I am currently reading A Practical Guide for Successful Church Change by Ramsey Coutta. In his work the doctor outlines his arguments for the inevitability of change within local church bodies. This change can be good or bad depending upon how change is presented by the leadership and how it is received by those who may or may not embrace the change. Suffice it to say that not only are there changes in the local Houses of Worship but also there comes changes in communities, families and individuals. Change is a thing that will happen either by reason of prompting or by natural course of action. Either way there will be change and that change will come.
Now, it might as well be said that I am not expert on change. However after having been on this Earth for more than five decades I can say with certain confidence that change is inevitable. Take, for instance, the young babe born just a few days ago. A number of changes have already taken place. For instance the babe is no longer protected by the womb of his mother. Instead of being fed through the umbilical cord the child must be fed by mouth. The change of growth is persistent and leads to a lifetime of changes. As such we can be certain that change will come in this life. Change is inevitable and should often be embraced.
The point of this message is to encourage all that are facing change with at least some trepidation. Some are changing marital status while others may have lost a loved one to death. Some are walking into new jobs while others are at the threshold of retirement. Some are moving to a land in which they have never been while others are merely changing local addresses. Either way there is change coming and as a rule change serves only to strengthen that which is already in us. Do not be afraid to embrace change as nothing ever remains the same except God who is immutable. Even as I pen these words things are changing all around me to include the things that are happening to propel me into the future. So go ahead and change. Let God uphold you as you walk toward and into your destiny of change.
Heavenly Father, first I thank you for giving me this forum to be an encouragement to your people. I also ask that you comfort those who are facing change with anxiety and grave concern. Please allow them to rest in and trust You as you have their best interest at heart. Thank you for changing not only me but also all those that have chosen to serve you as that was the best change we could have made. We love you Lord and thank You for making positive changes in our lives.
First and foremost I would like to thank all who follow me as I seek to use my pen to draw attention to issues of the day juxtaposed with biblical ideas. Those of you who read regularly realize that I am not simply writing as a way to make political statements rather part of my goal is to challenge Christians to stand for the Word of God and be Christians. There are so many attacks on Christendom that standing sometimes becomes a challenge yet the Christian should be encouraged to know that the remnant in which he sits is part of the larger Church.
Now, many of you may know that I am a fan of academia. This is the case because I firmly believe that if one is to be successful at his craft there must be some learning and grooming. Many of you know that I recently completed an internship at Huguely Hospital in Fort Worth, TX as I reported weekly on the program and its impact. Now I am set to start a chaplaincy residency. God has been gracious and doors are opening for me to that end. I will soon have choices of what program I want to enter. Yes, God has been very gracious to me! With this it should be also known that I have been accepted into Liberty University’s Doctorate of Ministry program concentrating on Evangelism and Church planting.
Working these two programs contemporaneously will be a tremendous challenge and a challenge I look forward to. With that said I am not sure how I will continue working on my blogging. No, there will be no laying it to the side; I am just not sure if I should do series as I did with the study on Deuteronomy, highlight points of my residency or take totally different courses. I tell you what, if you have any suggestions please reply to this article. While no promise will be made to that end I would love to hear your viewpoints.
One final thing; I will be a little transparent in saying that the past few years have been quite a financial struggle for me. There are reasons that I will not get to in this forum yet you can be sure that the difficulties I have endured have nothing to do with malfeasance on my part or anything else nefarious. With that I ask that all that willing and able to share http://www.gofundme.com/workingondestiny as I will keep it up for just another week if I get no responses. Either way I continue in thanking all who support me by reading, responding and sharing the words I pen.
Fighting wars is no new thing. Fighting has been going on from the time Cain killed Abel so it comes as no surprise that man has sought to kill fellow man stemming from jealously and fear. Such was the case during the Crusades beginning in 1095 wherein Catholicism sought to defend itself against the ever increasing stronghold of Islam. The initial loss to Catholicism caused the determined Muslims to fight even more for that they construed to be a “holy war.” That fight has been going on from that time to this with the idea that Islam should be the world religion and those that do not adhere, even different thinking Muslims, need to suffer the fate of death by the hands of those that fight in this jihad.
There have been many instances of late wherein Islamic terrorists have committed acts of violence not only in the Middle East but also in Canada, Australia and the United States. One of the most horrific acts was reported just yesterday. The report is that a Jordanian pilot was burned alive by Islamic jihadist. These Islamist, calling themselves ISIS, have no regard for human life. There is no respect for opposing viewpoints. Their holy war is just another means of silencing those that do not give in to Islam and yet our President refuses to publically admit that the enemy the world is fighting is a war against Islamist seeking to kill the rest of us. There is definitely a crusade going on yet there is another crusade that many will not engage in.
Christians are also called to a holy war however that war is not to seek out and kill those that disagree with us. Instead the Christian is called to a jihad of sorts. Now, this is not to say that Christianity is to give way to Islam; that is far from what is being suggested here. Instead an examination of the original idea of jihad is the Muslim idea of an inner struggle. The Arabic term has much to do with striving and has little to do with the idea of holy wars. Still the Christian would do well to understand that we are called “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24). With this the Christian is not to fight against a physical enemy as a way of life rather he is to work diligently in keeping the faith (II Corinthians 13:5).
It is true that many Muslims seek to tear down Christianity by any way possible. And Christians are to be determined to fight another crusade. Certainly there are times when nations must take up arms in the matter of self preservation. So must Christians lift holy hands to a Holy God in complete surrender to His will. The fact is that Islam does not recognize the spirit realm so it takes its jihad against all who are not like it. However Christendom has another crusade wherein it realizes that the fight is not against flesh and blood rather it is against principalities and powers and rulers of darkness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). The Christian crusade also involves standing to live (I Thessalonians 3:8) rather than putting forth the false idea of martyrdom. This Christian crusade means fighting for righteousness and giving even our enemies a chance at salvation.
So, while the Islamic State continues to wreak havoc the world over Christians need to maintain holiness and faithfulness to the One and only God. Fought properly the holy war of Christians can and will soften the heart of the most dedicate Muslims. With that, Christians, let us crusade not out of malice and vitriol but rather with love and compassion so that we might win some; even if some are Islamic terrorists.
Now, I know this is not an easy subject to discuss. It is even harder to have to endure the examination. Yet this is not a thing that can any longer be ignored nor should it be. Yes, I know that real men do not go to the hospital to see doctors especially when there is no obvious problem. Still I argue that real men take care of themselves in every way. And that taking care of themselves may have the reciprocal effect of benefiting men’s families. Still the most important benefactor is the man himself; after all men are just as important as everyone else.
Let’s get straight to the matter at hand. Last year the Veteran’s Administration Clinic in Fort Worth decided it was time that I had a colonoscopy. This was a matter I knew was coming and should have been addressed a couple years ago. It was something I was not looking forward to. Now, I was not concerned that I was inflicted with cancer; God had been taking excellent care of me. I had never been invaded before and wanted nothing to do with any invasions. Insofar as I am concerned that aperture is for one purpose and one purpose only. Hence my grave concern about the introduction of any object into my being.
To say that I had some apprehensions about this invasion is to put nicely the concern that I had. The class that I was required to attend did little to squash my concerns. The risks involved barely seemed worth me surrendering my “virginity” yet I knew that it was more than prudent for me to take care of this one and only body that I will ever have. God has given certain wisdom to doctors and that wisdom should not be taken lightly. Nonetheless the day soon approaching was not one I was looking forward to. It was a day that I did not want to come yet it was a day that must need come to pass. And so the day came.
It is important to keep in mind that I have never been sedated before. The closest I came was when I cut my hand as a Corrections Officer that that cut required stitches. I was given “laughing gas” and I can say there was nothing funny about it. I was told the effect of the sedation would be very much like that gas. I must also admit that day I went in kicking and screaming. Now, I did not cause a ruckus in the clinic however I did let the nurses and clerks know that this was something I was not looking forward to. This is especially true when I was placed in a room whose walls were thin white curtains with others just a breath away from me and told to remove my clothes; all of them. I was then to put on this mini dress that barely covered my essentials. To say that I was uncomfortable does not begin to tell the tale.
In the clinic there were a number of people fussing over me. Silly jokes were being told to make me at ease. Nurses were doing this and that while a doctor dropped by ensuring that all was well. Then came the time of the event in which I was wheeled a few yards away into a room wherein more care takers would fuss over me. I heard the doctors give instructions as to the type of medication I should be given. Then there was the voice of one care taker saying “You are going to feel something cold” and I did. The next thing I know there was a voice saying “All finished.” I heard the words and I knew what they meant I just did not know that I was finished. Boy, if that is like being high that is a feeling I never want again. And then I heard a voice saying that a polyp was found and being sent to the lab. That did not quite sink in because, frankly, I was still circling the airport.
Look, I am no doctor and have very little knowledge of medical processes. This is why I regularly see my doctor and that is because I love me. While that may sound a bit arrogant it is very necessary for men to love themselves. When a man loves himself he will do all to take good care to protect himself in all possible ways. This is even true for men of faith. It is because of faith that all is well with me. God has seen fit to allow me to have very good health and that is a thing I do not take lightly. Part of the reason I am doing well is because I head the advice of doctors whose responsibility is to help me be well.
Men, stand up and be men. Love yourselves enough to see your doctors regularly. And when the time of the colonoscopy comes let the doctors and other care givers do their jobs. The right crew will have your best interest at heart and will do all to protect you in every way. No, it will not be easy yet it is very necessary. Do it for your wives. Do it for your children. Above all do it for yourselves. You are the most important person in your world and deserve the blessing of good health. With that I can report that the polyp found in me was benign and I am doing well. So, men, remove the robe of hesitancy and go take care of you.
Last evening the President of the United States of America presented his sixth State of the Union address. During the address a number of issues were raised. Some of those issues caused a collective scratching of heads with many across this great land. One such item was that the President touted financial success by reason of policies he has implemented and that the nation’s unemployment levels have steadily gone down over his tenure. Unfortunately the only reason the unemployment levels appear to have fallen is because about ninety-three million people of fallen out of the employment picture and are not looking for work because of the lack of jobs and have exhausted all benefits. This is not to mention the fact that when the President took office the debt was about nine trillion dollars and now stands over eighteen trillion dollars.
There are many other items that can be addressed in the President’s speech however it might be more beneficial to discuss the State of the Church as the Church has had many successes over the past year. For instance the Church is strong and growing. Despite the attacks on fundamental Christianity the Church has not folded. Instead Christianity is beginning to stand its ground in favour of traditional Judeo-Christian values and refusing to relent to the boisterous cry of those that seek only the demise of the one entity that recognizes the one true and living God. Evangelical Christians are digging deeper in the trenches of holiness as it furthers the Great Commission.
Even so there are problems in the Church. And problems are nothing new in the Church particular if one considers the issues Paul addressed concerning the Church at Corinth. This is evident in I Corinthians 3:3 where he states that “ye are yet carnal.” This carnality meant that the church was much like the world at large and that carnality was detrimental to the Church in a number of ways. The same is true with the Church today. There are many that cannot eat the meat of the Gospel as they are still on milk. Among many there has been no growth so that some local bodies have become stagnant. This stagnation has led to frivolous programs called ministries which serve only to create social clubs in these Houses of Worship. These things ought not to be so.
Likewise there has been a pulling away from the historical teaching of Christ in futile efforts to reach those presumed unreachable in traditional terms. Hence music has changed from worship to entertainment wherein in some localities it is becoming increasingly more difficult to determine if the churches are parts of the Church or clubs. This, in part, has caused a double standard with congregants wherein lives outside the local bodies are less godly and more carnal. This is to say that many of these in the Church are Sunday saints and often barely that. As such the State of the Church is weakening because the Great Commission has been changed from going to all the world and teaching the Gospel to bringing the world into the Church by compromising the Gospel.
And there are hosts of other matters in the Church that need to be addressed just as they were addressed by Paul. Schisms in the Church caused unnecessary divides just as they do today. With this the Church needs to lay aside petty differences in order to further the Gospel while using the love of Christ to embrace each other so that the world can see the love we have one for another and be positively affected by it. This love means that there is no fornication it the Church. Lies will become a thing of the past as the truth becomes all the more paramount with the true and living God at the helm. This will result in respect for the people of God as pastors and ministers work tirelessly to hone their prophetic skill thereby pointing men to the foot of the cross.
It is absolutely true that the State of the Church is strong and that many are being brought into the fold. Likewise there are problems that need to be addressed in that strong things, even the church, need to be maintained so that the strengths do not become weaknesses. Let us, then, lay aside the carnality which seeks only to uproot that which is holy and pick up the ways of righteousness which serves to bolster and under gird a strong a prospering Church.
There has been much talking here of late about appearances. Specifically much of that talk has been around President Obama and some of the latest optics of his administration. One such was the sending of three White House representatives to the funeral of Michel Brown who would have gone unknown except for the fact that he robbed a store and at minimal challenged a police officer. Unfortunately no representatives were sent to New York where two offices were killed as they sat in their car. Now there is much discussion about the recent show of solidarity against Islamic terrorism in France wherein at least forty Heads-of-State joined arms yet no one from the United States was sent to stand with the world standing against a common enemy.
There are hosts of other optics that can be pointed out such as this administration’s refusal to call Islamic terrorism Islamic terrorism. This goes to the point that appearances mean everything. For instance, if one were to go to the “block’ in downtown Baltimore around midnight and he sees a young lady scantily clad going into a strip joint (or out of one for that matter) he might deduce that the lady might be at least a dancer. Such is the case within Christianity. Appearances mean not just a temporary opinion or view but rather appearances mean everything. What one dresses like, acts like and who he associates with speaks volumes about who that person is.
For instance if a married “Christian” man were found in the same area of Baltimore without his wife and he was just a bit inebriated with young ladies on either arm it might be said that Christianity might not be his chief practice. The fact is that appearances make all the difference in the world. This is why the Christian is called to holiness. Holiness is not merely a state of mind rather it is the way of life of the Christian. This is why Christians stand in the face of that which is unrighteous and unholy. This is why preachers preach and teach against succumbing to the pull of that which turns against God. Appearances is why Christians walk and talk far differently from non-Christians.
With this Christians need to walk arm-in-arm in solidarity against the things that God calls sin and unite with the love of Christ. There are neither big sins nor little sins so that lies are just as dangerous as homosexuality. Stealing is not worse than reveling while drunkenness and the lack of a sober mind can be synonymous. These are matters in which Christians can rally together and be examples for all that choose not to celebrate the God of our salvation. Christians need to present the optics of solidarity from one house to the next so that our common enemy cannot penetrate the wall of togetherness.
It is very true that together we stand and divided we fall so Christians, I beg of you, let us stand together and present a picture of holiness which will serve only to please the Father as we continue to lock arms for the standards of holiness and against unrighteousness.
Here of late there has been much rhetoric against police departments. It has been said in various ways that the police have certain animus against a particular people group and that they seek to find ways to kill those for which they have no love. Often overlooked is the crime in certain areas and that crime is blamed on ideas such as unemployment and lack of education. Well, I dare say that the police are not the enemies of any community and that unemployment and lack of education are not synonymous with crime.
I know; I can already hear some naysayers debunking just the few words that show above. However in order to make my points clear I must discuss some of my story. You see I was born during a time in when Jim Crow was coming to an end. The part of Baltimore wherein I was raised was far from the best place in town and after a short marriage my parents divorced when I was in early elementary school. Yet somehow I did not fall to the pull of crime. I have no children save those from my wife and all of whom were conceived during marital bliss. Still somehow I have not been reduced to the level of a criminal and have never had a negative experience with law enforcement.
The fact of the matter is that if one does not do anything to draw the attention there is a very good chance they will not be stopped by the police. I can say this of a certainty not only personally but also professionally. I can count on one had the number of times I have been stopped by police and, surprisingly, none of those two times was in Baltimore. I was not disrespected and neither did I disrespect the police. After a couple minutes conversation the police learned that I was not a problem child and they went about their way. Moreover I can say that as a police dispatcher in Baltimore and Chesapeake, Virginia that the police are usually so busy handling calls for service that there is simply no time to pick on people merely because of skin colour.
Now, I have not always enjoyed the academic success I have. This lack of college education did not cause me to fall to crime and to raise a voice against law enforcement. Instead when the opportunity arose I found reason to better myself and to work diligently in order to obtain the education needed in order to be a success. Even more I never took a job so that I would not turn to crime nor did I study for years in academia to lift a voice of hate. Instead I worked and continue to work to pull me and mine from what could be dismal failure. This is not to say that I have had an easy life and that I enjoy a life of luxury now. Neither is the case. Yet my background does not lend reason for me to lash out against those who protect not me alone but also all those that have need of protection.
My point is that I am tired of the police bashing that has been going on in this nation. Scripture teaches that we should honour those that deserving of honour. Police officers deserve absolute honour in that they do a job that most do not want to do. They work in the face of sudden danger and death yet they uphold their oaths defending not only the defenseless but also upholding the Constitution. If the powers that be will not call for peace with the police then I will. I will stand with them because they stand for law and order. I will raise the banner of unity because a divided nation will only fall. I will say thank you to those police who work daily to prevent the chaos of an unlawful mob.
It is important to note that I have been on a number of police ride-a-longs. Some were by choice and others job related. I have seen people hurt by the hands of criminals and police work to bring some healing. And while it is true that the police are not social workers and most certainly not members of the clergy they are human beings with a love for fellow man. The era of Jim Crow is over so it is time we came out of the past. The Klu Klux Klan is no longer serving as the enforcement arm of the Democratic Party and if any members are in our police departments they are well hidden. So let us lay down the destructive banner of hate and raise the restorative banner of love in order to bridge a divide created by lies and false narratives.
Love, this is why so many work at an often thankless job in law enforcement. Love is what causes so many to put their lives on the line for the sake of other lives. Love is why Christ became incarnate in order to reconcile broken man with a loving Father. It is this love that can reconcile man with man in order to present a type of the relationship we should enjoy with our Father. With that I urge some to look at some of my story and see that there is truly no reason to bemoan those that work hard to protect us and stand with them that stand daily in harm’s way just to make sure we are not harmed.
This new year let us not allow the broken rhetoric of a few determine the fate of many. Let us bridge the gap and work side-by-side with those that work with us.
Happy New Year!
Over the more than five decades of my life I have had more than ample opportunity to examine the way Christmas is celebrated. It has grown from the appreciation of Jesus becoming incarnate and early morning services to extreme commercialization. And while there is nothing wrong with the exchange of gifts and sitting around the table with for a well prepared feast I wonder what would happen if this Christmas there would be a focus on the true reason for the season.
John 3:16 clearly shows an expression of God’s love. There was a divide between God and man by reason of man’s sin. For centuries God worked on His plan to bridge that divide. It would take a sacrifice that only the Godhead could make. It meant that God would have to send His only begotten Son into the world as the way to restore a broken relationship. This meant that the Son would have to lay aside somewhat of His attributes of Deity in order to walk with man. This Christmas is no different than that first celebration of the Christ more than two thousand years ago.
So, this Christmas it might be prudent to consider the restorative power of the incarnate Christ. Consider how absolute healing can be secured if that same Christ was born afresh in our hearts. No, there is no suggestion that families should remain apart rather the converse is the case. You see Christ came to restore a broken relationship. In this is the ministry of Christ, restoration. It is also a ministry that should be celebrated within families as there are many broken families. These gaps need to be bridged in that the ministry of reconciliation should reside in us all. This Christmas can be a Christmas of healing which reaches far beyond immediate families.
This Christmas let restoration reach beyond families into our communities. Once the healing of restoration begins in families then communities will begin to feel the impact. The reciprocation will not stop there instead neighborhoods, cities and states will begin to understand what restoration is about. Now, this will not be an easy move in that it will require significant sacrifice. Consider the sacrifice of Immanuel. He had to leave everything He knew in order to restore brokenness. It was not easy yet the challenge did little to prevent this Holy One from humbling himself in order to reach out to man in the form of man. This is reconciliation. This is the story of Christmas. This Christmas let us reach out to heal and restore even when convenience is not in order. This Christmas let us keep the Christ of reconciliation in Christmas.
Many may remember that then Senator Barack Obama took to the campaign trail and ran in great part as the President who will finally bring everyone together. There would be no more divisions predicated upon the idea of “race” as this half Black (perhaps true African-American) and half White man would understand the plight of all and be able to find ground whereupon all would be on a level playing field. Many voted for this future President because they thought him to be the one uniquely able to unite all and that he would be the very one for the downcast, downtrodden and the broken. Many of the same voters have since had buyer’s remorse.
However this nation has not been so divided since the Civil War. Some might recall the feigned war on women fighting against those who see every human life as precious; even the unborn children. This divide was not to be outdone by those who touted the unfairness of the riches of the so called one percent causing deeper and widening divides among the populace. Our President has also weighed in on divides among the people groups of the land turning young against old and Black against White. Some might recall how one set of police In Massachusetts were said to have acted “stupidly” in one case and how Travon Martin might look like the President. Now the police are under attack by not just the President but also Attorney General Eric Holder and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Of course we can’t leave race baiters Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson from the equation. Additionally to ignore SEIU, which might be behind some of the latest protests would be remiss.
The fact of the matter is that this country cannot be destroyed from the outside. It must be destroyed from within. In order to fundamentally change this country there must be multiple divides and attacks against the very founding of this country. The pretense that our Founders were racist from the onset and that equality for all meant leaving out certain others does very little to bridge real gaps in this wonderful country. Most people in this nation are not racist rather are a loving people that want nothing more than to live peaceably with all in as much as possible. This sentiment has been made evident by many yet there are those such as Sharpton that make a living by dividing an otherwise loving people.
It is past time this country began to lay aside the resounding hateful rhetoric of those that seek only riches by dividing the masses. It is time that all men, women, boys and girls reach for the reality that they, as individuals, are fearfully and wonderfully made. These United States are one nation under the True and Living God and this nation cannot and should not lay down its Judeo-Christian founding and values. Instead individuals need to reconcile with God and serve God without fear of a tyrannical government that further seeks to divide a Christian nation from the God of all. As a nation mere idiosyncratic ideologies need to give way to the freedom provided by the Constitution with a limited government. This is to say this nation needs to return to the roots of freedom provided by biblical and constitutional standards.
The fact is that divides seek only to destroy a people. Consider, for instance, divorce. This is among the most hateful divides against any people. It tears at all involved normally because of selfish reasons. The hurt and pain can last for years while tearing at the family economic status. Things are not much different when a nation is torn apart. Very few prosper when a nation tears from itself. The converse is that when a nation comes together many good things happen. Love begins to abound while those that seek hatred are minimized. People work together no matter the complexion of their skin. Peace becomes the order of the day while families and communities grow stronger because of a diminishing divide.
So, Mr. Sharpton, Mr. Jackson, Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Holder and Mr. President you are urged to stop the divide. Your words and actions have been divisive at the very least. This country needs leadership that will strengthen the common factor we all enjoy. That factor is freedom. We need the freedom of the law, which is the Constitution to let this nation stand. We need the freedom of worship. We need to be free from the false narrative of all things racist so that we can all join hand-in-hand as a people indivisible standing for the liberty that Christ has prepared for us all.
No, I am not saying that my life is absolutely perfect. Certainly there are things that can be better and of course things could be much worse. Nonetheless I am reminded of the scriptural charge to give thanks in all things in that giving thanks is the will of God for His people. The fact is that being thankful is not a mere utterance of words for actions done by another rather thanksgiving is an attitude of gratefulness that brings all things into perspective. So during this Thanksgiving season I choose to give thanks in all things concerning me.
As I look back over my life I can find no reason not to be thankful. I was raised in the church so an early introduction to things godly is a thing I can be thankful for. As a young boy I was a Boy Scout and participate in Junior Achievement. There were other things I was involved in that helped groom me into the person I am today. I was instilled with discipline and a determination to be successful so for that I am thankful. I am thankful that my childhood did not lead me to imprisonment or to an early grave. And still I have another reason to be thankful.
And then I grew into a young man and the United States Marine Corps was awaiting my arrival. So I found myself on Parris Island being groomed into a Marine. It was a challenging and excellent time for growth. My thanksgiving is further extended because I was able to accomplish something some said I would not be able to. My thanksgiving is furthered because I was not injured during the rather strenuous work of a Marine recruit. Yes, the work was hard and not for the faint of heart. Still my thanksgiving is not lessened as I look back to a time that only sought to grow me within as well as without. And still I have another reason to be thankful.
No one will say that tour in the Marine Corps is easy. Well, I will say that my tour was a challenge and yet I am thankful for having the experience. Among the experiences I was allowed to travel the western Pacific on the U.S.S. Belleau Wood. I had opportunity to visit a number of countries. Among them were the Philippines. When I first took leave of the ship and took leave beyond Subic Bay I could not help but be thankful. You see I witnessed people living in cardboard houses who thought that a quarter was a lot of money. And I lived on ship with a mattress, two sheets, a blanket and pillow with three meals a day. Certainly tears rolled down my cheeks as I quickly realized that I had much to be thankful for. I had much then and still I have another reason to be thankful.
You see I got out of the Marine Corps unscathed by war. That is reason enough to be thankful. Moreover the Corps served only to bolster the character that was begun in me years earlier. My military experienced also served to grow a patriotism in me that is the mark of those who love these United States. The resolve that was strengthened in me was also a resolve to live a Christian life. This was no easy task in the Marine Corps yet the understanding of obedience was set well within me which has allowed me to be the man God has called me to be. I am thankful for the opportunity to have served my country – a country which allows me to worship the God of all without fear of government reprisal. Yes, it is certain that I have much to be thankful for and still I have another reason to be thankful.
And while on the matter of thanksgiving I could easily spend pages discussing the first Thanksgiving day and what led up to it. This Christian nation found reason to give thanks to God for protection and provision during a difficult time. I fully understand the sentiments of those early pilgrims as I can also write pages of reason I am thankful. I can write volumes on why I am thankful for my four wonderful children and how they are well and growing. These great people are not jailed and are doing well by all accounts. Still I won’t speak much about my thankfulness for them. Nor will I detail my thankfulness to God for my health. No, I have no sicknesses to speak of nor anything detrimental. I am thankful for a sound mind and a determination to continue to serve God. Yet I am not certain that I can encapsulate all my reason to be thankful as to my person yet I can find another reason to give thanks.
Still the thing that absolutely must give thanks for is the fact that God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosever believes in Him should not parish but have everlasting life. I am most thankful that Jesus was obedient to His Father to the extent that His submission required His life on the cross. I am further thankful that I don’t have to live a life of sin rather I can live a life of holiness which brings about all the more reason to be thankful. This causes more thankfulness in that I can look forward to eternal life with the God of all.
With that I would encourage all to join me in thanksgiving to His Majesty. Join me in bowing down and worshiping with a thankful heart not just during this specific season but rather now and all year long. You see thanksgiving is not a day of the year rather it is a condition of the heart. Join me in thanking the God of our salvation. Join me in growing our hearts of thanksgiving.