Thankful Thursday: My Tallest Mountain

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

I was fried Lord…



And consumed with worry.

As I followed the familiar route into my office earlier this week, my chest tightened while my mind raced; methodically detailing each project and deadline that loomed ahead of me, and allowing those shadowy voices of foreboding to gain audience in my heart.

“It’s not the mountains that you face that are the obstacles Phil, it’s your doubts.” You interrupted…

The world paused for a second; my thoughts held hostage by Your statement…

And then I realized You were right… I’ve been my own tallest mountain.

You know my needs Lord, far better than I do…

And yet, I often view the trials and challenges in my life as if I’m the only one who understands,

As if I’m facing them on my own;

Allowing those whispers of self-doubt to draw me into myself,

And obscuring me from knowing Your loving hand in every facet of my life.

Help me climb that lonely mountain Father;

To scale its craggy face and stand high upon the summit,

Boldly facing all life’s moments in Your steadfast company.

Such is my prayer Lord… In Your precious name,


As I continue to list some of Your many Blessings in my life Father, my heart swells with the recognition of finding Your loving hand in more and more places every day.  And while I know that my existence is awash in Your grace Lord, this week I want to give special thanks for:

691. Both my boys having the opportunity to attend Camp Pecometh this summer.

692. An inexpensive repair to our air conditioner.

693. Shannon having a safe flight home from Florida.

694. An inexpensive update to Lightroom 5 that was released last week.

695. A wonderful Father’s Day spent with people I love.

696. Wonderful photo opportunities while walking in Blackbird State Forest last week.

697. Watching the sunrise over Port Mahon this past Saturday morning.

698. Your protecting and healing presence while a friend of ours recovers from surgery that was performed last week.

699. The Histiocytosis groups on Facebook that allow us to share information, encouragement and prayers for other families dealing with LCH.

700. The encouraging comments I’ve been receiving regarding my photography work on

701. Your protecting and comforting hand as I drove through some very severe weather last Thursday.

702. Your patience with me.

703. The opportunity I had to watch and photograph an osprey flying in to feed it’s young at Port Mahon.

704. New glasses for Jonathan.

705. The wonderful message and discussion about living in a state of gratefulness at our “Where Two or Three Are Gathered” Tuesday night small group.

… And for so very much more.

I Thank You Lord.

~Phather Phil

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Thankful Thursday: Missing the Point

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

I fear Lord, that we miss the point far too often…

Jesus taught us to reach out to all those in need… Yet, we find ways to justify being selective with our service to others.

You make it very clear through Scripture that Your primary desire for our lives is to love… But more often than not we cling to judgment in its stead.

As the body of Christ, the church’s mission is to act as the hands and feet of Jesus and aid one another on our walk to You … However far too regularly that directive is tainted by individual ambitions and agendas.

We sit in condemnation of the sins of those around us, feeling superior for our elevated moral perspective… All the while completely missing the plank sticking out of our own eye.

We dwell on legalism and focus on how many Bible verses we can recite on command… Instead of praying for Your truths contained therein to guide our hearts…

And yet, even with all that corruption peppering our mortal lives Father…

You love us,

And comfort us.

You shower us in your mercy,

And fill our world with signs of that gracious love.

Thank You Father.

From Christ’s perfect example, the presence of the Holy Spirit within us and the blessings you pile upon us each and every day, I pray we draw ever closer to Your true intent…

And get the point.

As I continue to list some of Your many blessings in my life Father, this week I’d like to give thanks for:

676. Your nourishing and cleansing rain which is helping our new garden grow.

677. A wonderful “ministry moment” while chatting with a friend the other night.

678. Your perfect timing, even when I don’t recognize it.

679. A safe and uneventful flight for Shannon yesterday on her way to visit her family.

680. A fun evening of fellowship and good food with some dear friends.

681. A good checkup for Jonathan at the eye doctor this week, and finding an optician who takes his insurance for glasses.

682. The opportunity to visit Aidan’s class for “Culture Day” and see him be a living statue of the Greek deity Poseidon.

683. Your gentle hand holding my heart and guiding my words when upsetting situations arise.

684. Eggs cooked in bacon grease.  🙂

685. Finding a wonderful deal on some photography equipment I needed.

686. Your protection and comfort for Shannon and her family as they were hit with a tropical storm this week while she was visiting.

687. That both my boys are finished another school year as of tomorrow.

688. Simple solutions.

689. Pastor Kris receiving her well-earned official Ordination by the United Methodist Church this week.

690. That even when we “miss the point”, Your gracious love for us remains.

And so very, very much more Lord…

For it’s in Your precious name I pray,


~Phather Phil

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A Return to Thankful Thursday

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

For the last month or so Father, I’ve been having “rumblings” in my heart telling me that I’m not seeing You as completely as I should; that although in my joy-filled moments I sing to You in praise and in my times of trial I cry out to You for help, during those “in-between” periods I fail to recognize Your loving hand in my life more often than not…

My eyes see the world, but stare blindly past the “burning bushes” all around me.

And as I contemplated this the other night Lord, and prayed for Your guidance to help me see through clearer eyes, You laid it on my heart…

“Thankful Thursday…”

Ouch… It has been a while…

But I get it Father.

While I certainly try to remember to thank You when I recognize a Blessing in my life, the exercise of spending dedicated time thinking about the past week’s events and writing out some of the less “obvious” signs of Your presence is a powerful tool in my walk of faith.

It places my heart in a state of gratitude, and directs my mind to seek Your light in my daily life.

Therefore Father, I present You with this week’s contribution to my continuing “Thankful Thursday” list of Blessings.  And while no list could ever adequately express the vast array of miracles you place in my path each day, today I am especially grateful for:

631. Your protection, comfort and strength given to Shannon as she underwent a surgical procedure last week.

632. Finding wonderful DIY patio furniture plans on Pinterest.

633. Seeing Your influence in the “Letters to God” written by the kids in my Sunday School Class.

634. Your comforting embrace when my world feels shaken, and I allow uncertainty to grip my heart.

635. The time spent with Shannon and Lisa redesigning and rebuilding our backyard space.

636. The persistence You have in getting Your messages through to my heart.

637. The opportunity to join two wonderful young people in the union of marriage last weekend.

638. A beautiful Mother’s Day spent with Shannon, Lisa and the boys.

639. The assistance of a close friend in getting lighting installed in our outdoor bar.

640. The opportunity to minister to a dear friend who’s going through a difficult time.

641. A fun-filled evening with good food and wonderful friends to open our newly-redone backyard deck and patio spaces.

642. The new contact lenses I’m wearing that allow me to keep them in for a whole month before changing them.

643. Evenings curled up on the couch watching TV with the people I love.

644. Having excellent auto insurance coverage which helps pay bills following Shannon’s accident.

645. All those “burning bushes” in my life which I fail to recognize.

And so very much more Lord…

For it’s in Your precious name I pray,


~Phather Phil

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Thankful Thursday: Footprints in the Sand

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

As the Labor Day weekend beckons me welcome Lord, I find my spirit more at ease; bolstered by the coming days of rest no doubt, but mainly fueled by a reminder of Your divine and loving nature.

I feel as if I’ve been treading water lately Father; constantly shifting focus in an attempt to quell the rising trials, yet never gaining ground.  More than once in recent weeks Lord, those waves of fear and doubt have sought my breath, and left me weakened.  And yet Father, even while that sinister undertow threatened my heart’s footing…

I knew You were with me.

The “waters” have receded a bit these past few days Lord, delightfully revealing what I felt all along…

Your footprints in the sand, right next to mine.

Thank You Father; for being my anchor against the raging tide, even when I couldn’t see the rope.

As I continue to list some of Your many Blessings in my life Lord, today I’m feeling particularly grateful for:

621. The wonderful summer break my children have had, and that they’re heading back to school on Tuesday excited and refreshed.

622. The revealing and powerful video study our Tuesday night small group has been doing on the Beatitudes, and the truths You’ve brought us through those discussions.

623. Reconnecting with a friend I’ve not heard from in a while.

624. A fun time spent with friends at a BBQ this past Saturday.

625. A visit from a dear friend last weekend, and the visit of another one this coming weekend.

626. My son Jonathan being confirmed as a member of Ewell’s-St. Paul UMC this past Sunday.

627. Seeing Your light overcome pain, fear and doubt in the heart of a dear friend.

628. A new job for a close friend and young Christian after a long period of unemployment, and the fact his negotiations included the need for time off to attend church and our Tuesday night group studies.  🙂

629. A wonderful new job opportunity for my wife Shannon, and the call You’ve placed on her life to shape young minds and hearts.

630. The radical forgiveness modeled by our Savior on the cross, and the inspiration to strive towards that grace in my own life.

And so many more…

Heavenly Father,

I thank You Lord, for the many Blessings You grace us with each and every day; both those that shine like a lighthouse in the night, and those “hidden ropes” that anchor us to Your strength.

In Jesus’ name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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Thankful Thursday: God Will Send the Rain

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

Well Father, it’s certainly been a little while since I’ve sat down and written to You.  And while our conversations haven’t diminished in the least, I have missed bringing the fruits of our time together to the written word.  So Lord, when You laid it on my heart today to share this post, it gave me a much needed early-morning smile.  🙂

Back in January Father, my family and I attended a viewing at our church of the movie “Facing the Giants”.  It was an absolutely excellent film, filled with inspiring messages and poignant reminders of where our true motivation and priorities should lie.  At one point in the movie, a statement was made that really captured my attention, and has stuck with me since…

“God will send the rain when He’s ready… You need to prepare your field to receive it.”

Such a simple truth Father, and yet one I’ve missed on so many occasions.  While I try to recognize Your many Blessings in my life and in the world around me, in many cases I’ve not been proactive in aggressively preparing myself to receive those gifts.  I want to live my life expecting Your presence at every turn Lord; sowing my seeds in earnest…

Knowing without a doubt that Your Heavenly rain is coming.

Such is my desire Father… Today and every day.

Continuing to count Your many Blessings in my life Lord; these past weeks have been truly filled with Your Grace, and I’ve been especially grateful for:

571. Being given 18 wonderful years with my dog Brandy.

572. A marriage that not only has grown us as a couple, but also allows us both to grow as individuals.

573. Bourbon manhattans with a splash of grenadine.

574. An absolutely beautiful, warm sunny drive into work this morning.

575. Our caring, compassionate veterinarian who made a very difficult situation much easier.

576. A beautiful Valentine’s Day dinner out with Shannon.

577. Seeing Your grace powerfully impacting the lives of some good friends.

578. That no matter what missteps we make or how far we fall, when we come to You we’re welcomed with open arms.

579. The amazing outpouring of encouragement and concern we received upon Brandy’s passing.

580. A number of significant new jobs this past couple weeks.

581. A good “check up” service on Shannon’s van with no major surprises.

582. Those people You place in our lives that connect to our hearts in truly powerful ways.

583. A fun night out with friends last Saturday night.

584. The view of the world I receive when I look through eyes cleansed by faith.

585. The healing power contained in the smile of a good friend.

Heavenly Father,

I thank You Lord, for the wondrous gifts You continue to Bless our lives with each and every day; both those that cause the Heavens to ring out in song, and those that whisper Your mighty love quietly from the shadows.

In Jesus’ name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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