Poetry Saturday—Thanksgiving

We walk on story fields of white
And do not see the daisies, 
For blessings common in our sight 
We rarely offer praises. 
We sigh for some supreme delight 
To crown our lives with splendor, 
And quite ignore our daily store 
Of pleasures sweet and tender.

Our cares are bold and push their way 
Upon our thought and feeling; 
They hang about us all the day, 
Our time from pleasure stealing. 
So unobtrusive many a joy 
We pass by and forget it, 
But worry strives to own our lives, 
And conquers if we let it.

There’s not a day in all the year 
But holds some hidden pleasure, 
And, looking back, joys oft appear 
To brim the past’s wide measure. 
But blessings are like friends, I hold, 
Who love and labor near us. 
We ought to raise our notes of praise 
While living hearts can hear us.

Full many a blessing wears the guise 
Of worry or of trouble; 
Far-seeing is the soul, and wise, 
Who knows the mask is double. 
But he who has the faith and strength 
To thank his God for sorrow 
Has found a joy without alloy 
To gladden every morrow.

We ought to make the moments notes
Of happy, glad thanksgiving; 
The hours and days a silent phrase 
Of music we are living. 
And so the theme should swell and grow 
As weeks and months pass o’er us, 
And rise sublime at this good time, 
A grand thanksgiving chorus. —Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Poetry Saturday—Thanksgiving

We walk on story fields of white
And do not see the daisies, 
For blessings common in our sight 
We rarely offer praises. 
We sigh for some supreme delight 
To crown our lives with splendor, 
And quite ignore our daily store 
Of pleasures sweet and tender.

Our cares are bold and push their way 
Upon our thought and feeling; 
They hang about us all the day, 
Our time from pleasure stealing. 
So unobtrusive many a joy 
We pass by and forget it, 
But worry strives to own our lives, 
And conquers if we let it.

There’s not a day in all the year 
But holds some hidden pleasure, 
And, looking back, joys oft appear 
To brim the past’s wide measure. 
But blessings are like friends, I hold, 
Who love and labor near us. 
We ought to raise our notes of praise 
While living hearts can hear us.

Full many a blessing wears the guise 
Of worry or of trouble; 
Far-seeing is the soul, and wise, 
Who knows the mask is double. 
But he who has the faith and strength 
To thank his God for sorrow 
Has found a joy without alloy 
To gladden every morrow.

We ought to make the moments notes
Of happy, glad thanksgiving; 
The hours and days a silent phrase 
Of music we are living. 
And so the theme should swell and grow 
As weeks and months pass o’er us, 
And rise sublime at this good time, 
A grand thanksgiving chorus. —Ella Wheeler Wilcox

What’s The Best That Could Happen?

I’ve had a good friend recommend a musical artist to me and I haven’t enjoyed the music.

I’ve had a good friend take me to a restaurant I haven’t liked.

I’ve had a good friend tell me how wonderful a certain movie was, and I thought it was a dud.

And I’m sure some of my good friends could say the same thing about my recommendations.

But you know what? All of these folks are still my friends.

I’ve never had one person say to me, “Your restaurant suggestion was awful. I’m unfriending you on Facebook and blocking your number from my phone. I never want to see or hear from you again!”

Yet sometimes I think church-going Christians feel like this might happen if they invite a friend to come to their church.

Seriously?!

Let’s consider the odds—

  • How likely is it that if you invite a friend to church and they say “no” that they are also going to say, “Get out of my life forever”?
  • If they do accept your invitation, but find that your church wasn’t a good fit for them, how likely is it that they’re going to say, “We can never hang out again”?

I think you would agree with me that both of these responses are highly unlikely!

But consider the other side—what if you invite them to your church and they say “yes”? What if after attending your church they like it? And what if by attending your church they enter into a personal relationship with Jesus?

If that happens, you’ve changed the course of their eternal destiny! 

Instead of focusing on the worst-case scenarios (which seem highly unlikely), we should be focusing on the best-case scenario!

If you’re still uneasy about inviting someone to your church, or even trying to have a conversation with them about your personal faith, here is a simple phrase to consider: Come and see.

Invite them to come and see your lifestyle that seeks to glorify Jesus (see Matthew 5:16). Let them see that you live your life like Jesus: doing good (Acts 10:38).

Invite them to come and see the Creator behind the creation (see Psalm 66:5). Whenever there is a discussion about the weather, or nature, or a medical science breakthrough, ask them, “Have you ever thought that if there is such a beautiful design there must also be an intelligent Designer?”

Christian, you have the best news ever! Don’t keep it to yourself. Invite those around you to come and see what a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is all about. Who knows? You may be a part of changing someone’s eternal destiny.

I ❤️ My Church Family

We have so much fun together!

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If you live near Cedar Springs and don’t have a church family, I would love for you to join us! Click here to get all the details, or leave me a comment if you have questions.

The Truth About Wise Counsel

proverbs-12-1Pastor Josh Schram shared with us the lessons he’s appreciated about receiving wise counsel from those around him. One of Josh’s opening remarks really hit home with me, because it’s something I still struggle with at times: I have to get beyond thinking that those who are trying to speak into my life are somehow trying to meddle in my life!

A couple of other thoughts that really made me pause and reflect were—

“Ignorance may be bliss, but it won’t last.” How true! I may cover my eyes and ears to the truth, but my ignorance will ultimately lead to my downfall.

“People who will speak truth into my life care more about me than about my feelings.” As Proverbs says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (27:6).

Josh closed with these challenging questions:

  • Am I open to correction from wise counsel?
  • When I am corrected, do I feel like I must defend myself?
  • Are my ears open and am I really listening?

Check out this helpful message for yourself…

I Love My “Job”

I cannot even begin to tell you how thrilled I am when I get to baptize folks in water who have made the decision to follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Today it was even sweeter when I got to baptize a father and son!

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Poetry Saturday—The Friends Beside Us

Oswald ChambersWhen the powers of hell prevail
   O’er our weakness and unfitness,
Could we lift the fleshly veil,
   Could we for a moment witness
      Those unnumbered hosts that stand
      Calm and bright on either hand—
Oh! what joyful hope would cheer!
   Oh! what faith serene would guide us!
Great may be the danger near,
   Greater are the friends beside us. —Anonymous, quoted by Oswald Chambers in Not Knowing Where

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him Who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. —Hebrews 12:1-3

Links & Quotes

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“A man may be perfected through suffering or be made worse through suffering, it depends on his disposition.” —Oswald Chambers

“The only option for French atheists (among whose ranks I used to count myself), is to maintain that there isn’t really any such thing as evil. When one denies the existence of God as a transcendent Creator of the universe who ordains how humans ought to live their lives, one is left only with conflicting opinions about what individuals like and dislike. If there is no God then there is no objective truth about the good and the bad…. [I]n reality, to be a consistent atheist one must affirm that the Islamic terrorists in Paris didn’t do anything ‘wrong’, as such. They only acted out of line with our personal preferences, (and in line with theirs). If there’s no ultimate arbiter of right and wrong, that’s all we are left with.” —Guillaume Bignon, a former atheist, after the ISIS attacks in Paris. Read more here.

Josh McDowell answers the question: “If my friends and I have a disagreement, what’s the right way to handle it?

Planned Parenthood asked people on Twitter to give them one word that describes what they do. I’m not sure they liked many of the (true) responses they received. What one word would you use? I would say: evil.

Forgive Me (book review)

Forgive MeIf you see a book entitled Forgive Me, you might think that it is a book extolling the virtue of asking forgiveness. Although author David Kirkwood is asking forgiveness from his family, friends, and neighbors, this isn’t a book telling us how or why to forgive.

David Kirkwood’s apology is to those he interacts with on an everyday basis. His sin: not telling them the simple truth about how much God loves them!

Forgive Me is an excellent book for Christians to buy in bulk, and then hand out to people they care about. David will lead the reader through a logical progression of why we are here, the futility of trying to find purpose or a lasting legacy on our own, and how God’s love led to Jesus purchasing the forgiveness from our sins.

This isn’t a deep doctrinal book, nor is it a “preachy” book. It’s loving, and kind, and easy for anyone to read. Please share this book with any of your family or friends who haven’t yet experienced the joy of knowing Jesus as their Savior.

The Kirkwood family graciously provided me with a copy of this book so I could read it and review it for you.

Links & Quotes

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“People who suffer the loss of a loved one will tell you that your presence is comforting, not your answers. In his first sermon after losing his son to suicide, Pastor Rick Warren advised his congregants that if they were unsure about what to say in a tragedy, say nothing. Just be there. Job’s friends initially did that. It was only after they began to speak that they made matters worse. If you’re hurting right now, I risk making matters worse by giving intellectual answers to emotional pain.” —Frank Turek

“Men may as well build their houses upon the sand and expect to see them stand, when the rains fall, and the winds blow, and the floods come, as to found free institutions upon any other basis than that of morality and virtue, of which the Word of God is the only authoritative rule, and the only adequate sanction. All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they have of stringent state government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet. It may do for other countries and other governments to talk about the state supporting religion. Here, under our own free institutions, it is religion which must support the state.” —Robert Winthrop, speaker of the US House of Representatives (1847–1849)

Some wonderful quotes from Maya Angelou.

“Anything which you have in this world, which you do not consecrate to Christ’s cause, you do rob the Lord of.” —Charles Spurgeon

“If we don’t kill every hint of immorality, we’ll be captured by our tendency as males to draw sexual gratification and chemical highs through our eyes. But we can’t deal with our maleness until we first reject our right to mix standards. As we ask ‘How holy can I be?’ we must pray and commit to a new relationship with God, fully aligned with His call to obedience.” —Steve Arterburn

[VIDEO] So are Christian scientists biased in their research? Yes! Any scientist is, but that is why there are controls—

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