It would be so easy to look at our lives and constantly complain---and sometimes I do! Life is not perfect nor are we, and, as a result, things happen that we wish would have happened to someone else......like our worst enemy. Not that we have any of those, mind you! But, you know what I mean. Every day brings disappointments, arguments, selfishness, tears, whining, griping, and pain. However, it doesn't do anyone any good to dwell on those things. Steeping in misery never improves anyone's outlook. So, let's look at the positive instead---and it's amazing how much good stuff there is to thank God for!
1.) Chad has been getting good hours at work which naturally brings in more money. This is obviously helpful in a family of seven with one child preparing to go off to college and the rest of the kids trying their best to grow out of every stitch of clothing they own. Thank You, Lord!
2.) The gym membership that Chad signed us up for is paying off. Chad goes nearly every day, and the results are obvious. Katie and I go twice a week and have noticed a difference in our shapes and fitness levels, so we are getting ready to step up to going three times a week. Thank You, Lord!
3.) Dale and I have recently joined the bus route that Amanda, Katie, and Ashley already work on. The single ladies that used to drive them around visiting on Saturdays recently moved to Texas, leaving them without transportation. This was the first real chance to rejoin a ministry for both Dale and I since Dale's accident. He hasn't been able to go out on a bus route or teen soul winning because of his physical difficulties, and I had to stop going out with Children's Challenge to stay home with him. So, this opportunity is (pardon the pun) heaven-sent! Right now, I'm learning the route (since I'm the driver AND since Amanda is leaving soon for college), so Dale and I just stay in the car while the girls do the actual visiting. But soon I'll make sure Dale and I get in some visiting and soul winning time as well. Thank You, Lord!
4.) I got to talk to a young lady last night after church for a while. She was visiting for the first time, and someone had asked her if she knew for sure she were on her way to Heaven. They then collared me and asked if I would talk with her about salvation. As I said in the previous point, I haven't been able to go out soul winning for some time; I felt a little rusty which only made me pray the more desperately for the Holy Spirit's guidance. It's a wonderful thing to know that not one word coming out of your mouth is yours; it's all God's! She and I talked for some time, and it was apparent to me that she really just needed a shoulder to cry on. Life has not been easy for her; she needs God but is afraid to let Him in. I was able to at least give her a tract and tell her that the verses printed thereon are straight from the Bible about Heaven and leave her with the impression that I am someone who will listen when she talks, not just shove verses down her throat and demand she repeat some words. I know not all soul winners are like that, but I'm sure there are some who think I should have made her stop talking so that I could take her through the Romans Road and make her pray with me. Like I said, I was asking the Holy Spirit the whole time to guide my tongue, and I truly feel that the seeds of love and truth were planted last night. Someone else may water them or reap the harvest, but I got to be a part. Thank You, Lord!
5.) I saved the best for last. As you know, Amanda, our oldest, has graduated from high school and is preparing to attend Golden State Baptist College this fall. She has been working hard and saving money to have, hopefully, her first month's tuition and room/board by the time college starts. She will be getting a job once she gets there to earn the money to continue to pay her way through college. Last night, our youth pastor, Bro. Jon, called Mandie into his office and handed her a certificate from Golden State with her name on it. (I think he was given this certificate at the recent Youth Conference and instructed to award it to someone whom he felt could use it.) Bro. Jon said he'd been looking for someone who had attended Youth Conference with the teens and was planning to attend Golden State in the fall. He said, "I'm not sure if you'll want this or not........" and let the statement trail off questioningly. At this point, Amanda could only see the back of the certificate, which is blank. When he turned it around, she nearly gasped. The certificate awards the recipient $1,000.00 towards their first semester's tuition at Golden State Baptist College!!! Can you believe it?! Mandie said breathlessly, "Yes, I'll want that!" and then began crying. Praise the Lord! What an answer to prayer this is! She now can breathe a good bit easier as she feverishly readies herself for college. THANK YOU, LORD!
Our God just never stops blessing us. And our family is just like any other........we have good days and bad days; we get mad at each other and kiss and make up; we set good examples and bad examples; we love God and forget to pray. Why God chooses to bless us so abundantly is beyond me. I mean that---why would God pour out His blessings so richly on sinners like us? The only answer I can come up with is.......because He is wonderful. He doesn't bless us because we are something special; He blesses us because He is. Thank You, Lord, for Your blessings on us!
Have a great Independence Day, everyone! Thank God for our country and those who fight to keep it free. Eat lots of watermelon and hot dogs and potato salad. Be careful with fireworks though; don't become a statistic. God bless y'all!
Philippians 4: 19 "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."