Gifts of HOPE
(Our) Hope Christian Academy
908-938-5286 

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"Hope and a Future" 
Jeremiah 29:11

Gifts of HOPE

Spark of Hope

by Katherine Moser on 10/23/15

It's done- I finished.  Whew!  It took four hours, but there are no more.  My head hurts, and my neck is stiff, but they are hanging outside on this sunny, breezy day.  There were a few minutes when I wanted to give up, but I knew if I kept on, the end result would be worth all of the trouble I was going to.

It all began yesterday with a simple science and history project.  How do you dye cotton yarn with indigo?  That was the question.  We assembled all of our essential ingredients from the plastic tub where the fabric would be dyed to the lime powder- we had it all.  Make the indigo paste and keep it at such and such temperature.  Next, make the lime paste.  Then, mix the indigo paste and the lime paste together, and keep the mixture warm.  Check and double check, the chemical reaction was immediate. 

Obviously, it was time to dye the fabric, no, not yet.  An hour later, we were putting the final touches to the preparations.  Finally, the white yarn was immersed.  So far, everything was working as we had predicted.  Five, ten, fifteen minutes, as the time ticked by; speculation ran rampant.  What would the yarn look like when it was removed from the dye bath?

When we removed the yarn, it was an olive green color.  What?  Where was the beautiful blue?  One final chemical reaction had to occur, oxidation.  When the green fabric was exposed to the air, the beautiful blue began to appear.  It was truly something to see.  The end, done, it was finished, hooray!

Not quite, now the yarn was a mess.  It was a beautiful blue, but it was twisted and tangled.  That was last night.  I must admit that I walked away from the messy yarn.  Unfortunately, no one untangled the yarn overnight.  This morning, it was still the same mess.  This morning the untangling and rinsing began. 

Four hours later, and the yarn is straightened and rinsed.  It took a lot of work and some frustration, but that hope that I nurtured in my heart proved to be the strength I needed to make it through the tedious work. 

As I neared the end of my chore, I wondered if God ever gets headaches and stiff necks from untangling the messes I get myself into.  Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV) reminds me that those tangles in my life have a purpose; He will take the messes and make them beautiful.

Just as I know that God knows the end of my story, I know He is the one who put that enduring spark of hope in my heart.  And in the end, I know that when everything is completed, I will be even more beautiful to Him than the yarn is a beautiful blue to me.

 

 

 

Gifts of Hope- Joy

by Katherine Moser on 10/17/15

Miss Rachel Moser posted this on her blog and gave her permission to share this with you as well.
"Joy comes in the morning."  How many times have we heard that phrase?  We sing "Joy to the World" at Christmas, but do we truly understand what joy is?  is joy the same as happiness?  No, it is not.  We get so caught up in trying to get what makes us happy, forgetting that joy is what we are craving.  Happiness is momentary, but joy is permanent.  The question then becomes how do we obtain joy?  I believe that children understand joy a whole lot more than adults.  Adults allow the cares of the world to steal our joy, but children tend to be joyful.
Allow me to explain.  I teach at (Our) HOPE Christian Academy, and, like most schools, HOPE has a policy against bullying.  However, instead of taking a negative approach, HOPE takes a positive one.  It is based upon Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law."  These are the very traits that we hope to instill in our children.  At the end of a school year, the principal and I sit down and discuss which trait was exemplified by each child throughout the year.  The students then receive a certificate with that trait.  Many times, that trait changes from year to year.  Each trait is a characteristic of love, and joy is love's strength.  Every year without fail, the same child received joy.  Now, many of you may be thinking, "Well, that child has a sold home life and no problems, but what can you expect of those children who do not have that security?"  Here is the interesting part of all of this.  This particular child is the one with the least stable home life, yet he has an unquenchable joy.  Each day, he would come to school, and the classroom would come to life.  His smile radiated sunbeams; his eyes twinkled.  he loved coming to school; he felt at home at school.  For this little boy, it was the best part of the day; he loved singing songs about Jesus.  He gobbled up books, reading them faster than I have ever seen a little one do.  He loved learning about the world around him.  This little guy loved helping others.  After Superstorm Sandy, he willingly gave up some of his favorite toys so that children who had lost their own could have something special to play with.  If the mission of the season was the Food Pantry, he would bring in lots of food.  Whatever was going on, this particular boy would throw his heart and soul into it.  This is not to say that life was easy for him, nor is it to say that he was never sad, angry, frustrated, or upset.  What I am saying is that he had a joy deep inside of him that could not be shaken or taken away.  In the midst of storms swirling around him, he had this joy.
Many days, his class was unaware of just how much he added to it, until he came down with pneumonia and was absent for over a week.  My classroom was like a tomb.  The other students were silent.  I had to remind them that it was okay for them to talk to each other, to laugh, to play.  After a couple of days, one of the students came over to me, asked me for a hug, and said, "I miss him; he will get better and come back, right?"  My heart broke for the children, as I reassured them that he would get well.  When this little boy recovered and returned to school, it was as if the sun started to shine again.  My classroom might have been the loudest, but it was also the most joyful.  I would not give up one day of the noise, laughter, or chatter, because each one represented the joy that flowed forth.  In case, you were wondering that little boy still has his joy, and I pray that he never loses it, for his joy is one of the greatest gifts that he has to offer this world.
See we do not consider joy to be a gift; we consider it to be a feeling because something good is happening, or we are looking forward to something good, or we got what we have been wanting.  Joy is not that at all; it is a gift of love.  It is being able to see the good, in spite of the storms swirling around you.  Joy is looking at the world and seeing that there is good.  Joy is the reason that people can face tomorrow.  Joy comes from God, and the Bible is full of verses about joy.  "The joy of the Lord is my strength." Nehemiah 8:10 "You fill me with joy in Your presence," Psalm 16:11 "Be full of the joy of the Lord always.  I will say it again, be full of joy." Philippians 4:4.  These are only a few of the verses that deal with joy.
Joy is such an integral part of life.  We might say, "Think positive thoughts."  What we actually mean is look at the good, and joy will follow.  "Laughter is the best medicine."  We actually mean bring joy into your life, and it can help you physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  Joy is love's strength; joy, love, and hope all go together.  For you see, the God of love is also the God of hope, and He is the God of joy.  He created them, and He created us.  Joy is one of the greatest gifts you can possess; give a little joy, and your joy will fill to overflowing.

Rest Your HOPE

by Katherine Moser on 10/11/15

Rest your hope fully on the grace that is brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  1Peter 1:13
"You've heard plenty of sermons and seen plenty of books on love and faith, but have you ever heard a message or read a book on hope?  For some reason, we often ignore hope,  Hope is a missing element in the Christian experience of our culture.  We don't live in hope primarily because we focus too much on our present circumstances.
What is hope?  It is the Christian's attitude toward the future.  Hope in its essence is like faith.  Both have trust, or belief in God, as their focus, but there's a difference between them.  Faith is believing God in the present, and hope is believing God for the future.  Faith believes God for what He has done, and hope believes God for what He will do.
Fix your hope on Him and live in anticipation of the glorious fulfillment of His future promise."  John MacArthur. A Daily Touch of God's Grace 2001