Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday's Thought

What Are You Thankful For?

With Thanksgiving this past Thursday, I got to thinking about thankfulness.

Am I thankful? Do I thank people who help me? What am I thankful for?

Used by Permission, GraphicStock

Then I got to thinking about thankfulness and the Bible. What does the Bible tell us about thankfulness?

The Bible tells us to be thankful at all times and in all circumstances. It says so right in 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."

What does this call to thankfulness mean to us? Can we really be thankful in all circumstances, even when bad things happen to us?

This is a struggle. It's not pretty. We often fight with ourselves over being thankful when things aren't going our way.

I know I wasn't thankful when we had to put our dog, Zane, down. I wasn't thankful when my grandparents passed away. I wasn't happy when I got into a car accident.

And yet, if I look back on these circumstances there can be thankful.

I'm thankful Zane is finally at peace. He no longer hurts.

I'm thankful the passing of my grandparents were peaceful.

I'm thankful that I didn't get hurt in the car accident.

While our circumstances may suck, while our circumstances may not be ideal, while our circumstances may make us question whether or not God loves us we can be sure that we can be thankful.

We're called to be, after all. That's not easy but it's doable.

Let's be thankful today. What are you thankful for?

This is a guest post by Joseph Lalonde. He is a youth leader and leadership blogger at JMLalonde.com. Joseph shares leadership tools and encourages you to become a better leader. With him on Twitter or at his blog. Joseph also has a free eBook that you can own by clicking here.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving


As I write my Thanksgiving greeting this year, I can't help but think about how thankful I am for God and friends.

2014, and many years prior, have been rough.  This year, my father, which left me as the last living family member. A few days prior to this, my mother-in-law went on to heaven too! God placed friends in my life that have made these days easier to handle- I can't begin to thank them enough.

God's Hand has been in my life more in 2014 than I remember before or maybe I am just more aware of His Presence now.  I grew up in the church and have always been active, but these past few months, since Dad's going on to heaven, I have felt Him in my life guiding and leading me in directions I hadn't anticipated.  All good, I should say great and very exciting!

This Thanksgiving, I urge you to forget the material stuff, put down your electronic devices- even turn them off, and spend time with your family and friends.  If you are mad or not speaking to a family member or friend, go hug them and enjoy their company.  After all, what's on your devices can be read later.... the material stuff can be bought later...... family and friends? Well, you don't know so don't miss the hug or two.

Written in loving memory of my family. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday's Words

"Used by Permission, GraphicStock"

"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,

and a great King above all gods."
-Psalm 95:1-3 [ESV]



"Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 4:6-7 [ESV]

Monday, November 24, 2014

Photographing The Seasons: Walney

"Walney"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved

The colors of Walney Nature Center are always beautiful whether it's fall, winter, spring or summer.  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday's Thought

When life is challenging what do you do? Where do you turn? Or, what do you turn to?

The Thanksgiving holidays followed by Christmas and New Years are stressful and exhausting especially if you've lost a loved one since last Christmas.

A week before Thanksgiving, for me, the season is starting out a bit difficult. I'm not depressed or sad or upset. I'm just missing family members who've passed away over the years. Just about everything seems to kick off a memory or two of family during the holidays. So, it's really not a time to be depressed or down in the dumps, but one to be Thankful and Joyous.

What? Yes. You read right. And, no, I haven't lost my mind. Well, that last one is out on debate among my friends. 


I decided that I don't want to miss the holidays- times with those still living because I miss those who've passed. I will remember them, laugh or cry at the memories, but not allow myself to miss out on the celebrations. Yes, it will take some effort, quite a bit, but it will be worth it especially when January gets here and I can look back.

As Thanksgiving is this week, I'm going to make a concerted effort to think about what I am thankful for. Yes, I miss my family especially during the holidays, but I am thankful I had great parents to enjoy while I had them. As life has moved forward, I see so many friends, a church family, Pastors and others who are in my life now, that weren't before- because I didn't know them. For that I am thankful.

If you are alone this Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Season, I pray God will be with you and give you His Peace that peaces all understanding.

If you are searching for something to help you get through the holidays, drugs, alcohol and other things are not the answer- Jesus Christ is- learn more about Him and His Love by visiting this post.

Share what you are thankful for in the comments sections.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy Birthday (You Know Who You Are!)

I have a friend who has taught me about male friendship.  How fun it can be to hang out with the guys- I never thought that was even possible or remotely interesting.  He's proven me wrong more than a few times in his caring way.

In our conversations, one of the striking things about him is his acknowledgement of God.  Whatever comes his way, "it's the way God's got life planned, it's how God wants it to be-"  That has been a strong encouragement to me.

He's gotten a year older today. I can't place enough candles on the graphic to mark each year as it would set the blog on fire.  And, I won't mention his name but he knows who he is and he can't deny that God created a great guy.

Happy Birthday (You Know Who You Are!)


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday's Thought

Last week, I talked about prayer and getting past the hurdle of the "high and mighty" or "lofty" speech when praying. Praying to God, like you're talking with your best friend, is one way to do it.

Another thought about prayer this week.  I love praying for other people and their needs, not to mention my own.  Sometimes, I inadvertently forget everyone else and focus on my own self.  That's not a good thing.

Today's self-centered society or as I like to call it "Me-First World" may tend to pray like we drive or walk or cut in front of someone in line at the store, "Me-First."  Not only are those behaviors rude and inconsiderate, they are not what God commands us to do.

When I was younger, centuries ago, I was taught a poem.  I've been trying to remember or determine if it was part of a song or an actual poem or where it came from.  As I "Googled" to find ideas or suggestions to this, I found quite a few resources suggesting in a different direction that I am writing this week.  Most of them were referring to living a life to serve Jesus, serve others, and then yourself is the way to have J-O-Y in your life.  True.

My point is in prayer.  Remembering to pray, how to structure your prayer.   I was taught to remember this when I pray:

Jesus first:  Praise Him for all His Goodness and the Blessing He has given you.

Yourself Last:  Your requests to God are last.

Others in between:  Pray for the needs of others.

I was taught it in the order written, J-Y-O.  Changing it to the context it's meant or stated, you can form an easy acronym of J-O-Y.   Which, makes it easier to pray for others.



I'm sure there are many other ways to remember prayer requests of others or to pray for others.  Please share them in the comments below.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday's Words

"Walney's Colours"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved



"Every Word of God
is pure:
He is a shield unto them
that put their trust in Him."

- Proverbs 30:5

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday's Thought

Flickr Creative Commons: (C) Leland Francisco
Prayer.

When I was a kid and while growing up in the church, prayer was One of the hardest and most difficult subjects for me to comprehend- especially as a young boy and a new Christian.

After all, talking to God is a serious subject and you have to get it right or else. Prayer and God are sacred and you've got to be sacred when you go to Him in prayer. Know the language and all. Right?

The pastors I knew always had this almighty, high-lofty prayer each Sunday, and I knew I didn't know those words so it wouldn't come natural-

"OH THOU ALMIGHTY GOD - WHO FORESAKETH ALL FOR OUR SINS - THOU ART MORE HOLY AND WORTHY OF OUR PRAISES O' LORD GOD, OUR FATHER WHO ARTETH IN HEAVEN- HALLOWED BE THY NAME..."

Oh my. It wasn't just one Pastor or Preacher or Evangelist, it was everyone I came into contact with at church, a friends church or campmeeting.

Frustrated, I literally wondered if I could or would learn to speak to God through Prayer. That was concerning as it must be part of the Christian's life.

One day, I was in a class at church when a man spoke about Prayer and how speaking to Him is like talking to your friend, your best friend. Of course, though, you might want to be more "respectful" and "polite" with God than you are with your best buddy- the speaker laughed. He continued to say that you don't need to use the lofty language to speak to Him as you often hear from Pastors, Evangelists and the like- though there is nothing wrong with that either.

Another point he made to support the thought is that when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, become a Christian or a Believer, He comes into your life to help you with challenges- to be in your life and care for you.

He had a good point. Maybe if I tried to pray as I was talking with a friend, share requests of others, my challenges, the ups and downs, I would be more diligent and feel a bit of "success" in my prayer life.

At first, I have to admit, it was strange, I felt disrespectful, irreverent, unChristian-. That I didn't want. As I prayed more, I felt God's presence and a comfort that I was doing the right thing. The reassurance was what I needed.

As I go through my life now, my prayers have always been as I am talking to a friend. I thank Him for everything, I pray for people as I think of them or see them. I've noticed, I've become closer to God. He is with me more than I felt before- though it's not about a feeling- the closeness has grown because We talk and I "try" my best to listen.

"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
-Colossians 4:2 [KJV]

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
-Philippians 4:6 [KJV]

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, 
and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret;
and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 6:6 [KJV]

Flickr Creative Commons: (C) Leland Francisco

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Happy Birthday!!



Happy Birthday Noah!!
A great companion, faithful friend
 and exercise buddy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday's Words

"Golden Leaves"
(C) Allen Pearson, All Rights Reserved





"The Lord is on my side;
I will not fear;
what can man do unto me?"

- Psalm 118:6

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday's Thought


"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son
so that whosoever believeth in Him, shall have everlasting life."
- John 3:16 [KJV] public domain.

One of the most well known Scriptures in the Bible and one that I think every child is taught in church to memorize.  At one point, when I was very young, I began wondering if there were others to learn since I'd always heard about John 3:16. At age 51, I still remember it- when many things I don't.

And, it wasn't without good reason.  It sums up the Christian faith very simply taking away all of the extra "stuff" people seem to be thinking they have to do to become a Christian, a child of God or a Believer.

I've often thought that, though believing in Him means accepting Jesus as your Savior you will go to heaven, it also means that you'll have Him with you in this life.  He will be there with you through the good times, the trials and the challenges.  Though things may not go as you want, you'll have a peace and comfort in your heart that it's going according to His Plan- which is far better than doing it on your own.

Would you like to follow Jesus, become a Christian and follow Him? Just pray-

Admit
Admit that you are a sinner, just like everyone else born into this world, until we  confess to Jesus Christ and ask His forgiveness:

"[23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," 
-Romans 3:23-24, [ESV Study Bible]

"[23] For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 6:23, [ESV Study Bible]

Believe
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ:

[16] “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." -John 3:16 [ESV Study Bible]

Confess
Confess of your sins in a prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ:

[9] "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. "
- Romans 10:9 [ESV Study Bible]

[13] For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”   -Romans 10:13 [ESV Study Bible]

So now what?  

If you prayed this prayer with your whole heart and believed what you did, you are now a Christian.  My suggestion is to find a local church and become involved.  Talk to the pastor about this experience and ask him to teach you where to go or what to do next.  

If you are not familiar with a local church, a few excellent resources to get you started or who can follow up with you are: 

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Charlotte, NC

Dr. David Jeremiah, San Diego, CA

Centreville Baptist Church, Centreville, VA

These resources are ones that I believe in and you'll get assistance to grow- you can contact them by visiting, writing, email or phone.  

May God bless you.