Enjoying the Journey

This is my favorite season of the year! I love the time with family and friends. But the older I get the more I realize that the greatest Christmas blessings are the ones that are wrapped up in Christ. Ones that are priceless and that do not change with the calendar. It is what Paul celebrated when he wrote to Philemon about, “acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ” (Philemon 6). The gift is Christ! The blessings are spiritual. As we study the Word of God we open those gifts, or rather, they are opened to us by the Holy Spirit. At this busiest time of the year beware of living so much in the fray…

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This week I had the joy of hearing a couple of reports that were overwhelming. In a world of bad news it is encouraging to hear of definite answers to prayer, spiritual victories being won. As a family we rejoiced in the way God is at work in the lives of people for whom we have prayed. As I shared the good news with others I found myself saying, “Did you hear what the Lord did?” Oh, how that must please Him! We speak all to frequently about what we have done or about what others are doing. When was the last time you spoke of some definite thing that the Lord did? This must have been the passion of…

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Gratitude begins vertical and becomes horizontal. As we offer thanks to the Source of every good gift, we are reminded of the many channels that He uses to deliver them. Sometimes it is easy to recognize blessings from a distance and miss the ones that are right in front of us. Permit me to share an example from my own life… I am more grateful to God than ever for the wife He chose for me. In the words of Proverbs 19:14, “A prudent wife is from the LORD.” There is no way that I could do what I am doing with my life without Tammy. The other day she picked me up from the airport (again) with a smile…

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My dad and I had the privilege to be part of training several Iraqi pastors a number of years ago.  For over a week we taught a group of men in Ammon, Jordan who were going back to Baghdad to start Baptist churches.  It was an exciting work in a needy place. Near the end of our trip, the Jordanian pastor who had hosted us announced that he wanted to show us a few things before leaving his country.  Driving his old Mercedes about 100 mph through the desert, he gave us the quick tour of some of Jordan’s biblical sites.  We saw bedouin people living in the same wilderness through which the children of Israel had passed. It was…

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Like most children, when I was very young, I memorized the Ten Commandments.  The fifth commandment says, “Honour thy father and thy mother.”  It is repeated eight times in the Bible.  As a boy, if my mother said something once I was supposed to listen.  If she said it twice, I was definitely supposed to listen.  If she had to say it three times, it was too late to listen!  When God repeats something it is always for emphasis. This is God’s word to every young person: “Honour thy father and thy mother.” For many years I quoted it without even knowing what it meant.  The word honor means to assign value to something, to treat it as a prize. …

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When I was thirteen years old an elderly preacher in the mountains of West Virginia gave me a book.  It was old and dusty.  There were no pictures and at the time it seemed like a good book just to put on the shelf.  Several years passed before I actually read its yellowed pages, but after reading them I would never forget them. Russell Conwell was a preacher and educator.  He started what is now known as Temple University in Philadelphia.  Conwell traveled the world giving a very famous lecture over 5,000 times.  Any honorarium that was given to him was in turn given to some young person to help them through college.  But the value of his lecture was…

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At the end of 2008 I decided that I would try to begin writing in a journal each day.  I am sitting in my study tonight looking back through old journals.  The Lord has been so very good to me.  There have been difficult days, but these pages are filled with the faithfulness of God. For me, writing in a journal each day has been the most helpful daily discipline I have ever followed, outside of prayer and the reading of God’s Word.  David kept a journal.  Read the Psalms.  I have the journal of David Brainerd and George Muller.  People keep a journal for different reasons, but there have been several benefits for me. 1.  A journal helps me…

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