Monday, November 29, 2010

The Privilege of Parenting

Photos: Sent to me by the Stowell Family of the dedication day of Joshua!

Thought for the Day
Psalms 127:3-5
(3) Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
(4) As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
(5) Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Children get an awful bad rap in our society today. They are viewed as a burden and something that can be easily disposed of if the timing is just not right for us to be parents yet. We find all kinds of excuses to justify our selfishness, but the truth is that God views our children as gifts. He views them as His own heritage and something that we should highly value and treasure.

I am so blessed by the 15 babies that have been born to families in our church body over the past 12 months and there is one more on the way in March. What a privilege to be honored by God with such treasure. Along with the joys of parenthood also comes the challenges and burdens as well, but all for His glory and their good!

Ask the Lord to give you the right perspective of the children in your life and see your opportunity to influence them as a sacred obligation to the Lord Himself. After all, they are His heritage!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanking Our Way To Peace Of Mind

Photos: Decorating the tree with the kids (CJ never got to put the angel on before, so this was his chance.)

Thought for the Day
Psalms 119:62
At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

We often hear of people staying up late because of worry or fear of uncertainties on the horizon of life, but for someone to get up simply to "give thanks" to the Lord is highly unusual. This is not something we commonly associate with late night activity. What would be the motive behind this?

There are several assumptions we could make, but to me what is clear is that giving thanks to God is simply good medicine. Perhaps it was the worries and fears that brought the initial wakefulness, but the care filled moment was turned into an opportunity for praise. "Giving Thanks" will settle the anxieties of our hearts by putting the Lord back into the center of our universe where He belongs!

If there are worries or stresses in your life today, turn them over to the Lord by giving Him thanks.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

My "Thankfulness List"- Making a written list of 100 things for which I am thankful has been used greatly of God in my heart this month. I can truly say He has given me an "attitude of gratitude!"

Thought for the Day
Psalms 100:1-5
A Psalm of praise
(1) Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
(2) Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
(3) Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
(4) Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
(5) For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

As I sit here on Thanksgiving morning, I am filled with gratitude for my life. I am fully aware though that the blessings I enjoy are only because of my Lord Jesus Christ. He has enabled me to know God and serve Him. I am convinced that there are two things about God that I must be aware of and rest in if I can fully experience His presence and blessing.

These two things are that 1.God is Great, and 2. God is Good! If God were not great, He would be incapable of bringing His good will for me to pass. If God were not good, His immense power could not be trusted to do that which is best for me. Power without goodness is corrupting, and goodness without power is incapable of fully expressing itself. I am grateful that my Lord is both Great and Good as the earliest childhood prayer that I was taught reminded me each night. Praise Him this Thanksgiving for He alone is worthy!

"God is great, God is good let us thank Him for this food, amen!"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Magnify God Through Thankfulness

ThanksLiving. Sunday morning sermon series for the month of November. Thankfulness is the key to contentment!

Thought for the Day
Psalms 69:30-31
(30) I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
(31) This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.

Once again we see the importance of thankfulness to our relationship with God. David describes thanksgiving here as "magnifying" the Lord and "pleasing" Him more than many sacrifices. We can not overestimate the importance of gratitude to as successful Christian life. I believe if we would focus on this one grace and determine to grow in this area through concentration and focus that we would experience a great burst of enthusiasm in our walk with Christ. Thanksgiving magnifies Him; it makes Him big to everyone around us, and this is exactly what He deserves. He is worthy!

Magnify the Lord today through thanksgiving. Let everyone know that you appreciate all the good that He has allowed to come your way today.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Debt of Gratitude

Photo: I am thankful for health and strength to enjoy the things that are important in life. Julianna's volleyball photo.

Thought for the Day
Psalms 50:14 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:

We tend to want to offer God our money, or time, or songs, or whatever; but what He is truly desirous of is our heart. The "vows" God wants "paid" from us is simply that we would offer Him thanks from the heart. I will continue to "pay my vows" to the Lord this month as I compile my list of 100 things for which I am thankful. I am surrounded by two things each day: things that can cause me to grumble, and things that can cause me to give thanks. The amazing thing that I am discovering is that they are both the same things; it is simply my perspective that determines their worth.

As you thank the Lord for the things in your life today, remember that you are paying to Him a great debt of gratitude!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Testimony of Praise

Photo: "J-girl", Julianna, heading to school this morning.

Thought for the Day
Psalms 18:49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.

Before I was a Christian one of the things that most impressed me about the few people I knew who professed to follow Christ was their positive and inspiring attitudes. There is just something attractive about a good spirit. In this psalm, David shows that the source of his blessings was God. He publicly gives thanks so that everyone would see that he served a God who was worthy of praise. I believe if people would see in us more thankfulness and praise rather than complaining and negativism that they would be attracted to our great Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Give thanks to the Lord today, not just in private, but publicly where all can see His greatness. A simple bowing of the head in prayer over a meal in a restaurant is a great way of demonstarting our love for the Lord and showing forth His praise.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Be Specific

Photo: I am thankful for my family. Cheryl and Annabeth getting ready for the day.

Thought for the Day
Philippians 1:3
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you...

I am well on my way to completing my list of 100 things for which I am thankful. One thing that has become clear to me through this process is that the more specific I become, the more gratitude I feel. For example, initially I wrote that I am thankful for "friends", but it was not until I began to write down the names of specific friends that my heart became full of memories of past events that made me truly grateful. This must be what Paul had in mind when he wrote that he thanked the Lord "upon every remembrance". Specific details seem to arouse a much greater sense of gratitude than generalities.

Begin your own thanksgiving list today if you haven't already and continue to get specific. A good dose of gratitude is needed today in our world about as much as anything else we could have.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


(I have not written in several weeks due initially to computer problems and then inattention. Good to be back.)

Thought for the Day
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Last week I began a series of Sunday morning messages aimed at reviving the spirit of thankfulness in my life and our church. I believe the root cause of most of our problems as individuals and as a nation is due to the loss of gratitude. We see in Romans 1:21 that ingratitude has led to entire cultures turning away from God. When we fail to acknowledge the blessings in our lives and come completely wrapped up in our problems or misfortunes, we are well on the road to many greater pains and anguish.

I have challenged our church to make a list of at least 100 things for which they are thankful. I believe the simple act of "counting our blessings" will result in a great awakening of joy and gladness!

Begin your own thanksgiving list today. Keep it close by and when you are tempted to murmur write a couple of things down that you have to be thankful for. It will amaze you how gratitude will redirect your thoughts and emotions.