment, discouragement, and bitterness.
  11. We all face storms. It is what we do with them that defines our character.
  12. If we think God has turned away from us, we lose all hope.
  13. God doesn’t take us through the worst paths. He takes us through the best path possible for us.
  14. Shame has no place to hide, because you are forgiven.
  15. My fear doesn’t have a chance, because God is always near.
  16. God knows what you want before you ask for it.
  17. I think back to my days with boom boxes, 8 track tapes, and CD’s. I have to accept the new makes the old absolete.
  18. I often hear God telling me, ” Now I am speaking to you, because you were not listening to me before.”
  19. Backsliding: Not believing in that which you already know is true.
  20. Forget what others think your are!

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I have been on complete lock down since early March.

That is seven months of self imprisioning. I only do dirve up for fast food, go to cardiac rehab, where there are several nurses, and a walk with my wife from time to time.

It is, of course, very hard on me. There only so many movies you can watch on TV. I am enjoying reading, and doing these blogs.

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The wild fires in Oregon have devastated many towns near me here.

Three towns were completely wipped out. The people there have bonded, and are helping each other with clean-up and support.

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It amazes me how people come together after they are faced with disaster.

It happens over and over again. This shows there is still love out there even though there is rioting everywhere.

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How are you doing?

Do you have some not so fun days? Have you been overwhelmed? BE STRONG! God is there with you. He will not forsake you. He made you in His image, and that makes you His child.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

If You Found Proof that There was a Heaven How Would you Change?

How do we really know there is a Heaven? We read and hear about it all the time.

I have read the now famous book by Don Piper Called, 90 Minutes in Heaven. I have two copies in my library. One is signed by the author who wrote the book for Don, Cecil Murphy. I met him at a writer’s Conference. He was a really nice guy, and enjoyed talking to me. I was curious as to why he will help with a book like this. I wondered if it changed his a own life.

He answered both of my questions with, Because I totally believe there is a Heaven and we needed to get the word out.

If you haven’t read this book I encourage you to get it. It is a real eye opener.

Pastor Don Piper was on the way home from a conference. He was hit by a semi truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene. However, a pastor friend was there praying for him even though they kept telling him it was too late.

The Pastor had been praying for 90 minutes when, Don came back to life. He was overjoyed and excited which amazed the EMT’s. He was excited That he saw Heaven while he was “Dead.”

Don’s life was hurtful, at best, during his recovery, but he kept telling people what he had seen. The rest of the story is found in his book.

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I saw a movie last night that was inspirational. It is call, Heaven is Real.

It is about a little boy who had a ruptured appendix and had to have emergency surgery.

His parents were told that he may not make it. The father, who is a Pastor, went to the hospital chapel and appealed to God to help. He shouted, Are you going to take my little boy away from me?

The mother was out of control in the waiting room. She too thought they were going to lose their son.

Then the doctor came in and said had he made it and to please come to be by his side. The relieved parents ran to their son and hugged him and held him close.

While he was recuperating he started telling he parents he was in Heaven. They decided he was just a little child of seven, and could be making this up.

However, as time went by he told them about things he couldn’t have ever known about. He talked about seeing his sister. He mom said that your sister is alive. He said, “No my other sister. “ The wife had a miscarriage before the little boy was even born. He even told them it was a girl, and the parents didn’t know what sex the child was. They asked him what was her name, and he said,”You never named her because she wasn’t born.”

Then the boy told his dad that he had seen Grandpa The dad said he died before you were born. The dad ran to get a picture of his father and showed it to the boy, and asked if that was who he saw. The boy said no, because he didn’t have glasses.

The father went up into the attic to find some old family pictures and found one of his dad when he was young. He took it bad to his son, and asked Is this who you saw? The boy said “YES!” People aren’t old in Heaven daddy. They all look young.

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These two events makes it very clear to me there is a Heaven.

Do you need proof? Are you skeptical? I can understand that. If you believe there is no Heaven, then you life has an end and you will rot in a grave. (I am so sorry that I am so abrupt here, but that would be the truth if you are right.)

The answers are in the Bible. Heaven is described. It is mention many times by Jesus. The Lord’s Prayer has it in it.

Some people fear this is a heaven. Others fear there is not a heaven.

Where are you? Do you fit into one of these groups, or are you like me and know for sure there is a Heaven and know you have eternal life, because of Jesus dying on the cross and coming back to life? Just like what happened in these two stories.

Take an inventory of where you are and take the right path.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

God wants Peace for Your heart

Peace, Be Still!

“Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.” -Mark 4:39

God’s desire for your life is that you would have an overflowing abundance of peace! In fact, one of the names Jesus is referred to in scripture is the ‘Prince of Peace.’ And as we know, when someone is referred to as a King or Prince, it’s because they carry a mantle of authority in that area. Jesus literally carries the authority of abiding and everlasting peace with God.

Peace with God is not to be confused with peace with this world— because the two are contrary to one another. If you choose peace with the world the outcome is internal chaos. And if you choose peace with God you will have internal peace, but the world will hate you.

The reason Jesus went to the cross was to restore peace between God and man. As the Prince of Peace, Jesus is the access point for us to receive peace. Jesus is waiting for us to come and receive His peace as a free gift. But we can’t receive His gift without surrendering our old ways of thinking and living. We must put off the old if we want to put on the new. When we yield to him, then we receive. Once we surrender our hearts to the Prince of Peace we can expect a great calm to come over our lives from the inside out!

Here are 5 Reasons God wants His peace to rule in your heart today:


1)You are a new Creation—
2 Corinthians 5:17 says you are a new Creation, the old has passed away and all things have become new. Your new creation identity in Christ is the root of all things becoming brand new in your life. Jesus stripped the power of sin from your life by dying on the cross, and now you are given a new inheritance of life instead of the old inheritance of death. Apart from life in Christ death  remains. As you continue to grow into Jesus, by experiencing His presence and understanding who you are in Him, your life will overflow with peace!

2)You can only give away what you have received— This point might sound obvious, but it’s so true and can’t be overstated! We simply can’t give away something that we don’t have. We can’t lead someone into a land that we’ve never been to! If we are going to be people who lead others in peace we have to first enter into that peace.

3)Peace is a Fruit of the Spirit— Galatians 5 teaches us the one of the core fruit of the Spirit is “Peace!” If you have been struggling to find peace, I hope this produces a spring of excitement in your heart. Peace isn’t something you need to try and achieve, it’s simply an outcome of growing closer to Jesus. Abiding in Christ is where every fruit of the Spirit comes from. All we need to do is abide!

4)Peacemakers reveal Jesus to Non-believers— In Matthew 5:9 Jesus says “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.” Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and He showed us what the life of Sonship looked like in its purest form. In this scripture he clearly defines the role of a child of God as a peacemaker. The more we discover our identity as God’s sons and daughters, the more we will invite others into a relationship of Peace with God.

5)Peace is a sign of Hope—
There are probably many things that could be added to this list, but the final point I want to make is this; Peace is a sign of Hope! Whenever we as Christians share about the hope we have in Christ people are looking for evidence of that hope in your life.The evidence works just like a sign because it points the source. God always has been and always will be a God of signs and wonders. A transformed life that has been overwhelmed by God’s peace is one of those signs!

God is working powerfully and abundantly through believers in every nation, to reveal who Jesus is to the world. We are part of God’s story!

“You are loved more than you know, and God’s plan for you is bigger than your biggest dream!”


Praise God!

Taylor Wilkins
FCA (503)754-3783

“The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”

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