Thanksgiving (Psalm 50:4)

What is giving to God? Think about it, you cannot give anything to him because he already owns everything. Giving isn’t a yielding, because he can take it anytime that he wants. So what is giving to God.

Giving stems from a desire and that desire should be to express how you feel towards someone. When we give to God, we express how we feel towards him. The Psalmist writes that the emotion behind his giving is thankfulness.

Offer unto God thanksgiving… ( Psalm 50:14)

A thankful heart is what God wants. Gifts to God result from thankfulness. These gifts aren’t given out of coercion, responsibility or even guilt. They come from hearts that recognize what God has done for them and are mere expressions of that thankfulness.

As I look back, I can see many occasions when my gift to God was nothing more than the relinquishing of my possessions to him. I guess I’ll see those items as wood, hay and stubble at the bema seat, but there were many times when along with the possession, I gave to God a heart overflowing with thankfulness.

To correct my errors, I have decided to check my heart before each offering to God and make sure that I am expressing gratitude instead of obedience or any other attitude. Secondly, I will guard my heart for complaining and instead ask God to help me recognize his plan so that I can be yielded and thankful for his sovereignty and provision.

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Wonderful Works (Psalm 40:5)

God works many wonders in our lives.  However many of the blessings we seem to forget and merely focus on current circumstances.  I decided to list 100 of God’s workings in my life.  I know that I probably have missed more blessings than I have counted.  I encourage you to do the same and then share them.

Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. (Psalms 40:5)

Many of these are very personal.  I ask that you be quick to read and slow to judge.  God bless.

1. He saved me and all the work that brought it to pass.

2. He removed me from ungodly influences.

3. Gave me my son as a direct answer to prayer.

4. After salvation, he led me away from paganism and settled my feet into Christianity.

5. He gave me my first house.

6. He gave me work in the midst of the extreme recession in the early 80’s.

7. He delivered me from a being killed in a steel mill accident involving a locomotive. 

8. He relieved the financial burden as the recession increased and everything in my life began to crumble.

9. He provided housing in a very desperate time.

10. He comforted my wounded heart.

11. He empowered me to minister to hurting people.

12. He blessed my ministry involvement.

13. I grew in grace.

14. He brought friends into my life to support and help me.

15. He led me to advance my education.

16. He provided transportation.

17. He provided a car.

18. He answered prayers for food and finances.

19. Unemployment was extended.

20. He blessed with me getting called back to work after 20 months of being laid off.

21. He enabled me to by my truck.

22. He guided me through some legal turmoil and enabled me to escape the attack.

23. I moved to my new apartment in Spring City.

24. God blessed my work, ministry service and life.

25. Anthony memorized Psalm 23 before he turned 4 years old.

26. God continued to comfort my wounded heart.

27. He strengthened me to stand strong and live for God.

28. He helped me pass my Greek classes.

29. Helped me through a terrible sickness.

30. Found a better place to live.

31. He caused a person to fall into the pit that they prepared for me

32. Was able to leave the steel mill and be off work on Sundays.

33. Found a new job.

34. Learned maintenance skills that I would later use in God’s work.

35. Received a great promise from God.

36. Graduated from college.

37. Received another great promise from God that would come true seven years later.

38. Married Beth.

39. Signed a lease for an apartment two days before the wedding. (That was close)

40. Lost my job.

41. Found a deer that had recently been hit.

42. Able to sell my truck to pay the rent.

43. Picked up extra electrical side work.

44. Exhaust on car fixed for free.

45. Transmission went, got many rides to work while hitch hiking and had to walk much less.

46. Somebody gave us a station wagon.

47. Found a place to live closer to church

48. Refrigerator broke and someone bought another one.

49. Did not get to adopt my niece and then Beth found out she was expecting just several weeks later.

50. Marybeth Princess was born.

51. Strength as we faced uncertainty with Marybeth’s heart condition.  God gave strength.

52. Somebody gave us a car after the engine seized in the wagon.

53. Anthony enrolled in Christian school

54. Moved to Font.

55. Great ministry days with hundreds of kids attending church

56. Marybeth’s open heart surgery was successful.

57. Injured ankle and out of work for months.  Secured a new job.

58. Promoted at work

59. Went full time into the ministry

60. Able to get away with the wife for a three day vacation

61. Honey bucket of blessings dumped over on us at Christmas

62. Became principal of Landmark Christian school

63. School enrollment increased the next year

64. Bought a house with $1down and 120% financing.  Yep, $1 down and extra cash for renovations.

65. New roof, bathroom, carpet and tons of paint along with residency inspection in 30 days.

66. School enrollment increased by 150% from my first year.

67. Able to buy my first computer

68. Bought a car instead of having one given to us.

69. School increased by another 40%.

70. Moved the school to a larger location and added a library.

71. School maxed out at 257% larger than the first year I became principal.

72. Many learning disabled children helped at LCS.

73. Able to visit the Dominican Republic

74. Able to visit the DR again.

75. Senior class trip to the DR.

76. Able to return to Northeast.

77. Mentored by Dr. Bish…what a guy.

78. Permitted to create the special education curriculum for Northeast

79. Invited to speak on special education issues at Ocean City, MD for the Delmarva Christian school association

80. Big personal setback, but the Lord gave much grace

81. God’s hand of blessing on me

82. Everything began to crumble around me, but God continued to bless my life.

83. Strength to work two full-time jobs

84. Expose to the mental health industry

85. Relief from financial setbacks and back to one job

86. Wisdom, patience and guidance were given

87. Able to go back to school again

88. Leadership to leave Northeast

89. Comfort through disappointment

90. Three meetings on the calendar. No job or money.  God filled up the calendar and met our needs.

91. God blessed to help countless people through speaking engagements as I traveled around the country

92. My wife and daughter were not killed in the auto accident

93. Grace through the painful months

94. Medical insurance obtained

95. Secured work at Devereux

96. Promoted to Treatment Manager (thank you for the financial trouble which exposed me to the mental health industry)

97. Promoted to Learning Specialist

98. Promoted to Learning Manager

99. Promoted to Operations Manager

100. I have great health

Daily Blessings, Really? (Psalm 68:19)

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Back in the 70’s when I was a kid, a trio that I belonged to was booked at a vacation resort for the summer. In order to play the gig, we needed to be in the musicians’ union. It was not long until I found myself in Chester, PA watching a film strip about the union and all the benefits that I would get from joining it. I was guaranteed certain wages, royalty protection on recordings and a host of other propaganda material. In the end, I felt that with being in the union, I couldn’t lose.

Fast forward a few decades and I again find myself as part of another union. I am not united with a collection of people, but instead with just one. I am united with Christ (Ephesians 2:5-6) and because of that union, I have exclusive rights, privileges and benefits.

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. (Psalms 68:19)

I could endlessly go on listing each benefit that I have experienced, but since we will do that together in eternity and praise God for each blessing that we share, I will not take time to discuss it now. What I do want to point out is that there are benefits from God every day. The scriptures tell us that God loads or lays upon us blessings each day. Now I will be the first to say that I have experienced many days without seeing any blessing from God. There were times that I tirelessly plugged on through life waiting for God to bless me and nothing seemed to come my way. Is God’s word untrue? Does God keep from fulfilling his word? Definitely not! On the days that I did not see any blessings, it was just that. They were there and I didn’t see them. I was probably looking for something that I wanted and not for the blessing that I needed.

We would be best to keep a daily journal and record the blessing that we receive from The Lord each day and on days that we appear to not receive a blessing, mark in the journal that we failed to recognize what God provided. With some time this practice will yield a closer walk with The Lord and an appreciation for what he is doing in our lives.

Fear and Trust (Psalm 31:19)

Faith and fear: they are not always on opposite ends of the spectrum. Sometimes they work together and in cases involving our relationship with God, they are essential. God looks for individuals who fear and trust him.

Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! (Psalms 31:19)

There is a difference between being terrified by God and fearing him. As believers, God does not want us to be terrified of him. Through scripture, he conveys himself as a loving father. A loving father and someone of whom people should be terrified are contrastive characters. In other words, you will never see a loving father who has children who are terrified of him. God does not want us to be terrified of him, but he does want us to fear him. There is a big difference.

I may fear a police officer, but I am not terrified of him. I may fear a judge, but he does not terrify me. I fear fire, but I am not terrified by it. The difference is that fear causes negative emotions based on what it has the power to do if I fail to respect it. Being terrified occurs when a person without cause expects an impending doom to come upon them. God does not want us living under an expected doom, but he does want us to emotionally respond to his leading in our lives.

When we trust in God, we run to him as a refuge from the struggles and troubles of life. This pleases him because he wants to be our refuge, strength and deliver. Each time we run to him, we exercise faith in him and his ability to meet our needs. This pleases God.

When we fear and trust God, he responds to it. He promises to respond to us in goodness, which is to give us what is the very best for our lives. He wants this for everyone, but reserves it only for those who fear and trust him. This is something each of us can do and because of it, we can expect great things from God.

Second Class To Stateliness (Mark 7:27)

Years ago, there was a song entitled Second Hand Rose. It was a song about a woman whose life consisted of always getting things second hand. From her clothes to her husband, somebody came before her and used them first.

This story of the Syrophenician woman is much the same. When it came to the things of God, she was second in line because she had no right to what was being offered. The nation of Israel came first and she, as a lowly dog, could only receive what was left over that is until she met Jesus. When she humbly recognized her state and beseeched his help by faith, a miracle took place in her life and the life of her daughter.

But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. (Mark 7:27)

Sometime ago, you came to Jesus in the same manner as the Syrophenician woman. You had nothing to offer him, but sought his mercy and forgiveness as a person who was even less than second class. When he heard your humble plea, he lifted you up and performed a miracle in your life.

As long as you remember your lowly estate and walk humanly before him, God can continue to work and perform miracles in your life.

It’s Not Just About You (2 Samuel 5:12)

David, after being annointed King over both Judah and Israel, moved upon Jerusalem. The inhabitants resisted him and mocked his ability to overcome them. In the end, David was victorious. God had blessed him and provided this victory, but not necessarily for David’s sake. God gave David the victory for the people’s sake. God may use you or work in your life to overcome obstacles, but when he does, you need to remember, It’s not just about you.

And David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel’s sake. (2 Samuel 5:12)

You heard of the phrase, “No man is an island”. The statement declares that regardless of how much we may try to separate ourselves from others, our lives still affect other people. When God works in your life, he also is doing a work in the lives of countless others.

An example of this could be when friends and I, at 18 years of age, were traveling home from school. While on a back road, a tire became flat. Before I could get out to work on the flat, a car pulled up and offered to help. The car I was driving belonged to my sister and of course when we opened the trunk, there wasn’t a spare. Quickly, the stranger took off the wheel, threw it into his vehicle and said he would return. I sat there and thought to myself, “What have I done? Before I only had a flat tire. Now I only have three wheels. What am I going to do, if this guy doesn’t return?” After some time, he returned with the repaired tire, put it back onto the car and neatly put away all the tools. It was then, that he handed me a gospel tract. I never read it and I didn’t need to. I knew that I had met somebody who had something that I did not and that I needed to search out the matter. A few years later, I came to Christ. Since then, I surrendered to the ministry, went to Bible college, served in ministry for decades, reached countless souls for Christ, became a teacher, principal, Dean of students and vice-president of academics at a Bible college. All of this because of a flat tire. Today there are many serving as pastors, missionaries, teachers and secretaries because of that day.

How would things have been had I not had the flat tire. Was God concerned about me? Yes, but more so in how his work upon me would affect others. Your situations in life are not just about you. They are about others. We will never know on this side of eternity exactly how God is working. What we must do is recognize that we are but a very small aspect of his great plan. As you travel through your day, look for the opportunities that The Lord puts before you. Some of them may be positive experiences and others negative, but in either instance, God is working good on your behalf and also for the benefit of others.

If you would like to read more of these thoughts in a hard copy format, my new book is now available at the link below.

https://www.createspace.com/4441566