God Receives Praise And Honor From His Saints

Oh, how sweet it is to be in the service of the Lord!

The year was 1994, and I was asked to render the opening prayer at the celebration to honor all the men and women in the church who held positions as clergy, department heads, Sunday School teachers, custodians, musicians, food handlers, counselors, and anyone else who performed in a leadership capacity. As you can imagine, I was awe struct and filled with mixed feelings of reverence, wonderment and humility.

The first thing I did was to seek the aide of the Holy Spirit, and I also called on the Name of the Lord. In my pursuit to pray an all inclusive prayer that would somehow make each category of recipients experience the gratitude intended by our pastor, I set aside a special time each day to search the Holy Bible for examples of how God called his leaders together to instruct them of their duties and how those saints of old responded affirmatively.

I learned from searching the scriptures that those persons who are put in authority should already know that it is not enough to just mentally recognize that there is a God, but they also should know that they must do what God commands them to do and with the right attitudes. (Especially with a grateful heart.) For it is written: Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 KJV

Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart [with lyrics for congregations]

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“Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart” was written by Henry Smith and published in 1970. It is performed here by Maranatha Music.YouTube · Chet Valley Churches ·

Featured below is the prayer the Holy Spirit directed me to compose...

Dear Heavenly Father,

The sons of Jacob and the daughters of Israel who are members of the household of faith at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, have gathered in this place to once again give all praise and honor to Your Name.

For we realize, Dear Master, that all gifts, special skills and benefits come from You.  And we rejoice in the knowledge that had it not been for Your Son, Jesus, we would not have had free access to any of Your bountiful blessings.

Also, Precious Lord, the sons of Jacob and the daughters of Israel wish to thank You for keeping us sturdy and on track in the Celebration of Men and Women's Day for 1994.  For we have not traveled this spiritual road before as a diverse group.  So, we thank You for not giving up on us and for keeping us perfectly joined together in love and in harmony.

We vowed never to take our eyes off of Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith...so, Dear Master, because You sit high and look low, and may have caught a glimpse of someone murmuring; or received a report of another voicing displeasure at someone's leadership capabilities, we humbly ask your forgiveness and confess that by the love of Jesus Christ, we will strive to learn to be more considerate of one another and to cultivate our Christian lives on a common plain.

Never let it be recorded that any of us said, "I'm on Paul's side." or "I'm for Apollo." or "Peter is my man."  For neither of those men hung, bled and died for our sins, nor did neither give to humanity the gift of eternal life.

So now Lord, as I close this prayer on behalf of the men and women of this age in the life of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, I sincerely thank you once again for personally calling each of us by name to be in Your service.  For not just anybody or shall I say not everybody would have heeded Your call.  But thanks be to God You took a bunch of nobodies and made them Somebodies in the Family of God...and for that we give you all the praise, and all the honor, and all the glory.  Amen!  And Amen!!!

Glad to Be in the Service – YouTube

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Scripture Lesson: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!

God Chastises His Children When They Disobey, Too!

As I was rambling through my archives of compositions I have written over the years, I ran across a short true children’s story I wrote some 75 years ago.  The theme of the story is about why Snooky (me) and Sissy (my older sister) received a spanking from our Auntie Bea.

I believe retelling this story to you is important because as I reread the actions of the characters, those behaviors conjured up interactions I have experienced during my sojourn with my Lord and Savior.  OUCH!!

Run, Snooky, run!! It’s getting dark and I believe we are lost!”, cried Sissy.

Let’s begin at the beginning…

"Snooky Gets A Spanking" - A short story by the Blogger

On Your mark!  Get set!  Go!  As I raced across the soft thick blades of grass, I could feel the cool breeze slice across my forehead and cut under my chin which was tucked down into the clef of my chest.  My two arms were outstretched and flapping as if I was imitating a free-style swimmer fresh out of water.  My older sister, Sissy, was out running me by only a few feet and I could actually gain on her if she would only run in a straight line and help break the force of wind that hindered me when she veered to the right or to the left.  Only a little farther, I thought, as we both chugged up a small slope on the grassy knoll.  Just then, Sissy's foot slipped and she nearly lost her balance as her gait mis-stepped and I went whisking passed her to run headlong into the play area with swings.  "I won, I won," I yelled as I jumped up and down on the uneven brown gravel which stretched underneath the four-seat swing set and extended over to the seesaw, the sand box and the monkey bars.

Sissy approached the swings with a slight limp and was quietly crying as she took hold of the swing's chains and lifted herself into the seat.  "Are you OK?" I asked as we both gasped to catch our breath.  "I didn't beat you fair and square.  If you hadn't slipped you would have won," I said, trying to comfort her.  After all, she was my big sister and if I wanted her to play with me ever again, I knew better then to make her angry.  "Hold tightly and I'll push you real high.  So high that you will touch the sky and I will run underneath you," I remember saying as we started to play.

That event happened in 1947 in Washington Park located on Northwestern Street in Indianapolis, Indiana, when Sissy was nine years old and I was eight.  The park was located across the street from Aunt Bea's house where we were visiting for the weekend.  Our mother and father liked to go dancing and they would often ship us off to Aunt Bea's so they could 'cut a rug' at the neighborhood juke joint.

In those days, it was safe to allow kids to play in areas a short distance from their houses as long as the  adult could see them or the children were within "yelling distance" of the house.  The playground area where we played could be seen from our front porch and every now and again, Aunt Bea would appear on the porch and wave to us.

Time passed quickly as my sister and I took turns pushing each other in the swings.  Soon, other kids joined us and we all would be having fun squealing and kicking gravel and running from one play area to another.  We would fall down and frolic in the tall grass and pick white and yellow dandelions on that bright sunny day in early March.

Without warning, an amazing sight appeared in the sky.  All the kids looked up over the cluster of bushes and saw about seven or eight brightly colored kites with beautiful streamers attached, flying silently and almost motionlessly in the blue sky.  The kite strings floated down towards us but disappeared over the next hill.  "Come on," Someone yelled:  Come on."  "Let's go see who's flying those kites."  So we all left our safe play area and took off running over the hill and out of sight and earshot of Aunt Bea.

Just over the hill we could see each kite string in the hands of a strong teenage boy who was maneuvering and jockeying for position and going with the flow of the wind as he pumped his kite higher and higher into the air.  There was a rhythm surrounding the young men as we watched in amazement.  When one moved to the left, seemingly they all moved to the left.  And with arms raised and bodies bent into the wind's current, they would all float back to the right.  Soon, we kids were drawn into their wake and found ourselves deeper and deeper into the bowels of the park and actually lost in its landscape.  No one was really aware that the sun was going down and evening was quickly approaching.  We were just too caught up in the excitement of the moment.

It was not until we reached a small pond where white ducks and geese were swimming did Sissy and I realize that we were in an area of the park that we had never ventured to before.  As our eyes met, our mouths flew open and our eyes grew bigger as we suddenly knew we were not only lost, but out of range to yell for our Auntie to find us.  What were we to do?  We ran to each other and said not a word.  We just embraced and began to cry.  The rest of the crowd moved on and were soon out of sight over the next hill.  We were now all alone, scared and frighten out of our wits.

Sissy guided me over to a tree and we sat down and stared at the ground.  In the stillness we could hear the wind ever so softly, calling our names.  Tears were streaming and the wind was faintly whispering, Sissyyyy...Snookyyy...Sissyyyy...Snookyyy.  At the second 'wind' call, Sissy and I were on our feet and running towards the sound.  We heard it again and again.  That's no wind, that's Aunt Bea we thought as our hearts raced and our feet took wings and flew us directly into her path.  We both ran smack into her massive thighs and almost knocked her down.  But her large body and her strong arms held firm.  Her mouth was set perched atop her lower lip as her right hand took hold of Sissy's collar and her left hand grabbed the back of my neck.  Without a word she marched us across the park and up the front steps of our front porch.  (To this day, I don't believe our feet ever touched the ground.)

You can imagine what happened to us once we were behind closed doors!

---------------------The End-------------------


There are so many ‘life lessons‘ in the above children’s story that if we truly disscet their meaning based on our own individual life experiences, they might warn us of whether or not we are in store for a trip to the ‘wood shed‘ for some sort of discipline by our Lord and Savior. So, please privately respond to the following ten questions:

1.	 Has your life been filled with ups and downs; successes and failures; lies and truths; 
                  love and hate; doubts and faith?
2.	What has caused you to slip and loose your gait?
3.	Has someone else received a reward you thought you earned?
4.	What was your reaction to the above question?
5.	Have you ever admitted to cheating or scamming anyone?
6.	Have you ventured into uncharted waters and almost drowned?
7.	Are you able to love your family, friends AND enemies?
8.	Can you turn the other cheek?
9.	Can you name and applaud your mentors?
10.   Have you endured a punishment that restricted your freedom?

Scripture Lesson: “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from The Master’s servant manager…Me!

God’s Nicknames Applied In Error

How do you (blindly) refer to God?

Oh, how disrespectful…how inconsiderate…how thoughtless…how embarrassing…how blasphemous!

Oh, you say, I would never do that. I would never apply a nickname to God, or refer to him with a cliche. Well, perhaps not knowingly, or intentionally, but how about innocently or mistakenly? Let me give you some examples and you count the ones that apply to you.

Examples of ways people sometimes apply nicknames to God…erroneously!

"The other day, I had to make a big decision.  I was already late for an important job interview and I had to make a choice as to whether to take the expressway to go downtown or to use the streets which was the longer way, but seemed less crowded with traffic.  Just then, 'something' said, take the streets.  I did! and sure enough, when I arrived at my appointment, the receptionist told me that my interviewer would be a little late because he texted that he was in a traffic jam on the expressway where a fatal  accident had just happened!  How's that for 'chance'?"

"You know, people often tell me that my 'insights' and 'intuitions' about a  matter are right on.  And my 'opinions' are sought out all the time.  I feel sooo 'lucky'!"

"Today, I had a really bad day at the office.  My boss threatened to fire me, but changed his mind at the last minute.  (Under my breath, I was 'cursing' him.)  Later, while on my way home from work, a driver cut right in front of me and almost made me have a car wreck.  I could have been killed!  Boy, was I 'fortunate'.   And to top it all off, when I got home, my wife reminded me that it was our night out and the babysitter was coming over.  By that time, I was so wired up I wanted to tell her to 'go shove it', but she looked so innocent, all I could 'reluctantly' say was okay, dear.  My whole day was ruined.  I guess the 'devil was in the details.'

Really now!!!  How about giving thanks to the Good  Lord above that He was  in the details...
Lessons learned...

Have you been guilty on occasion mistakenly referring to God as one of those words or phrases spoken within those quotes above? Have you ever robbed God from receiving all the honor and all the praise for his goodness, protection and guidance? If so, just remember that God is merciful and forgiving. Memorize the scripture written in Malachi 3:8: “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ ” in tithes and offerings(1).

Note: (1) Yes, you may pay your tithes. But how faithful are you in sending up “Offerings” of thanksgiving to God for his provisions, protection and insight?

Scripture Lesson:Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from The Master’s servant manager…Me!

God Carried Me On Eagle’s Wings

People Sharing Memories

It’s good to reminisce sometimes…don’t you think? You know, just to kick back and allow your mind to wander and to recall an assortment of events that have taken place in an earlier time in your past life. And, yes, your mind will conjure up some good times and some bad times and some regrettable times. Well, I found myself doing just that as I settled down to write this week’s blog. And of course, the Holy Spirit wasted no time in connecting me with the Second Person of the Trinity. Jesus Christ.

My first thoughts were of my (deceased) paternal grandmother. I remembered (when I was a youngster) how she loved for me to comb and scratch her hair in the afternoons as she sat in her wooden porch swing and hummed her favorite hymns. I loved that assignment because I dreamed of becoming a hairdresser when I grew up. Next, a scary and frightful thought crossed my mind as I remembered riding in the back seat of a car being driven by a neighbor and his wife. We were driving pretty fast on the express way when all of a sudden, the front hood of the car came unlatched and flew back onto our windshield and momentarily blinded the driver. We all started screaming. Somehow, the driver was able to safely steer the car over to the far right lane and onto the grass. I saw several cars veering around our car in an attempt to avoid a collision. Miraculously, no one was hurt.

My next thoughts were mostly about my later years when I became more active in my church. People would ask me how I remembered so much background about lineages and genealogies in the Bible or be able to ascertain the direction a particular character in the Bible would pursue. I remember telling that person that I always studied the Bible with a pencil and paper near by and I would jot down thoughts that would enter my mind concerning the chapters I read. To this day, I still study like that.

And that habit is what steered me to write about eagles in today’s blog.

Bible Verses About Eagles

As I began to catalogue the ‘eagle’ scriptures, I began to realize that God had been carrying me on eagle’s wings all my life. God had been my protector from all hurt, harm and danger. I also realized that though I may exalt myself like an eagle, there is no cleft in a rock where I can hide from Him.

Some Little Known Facts About The Eagle's Nest
                         By S. L. Fowler

Most birds build only one nest per year
Which cradles their eggs to be hatched
But some birds build two or three new homes in a season
Because they are more industrious than the rest.

The Bald Eagle uses the same nest year after year
And is known to be a monogamous creature
This bird of prey possesses keenness of vision
Which helps her to spot her prey and make wise decisions.

America's national symbolic bird builds her nest
High in the cleft of mountaintops or in a very tall and sturdy tree
And each year the eagle keeps the nest in repair
By applying more and more materials to the existing aerie.

You can imagine that in just a few short years
After continuously adding new branches and mud
The eagle's nest would be so massive and heavy
Many scientists believe it could possibly weigh a ton.

As I studied the Holy Bible, I became mesmerized with God’s word and just how much he had to say about birds and especially eagles. And once when I was a member of a writer’s group, I wrote the above short poem about the eagle. The bible’s depiction of eagles is voluminous: they are creatures of strength; having broad wings of protection; keen eye sight for searching; the capability to soar to great heights; wreak havoc with his mighty claws; and remain for a life-time with one mate and one nest. But what is most amazing about the eagle is that it can hide from predators by flying directly into the blinding glare of sun rays.

My prayer for you…

Dear Heavenly Father, how wonderful it is that You speak to us personally through Your Word, during our life time. And that we can respond to You metaphorically through the Word. It is our desire that You teach us to spend more time with You in this way and to hear Your voice speaking to us personally each and every day of our lives. Amen.

Scripture Lesson: “The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks. Though you build your nest as high as the eagle’s, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 49:16

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from The Master’s servant manager…Me!

God Challenges Us To Become Bridge Builders

Bridge Building Should Become A Part Of Your DNA (#WordPrompt)*

Do you believe that since Jehovah God is the God over all people and places, should not his devoted followers be challenged by God to become bridge builders and to more and more live a life of servitude to whomever we meet along the way? Knowing that such encounters by his followers will open their eyes and strengthen their hearts to become more Christ-like in so doing.

Personally, I am a witness that this is true.

During the summer of 2012, I traveled to Amman, Jordan, with a very dear friend of mine (we will call her Naomi) and her teenage son. Since Naomi is a native born Jordanian and owns property in Amman, we were privileged to stay in her home while visiting there. Naomi immigrated to the United States from Amman after she became a widow some years ago. Nevertheless, she keeps close ties with her biological family and friends who remain in Jordan.

A story of Bridge building impromptu…

One afternoon while attending a house prayer meeting in one of Naomi’s friend’s home, the services were interrupted. An announcement was made that more than a few Syrian refugees had fled their country in the north and had migrated down into Amman. We were told that many of the Syrian refugees had arrived from their country with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. I was amazed at how quickly the prayer services turned into a volunteer rescue mission headquarters.

Without hesitation, the pastor shepherding the group called for the secretary to pull up a table and chair and be seated. He proceeded to ask the small congregation gathered there what food supplies, clothing items and monetary gifts they could donate to help assist these migrant people. I heard shouts of medical supplies, shoes, clothing, sundry items, bibles, monetary contributions, baby formulas and eye glasses. I even heard someone shout mobile transportation and another, room and board.

No church parishioner asked what denomination the upheaved sojourners were affiliated with. No church member called for a meeting with the Trustee Board. No church clerk wanted to make a report on how much money was allotted in the church budget for this kind of unexpected philanthropy distribution.

A miracle in the making…

What I witnessed was one “Bridge Builder” at a time, in that house of God, volunteering to be counted among the saints and Barnabas for the work of the Lord. The generosity of those congregants overwhelmed me! And I had tears in my eyes. I vowed then and there that although I had arrived in Amman, Jordan, with two suitcases, I would return to the United States with none. Additionally, I had already presented a modest monetary contribution, funded by myself and my home church back in the states, which I presented to the Amman church. Yes, I left everything I had packed in my suitcases right there in the city of Amman for those persons less fortunate.

I shall never forget that experience. It was like a dream where I was surrounded by angels. Nothing but “Bridge Builders for the Kingdom of God” were in attendance! One nation of peoples helping to shore up another nation of people! And thanks be to God for allowing me to have been a part of his bridge building project.

My Prayer for you…

Dear Jesus, thank You so much for loving us. And please continue to help us to experience opportunities that will equip us to better and more intimately know You. Continue to allow us, as You allowed Your servant Paul, to develop a personal and intimate relationship with You that broadens our understanding of Your suffering, power to overcome and resurrection from the dead. The true incident of the Syrian refugees and the generosity of the Jordanians was truly a revelation on how to show love to our fellowman and how to build bridges that can help to promote Your holy word to others. We ask these blessings in the precious Name of Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Scripture Lesson: “If it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:8

Click  http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from The Master’s servant manager…Me!

(*) Note: My blog host, WordPress, suggested a #WordPrompt (Bridge) for their bloggers to blog about for the month of March 2022.


You are welcome to use my bridge. #WordPrompt (*)
Where are you headed?

Imagine this! Let’s suppose that everyone in today’s society is going on a journey. Before embarking on this venture each traveler must register their affiliation with one of two very different societies characterized by its idealistic approach to moral and/or immoral living. Also, each person must declare their travel status. Are you traveling under the guise of a Migrant or an Immigrant?

How to know where you stand…first, realize whatever your status, you are going to need help!

I used the word ‘guise‘ because many people apply conflicting interpretations to these two words. So, allow me to impart to you a bit of advice. Once you start your journey, you will need two things: an identification card bearing your name and status, as well as access to an Infinity Bridge.

Did you know that as people cross the bridges of life their sojourn can be as a migrant today and as an immigrant tomorrow? If you are traveling as a Migrant, no matter where you go, you can always go back to your original place of origin and resume your life. But, if you decide to leave your place of origin and permanently settle down where you have immigrated to, your traveler status has now changed and you are referred to as an Immigrant. This designation means if you have legally entered this country, you can be granted permission to stay and work there without restrictions.

Reasons why you need access to an Infinity Bridge…

Since the journey for every card carrying traveler will be inflicted with setbacks and detours, an imaginary bridge named Infinity will be at their disposal at all times, and each traveler will always be welcome to use it. To access the bridge you must show your card which declares your current citizenship and reason for traveling.

This Infinity Bridge is safe and is necessary for traveling because it is limitless and has no beginning and no ending. However, each traveler will be required to pay a toll every few miles. There will be signs posted along the bridge advising when it is time to pay. The price of each toll is for the traveler (whether on the road as a Migrant or Immigrant) is required to speak directly into a voice box affixed to the bridge; declare their traveling status and reflect on how the social mores (immoral and/or moral) of each locale he or she has visited thus far, have influenced their perception on life. Just how are they viewing the world collectively. What sound measures were necessary to navigate safely and responsively through it.

At this juncture, the traveler should also assess whether or not he is traveling on the right bridge and if it is taking him in the direction he wishes to go. Other signs along the bridge will remind the traveler to get an understanding about different circumstances in life and the various ways available to him as to how they can be followed, circumvented, improved upon, mimicked or discarded.

Finally, the traveler may encounter a law enforcer who has the authority to remove him from the bridge or to issue him a citation. The traveler’s civil infractions may cause him or her to be detained for a short period of time. But know this, the ultimate critique of whether a migrant or immigrant is living an immoral or moral life comes from a much Higher Power. He is known as the Keeper of the Bridge. The One Who can set speed limits, repair potholes, revoke traffic sentences, issue pardons, right wrongs and hand out rewards. So, another suggestion for the travelers is for them to keep a copy of the ‘Traveler’s Handbook For Life‘ in their backpack. They should review it every few miles and remain on the Infinity Bridge. Do not detour off of it neither to the right nor to the left.

(You may wish to categorize the above allegory as a story that has a hidden meaning typically concerning moral and political views. And you would be correct in so doing. Therefore, please allow me to send up a quick prayer of forgiveness for intruding into your private space. Straight forward talking about ‘bridges’ is not my forte.)

Dear All-knowing God of us all: There is nothing too hard for you. We come on bended knee confessing that we have neglected the stranger among us. (I’m a witness, because I, too, have been a foreigner in a strange land.) But now, Sweet Jesus, it is our hope that You will equip all mankind to strive to build bridges and not barriers, to show love and not be loathsome, to be filled with your Spirit and not emboldened with self-righteousness.

Please unite us into a spirit of togetherness realizing that we are all fellow citizens in a state of transition through a strange land, trying to find a permanent home. Unite our hearts, souls and minds to become more like You. Constantly remind us, Lord Jesus, that You are that Bridge over troubled waters whose steel pylons were not made by human hands. Amen

Sturdy steel bridge pylons able to support the weight of the world.

And finally, my friends, I wish you farewell and hope your journey will be a fruitful one. But most of all it is my desire that your bridge is well anchored in a sure foundation.

Scripture Lesson “You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence; with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from The Master’s servant manager…Me!.

(*) Note: My blog host, WordPress, suggested a #WordPrompt (Bridge) for their bloggers to blog about for the month of March 2022.