Hope is not wishful thinking… in my thinking it is much more. Because of prior conditioning of my thinking I think of True Hope as a great certainty.
Now, none of us fully know the future but I have confidence that God will continue to hold the future as He has held the past together so as to bless me so I can bless others. This is an important hope. But there is much more!
Because God loves me and wants to bless me, He wants me to be hopeful. God by His Spirit creates hope within me, and I can manifest that hope outwardly or hoard it inside—it is obvious as to which is best. Manifest hope to others and you will have better relationships, and many other better things in your life—that has been my validated experience.
The same goes for you! God loves you and wants to give you a life of hope. And, whether you are a deep and/or big believer in God or not you must have experienced at some point in your life the super great value of hope.
Christmas Eve is the day I write this, what a hopeful day for millions, if not billions of people all over the world.
If everyday was Christmas Eve Day in your life—that is you lived as if tomorrow you were going to give and receive some hoped for gifts—would you live your life any differently?
Would you move with more of a bounce in your steps, more grins on your face if today was the day before some great anticipated blessing coming into you life? Yes you would!
Well… live today—and everyday—as if tomorrow is going to be such a great and glorious day and today—and everyday—will be an excitingly hopeful day—life will be fantastic! You will be the kind of person that people love to be around, you will attract more positive people and things into your life. I have spoken about what is now called the “law of attraction” for 30 years… I know what I am talking about.
It occurs to me that here I must mention that there seems to be different kinds of hope. And, I do not want you to simply become hopeful for more things in your life. It is the intangible blessings of life that are often the best.
Today my wife and I serve as both Lectors and Eucharistic Ministers at our Catholic Church’s 4pm Christmas Eve service before going to one of our five married children’s homes for dinner and Christmas Cheer and an exchange of gifts. I have a great anticipation for what the balance of today will unfold. I am not just thinking about tomorrow, I need today to be wonderful, and so do you ever today of your life. Think about it…
During a Catholic Mass—take my word for it if you are not Catholic—uncountable blessings are dispersed whether you are ready to receive them or not. However, the Church teaches what my experience confirms—prepare yourself for the Words and images and all else that flows from the Mass Service and you do receive more. It starts with a general absolution of all venial sins… what a great start! We are asked to recall our sins and ask for God’s holy pardon.
Now I will not go into a line by line explanation of what happens during a Catholic Mass but truly the blessings are out of this world! A major point to be made is that if I did not come into the experience full of hope I may not leave the building full of hope. And, the best things hoped for are very intangible like the forgiveness of sins. My soul is cleansed so that I can live a life of service more pleasing to God and more beneficial to His children, that is people like you.
Possibly the greatest and/or most dramatic turn around I have ever experienced in my life from a life of despair to a life of great hope has come as a result of going to what is commonly called “confession” in the Catholic Church.
This act of “confession” is a very Biblical thing to do, regardless of what some might assert, and it is one of the seven Sacraments of Holy Mother Church. Now lest I go to preaching please realize I am here witnessing to my experiences (while providing a little but important teaching) about how I regained lost hope. So can you!
One workday I was feeling that God had nearly abandoned me, or maybe it was a lack of motivation to work at my best with the right attitudes—this is how most would describe the feeling I was having. What do you do at a time like that? In my case I examined my conscience and realized I had some un-confessed sins bothering me. They fell into the category of the BIG seven mortal or deadly sins the church says we need to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) for—in other words confess them to a priest for absolution. So, I drove about 20 miles at the noon hour to a Catholic Church that offers a priest after an 11:45—12:15 p.m. daily Mass. It was the best one hour investment of time I could make—20 minute drive, 20 minutes at the Church, 20 minute drive back to my office—as that afternoon my hope and positive expectant attitude returned and the balance of the day was happy and productive.
It was like a miracle! Yes, I experienced a miracle of God’s mercy and grace. And, I have experienced that kind of miracle many times in my life, thanks to our loving and forgiving merciful God. Whatever you do, wherever you live or work, you need a clear conscience to live in HIGH HOPE.
From this point on in this chapter, the second one I have written for this book, I think I must now tell you some very important things.
The Author of the best kinds of hope is not the authors of this book, all the well intentioned speakers who make some kind of contribution. The Author who make all of life worthwhile, and this book worthwhile too, is our God.
If this book is completed and finds its way to you, it is because it has been undergirded throughout the writing and publishing process with lots of prayer. The book is now dedicated in writing to God the Father, God the Son—Jesus, and God—the Holy Spirit. If you don’t like some aspect of this book, take it up with our God whether you are a triune Christian or not, God loves you and so do I.
Now, I can not fully endorse each line from each author unless what is written is in full alignment with my understanding of what God would endorse. But, this does not mean that I will edit what others write out of this book, even though I (Thom A. Lisk) am the one responsible for seeing the book published. We all do have our first amendment rights in America—we must believe in freedom of speech. (That is not the same as a free speech.)
I would prefer to be paid for my speech or speeches or seminars, just like the people who write chapters in this book likewise want to and need to be paid. However, I also give FREE speeches for groups including at Churches, Rotary Clubs…you name it. I and the other speakers featured herein know how to edit our speeches so as to inspire audiences while never offending.
I would not speak to a business audience for pay as I have over 1000 times like I would to a Church audience. If I were to talk to a business audience (two possible examples) like for a group of top sales people for a Fortune 500 corporation or a group of Real Estate Managers, I would talk about hoped for business: how to stay motivated, plan properly for it to come about, and execute towards the important goals in a hopeful way.
Everyone needs hope at all times during their days and lives.
Hope is often like the fuel that drives your engine, the best gas for your journey.
Again, today is Christmas Eve Day. The stock market closed the day on the upside, barely, after some darks days that brought the Dow Jones Industrial Average from over 14,000 to under 8000 in one year, and then slightly back up again closing today early at 1 p.m. due to the holiday on 12/24/08 at 8,468.48. You may have been one of the people that have lost thousands of money in the stock market decline. You need hope for the future!
Today on the business channel CNBC predicted the year ahead would be “bleak for investors”. The bears seem to be drowning out the voices of the bulls. However one hopeful voice today on TV pointed out some stocks that were now or very soon extremely good buys and would increase double or triple in the months ahead. You can always find hope. Even if the market goes down or sideways hopeful people who do their homework make money even in a worldwide recession.
Why invest if you are not hopeful for some kind of return?
We invest in a variety of ways each day of our lives, it may not be the stock market it might be investing in the lives of your children or grandchildren, not with gifts that take money, but you invest time—a commodity far more important than money. I have lost money and know I can regain it by investing or spending more wisely next time but I can never regain a moment of precious time. You invest your time wanting a return at your work, and you can invest time to deposit hope into the lives of others too.
You can not give something you do not have to give. We must remember that. And, it is better to give now rather than wait until tomorrow. Who can tell for sure if we will be alive to give tomorrow!? Do it now!—this is always the best motto; and do it now with great HOPE!
Thinking about giving is not enough, is it?! You give most often out of sense of hope. You give thinking you are making a difference. Sometimes I give just because it is the right thing to do…now.
These last lines caused me to get one of my checkbooks out and write a check so that I will be ready to give during the Church Mass I alluded to earlier in this chapter. I am prepared better now, in a sense of hope. I think God is more pleased with me if I come bearing some predetermined gift.
Is it any different elsewhere in our lives day in and day out? Come prepared to give… give people hope!
Honestly my research and experience bears out the assertion that it is always more blessed to give than receive. If a person gets up in the morning with a grateful heart and attitude ready to give all day long—not living to get but rather to give—life goes along much better.
Sometimes we must prepare ourselves so we can give more.
Take a few steps back first. Maybe you need to go back to college, as one example, so as to open new doors in the future that will bring you more income. As an example of that, several years ago when I turned age 40 I moved to California for a year taking a bit of a sabbatical, while working part time and nine months living at a seminary from which I received an earned and honorary doctorate degree after finishing a dissertation book. That year positioned me for much more success the following 10-15 years.
So much more success came to me as a direct result of that year away I am thinking about doing another sabbatical year again when I turn age 60 or in 2010. Life is Terrific!!!
Life begins today!!!—at whatever age you find yourself. We had a 90th birthday party for my award-winning retired school teacher mother recently so I plan to be productive to at least age 90, by God’s grace, and maybe to age 105 like my maternal grandmother who was married 73 years to my wonderfully beloved grandfather.
Abe Lincoln once penned something that I heard or read 30+ years ago that has stuck with me…
”The woodcutter who stops to sharpen his axe will cut the most wood.”
Yes!—hope is much more than just wishful thinking. You must act upon your hopes to make your dreams come true, whatever those might be!
The next Christmas will be here—or the next New Year—before you know it so do not delay! Make every minute count with hopeful action regardless of the economy around you. Yes, be careful, be wise, get more good advice, but do something to prepare for a brighter day ahead.
When it is all said and done… you can’t take anything with you beyond the grave. What you give will determine your legacy. Give even if it seems to hurt. Give even if you can’t seem to find much to give. You always have something to give. You can give an electronic thank you or Christmas cards, but don’t delay. It need not cost you much money to hopefully create a brighter future.
Stop using and looking for excuses!
Randy Snow, a super great speaker friend of mine, winner of Gold in the Para-Olympics, gave me a black T-shirt that hangs in my closet for me to see everyday—it reads, ”What is your excuse?!” Randy has been in a wheelchair most of his adult life yet he lives one of the most exciting and productive (and profitable) lives of anyone I know! In my office I have a poster autographed from Randy with a picture of him exulting in victory. We have booked him through my company’s speaker’s bureau which you can learn about at www.TerrificSpeakers.com .
Allow us to introduce you to more exciting personalities that can and will bring you hope creating, therefore for you a brighter future. Read all of what you find herein.
Contact the other speakers you read about it this book—Stories of Hope©—for they all bring something unique and of great value to you and any group or audience.
You can give this book to your loved ones and friends—they will love you more as a result. (See the back of the book for an order form and order more copies—or contact the speaker direct from whom you got this book).
You must create a life with more hope…
More success is yours as a result…
I can guarantee it.
A. Lisk, President, Professional Speakers Bureau