“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” Hebrews 11:1.
A lot of people talk about “keeping the faith” but what is more important is “keeping the hope.” If there is no hope then faith just becomes wishing.
We all get discouraged and tired and wish that things were different…that is just human nature. But I am here today to encourage you and remind you that hope is very much alive in this lovely city we live in.
There are many more people that kneel down every night and pray over this city than there are people that go around trying to tear it down. There are many more good people in Blytheville donating time and resources to stretch out a hand of love or help than there are hands stealing, punching or shooting.
There are more dedicated mentors and examples of excellence here than there are full-time protégés seeking that wisdom. But it doesn’t alter the fact that many people still learn, even from what they witness but have no intention of imitating.
All you have to do to have physical proof of what I am saying, is drive through town and count how many beautiful yards you see, like oases in the midst of less than desirable properties. Begin to count how many people you meet every day that stop and speak something kind or positive into your own personal life.
Mark pointed out to me the other day about the beautiful music that is played on a regular basis, sometimes coming from city churches and at other times from a loudspeaker downtown. Its charming, if you ask me.
While working on a new magazine this week, that will highlight what our community has to offer, I took note of all the charities and community organizations in Blytheville…it is amazing how many there are here. Help, encouragement and most importantly hope is all around us.
I am not denying the reality of those that attempt to destroy our lives and property. Indeed there is a small handful. My perspective of the city does not deny the very loud and annoying few that spend their miserable life trying to make themselves feel important by punching the rest of us in the nose metaphorically though critical or cruel words. But to think for one moment that the evil of this city is greater than, or even equal to, the good of this city is to absolutely believe a lie.
As the city sign said, “Blytheville is where southern hospitality begins.”
So, I just want to take a moment to thank all of you here in Blytheville that have ever said a kind word to my family or I. The power of life really is in your tongue and I dearly appreciate all that have you done to encourage me/us and to remind me/us that hope is still alive.
I want to thank all of those that have ever performed a kind act for my family or I. You will never know how timely they have been and how much of a boost it gave us in those moments we received the help. God bless you all.
I also want to thank all of those that have spoken unkind words. For without your words I wouldn’t be as strong as I am today, I would not have had the need that led those kind people to encourage me, and I would not have had the confirmation that I was making a difference against the status quo. So, thank you and God bless you too!
Now it is my turn to “pay it forward.”
If you are currently one of those sweet people in Blytheville that has been praying for breakthrough in our hometown, be encouraged. Hope is not dead – it is very much alive.
If you are one of those brave individuals in our city that has decided to take a stand for what is right, despite the cost required by no longer hiding in your homes…thank you and be encouraged. You voice is causing hope to rise.
If you are one of the people that God has blessed with wealth (even if you are not rich) and you are sharing it with those in need, be encouraged and thank you for being the hands of God in our community. Always remember, He will get it to you if He can get it through you.
If you are one of those sweet encouragers, that perhaps is too timid or shy to speak before large groups (you may even find it difficult to talk to individuals that you don’t know well) but nevertheless you take the moment while standing before that one person and speak life and encouragement into their lives, God bless you and thank you for being the voice of Love.
And lastly, I am reminded of seeing a young fatherly figure that I witnessed the other day “investing” his time one-on-one with a child that was most likely skipping school. By speaking words of love and correction to him, that boy’s life may never be the same. But even if it isn’t changed, I still say thank you and God bless to all that take the time to show love toward children that aren’t even theirs biologically. Because we all should realize that the children of Blytheville, all of the children, are ours!
Today is truly a GREAT day to be in Blytheville and I hope you have one too!