The New Book of Lists claims that the Cape of Good Hope is a misnomer. When Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias came around the southern tip of Africa, he found the sea so rough that he called it the Cape of Storms. Afraid that the name would scare away future explorers, the king of Portugal changed the name to Cape of Good Hope.

We all accept that life is filled with many storms. With God’s help there is hope in the midst of the storm.

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In a cemetery in Jaffrey, New Hampshire you can read the following epitaph:

Sacred to the Memory of Amos Fortune
who was born free in Africa
a slave in America, he purchased
liberty, professed Christianity,
lived reputably, died hopefully
Nov. 17, 1901 at 91.

Seems Amos Fortune had many challenges to face and overcome in his life. Whether our challenges are greater or lesser than his, our hope will come from the same source.

-Michael Shannon, Preaching July/August 2003

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When
Roman Catholic Bishop Romeo Blanchett was told he had terminal
cancer, he said to his radio audience, “A terminal disease is not
something that should bring despair….Everybody is terminal from the
day he is born. Some of us are told a little more clearly that is
going to come sooner than others are told. That is a blessing . . .
When the Lord wants us and takes us, we will have a better life . . .
Death is really the beginning of eternal life. It should be a cause
for joy.”

_______________
J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.

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In a cemetery in Jaffrey, New Hampshire you can read the following epitaph:

Sacred to the Memory of Amos Fortune
who was born free in Africa
a slave in America, he purchased
liberty, professed Christianity,
lived reputably, died hopefully
Nov. 17, 1901 At. 91.

Seems
Amos Fortune had many challenges to face and overcome in his life.
Whether our challenges are greater or lesser than his, our hope will
come from the same source.

_______________

J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.

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According to The New Book of Lists, the Cape of
Good Hope is not well-named. The Portuguese explorer, Bartholomeu
Dias called it the Cape of Storm. That’s how rough he judged the
waters to be. Historians say that the King of Portugal had the name
changed to encourage people to travel that way. Who would want to
travel anywhere near the Cape of Storms? We have encouragement as
Christians that no matter the storm, through Christ it can become the
Cape of Good Hope.

_______________
J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.

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In The Romance of the Last Crusade, British Major Vivian Gilbert told of his advance toward Jerusalem during World War I. He stopped one night to visit a field hospital. He stayed by the bedside of a dying soldier, barely nineteen. He told their location. They were at Emmaus. Then he told him the story from Luke of two men on their way to Emmaus and the appearance of the risen Christ to them. He told him how Jesus ate with them that day. “And it happened right here, on this very spot!” he said. A look of peace and comfort told the major that the story had done its work.

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Claude Thomas,
pastor of First Baptist Church of Euless, TX, observed in a recent column, “In
1997 an article appeared in the journal published by the American Heart Association.
It pointed to the negative physical consequences of hopelessness. The article
essentially said that those who had experienced extreme feelings of despair
had a 20-percent greater increase in arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
over a four-year period. Other studies also have connected hopelessness with
heart disease, heart attacks and death.

“What happens
when hope is gone? Despair sets in! Depression takes hold. Productivity in life
declines or ceases altogether. . . .

“But I have
great news. Despite the studies and the articles, hopelessness is defeated.
We have a sign of hope that we all can embrace. WE HAVE HOPE IN LIFE. What is
our sign of hope? As we enter into the Christmas season, the world is reminded
once again that hope has come, and we read about the sign of hope in the Scriptures.
Isaiah 7:14 reads, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold
the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
The Son of God is the sign of hope for the entire world.

“You see,
Jesus’ name really means, “The Lord saves.” In Isaiah 7:14, the name
Immanuel means, “God with us.” Jesus is our sign of hope because he
saves us and is with us in our hopeless situation. In fact, Jesus saves us from
every kind of hopelessness. He saves us from sin. He saves us from death. He
gives us wings to rise above the storm or gives us strength to stand in the
storm. Through Jesus, we have hope in life because he is with us in the midst
of our hopelessness and delivers us from hopeless situations.”

(To read
the entire column visit http://www.baptistpress.com/bpcolumn.asp?ID=815)

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“When you
say a situation or a person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face
of God.”

 – Charles L. Allen

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Vaclav Havel, the Czech poet/President, experienced years of oppression and persecution under Communist rule. He later observed: “I am not an optimist, because I am not sure that everything ends well. Nor am I a pessimist, because I am not sure everything ends badly. I just carry hope in my heart . . . . Life without hope is an empty, boring and useless life. I cannot imagine that I could strive for something if I did not carry hope in me. I am thankful to God for this gift. It is as big a gift as life itself.”

(Reader’s Digest, February 1991)

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Milton Berle told the story of four widows who were playing cards in the retirement home they lived in. A good-looking older fellow walks in, bags under each arm. “What’s a good-looking man like you doing here?” one asks.

“I’m moving in,” he says.

“Oh,” says another. “Where ya from?”

“I’ve been in the joint the last fifteen years. “

“The joint?” they ask.

“Yeah, the joint, the clink, the slammer, the state penitentiary.”

“Oh,” says one. “What did you do?”

“I murdered my wife. I cut her up and buried her in the back yard.”

There follows a long pause, and then one of them exclaims: “Oh, so you’re single!”

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