The Gratitude Attitude

Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., founder of Bob Jones University, had a collection of what were known as Chapel Sayings.  These have blessed me through the years, but the one I have kept coming back to throughout my life is this one:

“When gratitude dies on the altar of a man’s heart, that man is well nigh hopeless.”

Romans 1:21 talks about people who were not thankful and ultimately fell away from the faith into apostasy. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is not easy in today’s entitlement world.  We see that evidenced by the protesters who occupied Wall Street.  As a general rule they showed no appreciation or thankfulness for the opportunities that are theirs simply because they were born in America.

Psalm 92:1, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.” I Thessalonians 5:18 makes it very clear that we are to “give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  And the assumption is that we are to give thanks in this life.  Psalm 6:5 says “For in death there is no remembrance of Thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?”

Luke 17:12-19 records the story of the ten lepers healed by Christ, but only one turned back to give thanks for his healing.  Nine went on their way.  The question before us today is “Are you the one . . .  or are you one of the nine?” Continue reading

To Encourage a Friend

Many who know me are aware of my continuing battle with cancer. I am sure I will write more of that journey here, but one of the blessings of the journey is that of being an encouragement to others who are also enduring the cancer crucible.

The lady to whom the following message was sent was recently told that her cancer is progressing very rapidly through her body. Her time is growing short. Thankfully she is a believer; but until we are finally with the Lord, the sufferings of this present life can be pretty intense. Continue reading

Trusting God in the Dark – At Camp

Plans were being made for my second trip to Hawaii to work in a Christian camp. The first summer I went to this camp as a kitchen helper the camp was held on “The Big Island” near the ocean. The view was breathtaking and so was the heat. I had been told this year’s camp would be in the mountains and that it would be cooler. That is all I heard . . . that it would be “cooler.”

Moon over Hawaii

Upon arriving at camp, we were given a tour of the somewhat makeshift facilities. Despite the lack of amenities, the campers loved their rustic accommodations. Many had come to know the Lord through the years here, so the counselors and staff endured the temporary living arrangements for the sake of those campers. The staff slept outside the main lodge building in large tents – one for the ladies and one for the men. Since we were guests from the Mainland, our quarters were to be inside the lodge. Three ladies were to be accommodated in a room just wide enough for three army cots side by side. It did not take us long to figure out that we somewhat mature ladies were not agile enough to maneuver in and out of that sleeping arrangement, so we pulled the middle cot across the room and that became my bed. Continue reading

Trusting God in the Dark – Preface

To me it is significant that the first recorded words spoken by God are these: “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). At the time God spoke those words, darkness was upon the face of the deep. God tells us that he forms the light and creates darkness (Isaiah 45:7). And it is furthermore significant that “the darkness and the light are both alike to (God)” (Psalm 139:12).

God said, "Let there be light"

I remember reading that verse and being swept up in the concept of a God who dwells in such light (“in him is no darkness at all” I John 1:5) that he does not see the dark. Oh, there is no doubt God knows the dark is there – he created it. But it is we who see the dark. More than likely, we all can look back over our life and remember a time when things looked really dark.

I understand dark places. There was the time when I learned that my last day of work was the very day we were set to close on our dream home. There was the day when the doctor told me I had ovarian cancer. Then there was the day eleven years later when I learned the ovarian cancer had metastasized to my lungs where it resides to this day.

As dark and devastating as these events were, they pale in comparison to one event that altered the course of my life forever. Continue reading