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Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday's Message: Thanks to God!

Thanks to God!

       The author, August Ludvig Storm, was born in Sweden. As a young man, he was converted to Christ in a Salvation Army meeting. Soon he joined the Salvation Army Corps. He wrote this hymn’s text for the Army publication, Stridsropet (The War Cry), on December 5, 1891.
       The original Swedish version had four stanzas, with each verse beginning with the word tack thanks, having a total of thirty-two thanks in all. The gratitude expressed to God ranges from the dark and dreary Fall to the pleasant, balmy Spring time, pain as well as pleasure, thorns as well as roses.
       At the age of thirty-seven, August Storm suffered a back ailment that left him crippled for life. He continued, however, to administer his Salvation Army duties until his death.
       A year before his death on July 1, 1914, he wrote another poem in which he thanked God for the years of calm and quiet as well as the years of pain. After his funeral, the Swedish War Cry wrote the following:
       It was a delight to listen to his powerful, thoughtful, and well-articulated sermons. And the numerous verses that flowed from his pen are the best that have ever appeared in the Army’s publications.
—Kenneth Osbeck

Thanks to God for My Redeemer

(1) Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and dreary fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!
(2) Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace the none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond conpare!
(3) Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav'nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks thru all eternity!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Family Friday: Embarrassed


          Everyone detests being embarrassed.   Children, teens and adults usually react to embarrassment with the wrong attitude, and those reactions can make an already awkward situation become worse.  Check your parenting style: do you discipline your children in public where they are more likely to be embarrassed, or do you handle matters in private?
          Many times our children learn by example.  Whether you realize it or not, your children are watching your reactions to situations and will mimic you.  How do you respond to embarrassing situations? Maybe you need to take a little time to examine if your reactions are Biblical.  If an incident happens, talk privately to your children and conduct a little training in how to act if they are publicly embarrassed.  Your children may be on their way to being young adults, but they will not learn proper reactions if they are not taught!
          Another aspect of these thoughts is our reason for discipline.  If we are ashamed of our children’s actions, sometimes our sin nature wants them to be shamed in return; this is not a Godly reaction!  All matters should be handled with the same routine in which you normally discipline.  Do not “go off the deep end” because you are embarrassed at your children’s actions.  God is always righteous and fair in His discipline; strive to be that way in your discipline as well.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

We Pray Wednesday: How to Pray for your Pastor (Part 1)

How to Pray for your Pastor (Part 1)

                One of the people that need our prayers more than any other person that you may know would be a pastor.  Pastors bear their own burdens and the burdens of the many members of their church.  They wear many different hats and sometimes several at the same time.  These men of God need our prayers daily and sometimes several times daily.  This list is not a completelist nor is this thought original with me by any means.  Here are several things we need to pray daily for our pastor.  It may take time to pray through the entire list every day, but praying for some of them over a period of time will be beneficial to your pastor and to you.

1.  Pray that your pastor will love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. Pray that God’s Spirit will work in his heart in power and that he will value and follow biblical priorities.

2.  Pray that your pastor will cultivate strong character and uncompromising integrity. Pray that his testimony will be genuine and that he will never do anything that he would need to hide from others.

3.  Pray for his personal walk with God—that his soul and spirit will be nourished and strengthened in his quiet time with God, beyond his sermon preparation. Pray that he will spend more time in the Word of God than in reading books and articles.

4.  Pray that your pastor will counsel and teach with discernment through the wise use of Scripture and faith in God’s power to work. Pray that he will be protected from the effects of sinful or negative attitudes that he encounters as he counsels.

5.  Pray for God to protect your pastor’s marriage and keep it strong as a model of Christ’s relationship with the Church. Pray that your pastor will tenderly cherish and lead his wife and that she will respect and encourage her husband, submitting to his leadership.

6.  Pray for God to heal any hurts that your pastor has suffered in the ministry. Pray that he will serve the Lord with gladness and encourage the congregation to worship God with a joyful, surrendered spirit.
7.  Pray for your pastor’s children and especially that the pressures of the ministry will not discourage or embitter them. Pray that your pastor will provide godly leadership in the home, not based on fear of what others will think, but according to scriptural truth.

8.  Pray for God to protect your pastor from the wiles of Satan. Pray that he will not be corrupted as he rubs shoulders with the world in the course of ministry.

9.  Pray that God will build a hedge of protection around your pastor’s marriage and that he and his wife will be aware of the potential for any improper relationships. Pray that their family time will be protected.

10.  Pray that God to guard his heart concerning the use of free time. Pray that he will be morally pure and that he will wear the armor of God so that he will not fall into sexual temptation.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Monday's Message: Count Your Blessings

Count Your Blessings
       This beautiful hymn was written by one of the prolific gospel song writers of the past century, a Methodist lay preacher named Johnson Oatman. 
       In addition to his preaching and the writing of more than 5,000 hymn texts, Oatman was also a successful business man, engaged in a shipping business and in his later years as an administrator for a large insurance company in New Jersey.
       It is good for each of us periodically to take time to rediscover the simple but profound truths expressed by Mr. Oatman in the four stanzas of this hymn.
--Kenneth W. Osbeck

Count Your Blessings

(1) When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings-name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings-name them one by one;
Count your blessings-see what God hath done;
Count your blessings-name them one by one;
Count your many blessings- see what God hath done.
(2) Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear;
Count your many blessings- ev'ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.
(3) When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings-money cannot buy,
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.
(4) So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged- God is over all;
Count your many blessings- angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end

Friday, November 10, 2017

Family Friday: How Was Your Day?

How Was Your Day?

            When your children come home from school, do you have a routine?  Children seem to function better when they have a routine.  Even adults work better when we know what is coming next.  Train your children to do homework and prepare for the next day (i.e. uniforms, lunchboxes, P.E. clothes, etc.)
            Do you ask your children about their day? From personal experience, some children talk easily about their day and some are very reluctant to talk about their day.  Learn to ask leading questions about what they are doing or learning in class.   Children really do want their parents to listen to them; parents just need to learn to ask the right questions.
            Have a plan to talk to your children each day.  Maybe it will be as simple as a conversation at the supper table.  Maybe once a week you could plan to stay up just a few minutes past bedtime with one of your children and ask them if anything is bothering them at school, or if there is anything you can help them work on.
            Go beyond asking “How was your day?”  Really try to find out how things are going with your children.  Take the time to talk to them, then really listen to them!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

We Pray Wednesday: Praise in our Praying

Praise in our Praying

A couple of weeks ago, I helped a church group that went downtown in New Orleans and worked with many homeless people that were living in conditions that many of us could not imagine.  I had seen many people living in conditions that are this way before or begging for money; however, this was my first time picking them up and giving them things that would help them to better the condition that they were in or to get out of it altogether.  This prompted me to begin thanking and praising God daily in my prayer time for the many things that He has provided to me that I have begun to take for granted.  I believe that there are many of us that use our prayer time as an opportunity to ask God for things that will make our life easier instead of praising Him for the things that He has given to us already.  Many of us have heard the phrase, “What if we only had tomorrow what we were thankful for and praised God for today?”  Do we believe it?  We need to take time daily in our prayer time to praise God for the things that He has done for us.  Do we actually know what praise is and how to accomplish it?  Here are a few things to think about concerning praise.

            Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”  This verse leads to several questions that we should ask ourselves.
1.  What is praise?
The dictionary definition of praise is, “To commend; to applaud; to express approbation of personal worth or actions.”  This is how our praise should be to God when we pray to Him daily.
2.  Who is to praise God?
Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.”  That means if you are breathing, you should praise God.  Now if you are no longer breathing, then you don’t have to praise Him; otherwise, we should be praising God.
3.  Who should we praise?
Again Psalm 150:6 says that we should praise the Lord.  Here is a list of things that the Bible says why He should be praised: His majesty, His glory, His excellence, His greatness, His power, His lovingkindness, His salvation, His comfort, His judgments, His counsel, His mercy, His forgiveness, His protection, His deliverance, His answer to prayer, His blessing both spiritual and material, and His daily blessings.
4.  When do we praise Him?
Again Psalm 34:1 say that we should bless Him at ALL time.  I Thessalonians 5:18 say that in everything we should give thinks,whether it seems good or bad, because it is according to His will. 
5.  Where do we praise Him?
We should praise God everywhere.  There is not a place on the earth that He is not, so we should praise him everywhere.  I believe that a good time is when we are talking directly to Him during our daily prayer time.  We should also praise Him in His house when we attend church.  The Bible say in Psalm 100:4 that we should enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. 
6.  Why do we praise Him?
We should praise Him because He is worthy of our praise on a daily basis.  Too often we only praise Him when we want to praise, but He is always worthy of our praise no matter what situation we may find ourselves.