Viola’s Hope

Viola silently crept from her cabin on the ship. All passengers had been warned to stay below deck as the ship battled an angry storm. She was the captain’s daughter and knew the ship had survived many violent storms in the past. Tonight this storm seemed different. It was as though the sea god was shaking the ship like a beggar shaking his near empty pouch to find a coin to buy one last loaf of bread. Viola could hear her father yelling orders to his crew.

“Throw the cargo over! We cannot keep afloat like this. Maybe if we lighten the load, we will survive this beating.”

As the crew began to drag the cargo up the stairs from the cargo hole, Viola eased closer to the cargo hatch. She heard Jake say to her father, “Captain, there is a passenger asleep below deck next the olive crates. We cannot wake him up.”

“What, asleep during this storm?” The captain descended the steps into the cargo hole with Viola close behind. The captain nudged the snoring man’s ribs with his foot. As the man stirred from his slumber, the captain recognized him as the man who said he was running from his god when he boarded the ship. Captain Ormar asked, “How can you sleep at a time like this? You should be praying to your god to spare us. Everyone else is crying out to their god. Who are you?”

The man stretched as he sat up. He rubbed his eyes and sighed, “My name is Jonah, son of Amittai. What’s going on?”

The captain glared at Jonah. “Can you not feel this torment we are in? This is the worst storm we have ever encountered. Only a miracle will save us. So start praying!”

Viola hid behind a crate near the hatch and watched as sailors drew close to the captain and Jonah. Marc, the second lieutenant said, “Let’s cast lots to see who is responsible for this catastrophe. The smallest stone is the guilty one.” One by one the men began to draw stones from the pouch Marc extended. Marc drew the last stone since he held the bag. The men lay their stones on a nearby crate one at a time. Jonah laid his stone last. Viola gasped as she realized Jonah’s was the smallest.
“What does this mean?” she thought.

Lt. Marc asked Jonah, “Who is your god? Where do you come from?”

“I am a Hebrew. I serve the God who created the land and the sea. And apparently this storm.” Jonah answered.

The sailors began to mumble, “What have you done?”

“Why did you get on our ship?”

“Why are you running from God?”

Captain Ormar silenced the men and turned to Jonah. “What should we do with you to get your God to calm the sea?”

“Just throw me overboard into the sea and it will become calm again.” Jonah replied.

“Father, no, you cannot do this. He will die.” Viola ran from her hiding place.

“Viola, what are you doing here. You should be in the cabin where I told you to stay. You are not safe here.” The captain reproached.

“I know, father, but I wanted to watch the storm. You cannot possibly think of throwing this man into the sea. He will die. Can you not weather this storm like the others?”

Jonah stepped forward, “Mistress, I will not drown. You see, my God gave me an assignment and I really didn’t want to do it. So I ran way. At least I thought I had. He knew where to find me and I cannot run from him. I must do His will. It is my fault the ship is in this storm.” He turned to the captain and said. “I am ready.”

“My daughter is correct, I cannot just toss you into the sea. Your blood would be on my hands. We will row back to land.”

As soon as the words left the captain’s mouth the ship pitched forward and groaned. Viola fell against a large stack of crates. She screamed as she looked up to see the top crate tottering towards her. Her father pulled her to safety and said, “Lord, please do not let us die for killing this man by throwing him into the sea.” He gestured to his crew to take Jonah above.

Viola ran after the men watching to see what would happen. She was so afraid Jonah would not survive. She reached the deck just as the sailors lifted Jonah over the rail and let him go. The sailors turned their backs as they watched Jonah’s flailing limbs hit the sea. The sea became instantly calm. The sailors became afraid and started to make sacrifices to Jonah’s God.

Viola stood silently watching as Jonah bobbed up and down in the calm waves. SheSan Diego Harbor wondered how he would survive. Surely a God who could instantly calm a sea could keep a man alive until he swam to shore. As the ship began to pull further away from Jonah, Viola heard a loud splash. Suddenly the largest fish she had ever seen rose from the sea and swallowed Jonah. Viola watched as the fish took a dive and began swimming in the opposite direction of Tarshish, their original destination. “May your God save you,” Viola whispered as the fish disappeared from sight.

I know this is an unusual hope story, but challenged me with the phrase “not a hope” and “not a chance”. Jonah tried to run from God’s purpose for his life. Of course, Viola is fictitious and not in the Bible, but I wanted an eyewitness account of what happened on that ship. Jonah was sure he was going in the opposite direction of the plan. Viola and Jonah learned a valuable lesson, you cannot run from God. If you try, your only hope for survival is to throw yourself overboard from the mess your life has become and cast yourself at His feet. He will turn things around.

This story is inspired by the book of Jonah Chapter 1.

“Salvation comes from the Lord.” Jonah 2:9


A Teacher’s Hope

As I begin a new year of teaching, I am going through the typical first week of school activities—arranging desks, choosing learning activities, writing lessons, meeting new students, learning their personalities, etc. This is my thirteenth first week of school and I can honestly say that I learn just as much as my students every year. I don’t mean I am learning the same math they are learning. Although, the state of Texas has pulled a few fast ones on me in the last couple of years. Every school year I learn that hope really can change things. I have learned that bringing hope into the math classroom transforms reluctant students and parents into fans of learning new math skills.

I have only taught at three school districts in my career and each has its own style of growing teachers. Each district bring a variety of learners from diverse cultures. The most common element of all three districts is their desire to see children learn and grow. All of them invest in training their teachers how to meet the needs of all learners. All of them encourage creativity. What I love most is they all have an unspoken non-negotiable—give the children hope. They cloak it with words like “do what’s best for kids”, “strive for excellence”, and “prepare them for the future”. What they really mean is give them hope. When educators bring hope to the table, students learn to strive for excellence, they look forward to the future, and they learn how to solve problems in creative ways.  When we bring hope to the table, students who struggle to get along socially learn how to make friends, resolve conflict, and become advocates for themselves.

I am looking forward to the months ahead and the many opportunities I will have to bring hope to the table. To my friends working in the education field, enjoy this year and remember to always bring hope to the table.


Psalms 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My loving eye on you.


Sarah’s Hope

It was a hot and dusty day. I sat lounging on my chaise listening to the sounds of the wind blowing against our tent. The days here are usually hot, but Abe found a nice place for us to settle under the trees of Mamre. The beautiful oak trees provided us with ample shade to keep us from the direct glare of the sun. It was unusually quiet this afternoon. Maybe it was just me. I had watched Amri give birth to another son this morning. She is a good wife and mother. A son. I wanted to give Abe a son. I would have settled for a daughter. But alas, I have given him neither. I guess his line will continue through Ish. My birthing days are over and I am going to enjoy the solitude. Abe is sitting just outside the entry of our tent. I smile as I admire his silhouette. He is still very handsome. It is not so bad we did not have children. He still loves me and treats me like I am beautiful. I sighed and closed my eyes.

After a while I open my eyes not certain if I was dreaming but I could hear voices. I sat up, tilting my head towards the entry to listen. Abe was talking to someone.

“You have blessed our home by visiting us,” Abe said.

I walked to the entry of the tent to see who he was talking to. He was bowing to three men as if they were men of honor. I did not recognize them, but Abe apparently did. Abe ran into the tent and told me to bake some bread from our finest flour. The men are very special. Abe then set the servants to preparing a meal out of a calf he selected himself.

I waited in the tent as Abe and his guests ate the meal we had prepared. I sat near the entrance hoping to hear their conversation.  I drew closer so I could hear better when I heard one of the men tell Abe that I would have a son when he returned in a year. I froze.

“What did he say?” I mumbled to myself.

“Your wife with be with child when I return next year.”

I stopped just behind Abe. I had to hear this. What was this man saying? Me, have a baby. Ha! Those days are certainly over. I am too old to have a baby. It would be a miracle for me to have a baby at my age. The idea is so bizarre that I chuckle to myself. “A baby. Humph.”

The visitor looked at me but spoke to Abe, “Why is your wife laughing? Is there anything too hard for God?” I tried to deny I laughed, but he caught me. All I could do was shrug and back away from the entry. I touched my stomach and remembered Abe shared with me once that the Lord had told him we would have a son. “Could this really be happening now?” I thought. A baby. I had given up on being a mother.

Later that night Abe told me the Lord was among the men who visited him. I was speechless with wonder that I could really have a baby soon. Not just a baby, but a son would come from this old body. Can I really hope for such a blessing?

I can imagine Sarah hoping for a baby for many years. I’m sure she had given up hope long before “the visitors”. Isn’t that like God? He reveals what is going to happen. He delays the event. Then, just when we have forgotten about it, He delivers.

Never give up hope.

Psalms 33:20 (NIV)

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.

Hope Hope and a Prayer Inspiration Ministry and Inspiration

Samson’s Hope

I sat in my cold damp cell ignoring the vermin scampering around me. I cannot see them because I am blind. I am blind. I cannot believe I gave my heart to another Philistine woman who betrayed me. I hope Delilah is enjoying her new found riches. I did not think Delilah would turn on me like that. My parents warned me to choose a woman from my own people.

As I sat brooding over my mistakes, I could hear the clanking sound of keys followed by the creaking of a door opening. Soldiers were coming. The heavy footsteps on the stairs told me they were coming for me. I guess they have come up with a new way to humiliate me. They had already gouged my eyes out. What else could they do?

“Come, Samson. This is your lucky day. You have been chosen to entertain us at our celebration honoring Dagon. He has delivered you into our hands, so you get to dance for us.” The soldiers grabbed my arms, drug me up the stairs and flung me into the middle of the temple.

I kept feeling someone touch me. The crowd laughed as I spun around looking for something to hold onto. The pagan worshipers began to cheer and praise their god for delivering me into their hands. Someone bumped into me and I stumbled into one of the pillars holding up the temple. I could tell the temple was packed from the roof to the floor. There had to be thousands of people here. I wondered if Delilah was among the crowd.

As I leaned against the pillar, I reached up to rub my head remembering the shave Delilah gave and drew in a quick breath. My hair was growing back. I asked a servant who was standing nearby to help me stand between two pillars. As I touched the two pillars, I could hear the crowd laughing at me. I prayed and asked the Lord to remember me and give me the strength to get revenge for my eyesight.

I pushed against the pillars and prayed, “Let me die with these Philistines!”

Suddenly, I felt the pillars begin to shift. The crowd grew silent just before I heard a loud groan. The temple began to shake and crumble. The people began to scream as they realized my God had returned my strength to me.

Now I could die in peace. The Lord had been good to me. He gave me strength to do mighty works for Him. Even in my weakest and darkest hour, He never gave up on me.

The conclusion of Samson’s life reminds me of’s phrase describing hope–“hope against hope: clinging to a mere possibility.” Samson did not know for certain his strength had returned, but he knew God was able to do what seemed impossible.

concrete pillars during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 33:17 (NIV)


Eyes of Hope

I have a gift or talent to see potential for creativity in just about anything. I find a piece of cardboard and wonder what I can paint on it. I paint boxes and empty containers and turn scraps of fabric into beautiful quilts. And don’t get me started on old magazines.  I can see a family gathering as an opportunity to create memories by creating a fact finding scavenger hunt about our ancestor. I could go on, but this morning the sweetest thought came to me as I was getting ready for work. God has given me the grace to see people and situations through eyes of hope.

Crochet Baby Teether

Eyes of hope makes losing my keys as God’s way of protecting me from potential danger on the road.

Eyes of hope helps me see my failures as opportunities for growth.

Eyes of hope helps me see the flaws in others as opportunities for me to be a vessel of mercy.

Eyes of hope helps me see the pain behind fake smiles and gives me someone to pray for.

Eyes of hope helps me as a teacher view the negative behavior of a student as an opportunity to show God’s unconditional love.

Eyes of hope helps me see that sickness is an opportunity to draw closer to God, fear is an opportunity to trust God, grief is an opportunity to receive God’s comfort, and closed doors is an opportunity to discover God’s better plan for my life.

I’m calling today a “Hope Challenge”. I challenge you to put on your glasses of hope or take of the shades that hide what’s really in front of you and find hope.

Have a great day! God loves you!


God’s Hope

This morning started off pretty routinely. You got up before the rest of the family to spend time with Me. I know I woke you up early. But if you think about it, 4 a.m. is not really that early. I wanted to have time with you so that the rest of your day would go well and you would not face too many surprises that you could not handle.

We spIMG_1148 (2)ent an hour together. You brought me your praises, thanks, and concerns. I really enjoyed listening to you. I waited until you were finished. Just when I was getting ready to speak to you, you got up and left. I know you thought we were finished, but I wanted to answer some of your questions.

Today you asked me to help you make an impact on those around you. You asked me to help you know what you were created to do. I answered those questions three times last week.

Remember on Tuesday when you saw the mother with the two little ones in the grocery store. One of her children was screaming and throwing the best fit you have seen in a long time. The other child was strapped in an infant seat. You saw how weary that mother was. I was hoping you would offer to push her shopping cart to the car so that she could have some relief. Just think how shocked her screaming bundle of joy would have been to have you pushing him out to the car while mother walked a few feet ahead to take a breath.

You also had an answer on Thursday when you listened to your friend tell you how hard it has been taking care of their sick parent. Not only did they have to pick up their children from school, then take them to soccer practice and math tutorials, they also needed to get their parent to the doctor and pick up their medications. I was hoping you would see they could really use your help picking up the kids and bringing them home. That would have been a great opportunity to remind their children to help around the house more since grandpa was sick and needed extra attention.

Finally, I was really hoping you would catch this one. You were standing in the middle of your closet this morning while getting ready for church. You picked out a very nice outfit and needed the perfect pair of shoes. You found a pair in the very back corner that you only wore once last summer and was thrilled the shoes matched what you picked out today. Did you see that large vacuum pack of clothes beside the shoes? You packed away several outfits three years ago but have not opened it since. Why do you hold on to that cube? I know you heard the minister ask for donations to give to the local homeless shelter last week because when you went shopping you picked up some soap, towels, toothbrushes and toothpaste. I was hoping you would take that cube of clothing along with the items you bought at the store.

Remember, Jesus said the world would know Him by the love you show to one another (John 13:35).

I’m looking forward to our next visit. I hope you will give me a chance to speak next time. I love you!”


Abbi’s Hope gives examples of various types of hope using phrases. The phrase “hope for the best” reminds me of one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. I Samuel 25 tells the story of how Abigail’s wisdom and swift actions spared her community from David’s wrath. She has no idea how David will react to her gesture of peace, but all she has is hope on her side.

Abbi looked up as she placed a bowl of figs, dates, and grain on the table set for the grand banquet. Shearing season was coming to an end and the ladies were preparing for a celebration. Soon the men would return from the fields after shearing the last of the sheep being kept in the fields outside the camp. A cloud of dust from the base of the mountains in the East announced the approach of visitors. As she pondered preparing additional food to accommodate the visitors, Seth, one of the young shearers, rushed to her side and gasped, “David sent messengers to request provisions from the master, but the master refused to send anything.”

“What? He refused?” Abbi exclaimed.

“Yes. David and his men have been good to us. When we were out keeping the sheep, they protected us day and night. Because of their protection, we did not lose any sheep. The least we could do is give them something to eat.”

“Did anyone tell Nabal this?”

“We tried, mistress, but he refused to listen. Our master has put us all in danger. An outrider has returned reporting David is angry and means to destroy Nabal and his household. What are we going to do?”

Abbi sighed and said, “I think we can repair the damage. The Lord has blessed us with plenty to share. You go and bring donkeys. The women and I will fill baskets with food from the banquet.  Go! Hurry before it is too late.

Abbi and the women hurriedly packed baskets with fruit, grain, prepared meats, and wine.  Seth and a group of other young men quickly loaded the donkeys. Soon they were ready to leave. “Seth, you and the men take these donkeys to David. He is still a distance away. I will slip away shortly to follow you.”

“Will you tell the master what we are doing?” Seth asked.

“No. Nabal has already started celebrating with wine. He will not notice I am gone. Now go, all will be well.” Abbi soon slipped away and rode her donkey out to meet David and his men as they spoke to Seth in the shadows of the mountains.

“Why are you’re here?” David bellowed. “Your husband has insulted me and my men. We protected his interests in the wilderness and how does he show his appreciation? He threw my good gesture back in my face. May God do the same to him!”

Abbi leaped from here donkey and bowed at David’s feet. “Please, my lord, I am the guilty one here. I did not know your men had come. If I had, your request would have been fulfilled,” she stammered. “My husband was not in his right mind. Do not hold his hastiness against all of us.” She rose and gestured her hands toward Seth and the loaded donkeys. “Please accept this gift for you and your men. May the Lord protect you and may He destroy your enemies. May the Lord do all he has spoken and when He has appointed you to your throne, remember your servant.”

David’s anger was calmed by Abbi’s gesture of peace. He accepted her gift and said, “Go in peace. Your gift has saved you and your household.”

“Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”

Proverbs 24:14

Bible Verses Coaching Devotional Encouragement Hope Inspiration Ready to Move Forward

Caleb’s Hope

I guess this could be the equivalent of the junior high walk of shame. Today is my first day back to school. It’s only five weeks after all the other kids started school. I just got back to campus from the alternative school. I am so embarrassed. I bet all the kids have told my new teachers what I did last year and they probably think I am a loser. The principal told me I’m getting a fresh start. She said I get to decide how successful this year will be and no one is going to hold my past against me. I don’t believe her, but I told her I would try my best.

Not only is this my first day on campus it is also the Friday before Halloween. The kids are dressed in pajamas and the teachers are dressed in costumes. I guess they are all in the mood for fun. Well, not everybody is dressed up for Halloween. My science teacher, a curly head dude that looked like a science geek, met me at the door. He shook my hand and told me to pick up the handout on the table by the door. The paper told me to write the quote on the board and write ideas how I could use what the statement says in science and real life. Great. I hate writing. The quote doesn’t help either. It says, “Don’t be afraid to start over.” It looks like he tried to use a weird font with red chalk to make it look scary, but all it did was remind me I’m a screw up.

After science I cross the hall to go to my math class. My math teacher isn’t in costume either. She meets me at the door to shake my hand and introduced herself. She asked me to introduce myself and before I could get my name out good, Jody walked up telling her I used to get in trouble a lot last year. She stopped him and said, “Jody, remember on the first day of school when I gave all of you a chance to share about your experience at school last year. We agreed that for the rest of the year we would leave the negative thoughts about the past in the past. Now, do you have something positive to say about how to help Caleb get caught up?” Jody mumbled something about tutorials and the journal the teacher handed me. I didn’t hear what he said because I was looking around the room to see if the class was laughing at me. No one was laughing. “I’m going to like this teacher,” I thought as I sat down. I may even like school. I guess the principal was serious when she said I could have a fresh start.

According to Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D. in20160806_120853_resized Making Hope Happen, hope pushes people to be ambitious and become successful. He goes on to say that it accounts for 14% of productivity in the workplace. I’m not sure if the principals at Caleb’s school read Making Hope Happen, but it seems they share similar a philosophy as Job. Job 14:7 says, “For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.”

I love this, because it reminds us that our mistakes do not define our future.

We learn and grow from them.


Roberta’s Hope

Roberta and her fourteen-year old daughter Kayla rushed into the lobby of the medical center to register while her husband, Geoff parked the car. While waiting for Geoff and their two other children, Kris and Kimberly, to join them, Kayla found a brochure and asked, “Momma, what is Moms of Multiples?” Roberta explained multiples mean that the mother gave birth to more than one baby. Roberta and Geoff had decided to share this birthing experience with their children. Kris was twelve and Kimberly was seven. They had taken off work and kept the kids home from school to witness the first ultrasound exam. They were all excited because today they would get their first peek at the new baby. As they waited to be called to the examining room, they joked and laughed at the possibility of a multiple birth.

“Oh, Momma, what if it is twins?” Kris asked. The family laughed and began a light-hearted discussion about the number of diapers they would have to change and the number of bottles to wash and fill. Roberta felt a wave of nausea as she thought about the possibility. She smiled thinking, “Surely not.”

Soon they were escorted into the procedure room. After everyone was situated where they could see the sonogram screen, the technician began the ultrasound procedure. As everyone silently watched the technician switch views and type information on the keyboard, Kayla gasped. She turned to Roberta and said, “Momma, look, we’re having twins!” Roberta dismissed the comment saying, “No, sweetheart, that’s just the way the baby is positioned in there.” They continued to watch, Roberta with a pinched frown in her forehead. Kayla repeated her observation. This time Geoff discounted the thought, but as he finished, the technician said, “No, sir. She is correct. There are two babies.” Roberta and Geoff watched in stunned silence as the technician completed the procedure and wished them luck.

Later that evening during her quiet time before bed, Roberta prayed and said, “Lord, we were prepared for one baby. I’m really looking forward to seeing how You are going to take care of preparing us for twins.” 20140310_170803-1

It wasn’t long before family and friends learned of their happy surprise and began to rally together to help out. One day Roberta received a call from a friend who had a donation of clothing to deliver. Roberta was hesitant at first but remembered her mother taught her to never decline allowing someone to bless her when it was in their hearts to do so. She accepted the clothes and to her amazement, the donation included more than one hundred gender-neutral outfits–two of every kind. Many of the outfits were brand new and had never been worn. They were later blessed with a mini-van, donated by a family who were called to the mission field outside of the United States. The Lord provided so many clothing that the twins didn’t require new clothes and shoes until they were two years old. The van was an extra blessing to accommodate the new family of seven.

Roberta could have become distressed  about the unexpected change in her family, but instead, she put her hope in God.


Blessed is he whose hope is in the Lord…Psalms 146:5




Zayla’s Hope

The theme of this month’s posts is “Hope” and I am going to share some hope stories, hope quotes, and art that makes me think of hope. Hope is defined by several dictionaries as a feeling or a desire to see something happen. says, “Hope in Scripture means a strong and confident expectation.” has set off a creativity siren in my spirit. The, connects sounds and texture to hope so I am going to share tidbits from them as well as share a few stories about various ways people have found hope in what appears to be hopeless situations. – hope

  • Definition 1.1: A person or thing that may help or save someone.
  • Definition 1.2: Grounds for believing that something good may happen.

Zayla sat on the patio with her Bible and prayer journal. She had stepped outside to watch the sunrise after a long night caring for her husband. Mark was in the final stages of his battle with kidney cancer and night-time was when they spent time reflecting over his life and their 13 year marriage. The dark circles under her brown, teary eyes showed the toll the last six weeks since he became bedridden, had taken on her. “Lord, how am I suppose to do this?” she prayed as she leaned back in her seat closing her eyes, letting the tears slip down her face. She sat with her eyes closed for a few minutes while a gentle August breeze caressed her face.  She knew it would be a couple of hours before their three children got up to start the day. So she enjoyed the quiet of the morning before opening her Bible.

As Zayla opened her Bible she prayed for help and was led to 2 Corinthians 1. When she began to read, she began to understand that God was listening and understood. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction.” She paused, “Yes, Lord. Comfort is what I need right now. I am so tired. The children are going to need me to be strong in all this. Thank you for being my comfort.”

Zayla continued to read, “So that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

Zayla gasped as she realized that her discomfort wasn’t about watching her husband waste away with cancer. It wasn’t about her children being without their father. God had a purpose that really had nothing to do with how she was feeling at the moment, but it had everything to do with what God was going to do in the future. Zayla found hope for her desperate situation in her Bible. She found the energy to register her children for school, take them school shopping, and face Mark’s death. They survived the funeral and went on to live a new life.


Art by: CiMo

Zayla struggled with depression from time to time, but when she was at her darkest, she would always turn to the scriptures. One day while sitting in the car waiting during a break between the college classes she was taking, she debated skipping the next class in favor of going home to shut the drapes and have a good cry. Depression was closing in like a thick fog. She closed her eyes, thinking to take a nap. Before she could fall asleep she felt the need to read her Bible. She opened to Isaiah 43:18 and read, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it will spring forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Zayla knew then that going home was the last thing she needed to do. God had once again given her hope to keep moving forward.


Move forward is what she did.