A deviated septum is one of the most common facial or sinus issues in the world today. The septum in the nose was designed to divide the nasal cavity. Unfortunately, it is extremely fragile. There are routinely 3 million cases a year diagnosed, and the biggest problem faced are the following symptoms: difficulty breathing, repeated sinus infections, nasal congestion, frequent nose bleeds, headaches, post-nasal drips, and noisy respirations/breathing. It is also one of the leading causes of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea results in periods where breathing stops as a person sleeps at night, and in very severe cases with sleep apnea going untreated, people could die.

Seems like a slippery slope. Break your nose and die… All of it can be avoided by a simple surgery to mend the broken or crooked areas in your nose.

I will go before thee and make the crooked places straight: (Isaiah 45:2 KJV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

At times the direction of our lives seem hazy. Nothing seems to make sense. We attempt to set off on the journey of life multiple times, but constantly find ourselves lost, broken down, and almost always back at square one (if we are lucky). Jesus simply requests that we place our trust in him and he will straighten things out.

Peter started out walking on water… this was trusting in Jesus for sure. Then he forgot about Jesus, and began to focus on his surroundings. He ended up in an exceeding more dangerous situation. Then he remembered to trust in Jesus again.

Abraham left his homeland, family, and comfort… trusting and believing the promises made by Almighty God. Then, things did not unfold fast enough, he created a mess, and ended up in a difficult situation. Then he remembered to trust God again.

How often do we do the same thing? We set out with good intentions. Jesus is leading us, and we trust him completely. Then life punches us square in the nose. We cannot even breath correctly anymore. We run into the infections of sin. We begin to stop using our lifeline to God, and we begin to have pauses in our spiritual life. We run the risk of spiritual death, and if we are not careful, we are lulled to sleep by the hectic pace of life that we have grown accustomed.

Our lives do not have to end here. Even King David’s life did not end with adultery, dishonesty, and murder. Jacob’s life was not finished when he was lying and stealing. Matthew’s life did not end with being a tax collector and hated by his countrymen. You read where all of these gentlemen from Peter to Matthew suffered. They were broken, and really only needed the simple fix of Jesus Christ intervening.

The Lord is near to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

He heals the broken hearted, and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners. (Isaiah 61:1)

It is clear that brokenness will occur in our lives, and it is obvious that pain and suffering will almost certainly occur. It may be self-inflicted, or come from the hand of others. One thing is certain, Jesus Christ will always set things straight. There may be some pain involved in the repair work, but you will breath again with ease. You can overcome the infections of sin, and will be able to fully trust in your amazing Savior, Jesus Christ, once again. Peter was given the keys to the kingdom. Abraham received his promise with Isaac. David was the man after God’s heart, and forefather in the lineage of Jesus Christ (As was Abraham and Jacob). Jacob became a prince with God. Matthew went from being a traitor and a thief to being an Apostle and author. He wrote a book some of you might have read at the beginning of the New Testament.

How will your story end? Will you allow your brokenness lead to the destruction of God’s plan for you, or will you learn to trust again?

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future… (Jeremiah 29:11)

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever- do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalm 138:8)

Allow Jesus Christ to heal and straighten things out in you. He will set everything right, and His plan for you will be fulfilled.

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I am pretty certain if I were to become a chef I would want to be a saucier. This is one of the most important positions in my  opinion because the primary responsibilities are to prepare the sauces, hot hors d’oeuvres, and also to sauté food to order. Plain and simple, this guy adds the flare to any meal that you eat.

I can remember approximately 10-12 years ago working as a waiter while I was going to nursing school, and working for a restaurant that leaned towards fine dining. It had fantastic food, and the owner was a really great chef. My favorite meal that he would cook involved marsala sauce, but he also specialized in a madeira sauce as well. It honestly did not bother me what kind of meat I was eating as long as it had one of these sauces poured over the top.

I had never paid attention to how the sauces were made. I reaped the benefits of recommending the meal to patrons, because I knew without doubt that their taste buds would be pleased with the choice. It was not until one morning I came to the restaurant early to help set up for a large party that I was going to be serving, and began to watch the chef prepare the sauce 3-4 hours before the restaurant even opened. It was a long process. The sauce started out with quite a bit more fluid in the pot than what was left in the finished product. The temperature had to be just right, and you could not speed up the process. But if you were patient, it always turned out just right.

As I was praying the other night about what the future holds, an image of a pot on a stove with a sauce reducing came to mind. (For my stomach’s sake I imagined it was a great marsala sauce.) Portions of scripture that I have read over the years began to tumble into the forefront of my mind. Specifically, Gideon. He was tasked with facing the enemy, and leading the children of Israel to victory. God had promised that he would be the vessel that he was going to use for victory, but the process that God put Gideon through was difficult for him to grasp. Not only did God have to prove some things to Gideon, but then after convincing him, he took away all of his resources. He reduced Gideon almost to nothing, but once he got him where he wanted him, he was able to work the miraculous through the leadership of Gideon.

John the Baptist was a dynamic individual. Everyone that he came in contact with remembered him. He was big time. People were coming in multitudes to hear him speak, but John caught on to something. He knew for the kingdom of God to be accomplished he had to get out of the way. John 3:30 states, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John understood that people needed more of Jesus Christ, and not John the Baptist. He was wildly popular, but he retired early and humbled himself. He was comfortable with the fact that the kingdom of God was advancing, and he was fulfilling his purpose.

As I was praying, it became clear to me that God is and has been reducing me to the place where he can accomplish his plans. It is hard sometimes to realize that the biggest obstacle that I have had in accomplishing God’s perfect plan for my life has been myself. As I thought about the idea of reducing and pondering on John’s words about decreasing, I realized that God has been working on me for some time. At times I have thrown in ingredients into the “sauce” that were not in his recipe, and I know can look back and realize where God had to essentially start over in neutralizing what I had ruined.

The most amazing thing to me is God is still working, and cares immensely how my life will turn out. He has had to stir some things out of my life, and stir some other things into my life, but he knows how everything is suppose to work out. I have often times become impatient with the process, and do not understand how others have seemingly been a more intricate part of God’s immediate plan. I am then quickly reminded by our savior of a pot sitting on a stove. It is cooking a wonderful sauce, and when it is finished is going to change someone’s world (if it’s a good chicken marsala, it should).

Psalm 46:10 states, “Be still, and know that I am God…” Timing is everything. Everyone is different. God’s perfect plan for everyone is different. Your life may not take as much “reducing” as mine, but I know that I can be still and understand that Jesus Christ is the master chef. He knows exactly how long I need to be on the burner. He knows the exact temperature I can withstand. It is up to me to allow God to remove things incompatible with his plan.

I truly want Jesus Christ to continue to reduce me to accomplish his plans for my life.

As I was working today, I walked into a room that was dimly lit. Naturally I flipped on the lights. Only after flipping on all the lights was I able to see that there was a man already in the room that I thought was empty. The man exclaimed, “I didn’t even realize it was dark!”

I know it sounds crazy, but I instantly thought about how we go through life thinking that we are seeing things clearly, and yet, there is so much more that we should have noticed. I wondered how much had I missed that was in full view, but was hidden because I did not have all the “lights” turned on in my life.

It is easy to get used to walking around with the lights dimmed. We have a general idea of what is around us, and we neglect to worry about the details around us. We become used to a normal that was never intended to be.

Dimly lit areas allow shadows to creep in its territory. It allows things to hide innocently that can creep out of no where and make us fall. The falls can be minor where we sustain minor bruises or scrapes, and we quickly recover from them. Other times, catastrophe occurs. We sustain debilitating injuries that cause us to be crippled for some time, and at times they can leave behind life-long scars.

We do not have to live this way. There is an easy fix… Turn on the lights.

My wife teases me and sometimes scolds me, because I turn every light on in the house, and often times forget to turn them off. Why do I do this you might ask? Ultimately, because I hate surprises. I do not like stepping on a child’s toy, or stub my toe on a piece of furniture. I have lived in my house long enough that I am capable of getting around in the dark without much effort, but at times slight changes can be made, and I do not expect to step on a new toy from a McDonald’s Happy Meal, and I sustain a deep tissue injury to the sole of my foot, or a slightly sprained ankle from twisting it. It is not pleasant, and could have been avoided if I would have simply flipped a switch.

The same can be said of walking through life without allowing God to fully take over our lives. We have dimly lit surroundings. We may be able to see some things, but until we fully allow God to be present in our lives we are destined to live in a twilight of sorts. Jesus in John 8:12 states, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

It was never God’s intention for us to be blind to the surroundings we face. Psalm 119:105 states, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:30, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” He gives us everything that we need in the Bible to navigate our journey. He does not want us to be nicked and bruised, or sustain injuries. He wants us to be able to walk through our lives with confidence knowing even if we do not know where we are headed, we at least are able to clearly visualize our surroundings.

John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Light will never lose against darkness. The second light appears, darkness must leave. It has no choice. It cannot debate any issue, but it has to pack up its bags and vacate the premises immediately.

It is our job today to turn the light on in our lives. The Holy Ghost will fill us and illuminate everything around us.  It allows us to push back the darkness in our lives, as well as, see into the lives of those we come in contact with and share the light of truth. One of the greatest things about light is it keeps reaching as far as it can extend. When we allow the light to illuminate our lives, by proxy, it will begin to eradicate the darkness and shadows of the friends and love ones in which we draw near.

Turn on the light today. Allow God, to get rid of the shadows in your world. You are not just helping your own vision, but you are shedding light on people that did not even realize they were stumbling through their surroundings.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.- Philippians 4:13

Over the past month and a half I have been teaching out of the book of Philippians with my class at church. Our overall goal for studying Philippians was to mature as Christians. If you have never read through Acts 16 concerning the formation of the church in Philippi, and then really went through the letter to the Philippians, I strongly encourage you to do so sooner than later.

The past few weeks have been traumatic at best for my family and myself. I lost a cousin that I was only recently able to reconnect with on a level that we had so enjoyed as kids. This has been extremely difficult, and obviously the questions have flown through my head about… How could God let this happen? or Jesus, do you really know what you are doing? These questions often present themselves at times of despair, and when we are hurting the most. As I was preparing to eulogize my cousin, God gently nudged me back towards Paul’s letter the Philippians. He directed me to think of the good things from my cousin’s life, and let him sort out everything else.

As I prepared to wrap up Philippians with my group, I came to verse 13 of chapter 4. A scripture that is often used an encouragement, and I am sure is on approximately 89% of all Christian greeting cards. This verse did not really help me. I struggled with the idea of even being able to finish this series, because I did not want to face this scripture due to the loss that I had felt, and the hurt I knew my extended family was going through at this exact time. I did not feel like I could really accomplish anything in Christ…

Then I looked at verses 4-8 and 12 of the same chapter, and things became a lot clearer to me.

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.- Philippians 4:4

Really Paul? Always. How in the world could you write this? Do you have any idea how I am feeling right now? 2 Corinthians 11:23-25 quickly came to my mind. He suffered the following things: labours more abundant, stripes above measure, in prison more frequently, close to death often, 5 times the Jews gave him 39 lashes, three times he was beaten with rods, once stoned to death (or so they thought), and three times he was on a shipwreck was lost at sea. Paul, how in the world can you find the ability to rejoice in the Lord in your distress?

The church in Philippi was established only after Paul after being tortured was placed in the inner prison. Not only imprisoned but in stocks that literally were fashioned to place him in so much agony that he would be at the brink of passing out. Yet he still found the ability to sing praises of thanksgiving to God with Silas. An earthquake happened, and a jailer was converted.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.- Philippians 4:6-7

It is extremely difficult not to have fears and worries as we go through life. I have experience fear and worry plenty of times. The problem I usually encounter is Jeffrey Youngblood. I toil away trying to solve my own issues, anxieties, or worries, or my families worries without really turning to the only one that can truly fix my issues. Superman had kryptonite, and worry and anxiety have something that will destroy them as well. Paul lined it out for us. When we are bringing our prayers and petitions to God, also known as our worries and fears, Paul said that it is imperative that we throw thanksgiving into the mix. I know that the Bible does not go into detail exactly how Paul and Silas were doing in the inner prison in Acts 16, but I can imagine that they were not just singing praises of thanksgiving to God. I am sure there were prayers mixed in there as well that reminded God of the situation they were facing, and the immediate need of his intervention.

Paul reported that when we are able to begin to thank God in the midst of our storms and troubles, we can immediately be able to expect the Prince of Peace to show up in our situation. The peace that is provided transcends all of the worries and fears that we have been harboring, and allows us to trust in his plan.

Job had lost seemingly everything of importance to him, but we find in his dilemma thanksgiving in Job 1:21 stating, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

David was running for his life, and hiding in a cave with a bunch of disgruntled outlaws, but we find him saying the following in Psalm 34:1, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”

Paul knew that God Almighty had to intervene. He may not take the situation away from us, and he may not restore the things that had been, but he knew that in our darkest trials we could simply offer thanksgiving to God. Our shepherd would show up and guide us through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with a peace that transcends all human understanding.

As the peace of God envelopes our situation, Paul teaches us that there are more things to do. In Philippians 4:8 he tells us that we need to have a change in mindset. A change in how we think. We must stop thinking on the worse-case scenarios, and the negatives that are so frequently surrounding us, and think on the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.

It is so easy to go with the rhetoric at hand. It is so easy to join up in the negativity that we hear on an almost continuous pattern everywhere we turn. Paul said that had to change.

Paul again reminds us in verse 12 that he had highs and lows that he had faced in life, but he had been able to understand how to be content. He had camped out in extremely wealthy homes like Lydia’s, and also been prison more often than not, but he understood that he was unstoppable in the will of God.

We can do all things through Christ. In order to get to that mindset we must be able to rejoice in the Lord in any situation, lay our fears and worries mixed with thanksgiving into the hands of Jesus, and allow the peace of God to envelop our lives, thinking on the good things in life.

I have to be honest… I still do not understand the ways of God, but that is not my burden to bear. I simply must be able to recognize that he is sovereign, and that he understands the purpose he has for my life, and to rejoice in the grace he has already bestowed on me way too many times. Trials and heartache may and will come, but I simply must hand them over to Jesus thanking him for his peace and protection. His peace covers everything. This knowledge enables me to be content, knowing Jesus Christ holds my future, and I truly am able to do anything that Jesus Christ has planned for my life.

 

snoqualmie-falls

I have always been fascinated with water. I have always been enamored by rainfall, waterfalls, streams, ponds, lakes, rivers, and even mud puddles. This is something that I have successfully passed on to Griffin. Water puddles are not safe if Griffin is around. They have a magnetic force that draws him directly into it. Whenever we go to the park close to our home, we always end up next to the stream that runs through the park, and we throw rocks or sticks right in the middle of it just to see the ripple effects and the splash that is produced. This is not just for Griffin’s enjoyment, but it is for mine as well.

There is something that really is mesmerizing about how water flows. The sounds it makes. I can remember the time that our family went to Washington State, Vancouver, and Victoria Island. Snoqualmie Falls, though, was my favorite part. It was a towering water fall that was deafening the closer you came to it. It was breath-taking. Some of my most memorable moments on vacation centered around white-water rafting, Niagara Falls, clear waters of the Caribbean, or just a simple hot tub or pool.

Solomon is considered the wisest man that has walked on this planet next to Jesus. I am almost certain he, just like Griffin and myself, was captivated by water, and how it could be controlled and manipulated.

The King’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:1-3 ESV)

Solomon compared our hearts to free flowing water. He reported that our hearts should be able to be directed easily by the hands of God; just as water is able to be directed. Water can take on whatever form you want it to take, it can fill a creek bed and trickle into something a little larger. Water does not take shape, but it can fill any shape that you pour it into. Solomon states that our lives should easily be poured out wherever God sees fit.

I think too many times we wrestle our hearts away from the hands of God. His will is for us  to be poured out in certain places, and splash over into someone’s life, but we do things our own way. We may not realize what God is trying to accomplish in our lives, so we start to try to divert the water (our hearts) to a place where we fill like we should be headed. On top of that we pollute the water so much with the junk that we accumulate in our lives. The sins and weights that the author of Hebrews talked about in chapter 12 that we should be laying aside begins to ruin our heart, and make it so polluted that things begin to stop flowing and stagnation happens.

For many years the way that my family for years drove to church had a small lake that would take us near the spill way. Every time there was substantial rain for the first time in some time, it would spill over into some of the nastiest waters you have ever smelled in your life. The stench was horrible. My two brothers and myself would immediately start punching each other thinking that one of the other had decided to bless us with a stink bomb. We quickly realized that this particular time was not a stink bomb, but that the waters had been stirred and the stale nasty water was finally moving around.

Frequently, I can look at myself in the mirror, and think that I am looking at a pretty decent product. Solomon felt the same way. Our ways seem right, and we have convinced ourselves that we are doing things correctly. Everyone around us may see something that looks good as well, but when the Lord starts looking at us, he is only concerned about one thing… our heart. I know there have been frequent times that my life has become stagnant before God, and everything seemed to be going ok. Then God in his mercy would send fresh water in my direction and stir up the waters of my heart, and help me realize I was not flowing the way he had designed me to flow. I had to assess myself and find the areas of my life where too many pollutants had built up, or where I had built up a dam of sorts to my heart where God could not flow through my life.

I know that God really only requires a few things in my life. Samuel told King Saul that God requires obedience and not sacrifice, and this was passed on from David to Solomon. Jesus Christ weighs, or in another translation it says that he “ponders” our heart. He is not looking at the things that everyone else sees, but he is simply looking at the part of our lives that is compared to water. He does not care if we look the part, or have everyone else in our lives fooled, or have “done so much for the kingdom of God.” He knows exactly where we are, and knows exactly where he wants us.

I do not want to block the flow of God in my life. Our existence comes from Him. He breathed the breath of life into me. He filled me with his spirit. He asks that we make ourselves available to him to pour out or direct us however he sees fit.

For in him we live and move and have our being… (Acts 17:28)

Water does not have a form but fills and conforms to the vessel it is placed. Our hearts are the exact same way. They should easily fill whatever purpose and plan that Jesus Christ has for our lives.

The few weeks after Thanksgiving until January are quite possibly the busiest time of the year. I know in the past few weeks, Candace and I have been involved in helping with at least three Christmas parties. On top of these things, there is always the shopping that is being accomplished. I am relatively certain that Tyler, Texas has some of the most idiotic drivers on the face of the planet. My commute to work normally takes 5 minutes, but from Thanksgiving until January, it can taken anywhere from 15-30 minutes! Everyone you see is in a hurry. Candace recounted a story of nearly being run over in the parking lot in a pedestrian crosswalk, and the individual in the car proceeded to curse my wife out. People are too stressed.

On Tuesday I finally was able to have a break from the norm, and scheduled a half day at the golf course. It was a perfect wintery day of approximately 70 degrees and sunny. I was pretty excited, until one of the most embarrassing things in the history of man kind happened to me… I ran out of gas. This has happened to me two other times, but this is the first time that I honestly had no idea I was low on gas, and needed to fill up soon (The other two times, I was broke and was trying to stretch the money too far).

My truck is well equipped in notifying me that I need more fuel. There is a gauge that is working properly that the needle was beneath the “E,” and I have an alarm that goes off as well and a display that says, “low fuel.” I completely disregarded the gauge, and the warning display was covered up with a picture of Candace and myself on our wedding. I missed it completely.

This is how life happens, we are having a perfect day. The weather is perfect. Golf is in the forecast, and nothing seems to be wrong with the way things are going, but it is so common this time of year to experience  the sensation of running on fumes. We try to stretch ourselves so thin. We place a smile on our face and we race from one thing to another always trying to allow everyone to know that our lives are so well put together, and that people should envy the positions that we are in currently. We can push on through the things and never take the time to do a self assessment, and realize that there are things that are running low in our lives. We ignore the warnings and we mute the alarms, and eventually we find ourselves unable to move forward.

Isaiah 9:6 states, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

I know it sounds cliché and we hear it so often this time of year, but we have already been given the most incredible gift in the history of the world. God robed himself in flesh and decided to come hang out with us. Aka Emmanuel. Jesus Christ was born, and everything that we ever needed became available.

We rush through this time of year, and I have heard multiple people say, “I cannot wait until Christmas is over,” and they have diminished one of the reasons salvation is even possible for us to a few days where they have to spend time and money on people who they may or may not like. Christmas is not a few days out of the year, but it is a monumental occasion that we celebrate, because if Jesus Christ had not been born, he could not have sacrificed himself, and we would not access to forgiveness of our sins and the possibility of salvation.

The Gospel of John says it best I believe, John 10:10 states, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Time seems stolen all the time. I have felt like I was behind in so many aspects of life this past year. It seemed like that goals I had for myself, and planned happiness was snatched away from me. The problem that we all face is away from Jesus Christ directing our steps, we will feel robbed at every turn. We feel like the tanks of our life are constantly on empty, and we never are completely filling back up, but only putting enough in to make it to the next day.

Jesus had no intentions of us living this way. When he came, and Isaiah foretold he would be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace, Isaiah was not saying Jesus would call himself that, but that we would be the ones calling him these things. I, in my own life, can testify that Jesus Christ been all of these things in my life in the past year. I have been able to describe Jesus in this manner to those around me in the past few weeks, and really believe what I was saying. Christmas happened, because Jesus wanted to give us life that was fulfilling and abundant. He never meant for us to run on fumes and to feel so empty at times.

What do you need this Christmas time? Do you feel like you are running low, and have tried to conceal as long as possible the need you require assistance? Paul stated in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Because of Jesus Christ, we have need for nothing. We no longer have to run on fumes, but at all times have a Savior that is ready and willing to fill our lives in abundance, and he is also really good at repairing the messes we create on our own without Jesus in our lives.

Do not break down this season. Allow Jesus to fill you to the brim. Stop allowing life to be stolen away, but place your hope in my Savior, Jesus Christ. He has abundant life ready for you, and a fulfillment that will last for eternity.

Merry Christmas!

 

Over the past few weeks I have been reading in Psalms, 1 Samuel, and 2 Samuel. I have learned a lot from David. Some things good, some things inspiring, and some things that I should never do in my life time. One of the most common things that I have found about David is that he understood exactly who he was, and because of that he knew exactly how incredible it was that he had a relationship with God Almighty.

I was reading in Psalm 56 this week and the following verses captivated my attention: 11) in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12) I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. 13) For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. 

These verses impacted me in such a heavy way this week. David is such an amazing man, and his story is incredible. When I have tried to make a picture of the life of David in my mind, I finally was able this week to settle on a roller-coaster. His life is filled with incredible highs and lows, and then before you know there is turns that come out of no where and tunnels of complete darkness. As you read his story, you never really know what will be happening next. There is only one thing that I have found to be constant in the life of David, and that is his desire to please God.

By the time David penned Psalm 56, he had been through the following situations in his life: killed a lion; killed a bear; was anointed king; as a teen-ager, saved his country from their enemies, single-handedly; he married into the royal family; he had a deranged father-in-law that attempted to murder him several times (I am so glad that I cannot relate on this issue); he lived in exile with a bunch of losers; he lost his best friend; he was crowned king; he was mocked by his wife for his worship to God; he committed adultery and lost a child from this sin; his daughter was raped; and two of his other sons were killed. This list does have some good in it, but there are lot of very difficult things that David had to face.

Through all of the hardships and heartache that David faced, he was still able to say emphatically that his trust lied solely in God. He had no doubt in his mind that God was in control, and he did not fear what a mere man could threaten him, because he knew that he was able to at any moment cry out to his savior. The Psalms are littered with passages of David pouring out his heart to God, and in these passages, David is quick to thank God for his goodness and mercy. He was able to say that even though he walked through the valley of the Shadow of Death, he did not have to fear because God himself walked beside him. He also knew that God had goodness and mercy trailing after him. He knew that God was his refuge and strength, and that in times of chaos and distress that his Lord would be an ever present help to him.

David was able to look back over everything that had happened in his life, and realize that God had been in control. That is why in verse 12 he stated that he must perform his vows. It was not a vow of oppression. It was not a vow that David felt obligated to keep because he felt like God would lash out at him, but it was a vow to God that he would restrain himself to avoid making the same sinful and hurtful mistakes he had made in times past, because he wanted to live his life in a holy and acceptable manner. It was a thank offering to God.

It was a thank offering of incredible proportions. This was not a one time thank you card that David sent, but David had decided that everyday he would live his life in a way that expressed to God that he was thankful for his intervention and providence in his life.

David was so flawed, but so passionate about God. God in return loved David, and provided us an example of how much he cares for every single one of his hand-made creations. Psalm 8:4 states, “What is man that thou art mindful of him?” I often times think the same thing on an almost daily basis in my life.

I have been far from perfect, and have made some horrible decisions that placed some really negative consequences in my life, but one thing has never changed… Jesus Christ has always been willing to forgive me and love me and has drawn close to me when I have tried to come closer to him.

I am so thankful this year that I have a Savior that loves me. I do not deserve this compassion and love, but he gives it freely. The best and only real way that I can try to pay him back is have a lifestyle that is a continual thank offering for him to see. I want my words to be few, and my living to be full of thanks.

I have much to be thankful for. Candace and Griffin are at the very top of that list. Jesus was so mindful of me when he allowed me to have them in my life. If he never gives me anything else, he already did more than I could ask. I have more than enough reason to have a year and life of thanksliving.