My main activity in life now is praying for other people. I come close to praying 20 hours every week for people. I pray for all in my family every day and with 8 kids, 6 son in laws, a daughter in law, 22 grandkids, a mom, and my wife that takes awhile. I also pray for our church staff and their families almost every day. I pray for those who have visited our church almost every day for 3 months. I pray for every person who attends JBC every week, for our daughter church pastors and their families, and for each of the missionaries that we support each week as well. I have an Ipad and I use a photo App that has an unlimited journal capability. I take pictures of people and put them in my prayer journal and I download a bunch of pictures from facebook. I like pictures because then I can have an image of the person in my mind and I can pray with so much more fervency for them. I have almost 2000 friends on Facebook and as I read through it I pray for those that have various trials and struggles and ask God to work in their lives and to bless them. At times it is a bit boring and I struggle to stay focused and on task with out my mind wandering, but most of the time I am very intent on those I am praying for and on God who I am praying to. I rejoice and grieve and feel great sorrow with and for those I am praying for. After praying for awhile I get very wrung out and emotionally exhausted and have to switch to another activity for awhile until I recover. I believe that I am accomplishing more permanent fruit with my life through prayer than anything else I do.
I have had another cold this past week. I got over my last one a couple of weeks ago and I thought I was good for the rest of the year. but no, I get another one and worse than than the last one. Colds are an amazing irritant. Nose runs, coughing fits, sore throat, can’t talk, can’t breath, can’t sleep. I have a commitment to not grumble or complain about anything. How am I doing so far? Colds! I think I will just quit now and go to bed before I write something that I am sorry for tomorrow. Colds!
Spent several hours at the JBC Sportman’s Show today. Great event and lots of fun. Lots of boats, guns, fishing rods, archery equipment and nice people. Enjoyable experience being part of something so well organized and enjoyable for all who came. The goal is that 6 thousand would come in the two days it is open and that we who are part of the Jefferson Baptist Church Family as we mingle with and hang out with the people who come would plant some seeds of interest in coming to church and experiencing the reason for the joy that we have. This Sportsman’s Show is not a normal church event, but I think it will be very effective in creating a sense of good will towards church. It isn’t a churchy or religious event but one that people enjoy and have agood time at. I am consumed with and passionate about influencing people so that they are drawn to the good news of the Gospel and have a personal relationship with the God of the universe. I am praying that this event will influence many to take another step towards being a seeker of truth and God.
To help myself live a consistent life and a life that is a good model for others I have established some guidelines in the form of rules and commitments. One my rules is never allow self-pity thoughts to stay in my mind, but to quickly replace them with thoughts of how blessed I am. We are by nature self centered so thoughts of “Oh Lord, why me, why now” come regularly and often. If those thoughts are allowed to stay in our mind they will suck the joy right out of us. Every morning when I pray my morning prayer of commitment to the Lord I say as part of my prayer, “today I will rejoice always and I will not allow myself to feel sorry for myself even for a second. Commitments that are remade every morning are very powerful in helping us become the kind of person we want to be. I want to be a happy person that enjoys life in spite of difficult circumstances. I also want to be the kind of person that others enjoy being around, and one that will attract people to my God and Savior Jesus Christ.
I have an app for my iPad called Scripture Memory. It is wonderful and has helped me to get the total number of Bible verses memorized well up to over 300. I started spending 30 minutes each day on scripture memory when I learned that many people with Parkinson’s become increasingly senile and that one of the best mind exercises to prevent senility is scripture memory. Besides the healthy mind benefit I experience all the blessings God promised to those who honor Him by honoring His word. I have selected 1,000 verses that I am going to memorize by the time I am 70. At my present rate of memorization I should make my goal. The App has a built in review system so that I learn new verses but also systematically review the ones I have already memorized. There is about 70,000 people who have this App and it ranks each person based on the number of points they have earned. You earn points by the total number of verses you have memorized and also by successfully reviewing verses you have learned. I am presently at 750th place and working to get up to 300th place by the end of the year. Nothing like a little competition to help motivate.
Our daughter Sherri took their little boy Courage to emergency today with an asthma attack. When Sherri was a baby we almost lost her with an asthma attack several different times. I remember walking around and around the hospital for hours praying that God would allow her to live. Over the years of praying for many different people with emergencies of various kinds I have gradually changed the way I pray, and I found myself praying that way today for little Courage. “Dear Lord, my will is that Courage would never get sick again, not even a little bit, but I know that isn’t the way life is. My will is that he would live to be a 120 years old, but I know that doesn’t happen, everyone dies sooner or later, and I tend to think later is better. Lord, I admit that I don’t know what your perfect will is most of the time, probabably all of the time. But I pray that Your will be done, and that You would be glorified in the outcome whether I like it or not. I pray that somehow many would be drawn to faith in You by the outcome of this crisis in our lives. I submit to Your will and declare my total trust in your love, and goodness, and wisdom. Please grant us Your joy, and peace, and strength in spite of circumstances. I love You.
Went out to Red Robin with Patty tonight. She is leaving tomorrow with all 6 of our girls plus our daughter in law to the coast where they have rented a house for three days to all hang out together celebrating Sarah’s (our oldest) 40th birthday. I have a goal to take Patty on a date at least twice each month and on the date to have significant conversation about our marriage, about our ministry, our kids and grandkids, and sometimes about future plans and finances. It was a nice date tonight. Over the last 46 years of raising 8 kids, pastoring a church, and doing all that we have done a major strength of ours has been our unity. Our unity has been the reason our marriage is such a source of strength and encouragement for both of us during all the ups and downs of life. The strength and encouragement that we receive from each other is a major reason that we both don’t grumble much and run with endurance the race God has set before us. Unity in a marriage is a result of commitment not to ever get angry, about learning how to solve problems together, learning how to really listen to the other person, a strong resolve to never hurt with our words, and proactively esteeming and honoring each other all the time. Our praying together for and about everything is the glue of our unity. Patty seems to understand this intuitively much more than I do. I pray to get things done. Patty believes in prayer but what is most important to her is that she prays with me. A truly blessed life has a unified marriage as the foundation.