Jesus is the Light of the World!

December 23, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12

My wife and I love this season. The clear cold nights seem to accent the moon and stars. There is a radiance and brilliance in the mid-night sky that we do not see on those warm summer evenings. As we look over the vast Northern Idaho prairie to see the variety of Christmas decorations, we are impressed with the many lit trees, houses, clock towers, church steeple, and manger scenes.

As precious as it is to see the many lights that cover our landscape, nothing compares with the light Christ’s cast into the darkness of our sinful world. As God looked into the darkness of man’s soul he realized that a special kind of light was needed. His son coming to earth as the God-man would remind mankind how far we strayed from the warmth of our Creator’s light. His ultimate love and compassion for sinful man came in the form of a babe in the manger.

The Word (Light) was made into flesh. And unto us a child was given. The Psalmist tells us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) God’s word also challenges us to watch out for the ways of this world as we endeavor to walk in the light of His word. We are warned to be careful, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

As we ponder the opportunities we will have to share the Christmas story let us remember God’s word: “Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” (Isaiah 2:5) “He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.” (John 1:7)

Let us pray for those who do not know or have not yet received the light that a relationship with Christ can bring. And as a reminder, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8)

Personal Application:

His light radiates through each person who has accepted Christ into their lives. Who do you know that needs some light and joy in their lives? Why not invite them to a Christmas program at a local church.

If you have a good friend or relative that doesn’t know Christ pray for an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to move their hearts to ask questions that allows you to respond. The answer book (God’s Word) has answers to every question or concern. You can directly access our Ready Reference Bible Guide through any electronic device. Simply go to https://mensministrycatalyst.org/bible-ready-reference-guide/

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Generosity: The Tell-Tale Sign of Godly Masculinity

December 20, 2019By Ken HarrisonDevotional

Many of the rivers in Oregon are cold and treacherous. When we were kids, our favorite river wound its way north along the eastern fringes of the Portland suburbs, through a thick forest of Douglas fir, spruce, and cedar. The river is deep and rocky, filled with crushing rapids and dangerous undertows.

There are several bridges that cross the river, where a kid can illegally jump into the icy waters fifty feet below. But danger lurks. Where the river was ten feet deep the summer before, it may be only two feet deep the next spring due to winter’s torrential rainfall washing a massive boulder downstream.

On a hot day in early spring, a boy from our high school named Mark was the first to throw himself from a bridge. He hit a rock that hadn’t been there before and was killed instantly. His parents prepared for the funeral and sent notice that everyone was welcome.

His Diary Revealed One Young Man’s Impact

My brother Frank wasn’t going to go to the funeral because he didn’t know Mark. My brother was a two-time all-state running back, was ruggedly handsome, and is one of the most loving people I’ve known.

Frank didn’t just have friends; he had hordes of kids following him through the halls, hoping for his attention. Yet Frank often searched the cafeteria for any student, boy or girl, who was sitting alone and sat down across from him or her, bringing his fan club with him. He’d grill the person he’d just met with questions and spend time talking. When you became Frank Harrison’s friend, you became everyone’s friend.

Mark had been one of those kids. Frank didn’t remember him but recognized his picture as someone he had spoken to once. Frank decided to go to the funeral because he wasn’t sure how many kids would attend, and he wanted to honor Mark.

During the service, Mark’s father read some excerpts from his son’s diary, including a pointed section about Mark’s rejection at high school and how a star football player had taken the time to talk to him and make him feel important.

That moment had changed his life and made Mark a popular kid at school and the leader in the church youth group. Mark’s father pointed at the square-jawed boy with the thick neck and bulging arms: “Frank Harrison was my son’s best friend,” he said.

Generosity Is Giving to God What Is Rightfully His

What my brother Frank did is generosity. Generosity is giving every aspect of yourself back to God, to whom it belongs. It’s giving Him your money, your prayers, your time, your effort, your reputation . . . your rights. Most often, we do this by giving to His children here on earth.

Generosity is actually the ultimate act of worship. Worship is not just singing and praising. Worship is generously and adoringly giving back to God what He has given us. A key part of doing that is seeking out ways to sacrificially meet the needs of others.

Generosity is the ultimate in trust because it says to God, “I can share my time, talents, and treasure with others because I know You will take care of me.” When you teach a child how to swim, you’ll ask him or her to jump from the side of the pool into your arms in the water. You have great joy when, in complete trust, your child leaps into your arms. Generosity is the same. When you practice generosity, you’re jumping into God’s arms, knowing He will care for you. And those around you receive a blessing as well.

A Generous Spirit Forgives

Forgiveness is the ultimate in giving to others what God has given us. To hold on to bitterness, resentment, and old wounds is to refuse to give away the forgiveness that Jesus gave us – the very basis of our salvation.

In many years of discipling men, I am amazed at how many are held back in life by resentment toward their fathers. Don’t get me wrong: hurt is a real thing. But it can only take two forms: open wounds or scars.

When you generously forgive, you release the other person, free yourself, and let God heal your wounds, so they become only just a scar. That’s the power of generosity.

Ken Harrison is CEO and chairman of Promise Keepers. Founded in 1990 by coach Bill McCartney, Promise Keepers was one of the largest Christ-centered movements; today, Promise Keepers is calling men back to bold servant leadership as change makers for their families, churches and communities. Harrison is also CEO of WaterStone, a Christian Community Foundation that oversees donations of millions of dollars a month to build God’s kingdom. After starting his career as an LAPD street cop in South Central, he spent nearly two decades in commercial real estate. Married and the father of three, Harrison has a new book, “The Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man.” This post is excerpted from that book.

The Grandest People of All – Part II

December 10, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

Last week we discussed the impact that grandparents can make on their grandchildren. In today’s world, where 41% of the nation’s youth will go to bed tonight in a home where there is no biological father, grandparents have an even bigger role to play in the development of the younger generation.

Spiritual Mentoring and discipleship is best modeled in the family. It is especially important for granddads to spend time with their grandchildren. Discipleship is a relational process that requires people to become actively involved in their faith. Paul said to Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois…” Yes, it is true that grandparents can make a real difference in shaping a child’s vision, future, character, and self-worth. Most importantly a godly grandparent can help a child develop great faith.

How can grandparents use their “grand positions” to the best advantage? God’s Word says that grandchildren are “a crown to the aged” (Proverbs 17:6). I believe we wear that “crown” by actively investing in their lives.

There are five tools I’ve found helpful in being a grandparent or adopted grandparent:

  1. Prudence – It takes a little time for grandparents to find the right balance, learning to be involved without interfering. Grandparents have a lifetime of wisdom stored up, and unfortunately, most of our children feel threatened by our knowledge and prefer that we keep silent on most matters. That is difficult given the depth of our love and commitment to helping them become successful. Developing prudence is an art. The waiting game is often difficult. Pray, Pray!
  2. Presence – Do all you can to be accessible for your grandchildren. Open your home and schedule opportunities to read to them, talk with them, share stories and create adventures. There is no day wasted in the life of an effective grandparent.
  3. Provision – Grandparents can provide materially for their grandchildren. A bit here and there will help. Providing for the vacation treats or extra needs tell a child they are special. Also, setting up a college fund will project to them the importance of obtaining a good educational foundation.
  4. Patience – Have patience with your children and grandchildren. They don’t value or realize the significance of grandparents until later in life. When spending time with your grandchildren model a patient spirit and temper your reactions. They need to know that both quality and quantity time are part the job description of a loving grandparent.
  5. Prayer – Samuel said to the Israelites, “God forbid that I should sin against Heaven by failing to pray for you.” In the same way, we should pray for our grandchildren. And, often, grandparents have more time for prayer and Bible reading than anyone else.

Personal Application:

Did you know?

A West Virginia housewife and grandmother first suggested national Grandparent’s Day to President Jimmy Carter. He established it in 1979 on the first Sunday after Labor Day.

How can you more directly impact your grandkids with God’s Word?

What would be a special treat for your grandkids that would also allow them to see God’s love in a more tangible way?

Who among your acquaintances have children who don’t have a grandparent nearby? Would you consider being available to help fulfill that role?

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

The Grandest People of All – Part I

December 3, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged. – Prov. 17:6a

We have many beautiful trees in the Inland Northwest. I especially enjoy the cedar. The cedar offers a wonderful metaphor for the Christian life. It grows by dying. As it develops, stately and beautiful, putting forth new boughs and leaves, the old ones drop off so the tree can give strength to the new ones.

In a similar manner, mature Christians live their lives for the growth of others. Our goal in life is to meet a need or spread a seed. And when God calls us home, our legacy of investing in others is what remains and will sustain them.

In our case, our immediate family lives out of the area, so it has been a real pleasure to be adopted as grandparents by families who live nearby. This has given us some time and experience to build and work on our grand-parenting skills.

Sometime ago I was asked to deliver a message at a workshop for retirees. My message on “Strategies for Being an Effective Grandparent” suggested different ways we can better connect with our grandchildren. A few Christian psychologists are touting the importance of the grandparent-grandchild relationships. “The bond between a child and a grandparent is the purest, least psychologically complicated form of human love,” says Dr. Arthur Kornhaber. “Grandparents can offer an emotional safety net when parents falter. They pass on traditions in the form of stories, songs, games, skills, and crafts.” They also can serve as a model of godly character and can demonstrate the importance of grace.

And grandparents have another magical ingredient that parents often lack – TIME. Kornhaber has found that children who are close to at least one grandparent are more emotionally secure than other children; and they have more positive feelings about older people and about the process of aging.

Another great thing about being a grandparent: ya get do-overs! It gives every grandparent a second chance. Perhaps history’s most dramatic illustration of that truth is the story of King Manasseh in 2 Chronicles 33. Manasseh has been called the most wicked man who ever lived, but in his old age he repented and turned to God. The son who succeeded him was also evil, but Manasseh’s grandson, Josiah, became one of the most godly, beloved kings in Jewish history.

By studying the chronology, we learn that the last six years of Manasseh’s life and the first six years of Josiah’s overlapped. And the last six years of Manasseh were his repentant years, his godly years, his years of reform and contrition. It was too late for him to influence his own son, Amon. But it wasn’t too late for Josiah, and we can easily picture the old king spending long hours with his small grandson, telling him, “Now, one day you will be king. Don’t make the mistakes I did. From the beginning, serve the Lord.”

My wife and I find it very hard doing long-distance grandparenting. It is especially difficult when the lives of our children are so busy. They are so absorbed in trying to meet all the demands for ministry and parenting that there isn’t much time left over for them to engage with us by long-distance. Their children, our grandchildren, are also very busy.

It takes extra effort to understand how to utilize some of the younger generation’s communication tools like texting and Skyping. But the effort is worth every minute of your investment. If ever there was a time when the younger generation needed the mentoring and wisdom of more experienced people, it is now.

Personal Application:

What kinds of challenges do you encounter in communicating with your grandchildren?

What new ways can you think of to connect with your grandchildren?

What stories can you tell your grandchildren from your life that would encourage them to walk with Christ?

What skills or knowledge could you impart to your grandchildren to help them mature?

What other ways can you demonstrate your love and God’s love to your grandchildren?

What are some ways that you can come alongside your children as they raise your grandchildren?

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Thankmas

November 29, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

“Can this be Christmas?” was the question our grandchildren asked when we announced that right after our 2006 Thanksgiving weekend at Mt. Hermon we would be having Christmas at a little second home on our friend’s property in Castro Valley.

Our sons had been asked by Mt. Hermon Christian Conference Center to provide the worship music for their very popular Thanksgiving Weekend Conference.  With the approval of our son’s families, Louise and I decided to attend the conference, enjoy family, and then retreat to a friend’s wonderful guest house on Sunday, November 26 where we prepared a nice feast for the immediate family.

For years, we have seen our sons absolutely exhausted on Christmas Day, having just led their respective churches in three to five Christmas Eve Day services.  Due to the hectic pace that is involved around that holiday season we decided to move our family Christmas celebration to the Sunday after Thanksgiving. We all call it Thankmas!

It was so wonderful to celebrate our time together with hearts of thanksgiving.  While there were plenty of gifts (grandparents must spoil their grand-kids a little), we made sure that Jesus did not get lost in all the wrapping paper and Christmas decorations.  Each grandchild read from Scripture as we remembered the reason we even have a Christmas.

In preparing this devotional I came across this little poem that portrays the importance of the Christ child in Christmas.  I plan to read it to our family when we gather for our Christmas celebration.

Can This Be Christmas?

What’s all this hectic rush and worry?
Where go these crowds who run and curry?
Why all the lights—the Christmas trees?
The jolly “fat man,” tell me please!

Why, don’t you know? This is the day
For parties and for fun and play;
Why this is Christmas!

So, this is Christmas, do you say?
But where is Christ this Christmas day?
Has He been lost among the throng?
His voice drowned out by empty song?

No. He’s not here—you’ll find Him where
Some humble soul now kneels in prayer,
Who knows the Christ of Christmas.

But see the many aimless thousands
Who gather on this Christmas Day,
Whose hearts have never yet been opened,
Or said to Him, “Come in to stay.”

In countless homes the candles burning,
In countless hearts expectant yearning
For gifts and presents, food and fun,
And laughter till the day is done.

But not a tear of grief or sorrow
For Him so poor He had to borrow
A crib, a colt, a boat, a bed
Where He could lay His weary head.

I’m tired of all this empty celebration,
Of feasting, drinking, recreation;
I’ll go instead to Calvary.

And there I’ll kneel with those who know
The meaning of that manger low,
And find the Christ—this Christmas.

I leap by faith across the years
To that great day when He appears
The second time, to rule and reign,
To end all sorrow, death, and pain.

In endless bliss, we then shall dwell
With Him who saved our souls from hell,
And worship Christ—not Christmas!

~M.R. DeHaan, M.D., Founder, Radio Bible Class


Personal Application:

  1. How can you make the holiday season more directed to Christ?
  2. What does Galatians 1:10 say about honoring God versus man?

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Hang on, Baby!

November 26, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” 1 Corinthians 1:8-9

I often think about that picture of a cat hanging on for dear life to a table top. The expression on the animal’s face says it all. Just like the cat, sometimes all we can do is pray and hang on. Perseverance is defined as steadfastness or persistence. It is one of those character traits we admire but don’t really like to experience.

A good friend of mine, Bob Schmitt, owner of Mack’s Fishing Lure Company, tells a story from his youth when all he could do was to “hang on”. Bob and some of his teenage Southern Utah friends decided to do their first big game hunting trip together. These determined lads packed a lunch, loaded up their guns, and headed to the nearby woods. They split up and began their hunt through the forest. Bob went uphill and his two friends went downhill to scope out the lower forest.

Within an hour Bob spotted a small herd of five deer about 250 yards from his position. He brought up his Remington 700 30.06 and began checking out the deer. A nice 4X4 mule deer appeared in his scope. Bob peered through the lens and squeezed off a round. The deer appeared to Bob to be hit but didn’t go down. Bob and his friends headed up the hill to see if they could track the animal. Shortly thereafter, Bob saw the wounded deer staggering in his direction. He again fired a round. This time the old buck hit the ground. With shouts of joy Bob ran up to the buck, placed his gun against a nearby tree, and pulled out his trusty knife to bleed out the deer.

Just as he mounted the deer and raised its head to expose the neck area, the dazed deer stood up and began to run downhill. Bob was now becoming a rodeo star right in front of his friends. With Bob on its back, the deer passed by his two astonished friends who were laughing out loud and evaluating Bob’s ability to stay on. While trying to keep his balance, all Bob could do was “hang on” to the antlers and ride it out. He knew that eventually, the animal would slow down enough for him to escape.

After jumping off the animal, Bob ran back to the tree where his gun was placed, aimed at the runaway deer, and squeezed off another shot that brought the deer down permanently. This adventure really did happen.

Today, many families are coping with various issues that could feel just like riding a wild animal and the only counsel one can give them is to “hang on”. I know two wonderful families who are currently going through very traumatic circumstances. One middle-aged man is fighting cancer as his young family wonders about the future. Another couple that Louise and I are close to has a daughter who is struggling with her pregnancy, an older mother who is very sick, and the unknowns associated with a new start-up business venture.

What can you tell folks who are struggling with what seems to be insurmountable situations? I would feel empty of thought if it weren’t for what Scripture tells us. The writer of Hebrews reminds us to hang on, baby! “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Hebrews 10:35 and “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36

The Apostle Paul tells us to hang on baby! “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

There are those times when, humanly speaking, we can’t do anything. God designed us to trust Him – to lean on Him – to embrace Him even when we are in deep despair. Another way to put it is to just stand firm on what you know and the faith we have.

“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,” 2 Corinthians 1:21

Personal Application: Psalms 46:1 reminds us that God is our refuge and strength. Are you regularly seeking His counsel by reading His word?

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Our Thanksgiving Heritage and Why It’s Important Today

November 24, 2019By Vance DayDevotional

Each one of us has a heritage. One form is our lineage, meaning our ancestors who came before us. Another heritage is the cultural type which is handed down through the generations.

Part of our national heritage is the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate. The roots of that holiday (originally “holy day”) are important for us all to understand. President Lincoln originally called for a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1863:

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”

After recounting many of the blessings the country had enjoyed, even in the midst of the great trauma of Civil War, Lincoln proclaims the following:

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

My family and I had an opportunity recently to visit Plymouth, Massachusetts, where my ancestors landed in 1623 after a perilous voyage on the supply ship “Anne.” This was the first ship that came to re-supply the pilgrims who had landed two and a half years earlier. My ancestors, Ralph and Joyce Wallen, were “separatists” – those who sought to exercise their liberty of conscience rather than follow the dictates of the government church.

It’s interesting that most people view the Declaration of Independence as being the birth certificate of our nation. But it really isn’t. The Mayflower Compact is our birth certificate. Our forebears laid out a covenant regarding their purpose in the new world:

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith, and the honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another; covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

From what I can tell, my ancestors were humble people seeking religious freedom in a new land. They had no intention or desire to destroy other cultures, but rather to set free those cultures to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The same should be true for us today. Our culture is not supportive of a Judeo-Christian worldview; in fact, it is hostile to us and our desire to engage in respectful dialogue about truth and the gospel.

Our Lord made it clear that we would face opposition but that he had already addressed that perceived problem: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

This Thanksgiving let us approach the holiday with a great sense of gratitude for what God has done for us personally and for our nation. Unlike any other nation, except Israel (and some include Switzerland), the United States of America was birthed in covenant. This demonstrates God’s great intention toward our people, and places on us, as recipients of that blessing, a duty to discharge to those who came before as well as those who will come after us. Let us have a resident spirit of gratitude to God for the liberty we enjoy.

Vance Day is President of Promise Keepers. To receive more content like this in your inbox, sign up for the Promise Keepers email list.

Praise and Thanksgiving

November 18, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

For many years the Babylonians held the Israelites in bondage. After King Cyrus of the Medo-Persian Empire conquered the Babylonians, God stirred the heart of Cyrus to give the Israelites their Temple back.

In Ezra 3 we read about the rebuilding of the altar so that the exiled Israelites could again freely worship their God. Once the altar and boundary walls were completed, the rebuilding of the Temple itself began. There was much rejoicing and thanksgiving as they saw their land restored.

The people raised their voices to openly acknowledge God’s hand in forgiving them of their sins and bringing them back home. The words to their song and chant are preserved for us in the book of Ezra: “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” (Ezra 3:11)

God is always at work in our lives — past, present, and future — even when we feel as if we are in “exile” or as if our lives are on hold. Today, many people are fearful, anxious, and yes, even depressed. The plight of our nation, the growing concern about the decline of moral values, and the numerous personal problems surrounding our loved one’s cause many to feel alone and desperate.

Thanksgiving is a great time to remind ourselves that we serve a loving and merciful God who wishes to bless His children with peace, joy, and abundance. He challenges us to trust and obey, even when it seems unnatural to do so.

The writer of Proverbs tells us, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” Despite our challenges, let’s try to remember, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 NIV)

May you and yours have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. We encourage you to have each person at your Thanksgiving table say one thing they are thankful for. May you find that His grace is sufficient.

Personal Application

What are you thankful for? Tell someone how God has blessed you today.

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

The Power of Gratitude to Change Your Life

November 11, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

This is a guest post by Pat Boone. Pat Boone is an American singer and actor who has sold more than 45 million records, had 38 top-40 hits, and appeared in 12 Hollywood films. He is also a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ and the proud father of four daughters. Earlier this year, Pat’s beloved wife, Shirley, went home to be with her Father in heaven. In this post, originally written for the Promise Keepers newsletter, Pat shares how gratitude can change our lives.

Life isn’t easy — no matter who you are.

I’ve been a recording artist for over five decades, and I’ve experienced fame and success. But it hasn’t spared me from heartaches, trials, and grief. For me, one of my greatest sorrows has been losing my wife, Shirley, this year.

Early in my life — when hardships or heartaches came — I learned a secret. Gratitude can lift our thoughts from what’s troubling us, change our perspective, and ultimately change our lives. Being thankful is one of the most powerful forces known to humanity.

Recently I’ve been thinking some new things about gratitude. When I make a list of things I’m thankful for, “breath” is at the top of my list! That sounds pretty elemental, but I find that appreciating something as simple as my breath leads to gratitude in other areas of my life.

For example, when I think of how I received life and breath from my parents, it reminds me to be grateful for my God-fearing, Bible-believing, church-going parents who brought me up to believe the Bible.

For 35 years, I’ve started my day reading the Word of God. I read through it every year, start to finish. And when I read the Bible, I learn that God breathed life into Adam, the first man, and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). I also learn that before Jesus ascended, He breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

Asking God to Breathe into Me

Now, when I start my devotional every morning, I ask God to lean over me and breathe into me His Holy Spirit as He did with His apostles. Just simple gratitude for my breath leads my thoughts heavenward in a plea for His Spirit to fill me and guide me in everything I do and say.

I know that when the Day of Judgment comes and I stand before God, His first question is going to be: “What did you do with My Son? I gave Him to die for you; did you receive Him?” And then, “How about you as a husband and a father? Did you teach your wife and your kids about Me?”

Those questions are going to be asked of every man. And, brother, we’d better be ready to answer those questions because every breath we take is bringing us closer to that moment.

Put Gratitude and God’s Power to Work in Your Life

So I encourage you: Make a list of everything you’re grateful for right now. Remember to put “breath” on your list. The fact that you are alive means God has a plan and a purpose for you.

Then ask God to breathe His Holy Spirit into you, and you’ll find your life will change! You’ll be a better husband, a better father, a better businessman, a grandfather. You’ll think things and view life from God’s perspective.

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 2:12-13, which says: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

When we breathe in His breath, God causes us to want to do the right things and then gives us the power to do them. But good luck trying to do them in our own strength!

The rest of my breathing days I look forward to sharing this message with other men because it is a great goal of mine that men would continue to grow into the manhood that God wants each one of them to have. God bless you!

Parachute

October 28, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

The apostle Paul told the new Christians in Thessalonica to be supportive of one another. He especially wanted them to bless and mentor those who were sharing the Gospel in that area. His words still ring true today. We need to be encouraging one another, especially those in the household of faith (other believers). “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Praise God for those who see the need to offer a word of inspiration to others. I love this story and its implications to our faith.

Parachutes

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6
years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude.

The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”

Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers.

“I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is important. We may fail to say “hello,” “please,” or “thank you,” congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing our parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!

Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it! When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do — you forward jokes. And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke.

So, my friend, next time when you get a joke, don’t think that you’ve been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you’ve been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute.

Personal Application

Whose parachute have you packed today?

When you need some encouragement can you share that need with someone close? Can you be open and transparent enough to recognize that it is normal that all of us need a “that-a-boy” every now and then?

Pass this along to someone you care about with a note that you would like to weekly send them our devotional to be supportive of them and their spiritual journey.

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.