51 (“I’m Okay”)

Strasburg water towerAs my day winds down and Augie, snuggling beside me, sings, “I’m okay”…I am reminded just how blessed I have been during my 51 years.

And just how blessed I still am.

CloudsOn this birthday, I am not as thoughtful as some. 2015 has provided some fairly high levels of stress, and that continues in some areas. A contributor to the stress is my lack of self-confidence…I hate to disappoint (and mentally it is easy for me to assume I have). That’s why, heading to and from this year’s American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, a song I don’t remember ever hearing before from Styx was especially heartening. Just happens to be the song Augie was just singing, “I’m Okay.” 🙂 [Read more…]

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving greetingLast night (rather, this morning) before I went to sleep I posted this quote from the Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times on Facebook:

Dr. Alexander Whyte of Edinburgh was famous for his pulpit prayers. He always found something to thank God for, even in bad times. One stormy morning a member of his congregation thought to himself, “The preacher will have nothing to thank God on a wretched morning like this.” But Whyte began his prayer, “We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this.”

🙂

I hope this year is so great that instead you can say, “We thank Thee, O God, that it is like this.” If that is not true (for instance, a high school friend noted this morning how much she missed her recently departed mother)…

If that is not true…if Thanksgiving 2014 finds you in a horrible place where it is impossible to be thankful for anything, I suggest that you can at least say, “We thank Thee, O God, that You care”:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7, English Standard Version).

I debated including verse 6 because it comes off as a bit harsh…but think how incredible verse 7 is!  The creator of everything you see around you wants to hear about all those things that make being thankful so difficult…but, moreover, He cares about you!

And, reader, because that God has changed my heart I care about you too.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

 

I am thankful for…

PilgrimsI am thankful…

  • For a forgiving Lord who has promised an eternity with Him for those who believe (which came at such great cost to the Godhead).
  • For an awesome family: my beautiful and undeserved wife Michelle, two tremendous girls April and Jennifer, and two incredible sons Michael and Augie.
  • For the body of Christ all over the globe, especially the ones back home at the Antrim Church of Christ (that I miss so greatly).
  • For friends who have been there in good times and bad, and who have stuck by me at times when I wasn’t the friend I should have been.
  • For a job with a company (Kaiser Permanente) that honestly and emphatically cares about its members and personnel (and for a position leading a department with great employees).
  • For a nation where we can still live and worship (mostly) freely.
  • For the myriad other blessings from the Most High, whether I realize them or not.

Oh…and…

For you…my blog reader…or sermon listener…or Facebook friend…or Twitter follower…or LinkedIn connection. Happy Thanksgiving: May the One we all should be thanking make this the best holiday ever for you and yours.

P.S. And, I suppose, being that I have specifically named the non-profit I work for, I should note that all thoughts that I post on this blog (and elsewhere on the Internet for that matter) are mine and mine alone.  Don’t blame Kaiser 🙂

Bekah, Thanksgiving, and Judgment in a Triad

Bekah

As many of you know, this past Tuesday, November 16 would have been Bekah’s 17th birthday. The milestone was a reminder of the loss we all felt that evil Saturday morning in early May. And yes…I did call it an "evil morning"–God never intended that death would enter this world–that it would take a daughter from her mother, a sister from her siblings, or a child of God from her brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul has advised us to make "best use of the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16)…and is there anyone here…realizing how Bekah’s melodic voice is no longer heard as we sing hymns…that can disagree with his assessment?

But let’s not all forget that our Lord was not caught unaware by what transpired between the snake and our original parents in the Garden. The King James Version speaks of "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8b), and although the English Standard Version might be more accurate in translating it as discussing names that were not "written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain"–in either case we know that God had provided the solution before the problem arose. We also know that solution included penning Bekah’s name in that "book of life of the Lamb that was slain."

[Read more…]