1 Chronicles 16:34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
These are just two of scores of verses in God’s word that remind us to offer up thanks to Him. Not just in the month of November, but every day and in all circumstances. We all know that it is easy to offer thanks to God when all is going well, but there is so much to be thankful for – even when we feel that the “bottom has fallen out” in our lives.
This is Thanksgiving season – and I am thankful that we have such a national holiday. Abraham Lincoln declared a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, and it has been observed every succeeding year. His proclamation was that we set aside the last Thursday in November to be a national day of “Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficient Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”.
Today, as I write to the faith family of Westmoreland Baptist Church (and others who will read this) I just want to take the liberty to publicly give thanks for His blessings on me.
First and foremost, I thank Him for the gracious gift of His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. I am thankful for His plan of Salvation that starts and ends with Him. My role in receiving Eternal Life was simply to “repent and receive”. Everything else about it comes from God. He chose me. Christ died for me – taking my sins and their penalty upon Himself. He gave me new life in Christ – abundant in the here and now and eternal in it’s very nature! He brought me into relationship with Him and there was nothing good I could bring into the transaction. Saved, according to His Word alone, by His Grace Alone, by Faith Alone, in Christ Alone, and all for the Glory of God Alone. Thank you, Lord!
I am thankful for my family. A wife who I do not deserve, two godly and loving sons and their beautiful and Christian wives. Five grandsons who literally light up my life in these last years of it. I’m thankful for a home. It’s not a palace and not much in the eyes of this culture, but it has been a safe place to live for the last 38 years and a sanctuary in which to raise my family. I am so blessed. Thank you, Lord!
I thank God for His calling me into ministry. I thank Him for the six churches in West Virginia and Kentucky that He has blessed me to serve, for the many people I have met and loved, and the many lessons I have learned in this 47 year process. I am so blessed. Thank you, Lord!
I am particularly thankful for the past 16 years that He has allowed me to serve here at Westmoreland Baptist Church. They have been some of the sweetest and most fulfilling years of my ministry. I have had the blessing of knowing and ministering to numerous saints that have gone on to Heaven. We have seen a time of transition in our ministries here in the church and in the community.
I have watched children grow into adults and hopefully have helped (along with other teachers and workers) pour into their lives the message of the Gospel and a passion for it. I am thankful for the various staff members with whom I have been blessed to labor. I thank God for Randy Spurgeon, Cathy Bailey, Chery Bledsoe, Rick Weber, Bub Amis, Matt Maynard, Buck Buchanan, Sonia Jones, Denise Kraning, Linda Leibee, Carla Bell, Josh Spurgeon, Ted Keown, Jim Fugate, David Curnutte, Charley Dygert, Billy Lemaster , Jim Bailey, Pat Gunnell, Seth Howerton, and Jenny McClave. Each of them have been a blessing to me in numerous ways. Thank you, Lord!
Finally I want to thank God for His working in my life through two different types of Cancer and other physical maladies that have come my way. Like Paul of old, I recognize that they are simply a messenger of Satan, sent to buffet me, and that God’s Grace has been and will continue to be sufficient for me. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I have learned to appreciate and to claim the truth the Psalmist revealed in Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” I have truly been blessed. Thank you, Lord!
Let us give thanks to Him in every circumstance. “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”.