Hope

Good morning. Jesus put this on my heart early this morning, just before the sun started to rise. This post is about the beautiful power of Hope.

Hold on. The early morning light always breaks at the darkest point of the night, just when you start to wonder if it ever will. The fog begins to lift just when you start to think it never will, the weight eases ever so slightly just when you think you cannot take another breath. But then that next breath comes.

Let your inner circle hold you and lift you up during the storms of life. This can be a huge challenge for so many as they walk through their crazy beautiful journey. Reaching out for help can be difficult. You have people in your inner circle who want to walk beside you, to pick you up when you fall, to hold you and carry you when your body is too tired. Let them in. Let them hold you up. Let them carry you through the storm. ~OC

Dear God

Dear God, all the elements of nature obey your command. We pray this morning that you would calm Hurricane Ida. Turn this massive storm into a small thunderstorm. Fill the residents in the eye of this storm with your amazing peace. Keep them safe. Grant this prayer request through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. ~OC

Passion

Today’s a new day! One of my passions in life is bringing hope and encouragement to those walking through this crazy beautiful journey called life. ~OC

God’s Promises

Today’s a new day! God has promised to look after us….to bring help. God, who defends us, who is far greater in strength than any issues or storms life throws at us. God, who spoke and whose words caused the universe to be. His words are true and unfailing. If He promises something, He will deliver. ~OC

Where You Going?

Where you going? Don’t leave me. Where you going? I am comfortable with you. Why do you want to leave? Don’t you feel comfortable anymore? I like it here. Why do things need to change? I guess you have outgrown me. Where you going? Wait, don’t leave. I am holding onto the good times. I can’t let go. I guess I don’t want to let go. Where you going? Why do things need to change? Wait! Where you going? You don’t miss me? I miss you. At least I think I do. Wait! Where you going? Can’t we talk about it? It’s complicated I know. Wait! Where you going? I keep holding on to the good times. Sometimes, I even think about the bad times. Wait! Where you going? Is it time to say goodbye? Maybe. Wait! Where you going? ~OC

Keep Reaching Out

If you have moments of doubt, you are not alone. There are thousands of us. No millions. Keep Reaching Out.

If you have moments of feeling lost, you are not alone. There are thousands of us. No millions. Keep Reaching Out.

If you have moments of dealing with fear, you are not alone. There are thousands of us. No millions. Keep Reaching Out.

If you have moments of depression, you are not alone. There are thousands of us. No millions. Keep Reaching Out.

If you have moments of anger, you are not alone. There are thousands of us. Keep Reaching Out.

Whatever your dealing with in life you are not alone. Never stop reaching out. ~OC

Show Up. Speak Up.

To make real difference, you have to show up and speak up. Even during the storms. Even during the unknown terrain. Even during the pain. Even when you would rather stay curled up in bed with the covers over your head. Even when it’s not easy. Even when it’s not popular. That’s how you make a difference in your part of the world. Also God expects nothing less from us. So keep showing up and speaking up. ~OC

Come Home

Today is Easter. I love Resurrection Sunday. A day to celebrate the Risen King. This year for the first time in many years, I will not be at church celebrating this beautiful day. No, because of the effects of Covid and double pneumonia, I will be watching Easter service online at home. I know a lot of people are also walking through their own storms on this Easter Sunday. So I want to try and encourage you this morning with a few thoughts.

I know it can be hard to find rest when you cannot find peace. I know it can be hard to find rest when there is so much turmoil raging in your life. The weight of those storms make you feel like you are drowning. The pain from those storms are breaking your heart and spirit. Life seems overwhelming. The stress feels overwhelming. The anxiety feels overwhelming. The pain feels overwhelming. The emptiness feels overwhelming. The depression feels overwhelming. The struggle is real. Life is hard. But there is Hope.

During the times when life seems overwhelming, I want to encourage you to run to Jesus. The One who hung on a Cross and laid in a tomb for three days. The One who died for all of those storms and struggles we face. The One who is patiently waiting for us to come to him and lay all our burdens down at his feet. Today is Easter. The day Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of the One who gave it all for us. I can think of no better day to come home to The One who is waiting with open arms.

Let me be honest before I finish. Just because you lay all your junk at the feet of Jesus, does not mean all that junk immediately goes away. Sorry for that truth. But I can guarantee you, when you decide to turn over all that junk to Him, your life will be filled with a beautiful Peace. Your life will be filled with new Hope. New Purpose. You will still have days filled with raging storms, but you will not be walking through those storms alone. No, you will have a risen King walking with you. A risen King holding your hand. A risen King guiding your steps. A risen King making a way for you during those storms of life. So I encourage you to come home today. To find rest in the Risen King. ~OC

My Covid Journey

For most 2020 was a year to forget. The Covid Pandemic turned most of the world upside down. We watched in horror as we watched so many people and families suffer tremendous suffering and lose. As my wife and I watched all this unfold, we were thankful that Covid19 had not touched us. Until it did.

On Super Bowl Sunday 2021, I woke up a little tired. It had been a long week so I did not think much of it. I took my temperature, but thankfully it was normal. I headed off to church excited for the day. You see, I am a life long Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan and they were playing in the Super Bowl. After church, I headed home and had a little pregame nap. When I woke up everything changed. I woke up with my shirt being soaked in sweat. I took my temperature and it was at 103,6. It would later jump to 104.2 and stay there for several days. I immediately went and had a Covid test. Of course this was on a Sunday, so my results would take a few days. I went home and basically slept through the Bucs winning the Super Bowl. Go Bucs!

On Monday morning I woke up feeling much worse. My temperature was now at 104.2. I also had a terrible headache, body aches, terrible cough and did not want to move. Later in the day, it was determined I needed to make my way to the ER. Once inside the ER, test revealed I had Covid and double pneumonia. I was headed to the Covid floor.

During my stay at the hospital I received Blood Plasma, Steroids and Remdesivir. Being isolated on the Covid floor was tough. When I have been hospitalized in the past, I was used to having visitors and walking the halls. This hospital stay was filled with staff in protective covering and closed doors. Complete Isolation. After more than a week on the Covid floor, I was released. Time to recover from Covid and double pneumonia.

After arriving home, I waited to get better. Surely I would feel better in a few days. But that has not been the case. Today is just under two months since my diagnosis. Unfortunately my symptoms have not gotten much better. My CT Scan shows my lungs are still filled with Covid. I am still dealing with headaches, breathing issues, cough, no appetite, hoarse voice, fatigue and brain fog. Most of my days fill like the movie Groundhogs Day.

My medical team has classified me as a Covid Long Hauler. Not a club anyone wants to be part of. Everything is wait and see at this point. So, what do you do with that news? When you cannot rely on anything that was once reliable. When you have taken every step you know how to take-what then?

You Hope. You Never Give Up.

My life is totally different than it was a few months ago. At times I stand up having no idea where I am going. Trying to process new information has become a challenge. But here’s some good news. God is still in control. His promises never change.

So, I will focus on the unseen. I will continue to pray with great expectancy to wake up one morning with no Covid symptoms. That day when I am renewed physically. But until that day, I will live in Hope. ~OC

“So no wonder we don’t give up. For even though our outer person gradually wears out, our inner being is renewed every single day. We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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