Skipping Thanksgiving

FullSizeRender[1]I think that we’ve skipped Thanksgiving this year.

If you’ve walked into a large retail store or shopping center since Labor Day, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

We’ve jumped from Halloween straight to Christmas.

Last year Americans spent $7.4 billion on Halloween.  That’s billion with a B.  Empty stores are rented and filled with Halloween costumes and decorations for two months following Labor Day.  It’s a big business.

And before Halloween is over, the Christmas push begins.  Holiday songs hit the radio airwaves and decorations take over as much as 25% of the space on retail shelves.

And somewhere sandwiched in-between is Thanksgiving…although you wouldn’t know it by the commercials, advertisements and store aisles.

Thanksgiving.  The holiday that’s traditionally been about friends, family and fellowship.

Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year- as I’ve been blessed in many ways.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17

I’m grateful for Hollianne and my children.  My mom and dad are both still living and available for guidance and counsel.  We’ve been blessed with good health in 2015.  I have a fulfilling job and a supportive, loving group of friends and family.

Take a minute and do an inventory of the good things in your life.  We all face difficulty and strife, but there are blessings for all of us.

I urge us to a couple of things before the Thanksgiving holiday.  First, write down three things for which you are grateful.  Then take the time to write a note (or two) to those folks who have assisted in these blessings.  Maybe it’s your aunt or a former teacher.  Perhaps it’s an old friend.  Write them a short note and let them know how much they mean to you.  Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude to others for helping you along the way.

Next, think about those who need a lift this time of year.  Maybe it’s your neighbor who was widowed last year.  Or perhaps it’s a single parent from your office…or seniors who are unable to leave their homes because of health reasons.  Reach out to them and provide some cheer.  Invite them to eat with your family on Thanksgiving day.  Or perhaps they just need a phone call of encouragement or a visit to provide dinner.  We can help by lightening a burden that they are carrying inside.

I pledge to do these things in the week leading up to Thanksgiving.  I hope that you’ll join me.  Perhaps we can provide a blessing to someone- just as we’ve been blessed.

Give, and it will be given to you.  Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.  Luke 6:38

Pray for me as a husband, father, son, friend and worker.  Help me be a blessing to someone this week.  And let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless you.  Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

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Tennessee Whiskey

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I was participating in a marketing session at a national conference a couple of months ago.  The speaker asked us to introduce ourselves and tell what state we represented.  She then instructed everyone in the room to tell what “image” popped into their minds when the state was announced.

Georgia?  Peaches.  Florida?  Sunshine.  New York?  Broadway.  Colorado?  Rockies.

I proudly announced “Tennessee.”  I thought that the participants might describe our beautiful mountains and lakes.  Or perhaps Elvis and the blues…or the cradle of country music.

“Whiskey.”

What???  Whiskey?  But that was the overwhelming sentiment in the room.  When out-of-staters thought about Tennessee, they thought about whiskey.

I was shocked.  My thoughts and feelings about my home state were vastly different than the opinions and views of others at the session.

It made me pause and reflect on my own life.  What image do I project to others?

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.  James 1:26

Truth be told, my image needs a makeover.

If we are lucky, we have people in our lives that keep us honest.  People that will straighten us out when we wander astray.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2

My prayer this week is to surround myself with people who will keep me from “conforming to this world.”  Those that help me stay focused on helping others…and being a better husband, father, son and friend.  People that pull me aside and whisper encouragement when they watch me struggle.

Let me know how I may pray for you. God bless.

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So you think you’ve had a bad day?

Memphis marathon 2014

Ever feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders?

Perhaps it’s family problems.  Or money is tight.  Maybe you or a loved one are battling an illness.

How do you respond when your back is against the wall?  Do you submit your concerns to Jesus and fully trust that He will sustain and keep you?

I’m studying Matthew 15 this week.  There’s a great story of a woman who was at the end of her rope.  She was from Canaan and had a daughter that was possessed by a demon.  She was desperate for help from the Savior.

There was a cultural divide to cross as well.  The Jews and Canaanites were not on good terms.  They hated one another.

Jesus refused to help her at first.  He ignored her initial plea and later dismissed her with some sharp words.

The woman came and knelt before him.  “Lord, help me!” she said.  He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”  “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”  Matthew 15: 25-27

The woman persisted.  Her faith led her to swallow her pride and simply fall down before Jesus.

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted.”  And her daughter was healed at that moment.  Matthew 15: 28

I have a healthy prayer life…but I struggle with patience.  I often want immediate help with my concerns that are offered up in prayer.  And when the answers don’t come immediately, I get frustrated.

I wish I had the faith of the Canaanite woman.

Pray for me to better respond to bad days.  And let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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When your wife leaves you

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Hollianne went back to work a couple of years ago.

Once the kids were all in school, Hollianne decided that she wanted to go back to work on a part-time basis.

Her job requires her to travel occasionally.  When this happens, I’m always happy to step up and do my part.

But I’ve noticed that things don’t flow so smoothly when Hollianne is out of town.  The food doesn’t taste as good. It’s a struggle to get the kids to bed.  And, no matter how early we set our clocks to prepare- we’re always running to get the boys to school on time.  Worst of all, I can’t keep up with the laundry and dishes…and the kids and I scramble to get the house clean before Hollianne gets home.

We are a hot mess when Hollianne is gone.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!    Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Hollianne is always greeted by excited hugs and big smiles when she gets home.

It’s a shame that we don’t appreciate all that Hollianne does for our household until she’s out of pocket.  Perhaps you struggle with that too.  There are many people in our lives that we don’t fully appreciate…often until it’s too late.

My prayer this week is for better awareness of those that make my life complete.  Parents. Spouse. Children and friends.

Who are those people in your life?  Make sure you reach out to them and let them know how much you appreciate them.

Let me know how I may pray for you.  God bless.

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How to survive a heart attack

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A good friend almost died last week.

He had a massive heart attack.  He’s young, active and eats right.  He’s the picture of health.

But he had a bad ticker.

His crisis revealed a series of hidden health problems.  The doctor discovered that he had high blood pressure and bad blood sugar.  Heavy amounts of plaque lined his arteries.  Not surprisingly, he had a history of heart problems in his family.  While he worked hard at being healthy, he simply couldn’t overcome genetics.

He was given medication, a new heart-healthy diet and prescribed activities that would allow him to heal and get his heart stronger.

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

Jesus is concerned about our heart health.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10

I have a sinful nature…bad traits and characteristics hidden deep within my heart that cause me to hurt others.  Barriers and bad habits that keep me at a distance from Jesus.  Perhaps you do too.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  Ezekiel 36:26

I desire a new heart…and to be rid of my heart of stone.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.  Proverbs 21:2

Pray for me to be more aware of the attitudes that hurt my heart.  And let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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So mad I could spit

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I got fighting mad last week.

Actually, I didn’t have good reason to be angry.  No one had wronged me.  Someone had, however, mistreated one of my friends.  Malicious, false statements were directed toward my buddy (let’s call him Stan)- and when the guilty party was approached about it- he lied about being involved.

The truth eventually came out, however, and the offender confessed to their slander and the lie to cover it up.

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.  Proverbs 12:19

I was mad.  Angry.  I couldn’t believe this guy could have such a lack of respect toward Stan.

A couple of days after the incident, I had a long conversation with Stan.  I asked him how this would impact his relationship with this fellow.  His response caught me off guard.

“I’m going to forgive him.”

And he had.  As we talked, I could tell that Stan had a sense of peace about the situation.  Stan said that this fellow had experienced enough embarrassment from being caught in the lie- and that was punishment enough.

Stan had released any anger and animosity that he felt from the situation.

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

Stan had chosen to forgive.  And if he could do that, I certainly should let go of my resentment too.

Be kind to one another, tenderharted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

My prayer is to have a more forgiving heart- and to ask forgiveness from those I’ve hurt.

Please pray for me and let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

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