Content and Thankful

“How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again.  I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me.  Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.  I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:10-13

As I reflect over the past 9 years and all that you have done for Denise and me, I am truly content.  Not so content that I don’t think anything more can happen, but content in knowing as Paul did, that I have everything I need in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Paul was so thankful that these people had shown an interest in his life, not that he really needed anything, but that they just cared, and that "caring" was an expression of God’s love for him.  Our caring for one another is a sign of God’s love for all of us.  They knew then and we know now that caring for one another is an expression of God’s love.  We don’t do it out of obligation or for recognition, but our generosity toward others is done out of gratitude and humility.

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Filled With Joy

“Always be full of joy in the Lord.  I say it again—rejoice!  Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.  Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing.  Then the God of peace will be with you.”  Philippians 4: 4-9

Obviously the book of Philippians is still very fresh on my mind.  As I have read through it, I have found wisdom and life application for us today just as much as it was for those early believers in that Roman colony.  It is a letter that we have, I’m sure, quoted on many occasions.  Space doesn’t allow referencing them all, but as you read through this letter you’ll be reminded of all the nuggets of wisdom that can be mined for your own life.  So for this article I’m referring to just one of many that could be used.  Paul was sending them a reminder of what he had already given them in person.  He encouraged those new believers to hold onto what is most important.

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"Over-Churched and Underwhelmed"

I borrowed that statement from a pastor in Nashville, Darren Whitehead.  I’ve been watching and reading some from the website Qideas.org.  It’s a movement that came out of the research Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman did in the book “Unchristian”.  It intrigues me to see where others are in their pursuit of God and living out that purpose in real life.  Is the church impacting the culture in a positive way or just in a negative way?  How are we doing?  That statement I believe has a huge impact and could be very reflective of a lot of communities that may have several churches but few followers of Christ.

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What is our Hope?

Recently I've not been watching the news as often as I once did.  It’s not really that I have chosen to do so intentionally, it’s just worked out that way.  Most of you probably have your routines of what you watch or listen to.  In recent news there have been some historical events, like a redefinition of marriage by the supreme court and the removal of the confederate flag from the South Carolina State House, and just today I saw where Cuba and the United States will again have embassies open in each other’s country after 50 plus years of not.  There’s more that I could include, but that’s just what came to mind.

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God's Presence

I’ve gone through the process of writing blog posts and articles for the newsletter and then keeping them filed away.  For different reasons I feel that they are not print worthy.  Maybe someday I’ll put them all together and write a book entitled “Not Print Worthy”.  Just kidding of course.  It’s happened again this month.  I write and then I read through it, and it’s like, "How does that flow together?  What’s your point?  Where’s God leading you in this?" Maybe it’s my being indecisive or not, but I find myself being challenged to do better.  Do you ever struggle this way?

So this month I am going to share with you that I’ve got nothing.  But God has everything!  I’m hopelessly lost.  But God found me and not only called me, but cleaned me up and gave me ownership in His family!  My thoughts, words, and actions fall short daily, but God never stops thinking of me.  His words give me hope, purpose and truth!

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Proud to Call You Part of the Family

We are into what most of us would call the beginnings of summer.  Memorial Day is the marker that most folks use as their guide.  It used to always signal the end of school too, or as I remember it anyway.  School started after Labor Day and ended at or before Memorial Day.  That was then and this is now.  Now we have a couple of young folks who are ending their school years and embarking on new paths.  Aubri Brown and Brandin Stokes are proud to be graduates in the class of 2015 at HCCHS and MNHHS.  They are going to be quickly approaching new experiences into possibly uncharted waters.  The great thing about them is that I believe that they will jump into the opportunities, and life for them will be good.

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Ask

Recently I heard an explanation on asking for things in prayer.  Scripture tells us several times that people were healed of blindness, deafness, demons, and death by simply asking.  In John 14 Jesus makes reference to asking for anything in His name and it will be answered.  He even goes on to say that you will do even greater things than He had done.  So I’ve been wondering and pondering this for a while and hopefully my enlightenment will open your eyes or remind you of what God is capable of and willing to do.

Now let’s clarify what we ask for first.  A common request of mine is for blessings on Denise and the rest of my family - that they will use words of encouragement not criticism, that their actions will bless not curse, that they will be aware of God’s constant presence in their lives, and that they will receive the peace that only comes from Him.  And of course I pray for their health, but I must say that I don’t always include that unless one of them is sick or hurting.  Now that brings me back to where I began.  When we ask God for healing why doesn’t it always happen exactly as we ask?

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