Sunday’s Icing on the Cake

Monday’s Ministry Encouragement: Written to encourage you, my friend in ministry, to be refreshed and renewed as we live for Christ and look toward the Bema.

He has been in ill health for awhile. Recently, he has been battling mini-strokes which has hospitalized him again.

Standing by this bedside I ask, “How are you doing spiritually?” He struggled to answer.

“Do you doubt God’s love for you?” “No.”

“Do you wonder if He’s forsaken you?” “No.”

“Do you know He loves and cares for you?” “Yes.”

As I read Psalm 34, his countenance displayed he was connecting with . . .

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all

Continuing to struggle to verbalize his thoughts, I began to sing, “He Is Able to Deliver Thee” and he joined in.

From there we sang, “He Touched Me,” “Blessed Assurance,” “It Is Well With My Soul,” “Are Ye Able Said the Master?, and “In the Garden.” Amazing how he works so hard to express his thoughts, yet he hardly misses a word of song.

After prayer, he took his right hand from beneath the covers and reached for mine for a handshake. As I took his hand, he pulled me to him. I hugged him, and he held onto my hand. From one brother in Christ to another, I said, “I love you, friend. You are very dear to me. I’m cheering you on! Your church family is praying for you.” As best he could he said, “I know. They sent me some cards.”

I have heard it said so often, “one of the best ways to get the focus off of your own pain/cares/discouragement, etc., is to go be a blessing to someone else.”

Ministry friend, are you down-hearted today? Does the Monday Ministry Blues have you in its grip? Are you weighed down with ministry burdens? How about making a visit to a dear saint of God? Read Scripture to them. Sing some of their favorites with them. When you leave, your vision of Christ will be clearer and your heart will lifted with joy and blessing.

On this Sunday, our morning gathering was a blessing in so many, many wonderful ways. This afternoon visit was the “icing on the cake.”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. (2 Corinthians 1:3-6)

Memorial Day Tribute

Standing in Arlington National Cemetery, April 19, 2008, tears streamed down my face as I considered the multiplied thousands who had given their lives for the freedom we so undeservedly experience.

I have not forgotten that solemn day. I have not forgotten their sacrifice. I have not forgotten the exchange of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I have not forgotten the extreme cost of freedom.

Thank you for the ultimate price of your life for freedom that must never be taken for granted but celebrated daily in these United States of America!

Struggling With 10%

While visiting our family doctor for our yearly exams, the subject turned to eating out. Our physician said, “The price of food in restaurants continues to rise as does the suggested tips. Isn’t it interesting that some folk have no problem giving the server a 25% tip yet struggle with a 10% tithe.”

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Counting the Joys!

“Pastor, do you know that you have been my pastor all my life?”

Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending two high school graduations of two young ladies who I held in the hospital at birth and have now watched receive their diplomas. That’s one of the many joys of longevity in ministry in one location!

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Don’t Quit!!

Monday’s Ministry Encouragement: Written to encourage you, my friend in ministry, to be refreshed and renewed as we live for Christ and look toward the Bema.

Pastor, are you ready to quit? Are you tempted to to “throw in the towel?”

You have some company in your misery. You may not know who they are or maybe you do, nevertheless they are all over the country.

Every pastor who is a faithful shepherd of the flock, a dedicated proclaimer of the Truth, a man of passionate prayer and a caring, compassionate friend will face times like these.

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Will You Pray?

How desperate are you to see God answer your prayers? Would you even ask a stranger to intercede for you, to enter into your burdens?

While seated at the Emory Hospital surgery waiting area in Atlanta, a dear lady approached my wife and me with small sheets of note paper in her hand. With a smile and an outstretched arm, she said, “I overheard your conversation, and I’ve written some prayer needs on these papers. Would join me in prayer?”

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Go to the Mountain!

Monday’s Ministry Encouragement: Written to encourage you, my friend in ministry, to be refreshed and renewed as we live for Christ and look toward the Bema.

And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. (Mark 6:46)

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. (Luke 6:12)

Every once-in-awhile, I have to literally go to the mountain and get along with the Lord. Living in East Tennessee, there are many wonderful locations from which to choose.

Due to various ministry demands, the recent death of my father-in-law, a bit of a spiritual empty tank, and just needing the solitude, I made my way to one of my favorite areas along the Appalachian Trail.

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