November 2004 Newsletter
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”
Isn't this one of the best times of the year?
As we head off into the holiday season, with Thanksgiving and Christmas so close together, we hope for many chances to spend some time with family, friends, and God. For many of us, the weather has changed or is changing, and there is just a special something in the air as things begin to cool off.
What most folks don't realize is that for many people, the holiday season is also one of the loneliest times of the year. The suicide hotlines are much busier during the holidays. For many, the hotlines are too little, too late.
While many of us get together with loved ones during this time, many don't have anywhere to go or anyone who wants them. They don't get holiday phone calls, or even a card.
God commands us to be thankful under all circumstances, but sometimes—especially when we are lonely—it's great to draw closer to the Lord. He is a great holiday companion.
If we are super busy with others, we tend not to slow down and spend proper time with God. So if you don't seem all that popular at a particular time in your life, thank God for that—and spend more time with Him.
I recently had a great talk with a guy named Brad in the Kansas City area. He is 40 years old, and one month earlier his wife had died. One month before that, they found out that she had a liver condition. One month later she was dead, and one month later we were having a conversation.
He told me that he hoped that there was a Heaven. And of course we know why he hopes there is one: He hopes that his wife is there and that God is taking care of her. I was so thankful for Brad's honesty and openness. I was also thankful that I was running late and needed to order room service to make it to my talk on time.
Please pray for Brad that he will draw near to Almighty God.
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
always in every prayer of mine for you all,
making request with joy for your fellowship in the Gospel
from the first day until now;
being confident of this very thing:
That he which hath begun a good work in you
will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ….”
No matter who you voted for, can you be thankful for who God has set up as our President? And continue to pray, and to trust God, and to see what He will be doing in and through our country in the days to come?
How hard must it be for our military families to have sons and daughters and husbands and wives away from them during the holidays. Can we continue to trust God and thank Him knowing that He can protect us whether we are in Afghanistan, Iraq, or America?
And if your bank account is low or high, can you thank God for that current situation?
If you have a child who is doing great or is wayward, can you still thank God for that?
If I'm having difficulty getting a new editor and new publisher for my book, can I still thank God for that? Well I did!
And many of you have been praying with me for a new editor for my book as well as a publisher. There was a real short time frame if I wanted to get more books available for the holidays.
So it has been amazing to watch God bring me another godly couple who just loved the book and wanted to edit it. Then He brought me another godly couple who want me to publish the book through their publishing company. All the details are beginning to come together.
Why is it, though, that when things begin to happen, I tend to get stressed out instead of just thanking God for this circumstance because I know that—if I continue to trust Him—I'm going to see His amazing handiwork through this whole situation?
God always does His best work when we must trust Him completely. Why? Because then we can't do anything to get in His way and mess things up, or halt the miracle.
Too many times we want to do everything ourselves, while trusting Him very little. Then we think He's going to be pleased with us for all we've accomplished…not. God wants children, not competitors.
Please continue to pray for the reprint of the first book as I sit back and watch God do the impossible.
A guy on the MARTA trains in Atlanta told me that he was going to turn me into the MARTA police for handing out tracts. So I engaged him in conversation. He has some hurts in his heart from church when he was a youth. Can we thank God for people like him?
“Rejoice evermore; pray without ceasing;
In every thing give thanks:
For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Quench not the Spirit.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-19
Getting off of a plane the other day, I met a guy that had just gotten back from a drug treatment center in Miami. It had cost him $13,000 to stay there for one month. Sin can be very expensive.
It was a holistic treatment center that taught about a different religion every day "to help you get through." But what if that religion can't help you the day you die?
He heard about the only way to get to Heaven as we stood by the luggage carousel. Can we thank God for people who have finally reached the end of their rope and the only place they have to turn is to Him?
Traveling through airports can be a little wearing some times. Because of my height, I don't always fit well in airplane seats. Sometimes I don't sleep well in hotels. Sometimes it can really be a hassle. But then God lets me see some of what He is doing.
This is part of an email that I got recently:
I met you at the Moline Airport while going through security. I first want to tell you how nice it was chatting with you.
I have to say that I don't think it was a coincidence that you came through at the exact time my coworker and I were discussing
"The Da Vinci Code."
I've been contemplating whether or not to read the book for some time now, but your comments made complete
sense to me. And now, instead of wanting to read that book, I am looking forward to reading yours.
Why don't we just thank God for all of the great things that He does in our lives no matter where we are?
We walk too much by sight.
Let's just be faithful people. Give thanks to the Lord this holiday season. Thank Him for the ups and downs that you are going through. Watch His mighty Hand work mighty wonders in your life. Be so thankful for what He has done for you on the cross that you want to tell someone about that.
Press on in love.
Until the nets are full,