Thankful Thursday: A Perspective of Gratitude

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

And once again Father, we come to my favorite weekly post here at; Thankful Thursday.  As we draw closer to Thanksgiving Lord, it seems as if more and more folks are taking time out to focus on the many Blessings You bestow on us.  And while my heart sings seeing such a wonderful outpouring of gratefulness this time of year Father, it also highlights to me one important thing that I think sometimes we all miss…

Your Blessings grace our lives EVERYDAY; not only at Thanksgiving, not just every Thankful Thursday, but every minute of every day.

Even when we don’t have a Holiday to direct our attention to Your many gifts Father, it’s important to recognize and celebrate the fact that we exist and thrive within Your mercy and grace each day.  By keeping that fountain of gratefulness flowing in our hearts, we’re better able to weather our personal trials and at the same time to share that perspective of gratitude with others around us.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

When we do everything from that foundation of thankfulness Lord, our lives become brighter in so many ways.

And on that thought Father, here’s this week’s Thankful Thursday list!  Looking back over the past seven days Lord, I’ve been especially grateful for:

391. Daily Inspirations.

392. A wonderful guest “Email to God” written by Lisa from “A Moment With God”.

393. Completing the final session of the “Treasures of the Transformed Life” Small Group Study.

394. New contact lenses.

395. A quiet, but loving and productive weekend spent with my family.

396. The help of a close friend in cleaning and repairing a “brewmeister” I was given.

397. A profound and overwhelming moment of “Spiritual Release” You gave me Tuesday morning.

398. The “Glue” that binds our hearts to Yours.

399. Feeling better following a two-week-long respiratory illness.

400. An update to the Android version of the YouVersion Bible App that brought some great new features.

401. That nine years ago tomorrow, You Blessed Shannon and I with our youngest son, Aidan.

402. The encouragement, kindness and support I received from one of my Facebook friends this week.

403. A fun “one on one” dinner out for Aidan and I while Shannon and Jonathan were at church groups last night.

404. Getting caught up on bills last weekend.

405. That even in our brokenness, our sin, and our pain You forgive us, and seek to draw us to You.

We continue to live bathed in Your grace Lord.  🙂

Heavenly Father,

We thank You Father God, for the many Blessings You bring to our lives each day; both those that fill our hearts to overflowing with Your benevolence, and those that Bless us quietly from the sidelines.  Please help us to maintain grateful hearts, and to reach out and share Your many gifts with others.

In Jesus Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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Meditations Monday: The Glue That Binds Our Hearts

Dear Lord; Happy Meditations Monday Father!

To start off our week together Lord, I want to thank You for the many Blessings You graced my family and I with this past weekend.  As I still wasn’t feeling very well, we spent much of Saturday at home, save for a much-needed grocery shopping trip, and finished the evening off by curling up on the couch together and watching the final chapter in the Harry Potter movie series.  Sunday we started our day with an inspiring worship service at Ewell’s St. Paul, and then joined some close friends for a brunch to celebrate the birthday of one of their children.  The afternoon was filled with a marathon of housework, homework, bill-paying and laundry, but at the end of the day we were all able to relax a bit before bed, and enjoy some quiet time together.  You know Father, as my Walk with You progresses, I find myself appreciating those times of unity with my family more and more.  I’ve always enjoyed “family time”, but the more connected I become with You, the more connected I feel to them as well.  🙂

In her message this weekend, Pastor Kris made a statement that’s been churning around in my head ever since.  She told us that one of her seminary professors had once said that if you look at the Bible as a whole; the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Gospels, the one underlying concept that’s consistent throughout and that ties it all together, is love.  Now Father, while initially this may seem like an awfully simplistic and obvious statement, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was a fundamental point that quite often we miss.

Throughout the Scriptures as well as in our lives today, we see many examples of the wide range of ways You show Your love for us.  Some are obvious, and come in the form of Blessings that clearly enrich our mortal lives and bring us immediate joy.  Others however, may be perceived as negative events that seem to complicate our lives and cause us difficulty.  The point that we need to remember however is this; just because things don’t always go as we expect or desire them to, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an act of love on Your part nonetheless.  I liken it to when I have to discipline my children.  I certainly don’t enjoy reprimanding or punishing them, but in my desire to be a loving, caring and responsible parent, sometimes it’s necessary for me to correct and guide them by providing a response that makes the point apparent and relevant to them.

In one of the most beautiful, and I believe powerful passages of the Bible, the Apostle Paul describes this love that You’ve given us, and the importance of it in our lives:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (ESV)

I view love as the “glue” You use to bind our hearts to Yours Father.  You bestow it on us freely, and through Christ’s example, You lead us to share it with others in a similar fashion.  Such an overwhelming gift Lord, and one that grows more and more prominent as our walk to You progresses.

Heavenly Father,

We thank You Lord, for the love and Blessings You give to us freely and abundantly each day.  Please open our hearts and our minds, that we may more fully come to recognize Your acts of love in our lives; both those that fill our hearts with overwhelming joy, and those guiding actions which while sometimes painful, are done as the caring, loving, responsible Father that You are.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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Meditations Monday: Cutting Through the Fog

Dear Lord; Happy Meditations Monday Father!

Good morning Father!  To begin the week’s conversations Lord, I want to first thank You for the many Blessings You graced me with this past weekend.  Although I spent much of the past few days resting in an attempt to fend off the nasty respiratory illness I picked up last week, Your influence was obvious nonetheless.  During that unusual bout of “down time”, I was able to spend a good bit of quiet time with Jonathan and Aidan, made some progress on the redesign of Ewell’s St. Paul’s web site, and even managed to get out with Shannon for a little bit as well.  And while I’m still not completely recovered from this invasive little bug Father, I want to thank You for Your comforting, soothing and healing presence while my body holds the line against these invaders.  You are truly ever-faithful Lord, and I thank You for remaining by my side no matter the circumstances.

Driving in to work this morning, I was confronted with something I seldom run into in this area; pea-soup thick fog.  Now, we certainly get our share of morning “mist” around here, but this was some of the heaviest fog I believe I’ve ever seen in central Delaware.  Visibility was minimal, with only a 30 foot-or-so view in front of the truck before the milky haze completely enveloped the road ahead.  Nervously gripping the wheel, I slowed from my usual morning pace, peering cautiously into the haze as I drove.  I was anxious, and the trip to work seemed to go on for ages.

Then I realized… This reminds me of my life before I knew You Father.

I was anxious, cautious, and fearful…

Quite often I felt cut off, and alone…

The roadblocks and detours in my life often left me feeling insecure and vulnerable…

Every “bump in the road” became amplified, at the thought of the chasm that may lie beneath.

I lived one day at a time, never knowing what lay ahead of me…

And then Lord, You lifted my fog from me.

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” – John 8:12 (ESV)

Your Light cut through all that haze Father, and changed my journey in so many ways.

My fears are now opportunities for hope…

I know that no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I’m never alone…

While I still have quite a few struggles and trials in my life, I know that You desire what’s best for me, and that You’ll guide me down the best path…

“bumps in the road” are exactly that, and are given no more importance that they’re due…

Following Your light Lord, I know exactly where I’m headed. 🙂

Heavenly Father,

As we begin our week together Lord, I lift to You my thanks and praise for all You bring to our lives each day.  Please continue to light the path through the fog that shrouds our earthly journeys, diligently searching us out as the mists of this world threaten to engulf us.  Guide us down that path Lord, and lead us home.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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Meditations Monday: Thoughts on Giving

Dear Lord; Happy Meditations Monday Father!

This weekend Father, I think you may have left the freezer door open a bit… 🙂

It was downright cold here in Delaware the last couple days!  This time of year, we’re usually hovering in the mid-to-high 50s, but the last two days we saw the mercury dip into the high 20s more than once.  Add to that some rain/sleet mix Saturday night, and it was a wonderful weekend to spend inside, all warm and toasty…

Although, we didn’t.

Saturday evening, we braved the wintry weather and joined a group of our friends for a “haunted trail” event that one of the families had constructed on their 50 acre farm.  In the rain, sleet and the muck they carted the kids around on a tractor-driven hayride through a mile-long wooded trail filled with “things that go bump in the night”.  We were cold, we were wet, we were muddy, and we had an absolutely wonderful evening.  🙂

Sunday morning, as usual, we attended the contemporary worship service at Ewell’s St. Paul UMC, where I was Blessed to be asked to participate in the service.  I read passages from both 1st Kings and Malachi, and then delivered a testimony on my thoughts about financial giving and stewardship.  When I was first asked by Pastor Kris to address the congregation on this, I spent a good bit of time thinking and talking with You about exactly how I wanted to make my feelings and beliefs known, and in the end I was pretty pleased with what You and I came up with.

Therefore Father, for this morning’s Meditations Monday, I’d like to share that testimony:

Good morning.

In a few moments, we’ll have the opportunity to exercise our financial stewardship role, and provide our offerings to the church.  Before we do though, Pastor Kris has asked me to share my thoughts on giving with you.

As you know, Shannon and I are relatively new to the congregation, and we’ve been exceptionally thankful for the outpouring of fellowship, kindness, and acceptance we’ve received since we began attending services here.

Before finding our home here at Ewell’s, it had been quite a few years since we’d attended church regularly, so the thought of giving financially really was one that we hadn’t considered in great detail.  Once God had placed in our hearts that we’d found our family here however, supporting that family and it’s endeavors became an important consideration for us.

Like many of you, the economic turmoil has taken a heavy toll on our family the last couple of years.  More than a few months we’ve barely scraped by, wondering how we’re going to make ends meet.  So when we first started placing funds aside each week for the offering, we felt that pinch even more so.

And yet, I can honestly say that we feel richer today than we ever have before.

We give joyfully; and find that when we do, Christ fills our hearts even more so.  The knowledge that we’re supporting God’s works through our gifts is a powerful motivation, and exactly what Jesus led us to do.  We’re called to be stewards of God’s gifts to us; to use those Blessings in our lives to further His work here on earth.  And yet, as we give these offerings in His Name, we’re also building true wealth in a place where stock market crashes, the IRS, and the credit card companies simply can’t get to it.

In Matthew Chapter 6, Jesus made it very clear where we’re meant to do our “banking”.  He said:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (v.19-21)

As we give of ourselves, we’re making deposits into the one account that’s truly eternal, and in the process we’re sharing our Blessings with others through the outreach and programs the church sponsors. 

The Bible says God made us in His own image.  Therefore, by design, we’re created to be givers.  So as we make our gifts today, it’s important to remember that when we give of ourselves, we’re actually doing exactly what we’re intended to do.  By sharing the financial Blessings God has lovingly and graciously bestowed on us, we’re also fulfilling one of God’s primary desires for our lives; to reach out in His Name, and use His gifts to Bless others.

I very much appreciate the opportunity we’ve been given through the church to share our Blessings with others, and for being a part of such a wonderful, giving family here at Ewell’s.

Thank you all so very much, and God Bless.

Heavenly Father,

I thank You Lord, for another wonderful weekend spent in the company of my family, good friends, and our church family.  As we begin the week, please place in our hearts a renewed sense of giving; reaching out and sharing our many Blessings with others as Christ’s example showed us to do.  Lead us in service Father, that we may glorify Your Name in our decisions, our words and our actions.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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Sharing My Bubble

Dear Lord; Happy Friday Father!

Well Father, we’ve once again come to the end of another work-week and the gateway to the coming weekend.  Earlier this afternoon, In preparation for a fun, relaxed evening at home with Shannon and the boys, I ventured over to the Super Wal*Mart to grab some quick supplies for homemade calzones.  I generally try to avoid the big “supercenters” as much as humanly possible, but as it’s very close to my office and I only needed a couple of items, I decided to throw caution to the wind and go nonetheless.

It was rather busy (as it usually is on Friday afternoons) but I was able to find what I needed reasonably quickly, and soon found myself standing in line at the express checkout, waiting to pay for my groceries.

And then suddenly, I felt a disturbance in the force.

I glanced over my shoulder, and noticed that the man in line behind me was amazingly close by … I mean, no more than a foot or so away.  I took a step forward to the checkout, attempting to widen the gap, but he followed my movements, maintaining his proximity to me.  I placed my items on the checkout bed, and he again followed suit by placing his right behind mine.  Thankfully, I had a very small purchase, so I quickly paid the cashier and as soon as my change had been returned, I instigated a hasty stride for the exit.

Sitting in my truck shortly thereafter, I took a deep breath and began to settle a bit.  The gentleman hadn’t actually touched me at any point, but I felt as though my “space” had been infiltrated all the same; he’d breached my “bubble”, and all the alarms in my head sounded the trespass.

“You used to react that way to Me too…” I felt You tell me.

Wow Father… I did, didn’t I…

For many years, whenever You tried to get closer to me I ran for the proverbial exit.  I see this in hindsight of course, as at the time I wasn’t even 100% convinced of Your existence, much less Your desire to be a part of my life.  But as I sift through the events of my troubled young-adulthood, I realize that You tried to get my attention… A lot.  Each time the attempt was made however, I retreated into myself further and closed my bubble around me like a force field.

I’m so thankful that’s changed Father.  Welcome to my Personal Space.  🙂

When I began my journey back to You Lord, I found that the more I welcomed You into my life, the more of Your presence I desired.  I need You as close to me as possible Father; close enough that it becomes indistinguishable where I end, and where You begin.

That continues to be my prayer Father… Draw me closer, share my bubble.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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