As the countdown to Thanksgiving Day heightens anticipation, it gives me reason to offer prayers of appreciation. I am prone to pout about what I feel God has left out; instead, I ought to shout for what he has brought in! Christ has rewarded me richly for my daily walk with him throughout this past year.
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving (Colossians 2:6-7 KJV).” I pause to express my appreciation to all pastors who have encouraged and lovingly helped in equipping me for service.
Many have gone on to their heavenly rewards; yet, their works follow them. (Revelation 14:13) I pen a roll call of recent pastors who diligently spoke the undiluted word of God. The Bible passages confronted me with my sins, convicted and challenged me to confess the wrongs to the Lord. They opened my heart to passages of comfort and peace.
Pastor Joe Fain:
Pastor Donnie Linson:
Oak Grove, LA
Pastor Johnny Smith:
Present Pastor, Rayburn McLarrin:
Oak Grove, LA
“Well, shut my mouth!” Surprised? Sometimes I am so surprised that I momentarily find myself at a loss for words. I’m clueless as to why a stare and open mouth accompany my surprise. I’d compare it to spoon feeding a baby. I opened my mouth while they opened theirs. “Well, shut my mouth!” A friend of Job’s thought he had the diagnosis and remedy. He did get a few things right.
“He saves the needy from their sharp words and from the clutches of the powerful. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth (Job 5:15-16 HCS).” What insightful imagery, I see injustice spouted from lips as they propagate agendas. The unrighteous trample on the rights of the unborn and the aged; yet, God in His sovereignty will one day shut the mouth of injustice. We place our hope in Him.
Born again, a new creation in Christ. Is that possible? Yes, forever yes and Amen! Look at the conversion of Saul, from violent aggressor to Apostle Paul, victorious messenger. It is nothing short of miraculous. God transformed him on a Damascus road. He was no longer a zealot persecuting Christians; he became a zealous witness and missionary serving as a demonstration of God’s mercy and grace.
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord because he trusted me and gave me this work of serving him. He gives me strength. In the past I insulted Christ. As a proud and violent man, I persecuted his people. But God gave me mercy because I did not know what I was doing. I did that before I became a believer. But our Lord gave me a full measure of his grace (1 Timothy 1:12-14a ERV).”
Death by strangulation is not mere words scribbled on a coroner’s death certificate. There is no easy way for an innocent victim to go out into eternity. To me, death by strangulation is especially morbid. In their younger years, both my daughter and son, knew they gave me the willies when they playfully but their hands around my neck. Though done in fun, choking is a fear I hold.
Consider the Lords’ warning about our concerns and priorities. We are in danger of choking the life from his word. “The seeds that fell among thorn bushes stand for those who hear the message; but the worries about this life and the love for riches choke the message, and they don’t bear fruit (Matthew 13:22 TEV).” The Lord is a fruit inspector. What does he see in my life? Am I bearing the fruit of the Spirit or choking his message of grace?