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Being Thankful


Simposious wishes you a great Thanksgiving Day

Make thanks a part of every day

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“The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”Luke 19:10

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. A highly anticipated Christmas shopping trip to the mall with our kids and my parents took a dramatic turn for the worst as we suddenly realized that Matt, our five-year old, was nowhere to be found. With fears of kidnapping racing through our minds, we split up to search the mall for Matt. My assignment was the parking lot. In the grip of anxiety I made my way through the fresh fallen snow yelling, “Matt, Matt!” I have to tell you that I felt a little foolish. But being embarrassed by hollering in a parking lot was overshadowed by fears for my son and my need to find him.

But, after covering the territory, there was no sign of Matt. More concerned than ever, I went back into the mall to see if anyone else had spotted him. I was hoping beyond hope that either Martie or my mom had found him, but their search had turned up empty as well. Our sense of desperation was hitting new levels when my dad walked around the corner with Matt in hand. Overwhelmed with relief, we asked, “Hey, Dad, where did you find him?”

“At the candy counter,” he replied. “Little Matt had his hands behind his back and his eyes were right up at the level of the candy trays.” He didn’t even realize that he was lost! Nor did he have a clue about the kind of danger he was in.

Later I found myself reflecting on the experience and thinking that Matt reminded me of a lot of people who are without Christ as their Savior. Lost in the candy world of their lives, they have no idea of how lost they are or of the eternal danger they are in.

Today’s Scripture passage is actually the conclusion of the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus. As a tax collector, Zacchaeus had immersed himself in the pursuit of possessions, prosperity, and power. By the world’s standards he was doing okay. Sure, he wasn’t terribly well liked, but he had a sense of purpose, was achieving his goals, and thought he had life pretty well figured out. But, entranced by the “candy” of his own gain, he was flat out lost.

Jesus searched him out! Going out of the way to call him down from his perch in a sycamore tree, Jesus invaded his life, invited Himself over for dinner, and rescued Zacchaeus from the danger of his self-indulgent, selfish, sinful life. When the Pharisees grumbled about Jesus spending time with a tax-collector, Jesus reminded them that His purpose on earth was “to seek and to save what was lost.”

That’s where you and I are before Christ finds us and rescues us. Our preoccupation with the stuff of this world—money, power, sex, comfort, and ease—numbs us to the very real dangers of life without Christ. Without Him we are dangerously lost—and don’t even know it.

Thankfully, a gracious, compassionate God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pursue us, find us, and rescue us. That’s the reality of what we celebrate at Christmastime. And, don’t forget, once we are safely His, He sends us to search for others who are lost in “candy” world. So let’s steer their hearts away from the stuff of this world and help them find the real joy of Christmas.

“I have suffered much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word.” Psalm 119:107

It was a beautiful day except for the fact that after a sizzling front nine, my golf game had tanked big time. I felt embarrassed in front of the two other guys I was playing with and really disappointed in myself. Why I tortured myself with golf and call it a game I’ll never know! But like a sports masochist, I keep going back for more pain.

As I was stuffing my clubs into the back of my car, trying to put on a good face, I was struck with the fact that I had just spent the afternoon with two guys who have problems that make my lame golf game look like a cakewalk.

Both of them have trouble on the home front, the kind of trouble that hurts the worst. Robert’s wife has been running him through the wringer of an excruciating divorce. It is something that he does not want and has tried for two agonizing years to turn around. She wants nothing to do with him or reconciliation.

My other golf buddy (the one who beat me mercilessly on the back nine) has been living for years with a situation at home that none of us would ever dream of enduring. His wife struggles with severe emotional imbalance and, though at one time was a follower of Christ, now wants nothing to do with Jesus or her husband. She still lives with her husband, so you can imagine what it means to walk into the house after a tough day at work to face a whole new set of challenges at home. He goes to church alone. He sleeps alone.

As I closed the back of my Tahoe, I noticed that my golf buddies were talking to each other in upbeat tones. What caught my attention is that they were talking about passages of Scripture that they had shared with each other the week before. As they quoted portions of the passages to each other, the power of the content was compelling: “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure” (Psalm 16:8-9). “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (Psalm 119:71).

It was clear to see that they were lifting each other up with the power of God’s Word. Their enthusiasm for the support and joy they were experiencing in God and His Word proved that in times of trouble the Word of God is a source of comfort that infuses unusual strength into situations that put Word-less people into the dumpster.

I have to admit that I have never thought of using God’s Word to prop me up when my golf game goes south. But I was reminded afresh that there is unusual power in the Word of God to give us an edge during times of trouble.

So, when life hits the wall—go to the Word. And don’t isolate yourself! Find someone else in trouble and be Bible buddies. God loves us and gave us His Word to take us all the way through!

From: strengthforthejourney

Thanks For Your Time



Thanks for Your Time 

Author Unknown  

(Inspiration Peak, Thanks for Your Time, Unknown Author.)

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.Over the phone, his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday.”

Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

“Jack, did you hear me?”

“Oh sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It’s been so long since I thought of him. I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,” Jack said.

“Well, he didn’t forget you. Every time I saw him he’d ask how you were doing. He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of the fence’ as he put it,” Mom told him.

“I loved that old house he lived in,” Jack said.

“You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” she said.

“He’s the one who taught me carpentry,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important… Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,” Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time.

The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture… Jack stopped suddenly.

“What’s wrong, Jack?” his Mom asked.

“The box is gone,” he said.

“What box?” Mom asked.

“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he’d ever tell me was ‘the thing I value most,'” Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said. “I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.”

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. “Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,” the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention.

“Mr. Harold Belser” it read.

Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack’s hands shook as he read the note inside.

“Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It’s the thing I valued most in my life.” A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

“Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser.”

“The thing he valued most…was…my time.”

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. “Why?” Janet, his assistant asked.

“I need some time to spend with my son,” he said. “Oh, by the way, Janet… thanks for your time!” Inspiration Peak, Thanks for Your Time, Unknown Author.