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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

what I am thankful for

Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.

This past Sunday our church family was asked to share why each has a THANKFUL HEART.  The answers were all over the place and a real blessing.  Some really hit home with me.  Here are some of the ones that stuck out:

Forgiveness.  Family.  Health and saved from difficult sickness.  Freedom from addiction.  Restoration of family.  Children.  Home.  Blessings of friendship and home. 

There are many, many more things that were shared.  Each one brought me to think about the things that I am thankful for.  You may choose the same, but I’d like to share with you as we celebrate Thanksgiving.

My family.  You know that my mom died a month and a half ago.  These have been difficult days, but the truth of knowing she is in heaven makes life sweet.  I am grateful for my sweet wife and kids.  I am grateful for my dad and brothers.  I am also grateful for those who aren’t biological family but stay close.  I am grateful for friends who are a gift from God.

God’s grace.  There’s nothing like second chances.  When we receive God’s grace, it takes us in directions that nothing else can.  He gave me forgiveness and strength.  He opened new doors that came because of peace and the love only God can give.  It is incredible to share God’s grace with others.  I am grateful for God’s grace.

Meaning.  Living with meaning is much easier to live.  When we begin to give what we have and our effort to serve others, we will find the meaning that God intends for us to have.  Meaning gives life brilliant light and removes from our minds pain and even depression.  I am grateful for the meaning God has put in my life.

Bright future.  The days ahead are full of the promises of God.  These promises allow me believe God will do more than I can do on my own.  He will fill the places that often seem empty.  He will let my children experience His best and become all He made them to be.  Last weekend Julie and enjoyed the beautiful view of mountainside overlooking a gorgeous lake.  That view reminded me of the refreshing that God has brought my way and the beauty that He continues to bless us with.  I am grateful that my future is going to be amazing.

Thanksgiving holds many historical facts.  Thanksgiving holds many memories for my family and even for you.  What thanksgiving does so well is change our attention from getting to giving, from selfish to selfless and to a thankful mindset.

This thanksgiving holiday I want you and others to know that I am incredibly blessed, that what I am most thankful for is my family, God’s grace, the meaning God has given my life and the bright future that we have ahead for us.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

winter / warming shelter opens in December

Last winter was excellent for our winter warming shelter, and this winter is affording us another opportunity to share God’s love in two different locations.  We will have a shelter at Martinsville’s Salvation Army and Bassett Memorial United Methodist Church beginning next Tuesday, December 1st.   I am once again overjoyed and amazed at the outpouring of our community to serve those in need, and the people in our community I have shared our desire to have a permanent shelter for men and families are beginning to see the need in greater ways.

With 2 shelters we need more volunteers and more resources to serve with.  Will you help us?  The people who have made the past year’s project possible came from several different churches and organizations and walks of life. 

This project has reminded me a few things that I have learned, re-learned or been totally convinced of.  Check these out with me…

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?

When we see a need and can do something about it, we should do something.  It is amazing the feeling you get when you help someone in need, but we don’t do it for the feeling we get.  Doing nothing, shows we don’t care.  If we do something, we demonstrate the love of God. 

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Together we are stronger.  We can accomplish more by choosing to work together.  This is true on many different levels.  Whether a ball team or a business, people who work together accomplish so much more.

The same is true when people from the same community but from different churches come together to make a difference in the lives of the people in that same community who have a need.  We love where we live.  We love the people around us.  We make a difference when we begin to deal with the needs around us.

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

Remember this important truth: when we serve others, we are serving God.  This is the burning passion of my heart.  I have met some incredible people while working on the winter / warming shelter.  Some of these people are young.  Some of these people are retired.  Of the people on this volunteer team the youngest is a teenager, and the oldest is in their eighties.  More of those type people, available people, are needed.  Send me an email ( or call Sharon at 276-734-5882 to join this great team of people

We are making a difference by serving one person at a time.  We serve to share Jesus with those we serve.  I cannot wait to see what God does next!

Monday, November 23, 2015

heart and thanksgiving are inseparable

We all understand that we have to be careful.  Be careful to do what is right.  Be careful not to fall or hurt yourself.  Be careful not to offend others.  Being careful is always right, but what we are careful about doesn’t always make it right.  Who is it that we care about and who do we listen to?

in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

It is the will of God to be thankful.  Being thankful honors God.  Having a heart of thanks brings us and others into the place where we can see, sense and seize our God in grand ways.  We cannot move on with just being thankful for food for the stuff on the surface.  It is time to be thankful for more, but how do we do that?

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

Prayer often changes situations.  Prayer most often changes the one praying.  It changes me.  Prayer has also been known to make me or the one praying thankful. 

We lead others by the choices we make and the directions we go in.  The passage we are looking at today is one such place we see the leading.

It is our heart that holds our thanks, our faith, our strength and more.  Take some time to examine what God says about our hearts.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

It is hard to worship or be thankful when everything around you as well as your heart is in turmoil.  That is another reason to seek to be, plan to be and to be thankful.  It is contagious to be thankful.  It makes a difference to have a thankful heart.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Friday, November 20, 2015

bring your requests to God

Today’s devotion is copied from Gateway Church and Pastor Robert Morris.  I pray that you and I will take this truth to heart.  Read on…

God wants us to ask.

That’s right. It’s ok to ask God.

In this blog post I want to share a few thoughts which will hopefully dispel any myths you might have about “asking.”

First, it’s important that you understand that the Lord’s Prayer is filled with “asks.” Don’t feel that you’re being selfish when you ask because this is the way God taught us to pray. Here are just a few statements directly from Jesus that affirm this truth:

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

Notice that this last verse doesn’t say, “Your Father knows what you need, so don’t ask.” It says He knows it, “before you ask.” That means we still need to ask.

Bring your needs to God. You have a heavenly Father who loves you.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Psalm 130: God is...

Think about the needs you see.  Some people are living comfortably in the hole that they dug for themselves.  Others live on the ledge or slippery slope of their own making.  Some have even chosen to let other dominate their lives and dictate all they do, think and accomplish.

That is not what God intends for His people.  He has given us strength, His strength.  God has given us wisdom, His wisdom.  He has given us truth to be our guide, His truth.  Let His best fill you to overflowing.

But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you.  I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him.  I have put my hope in his word.  I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.  O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is unfailing love.  His redemption overflows.  He himself will redeem Israel from every kind of sin.

He is our forgiveness and forgiver.  We can fear, respect and worship Him.

We can count on God, always.

He is our hope, hope found in His word.

Our days are built by, blessed by and dressed by our incredible God.

We put our hope in the Lord.

His love is unfailing and never ending.

We are redeemed by Him, overflowing redemption.

Our failure, our weakness, our sin is dealt with by His love, hope and forgiveness.

That is the God we have come to know and love.  The word of God is full of truth that we have the opportunity to hold tight to.  Hold the truth.  Share that truth.  Realize from start and finish that God is our light which puts a smile on our faces!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

following God when it matters most

In this way, King Hezekiah handled the distribution throughout all Judah, doing what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God.  In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.

Hezekiah was a great king.  He did what was right before God and before the people.  One of the great things we learn from the verses about this king is that he stayed close to God.  In fact at one point Hezekiah was very sick and pleaded with God for more time.  God gave him more years.

The verses above remind us that to simplify your life is important.  Every area of life is important.  We cannot put God in one area and out of others.  We are either all in or not in at all.

This king sought God in every area of his responsibility as well as in his personal life.  Because he sought God great things happened for him and for those around him.  As we live life, all of life, we can honor and follow God.  That choice will make a difference and will be the example that so many people need and want.

What pleases God?  That is not an easy question to answer apart from the Bible.  When we serve God and help others we will please God.  Hezekiah was a godly example of how to follow, how to listen to God and how to follow through with what is really important in life.

Hezekiah sought God.  He did that in the temple as he was serving God and others.  He choice the commands and law of God to be his guide, and he did this with all of his heart.

Think about what it looks like do anything half hearted.  In fact I think we seeing the problem of doing things half way or with half your heart is an epidemic in our world, and it has been that way for a very long time.  It isn’t easy to follow God, but it is right.  Right choices lead to great impact and overflowing results.

The results were success.  Be careful how you define success because most people leave God out of the definition and understanding of what it really is.  Most people think it means you have lots of money.  I believe and the Bible states that we can prosper in so many other ways.  My desire is to have peace in my life and to impact many in ways that will last for eternity. 

May we be found, like Hezekiah, pleasing God and seeing great results that only God can give.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

why I am thankful

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Here are just a few reasons why I am thankful:

Colossians 2:7  NLT
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Hebrews 10:22  NASB
let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.  Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

Those three passages hemorrhage the heart cry of people who are seeking God with all they have.  With the heart, from the heart, sincerity of heart, with their whole heart … all of those phrases speak to what happens in the person who wants God more than anything else.

As I have already said when we have God on our mind more, we will be more thankful; and when we are more thankful, we will want more of God. 

How do we pursue or want more of God.  Begin with the overflow because of the roots of your life going deep into the truth and person of God.  Move further with confidence because of the salvation and change that God has brought in to your life.  Let God’s peace and His word run wild through all of your life.  One sure outcome will be a thankful heart.

Why am I thankful?

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

My prayer life keeps me sharp and my heart thankful.

Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving.

Praising God and being thankful honors God.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.

Begin with thanks.  Choose to be thankful because it is a choice and not always natural.

All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

The more we recognize what God does the more thankful we will be, and God is still working each and every day!

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.