BWFLI team stretching and blessing the next generation of leaders at East Texas Baptist University
Cliff Shiepe, best-selling author, inspires students
ETBU students gathered at midnight to discuss “What’s Next” and job market tips
Former All-American, All-Pro Bill Glass stirring the athletes
ETBU Steering Committee Chair Emily Prevost and BWFLI President Brenda A. Smith sharing a celebratory moment
“And their voices prevailed.” (Luke 22:23)
The trial of Jesus climaxes in these four pitiable words. Pilate wanted a reason to free Jesus and maintain his political position with the Jews, so he gave them a choice. He kept looking for the “right answer,” but the crowd kept calling out Barabbas. “And their voices prevailed.”
Such sad words, aren’t they? So easily passed over. But wait – shouldn’t we stop and think about the implications for us today?
During the holidays the sounds of Christmas carols blend in with strains of stinkin’ thinkin’ as Zig Ziglar liked to say. Truth about the incarnation and mishmash about materialism on steroids create a cacophony of voices which confuse and distract us.
Hallmark movies with 40 different ways of using the same script (and revolving actors) try valiantly to woo us into the happy ever after. In actuality, loss of relationships, jobs, hopes, and dreams create loneliness and aching.
How can we tune out the voices of “you need more,” “life is only good if you have ________________” (fill in the blank)? How can we shut out the noise of a culture which talks over, screams at, and seeks to subdue? How can the “still, quiet voice of God” break through to our spirit? How can the prevailing voices be captured and only the sounds of the sacred audible?
It is in discerning what needs to be heard and what needs to be stifled and muffled. It is in listening for the precious voice of the One who loved us so much He sent Jesus (God in the flesh) to teach us what life really means.
Thanksgiving Day gives us an opportunity to focus on voices of gratitude. Then we can shout for joy!
by Brenda A. Smith, BWFLI.com, BreakfastWithFred.com
“I shut down all my social media accounts except one. I was being influenced by all the seeming perfection and competition I saw and felt. Now I check Facebook rarely and only friend those who really care about me.”
This student’s reaction to the peer pressure felt (even on a Christian campus) through social media highlighted the need for God’s grace and wisdom. As we pray this month for our schools, let’s boldly approach the throne on behalf of all who are feeling pushed and shoved into the world’s mold. May the power of God’s Word and the strength of prayer enable them to stand strong in a demanding culture.
Let us speak words of encouragement to these men and women who study, work, and lead. Let us lift them up with the hope of faithfully following their calling through the Lord Jesus Christ. And may our hearts be drawn to pray for them day by day.
The Nearness of God
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your work (Psalm 73:28, NAU).
Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word. You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes (Psalm 119:67-68, NAU).
Thanksgiving draws near, and when it comes there will be many who will give thanks for good times, for good health, for success in business or schooling. As a parent, it is all too easy to pray that God will “bless” our children with success and freedom from sorrow or pain, but God’s word makes it clear that the ultimate good is experiencing the nearness of God, and this is often achieved the hard way – through trials and adversity.
Let us pray wisely and well by praying for our college students, faculty, and staff to experience the nearness of God, no matter which way God chooses to bring this to pass. May they all (may we all!) be able to give thanks to God for drawing us nearer to Himself, whether by removing difficulties, or by sending them our way.
Sign up for the monthly Prayer Network newsletter to be delivered to your email on the first Monday of each month by clicking here.
Weekly Thought – November 20, 2018
Fred and Mary Alice hosted Thanksgiving in their home for the family. Cultivating gratitude was a primary goal for them. They encouraged the sharing of thankfulness around the table. And then Fred would pray, bringing everyone before the throne of God. Fred’s writings are particularly poignant because they reflect emotional and spiritual discipline after being bed-bound and on dialysis 3 days a week.
BWF carries on the tradition of appreciation. Your support is deeply recognized. How much you mean to the ongoing work of the ministry. We pray your Thanksgiving Day brings great peace.
Personal Day of Thanksgiving
For quite a long time I believed gratitude was one of the strong antidotes for depression. Consequently, when I woke up at 3:00 one Tuesday morning feeling frustrated and going into depression from my immobilized and restricted condition, I knew I would be awake for hours longer. And I knew I had to get control of and change my mood.
Casting about for a workable idea, I thought about a day dedicated to thanksgiving. Because Tuesdays were spent recovering from dialysis with little or no mobility, I decided this would be the day. It was to be all day, so I had to plan out the time to make the most effective use. I set up five major categories:
1) Spiritual – I recounted my assurance of God’s love and His salvation. Then I thought of the many exhilarating experience I have had through the Spirit, including the people and places connected with these experiences. Next I thought of heaven and named all those who went on before, expressing gratitude for my time with each and remembering their effect on me.
2) Intellectual stimulation – I reviewed all the interesting thoughts I have been given through people, books, and other periodicals.
3) Responsibilities – I listed the website (breakfastwithfred.com), Saturday morning Fred in the Bed sessions, teleconference calls, and personal visits. I am particularly thankful for these opportunities because even bed-bound I can be useful and there is nothing better.
4) Environment – I expressed appreciation for a healthy atmosphere which supports this sick body, including the physical elements of pictures, music, and supportive care.
5) Relationships – I recognized the freshness of the Spirit coursing through my family and friends as they keep me in the flow and “in the loop.”
Some of my friends have been intensely interested in this idea. I reminded them it is a FULL DAY. Several of them thought they could cover it in 30 minutes. If they diligently attempted the exercise they soon realized the breadth of the endeavor.
After creating my five major categories, I broke them down and ended up with 40 sub categories. If I spent 20 minutes on each, I filled the entire day. Each time I went through them I tried to be more and more specific about the items in each. For example, when I considered spiritual experiences I thought about spiritual songs that have instructed and encouraged me. I named each one and tried to remember as many of the verses as possible.
Another example of a sub-category is hobbies. At 50 I began playing golf, not to shoot a low score, but to make a perfect shot. I only did this once when I made a hole in one without touching the green. It was a combination hobby and obsession. I ended up with 22 sets of sticks, 64 putters, and 25 wedges. I was thankful for the constant challenge. During my personal day I recounted many times of gratitude for experiences on the golf course.
Thanksgiving and gratitude should be down to the microlevel of our lives. There is no experience too small for which we can’t stop and say “thank you.”
This week of Thanksgiving carefully consider: 1) What would my personal day of thanksgiving look like? 2) How could I use this concept with my family? 3) What is my own experience with the positive effect of thanksgiving?
Words of Wisdom: “For quite a long time I believed gratitude was one of the strong antidotes for depression.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give him thanks! Praise his name!” (Psalm 100:4 NET Bible)