1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
How appropriate that this should be my verse today. Today started off on a bad note. One of the boys that I have been working so hard to help was released from our care. His future is uncertain but based on his behavior it doesn’t look very bright. If he doesn’t get his life straight he will be facing a life in-and-out of jail over and over again. We have done everything we possibly could have done for him. I have prayed and will continue to pray for him every day. But my heart is broken for this young man who has chosen to follow a path that leads to destruction.
I had a talk with this boy a short while back. After laying out my heart and the Word of God the boy stared blankly at me. When I ask him what he thought he said, “Whatever.” I have always hated that answer. It is smug, arrogant, and disrespectful. I had to walk away to keep from saying something to negate the seeds of the word of God that I had just sown.
It is hard to give thanks when your heart is broken. But God promises healing and joy in spite of the pain. And it is through that pain that he reveals himself. God takes the “Whatever” and puts possibilities and hope in it. So then we can enthusiastically say, “Whatever, God, I will praise you!”
Later in the day, We went to church for a time of fellowship with our family in Christ. They were having a “linger longer” in honor of our service with Open Door Christian Ministries and our strong fellowship with Holly Neck Church of Christ. The best part of the evening was when they formed a circle and lifted us up in prayer. I could feel God’s presence and his love reflected in the words and faces of these wonderful people. They showered us with a love that heals the broken heart and brings joy where there is sorrow.
Today, on this third day of November, I want to praise God and thank him for my church family. I have enjoyed my time with them on this earth and I look forward to spending eternity praising God with each one of them. I thank the Lord for Dave and Joan Watts for their ministry at Holly Neck Church of Christ. I praise God for Darrell and Amy Swain for their leadership. I am grateful for Don and Jeanie Carter for adopting my family as their own and encouraging us. I thank the Lord for hugs that warm the heart. I praise God for the men of faith who have willingly served God when it hasn’t been easy. I praise God for the women of prayer who have given me strength when I felt weak. I thank God for the time I have been able to spend with the saints who have gone on to be with the Lord like Wayne, Mable, Leon, and Burl.
Dear Lord, God Almighty, Thank you for your church. Thank you for the Christian brothers and sisters that I have had the privilege of knowing on earth. They have helped me to praise you in the hard times and good times. They have lifted me up in prayer. They have encouraged me and even admonished me in the love of Christ. Lord, I ask your blessings upon them. I hope that I have been able to lift them up in same way that they have lifted me up. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“And as ridiculous as it may sound, sometimes all any of us needs in life is for someone to hold our hand and walk next to us.”
― James Frey, The Final Testament of the Holy Bible
“We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another, and gain instruction that we may all sit down in heaven together.”
― Lucy Mack Smith
“Fellowship is a place of grace, where mistakes aren’t rubbed in but rubbed out. Fellowship happens when mercy wins over justice.”
― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?