I know its not Thanksgiving, but the Lord just directed me to Psalm 100:4, where David wrote, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” Do you intentionally thank God for the simple blessings in life? I’m not talking about the occasional breakthrough or miracle you’ve seen; I’m talking about the ordinary blessings of your life. When was the last time you thanked God for your car or your water heater? Thanked Him lately for your cell phone or your newest shoes? But I paid for them, you say. And Who provided you the opportunity to work in this economy?
Here is an important key to Kingdom living: Take nothing for granted. Everything is a gift from God and should be treated as a blessing. Profuse thanks and praise should be offered to Him daily for all the routine blessings he has set up for us to enjoy. Get yourself out of the way and its amazing what else you can see and experience. In the Old Testament, no one ever considered meeting the Lord without an offering being presented. They often built their own altar to do it. This was their ‘thanks offering’. Simply put, this Kingdom principle says: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving”, not begging for more. This truth will set you free.
When I was a teenager, I saved my money and bought a tachometer for my bike. A Tach measures speed like a speedometer on a car. As a boy becoming a man, I wanted to know how fast my machine was traveling. And I could really get that thing flying down the streets of town. It was always my challenge to see if I could beat the 30 mph speed limit set for cars. But I never got busted.
Its strange, but the nearer you get to your goal, the more difficult it is to increase your speed. I remember thinking, just a little bit faster…but I just couldn’t get there. I was maxed out just under my goal. But, fast enough wasn’t enough in this young man’s mind. I was never satisfied with my best.
Now I’ve graduated from the bike to a car, from the tach to the speedometer. And somewhere along the way I’ve learned to be content.
“The fear of the lord leads to life: then one rests content, untouched by trouble” (Proverbs 19:23).
Weddings are formal events, whether we’re very formal or not. I officiated at a wedding several years ago that made me chuckle. The groom was all decked out in his rented tux and looked like such a gentleman. He had carefully shaved and had his haircut. Everything went like it was planned.
But as we started the service, his nose began to run. I don’t know if it was an allergy, or he had a cold, or his nerves were getting to his nasal passages, but it kept running. I had asked them to join hands, so they were holding hands together. What’s a man in a wedding under orders to hold hands to do?
When I looked up after praying, I noticed this long line of snot hanging like a pendulum from the end of his nose. I considered telling him he could now kiss the bride, but I allowed him to get out his handkerchief and take care of business.
Have you ever been in an awkward situation that you just didn’t know how to handle? Jesus found Himself in those times often, but He always knew what to do. Perhaps we should stay prayed up like He did.
I officiated at a memorial service for Gordon Larson two weeks ago. Gordon was father to Jan Hoffmeister. He was a quiet, unassuming man, and always minimized his role in World War 2 by saying he was “just a clerk”. While I was preparing my thoughts on Gordon’s life, Jan had provided Gordon’s discharge papers, which revealed he had served aboard the USS American Legion, a Troop Transport, in 1942.
The American Legion was an older ship, built for World War 1, but saw a lot of use transporting refugees from Scandinavian countries during the earlier days of the war, including kings, queens, and dignitaries.
By the time Gordon got aboard the American Legion it had been transferred to the South Pacific. After a year of being beaten back by the Japanese, the Japs had clear superiority in that area, but the US had plans to island-hop from island to island to take back territory that had been lost.
The very first offensive attack in our efforts was on the heavily fortified island of Guadalcanal. The American Legion was one of two troop transports that unloaded US Marines in that invasion. They came under heavy attack by artillery from shore and bombing and strafing from the air. Gordon had played a major role in the first offensive ground attack in the South Pacific theater. There’s another hero to remember.
This is officially Memorial Day. It is the day we, as a nation, set aside to remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. It tends to be a military day, with veterans groups and scout troops participating in memorial services or parades. But the people who really should be remembering are those families who lost a loved one in one of our wars.
My Dad marched in Memorial Day parades with the American Legion for many years. We were all proud of his service. But, when I think of Memorial Day, I think of an unknown veteran named Carl Cook. Carl was my mother’s next older brother. Carl was born and raised in DeKalb County, worked in Allen County, but had just moved to Hicksville, Ohio. So, when he enlisted, his home residence was Ohio. Carl survived much of the Iwo Jima attack, but was shot by a Japanese sniper the day after the Americans declared the island secured.
So, no one claims him as one of their war dead. His name is not on the World War II dead plaques in DeKalb County, Allen County, or Defiance County. He is truly a forgotten hero. So, when others are remembering the names that get remembered every year, I’m remembering the one who no one remembers, Private Carl Cook.
Another hero that everyone forgets on Memorial Day is Jesus Christ, Who paid the ultimate price for our sins. Let’s remember Him most this day.
Tags: Memorial Day
Pastor Adam sometimes hassles me for pounding too hard on the keyboard. He doesn’t understand how I learned to type. I enrolled in an elective typing class in High School because there were a lot of girls in there. We had electric typewriters that worked pretty smoothly.
But when I arrived at Advanced Individual Training for General Clerk School after Army Basic Training, they had old manual typewriters that required quite firm pressure on the keys to leave an impression on the paper from the inked ribbon. Because of my previous High School typing experience, I scored in the top 10% of my class and was automatically advanced to Clerk-Typist School, and hammered away on those stiff keys for another month.
After that I worked in offices at Post Headquarters at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the Headquarters for the Army Security Agency in Augsburg, Germany, where we used modern IBM golf-ball typewriters, but the pattern was set and I’ve always hammered at the keys on any keyboard. So, even on my laptop keyboard I pound away. It still works.
Whatever we do repeatedly becomes a habit for life. That’s true of how we type, how we entertain ourselves, and how we love. What habits have you formed that you probably ought to change?
Last Monday evening 14 of us met together at the church for prayer. We laid hands on one another and prophesied over one another. God had some revelatory words for several of us. And we agreed together in declaring a breakthrough in a specific area for a family need. There was a sense that God was in the room with us as we pressed in.
As we closed the meeting out I felt the Lord was saying that we all needed to get our eyes off other people and stay focused on our personal relationship with God. We can be intimidated by or become jealous of others and get our eyes on them instead of God. Through the Holy Spirit, God has a personal connection with each of us. He is asking us all to accomplish a specific mission individually.
I had a professor at Christian Training Center that said, “If you really want to be in the center of God’s will, its easier to be in it than out of it”. He’s got you right where He wants you.