Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Today’s article may be a bit long, but please hang in there for me, this is something very important both YOU and I need to do today. 

When I am trying to focus on a particular subject, sometimes I focus on what is the opposite to help me think.  Today I wanted to think through what the word “thankful” really means to me.  It was easy to come up with the normal platitudes of being thankful for my job, my health, my home, etc. (and I AM very thankful for those things).  But in order to think outside of the box a bit on this I decided to think about what the word “thankless” means.

Wow.  God really hit me when I approached it that way.  There are a number of ways we can approach this word, but the primary meaning I landed upon was the idea of not being thankful and examining the ways I am indeed “thankless” to the most important people in my life for what they do and who they are.  So excuse the personal nature of this article this week, but I gotta do this.  Here goes:

imageTo my wife:

I have not made you aware every day of the love I have for you and I am sorry.  God in his incredible wisdom has and is using you to prune, hone, shape and help me through every day.  In my imperfection I get angry with you even though I know He works on me through you.  When you do all the small things that make life so pleasant I do not focus on being sure you feel loved as a result.  You serve God by being my wife every day, and He is pleased with your service.  Thank you for making my life better.  I love you.

To my children:

You have taught me so much.  You have taught me what raw feelings of love truly feel like, showed me that pride is not always a bad thing, and you have been used by God to teach me patience and what is important in life.  You help me focus and adjust my pace as I walk each day.  You give me joy I cannot possibly describe, and make me turn to God with smiles at times, and with pleading tears at others.  You are perfect people in my eyes, and in God’s.  Do not ever forget that.  Thank you for making my life better.  I love you.

To my mother and father:

Thank you for bearing the pain of me.  You have endured it in so many ways from birth even through this present day.  I have not been thankful enough to you or for you and I am sorry.  All through my life you have loved me when I was unlovable, suffered through my mistakes in spite of my ingratitude, and always made sure I knew your love was there.  You took the small moments of love I gave you and nurtured them and multiplied them for use when I would not give you more, but you needed them.  You have been a wonderful model for me as I raise my own children.  Thank you for making my life better.  I love you.

To my sister:

Please see above in Mother and Father section.  It applies to you too.  Even if you are a brat.

And to the rest of the people in my life:

Take all the above and apply it to yourself.  God has indeed made all things perfect, and I am thankful for you all.  Thank you for putting up with me, for helping me grow, and for helping me enjoy the gift of life God gave me.

This verse sums up what you all do for me:

Colossians 3:15-16: (NIV) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Okay.  That’s that.  I did my part.  I told you earlier there is something YOU need to do.  Reread the above, and if you don’t get it on your own, well, send me an email and I’ll explain it to you.  Because God would want me to.

Thanks for reading.  Now go be thankful.

We all know life can be hard. Difficult things occur that are not of our own choosing and can sometimes propel us along paths we would never choose. We cannot control everything that happens to us each day, we can only respond to the circumstances life places us at times. When bad things happen, we seek (and need) RENEWAL.

There is hope everywhere folks. Hope comes in the form of possibilities and renewal. Every Easter, we celebrate renewal and fresh starts, and it always is uplifting and feels good. You cannot prevent renewal from being an option. Does that makes sense? Regardless of what happened yesterday, you can always experience renewal today — if you will look for it. God is in the renewal business, and I know that with all my heart. He offers us so many chances every day to start over, to do better, to step up, to step out. He gives us grace in bountiful amounts with no limits. Every day.

My mother got a call this morning that a long time spiritual friend and mentor had passed away. Her name was Dorothy McDowell, and she was a spiritual GIANT. When any event in the life of our family required prayer, we always called Dorothy, who we just knew had a direct line to God and knew how to use it! Losing Dorothy to this world is a great loss, but it is also a joyous event that we absolutely know is being celebrated in Heaven — and it offers me hope for renewal. Last week I included a link to the song, "I can only Imagine". Dorothy is not imagining today, she is seeing it all for real. She has experienced a renewal and a fresh start that all Christians hope and yearn for. Heaven is actually a better place because she is there adding her voice to that choir. How awesome is that? I thank God that I knew you Dorothy.

We certainly do not have to leave this world to experience renewal. I know that Dorothy experienced it every time she bowed her head in conversation with God. There are so many opportunities to experience renewal, and we need only look for them. Look for it in your marriage. Look for it in your relationships. Look for it in your job or a favorite hobby. It is an incredible gift that is there for us everywhere, every day. It would be a shame to miss it.
Have a great week — and seize some chances for renewal!

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My birthday is this week. On April 3rd I will turn 50 years old. I’m good with that, since I am a real believer in the seasons of life and embracing each one. I believe that God gives us special times at each stage of life that if we will look forward to them, we will not miss the blessings of. As I look back on life, I remember things.

A good friend of mine, Jody Sweeney, posted this on her Facebook page today:

"Yesterday was the 6th anniversary of the passing of our little dog, Sibby. I know it’s weird to remember something like that, but that little dog touched so many lives in her short life. (A friend) swore she was an angel, and I believe her."

Wow. Good memories mixed in with a feeling of sadness and some nice feelings too. Sibby was pretty special. This got me to thinking more about remembering (the result of which are "memories"). When we think of remembering, we tend to think of it as something in the past, but it is much more than that. For example, consider the following phrases:

"I remember my dog Sibby" (past memory)

"Remember to read your Bible today!" (present process reminder)

"Remember that on Sunday, we will be going to church for Easter service!" (reminder of future plans)

So memories can be past, present or future? Interesting. So I went in search of what God would have to say on this subject. Hang on — gotta pray about this one.

(pause for prayer, feel free to do the same yourself) Okay — I’m back.

Do not Forget. That is what I heard today. You "don’t forget", by cherishing knowledge, memories, and things to come. I’ve got a good memory for you to have that relates to your past, present and future. imageThis Sunday is Easter. Easter is the day that we celebrate an event that is so embedded in history that it must have truly been an incredible one. On that day, a man (whose story is an incredible event unto itself), overcame what is possibly the single greatest fear that humans have — death. He was dead, then he was alive again. Ponder that one for a moment please. We’ll be right here.

As we age, we start to fear loss. Loss of life, loss of relationships, loss of loved ones, etc. But if we remember what He did for us, the fear starts to lessen, and it turns into an anticipation of something we still have a hard time getting our minds a

round, but our hearts yearn for. Do you feel it, that small kernel of excitement at the possibility of what it will be like? We will resurrect also — God has asked us to remember that, to not forget it. We will be with him in a way that I can only imagine.

I remember.

I remember what he did for me in the past. I remember what he is doing for me in the present. And I remember what He has promised to do for me in the future.

I remember.

Have a great Easter week

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