Faithful Churches
I'm sad to say there are some congregations today that seem to be wrestling with who they are and what their mission is-a spiritual identity crisis of sorts. Relentlessly assaulted by doctrinal fads, scandals, divisions, internal and external criticism, and worldly thinking, they've buckled under the pressure. The chain reaction that creates is heartbreaking. Doctrine is compromised, effectiveness is forfeited, biblical ministry is abandoned, and God's blessing is withdrawn. That grieves me, and I know it grieves you as well.

However, we can thank the Lord for the many churches that have stayed the course in spite of pressure, and the many others that struggle but have not given up the fight. Large or small, the congregations that remain faithful to God's Word are the ones that are alive, vital, flourishing, reaching their communities with great effectiveness, and advancing the kingdom of God. They've resisted the fads, remained true to God's calling, and are now seeing His blessing. I'm grateful to Him for those churches, and for the encouragement they are to me and to the Body of Christ.

The People Who Make a Difference
Someone once made this wise observation: "Friends in your life are like pillars on your porch. Sometimes they hold you up, and sometimes they lean on you. Sometimes it's just enough to know they're standing by."

That's certainly been true in my life. I thank God daily for the many people who add so much color and warmth to my life. My best friend and wife, Patricia. Loving children and grandchildren. All who labor with me for the sake of the gospel. Each one enriches me greatly and is a very personal gift directly from the hand of God. I'm grateful for the friends-seen and unseen-whom I've been able to lean on, and who, to some small degree, have been able to lean on me.

Let me encourage you not to allow this Thanksgiving to come and go without taking inventory. Biblical gratitude isn't something that should pass from our minds with the passing of a season. It's an attitude, a God-focused response to circumstances that should pervade each moment of each day of each year.

May you, your family, and friends enjoy a blessed Thanksgiving season...all year!

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