Archive for July 2015

My Source of Hope

July 30, 2015

By Dr. Steven J. Callis

In our challenging English language, some people confuse hope with wishful thinking. For example, “I hope the Braves win a spot in the playoffs.” Because hope is a genuine trust or expectation, the use of the term in that example only expresses a wish.

True hope means that we trust our life, present and future, to an object or person. I like sports, and I root for the Braves, but my life and future do not depend on their making the playoffs. I “hope” they do; I “wish” they would, but I have not staked my life on their success.

Among the list of those who have spoken or written on the significance of hope, Thomas Pettepiece wrote, “When there is no hope, there is no life. Without hope we give up – – we lose our will to fight, to trust, to live.” So, it is appropriate that each of us evaluate the source of our hope today.

The trend of our nation these days is to demand personal rights regardless of how it affects others, and to make such demands on the premise of political correctness. These challenges, some recent and others longstanding, may cause us to wonder if there are any existing values that are off limits to special-interest groups and political agendas. Some citizens would claim that even the Constitution itself is being ignored for the sake of personal and political interests.

Are there no traditions valuable enough to save? Are there no absolutes on which we can depend anymore? Can we survive on the philosophy that something is right or correct only when approved by my own selfish, personal standards?

Pettepiece proposed that we cannot hope in ourselves, our technology, our government, our laws, our tenacity, our courage, or our will, though these things are all necessary to conquer today’s woes and provide justice. Our only hope, he declares, is in God alone.

For those of us who agree with him, our hope has come under serious attack over recent months, even years. As the challenges become more frequent and broader in scope, it could be that we lose sight of the Source of our hope, and then hope wanes, as does our will to fight and trust.

Edward Albert Day once wrote of God, “There is nothing that at any time diminishes His perfections, dilutes His redemptive powers…God is always God.”

Who or what is the source of your hope today? What drives you to awaken each morning and face your day with confidence and purpose? The Psalmist proclaimed, “I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.” God is always God, and you can trust in Him.

Advertisements

happy Birthday USA

July 2, 2015

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

Are you a fan?  Sometimes called an aficionado, such a person is enthusiastically devoted to a person or a thing.  One could be a sports fan, or a fan of art, a music group, a specific author, and so on.  One’s enthusiasm may be displayed in a variety of ways, but the key word seems to be “devoted.”

Many of us in this community are “Braves” fans.  I consider myself a fan of a few sports teams, though I am not a fan-atic.  That is, I cheer for them, wear their colors, and perk up my ears when I hear their name mentioned.  However, my devotion is not necessarily expressed in extreme knowledge of the team’s history, statistics of the current playing roster; I do not have an insatiable hunger for every bit of news I can find about my teams on a given day.

On the other hand, neither am I a fair-weather fan.  Win or lose, good or bad, I still consider it to be “my” team.  Over the last couple of years we have watched in dismay as some of our favorite Braves players were traded to other organizations.  It just seems wrong, even now, to see McCann in pinstripes, Heyward with a bird on his cap, and Gattis as an Astro. But we are still the Braves.

I do not attend many of the games, but when I do, I am there until the final pitch for the final out in the final inning.  I have been in a college football stadium watching disgusted season ticket holders walk out at the end of the third quarter!  It may be my loyalty, and more likely my frugality, but I am staying put until the proverbial fat lady sings.

This weekend we are celebrating our nation’s birthday, and I am a fan.  Similar to the illustration above, I do not always agree with our government, or with high-ranking decisions, or with cultural trends, but that fact does not diminish my love for country.  Our nation is not a government, or a set of laws and codes; our nation is a people.  Even then, sometimes I wonder what we are thinking when “the people’ vote a certain way on issues or political leaders when it goes against the grain of my personal beliefs.  Yet, I love “my” country.

And so, I will choose to wear her colors, pray for her daily, and support her as much as my own convictions will allow.  Lyricist Don Raye declared, “This is my country, land of my birth.  This is my country, grandest on earth.  I pledge thee my allegiance, America the bold. This is my country to have and to hold.”  Let us all seek to look beyond the red, yellow, black, and white to a harmonious vision of Red-White-and-Blue.  This is our country.  Pray for her daily, and live as a model citizen should live.