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July 16, 2018

In All Things—What a Privilege

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8: 28 (NKJV)

Paul wrote that verse, inspired by the heart and mind of God.

Paul, the same guy who at one time was known as Saul and killed those who claimed a belief in and followed Christ.

Until his conversion experience, that is. Until that blinding-light experience which hit him on the Damascus Road—where he met God’s full force in the face.

After that encounter, and then as a new disciple of Christ, Paul’s life was something a bit more difficult than just easy. Scripture accounts paint a journey of travels on behalf of Christ, where Paul was beaten, imprisoned, stoned, whipped, slandered, starved, and shipwrecked along with numerous other things of various levels of difficulty happening to him.

Not too fair, it would seem, simply for believing in and following Christ.

But what a privilege.

And he never wavered in his belief and mission.

He continued to share with everyone he met words of hope, conviction, optimism and encouragement about what Christ had done—not only in his life, but in the lives of others—and what Christ would do for everyone. He was fulfilling God’s purpose for his life in some of the worst places, some of the toughest moments, and in some of the most difficult of circumstances and challenges. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

July 9, 2018

A Sacred Gift—Hannah

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”

Mark 10: 14-16 (NIV)

As we waited in our designated “waiting room”—I sensed a “Godly” urging to go downstairs to the labor and delivery area. It was off-limits to the public, even grandparents if you can believe that. Access was only through locked doors by code—or, as it would turn out, by Divine intervention.

And so I followed the urging of what had to be the Holy Spirit, went downstairs, and stood outside of the locked doors to the labor and delivery area. And then, “mysteriously” they swung wide-open (a nurse was leaving the area), allowing me to enter nearer to that sacred ground where our first grandchild was soon to be introduced to the world, and to us.

There I found myself, standing in that hallway approximately fifty feet away from the very delivery room—at the very time, as it turned out—that our precious first grandchild would enter the world.

And then I heard a baby’s cry—Hannah’s first cry.

And today is her birthday. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

July 2, 2018

Independence Day Dependence

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!

2 Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!

3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!

4 Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

5 Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!”

Psalm 150 (ESV)

You have heard them before, but as we approach our national Independence Day holiday of remembrance on July 4, it may do us all well to read them again—

When in the course of human events…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world…do…solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States;…”

And for support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

And then perhaps to re-read verse six of Psalm 150 with me—“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” In a way, those fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence did just that—they praised and honored God and what they believed He called them to do to establish this great nation. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

June 25, 2018

No Matter What—Try This!

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-17 (NIV)

I probably feel the same as you do. Go back and read that scripture verse again.

The Apostle Paul wrote it. This is the same guy who persecuted followers of Christ until he had a God-orchestrated “blinding-light-conversion-experience” on the Damascus Road. After that, Paul was imprisoned regularly, lashed five times and beaten with rods three times by his fellow Jews, stoned, shipwrecked three times, constantly on the move and in danger from rivers, bandits, friends who betrayed him, whether in the cities, the country or at sea, and ended up hungry, thirsty, and without sleep.

And Paul’s advice:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.”

I’m with you here—the man obviously has a few screws loose. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

June 18, 2018

God—He’s Been There

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.

We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.

And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.

He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

Isaiah 53: 3-5 (NLT)

Every morning after a game, an event, a recital, a test, a contest or spelling bee, a big business presentation, whatever—win or lose, success or not—we get up the next morning and begin to plan for the next one. Or that really is what we should do.

No matter what happened before—big win, great results, crushing defeat or failure—the fact is that it’s over, we can’t change it, and we have to get ready for what’s coming next, or what we want to come next.

Not to sound too simplistic, but that is just the way it will be for every day of our lives. Because we will experience big wins and great moments, and we make huge mistakes and suffer heart-wrenching losses. We will experience deep joys, and suffer crippling disappointments. And we will have a choice—to move on, or not.

And in that moment it may help us, if we remember the truth which the Apostle Paul—inspired by God—shared in Romans 8:28 when he forecasts for all time this promise from God—

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”

Of course, that promise doesn’t mean that everything will work out exactly as we hope it will. But instead it means that God has promised to work everything we go through into His plan for us—a plan for good. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts
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