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A grateful and appreciative heart

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Now that the traditional day of Thanksgiving is over, I thought I’d follow up on my last post with a bit more on what it means to me personally to be both grateful and thankful, particularly in regards to our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

I feel it is very important to maintain a grateful and appreciative heart for the things I have received in this life. Notice that I said the word maintain. That means we have to work at it, otherwise it’s not going to happen. Maintaining a grateful and appreciative heart is all on us, and it doesn’t happen automatically. If you’ve ever slipped into one of those moments when you just don’t feel very thankful, you know what I’m talking about.

By the same token, that I am able to say I am a child of God often leaves me nearly speechless. If you could have seen the person I used to be, you would have numbered me with those who were destined for the scrap heap of humanity.

How God can find something useful in any of us leaves me scratching my head. Have you ever felt this way?

Even today, over 40 years after accepting the Lord Jesus as my Savior, I marvel at God’s unique ability to see past what we were and slowly bring to fruition what we are destined to become. Seriously, who but God can do such things?

I made so many mistakes in my early Christian life that I sometimes wondered why I should even bother trying to live for Him. Comparing myself to other, more mature Christians left me shaking my head wondering how in the world they do it. How could these people never make mistakes? How could they always be so faithful?

Well, as all of us know by now, none of us are perfect are we? Neither do we always have it all together like we want others to believe we do. You see, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been a Christian for four days, forty days, or forty years, we still live in a fallen world that is wrought with one peril after another. Everywhere we turn there are challenges and obstacles in our path.

Some days remaining faithful to Him seems more like a dream than a reality. Can you relate? Can I get an “Amen”!

I will be forever thankful for what God has done in my life. After much work and countless hours spent upon the Potter’s wheel, he has slowly transformed me from a wild, bitter, and angry young man into someone who is now almost unrecognizable from the person I was. I say that knowing full well that He still has much to do to help me to reach my full potential.

No one needs to remind me that I am a man who has been blessed far beyond what I truly deserve. The Lord has taken me from being a blasphemous, proud, and unthankful heathen to a man after God’s own heart. [1]

How could I not praise him for what he has done?

For all that the Lord has done in my life, nothing compares with how that in an instant He changed the course of my eternal destination. I who was once on the fast track to Hell and eternal separation from all that is good, has had his soul re-routed to a destination where joy shall never end.

As my friend Bill Sweeney says, it may sound corny, but I actually believe that one day I’m going to a far better place because of Jesus. [2]

I would be remiss if I failed to mention how thankful and how grateful I am to have by my side the most wonderful wife anyone could ever hope to have. The mere fact that she’s still here is a testament to her abiding love for me. When I think of how much she has had to put up with through the years, I am presented with a clear picture of love, dedication, sacrifice, and commitment.

This may surprise many of you, but I lean towards being very strong-willed(insert smile here). I suppose that comes from being raised the way I was, that and being in positions of authority and responsibility for a large part of my life. My point being, sometimes it isn’t easy to live with someone like me, yet my sweet Princess somehow manages to keep me in check.

She is the calming voice of reason when I want to take a situation in my own hands to right a wrong that may have been done. She is the great communicator in our home when at times I want to clam up, satisfied within my own mind that I know all there is to know about the situation.

I am convinced that God brought us together in a Divine manner at just the right time. Two broken and shattered lives, neither looking for or ever expecting to love again. Yet God somehow orchestrated things so that we would meet one day in the foyer of a church, a church she was visiting only because of a friends invitation.

I could never have imagined that this shy young lady who wouldn’t even make eye contact with me when we were introduced, would one day complete me in a way I never thought possible and that together we would write our own Love Story.

These are just some of the reasons why I am a thankful and grateful man today. And yes, it is true, there are days when I need to be reminded of all of this. When I am, I’m humbled once again at the realization of where I’ve come from and where I’m destined to go.

For all of this, I am forever grateful and appreciative to my Savior.

Have a blessed day everyone!

Ron

[1] 2 Timothy 3:2 (KJV)

[2] For more of Bill Sweeney’s story of how the Lord has sustained him through a long battle with ALS, check out his website here: https://unshakablehope.com/about/

 

 

 

Can somebody give God some praise?

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We came through Hurricane Irma without a scratch. What can I say, except that we are humbled, grateful, and extremely blessed to have lived through something like this.

After a quick walk around the house this morning I didn’t see even a single shingle missing. Even the pool cage and the screen are still intact! Somehow or another we never even lost power, while so many millions here are in the dark this morning.

Thank you for every prayer that was prayed on our behalf.  You cannot begin to know how humbled we are by knowing that people we’ve never met would care enough to pray for us.

I’m reminded of something I told our church Wednesday evening, and that is that God is a giant killer! I also reminded them of David saying that if we fear the Lord, then we should also trust Him. Pretty sage advice, I think.

Be blessed everyone!

Ron

So Much To Be Thankful For

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Seeing that Thanksgiving will soon be here and (hopefully)the thought of thankfulness is on a lot of people’s minds, I wanted to offer this post as a way of expressing my gratitude for several things.

First and foremost I am thankful to know Jesus Christ as my Savior.In my life,this is the starting point of every good thing that has come my way.Everything I have or enjoy is because of His provision.No one ever needs to tell me that I am nothing without Him,I know this to be true.

The story of how God interrupted my life as I traveled my own Damascus Road is one that most would find hard to believe.To say I was headed for Hell would be a gross understatement,and the power of God’s Love,Forgiveness, and Grace makes my story all the more remarkable.Suffice it to say that to whom much is forgiven…

I am also thankful that God has blessed me with a loving and caring wife.When I listen to other men tell their “less than flattering” stories about their wives it only increases the gratitude that I have for my wife.While the Lord may indeed be my Rock,she is my soulmate and the greatest source of encouragement a man could have.

I cannot remember a day that she hasn’t said something to me of encouragement,hope,and love.She prays for me without ceasing,both for physical healing and also that I would continue to seek the Lord’s direction for our family.She is strong in her convictions and will not be swayed by popular opinion,be it a spiritual matter or otherwise.In this we are identical.

She is a praying wife and mother yet she is also very sensitive to the needs of others.She loves the elderly and I lover her heart for them.Like me,she roots for the underdog and those who society disregards.She loves deeply,and also hurts deeply.

I am thankful to have a great job,material blessings,and pretty much anything I need in this life.I have made many,many acquaintances through the years that I have been involved with in ministry as well as working at a secular job.My friends can be counted on but a few fingers (what does that word really mean anyway?),yet I consider myself highly blessed.

In spite of how I may feel however, the scriptures remind us that there would come a time when people would generally be “unthankful”and it’s pretty safe to say that we are living in such a time.While many wonder why or how things are so out of control in our world today,anyone can find the answers to their questions in God’s word.Which makes me want to say “wow! this Bible stuff that was written so long ago is amazingly accurate isn’t it?”. But that’s for another time.

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”  2nd Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV

The awesome thing is that God has made a way that we do not have to be like those described by Paul in his second letter to Timothy.We can choose a different path,one filled with gratitude and thanksgiving for what He has done in our lives.

It really is that simple.God has set before us a door that He invites us to walk through.On the other side is a peace and contentment not found in the world we have created for ourselves.

Won’t you join me this Thanksgiving? Be thankful to God for His many blessings.

Ron

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