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
Brenda’s Blog – November 15, 2022
“It just happened.”
The concept of randomness is prevalent in our society, despite all evidence to the contrary.
A friend explained marital infidelity with those three words. There was no recognition of the many decision points between fidelity and infidelity. “I certainly didn’t plan it- it just happened.” Denial.
To the contrary my Dad gave me an eagle with these words on the base: “soaring never just happens.” Thought, discipline, and sacrifice are foundational not casual coincidence.
Likewise, my current study of worldviews reinforces my appreciation for intentional, divine creation. The Designer brought purpose, function, joy, and delight together exquisitely to speak mankind and all nature into existence.
Think about your experiences; look at the patterns; and consider that they didn’t “just happen.” Take a minute to enjoy the process. And if there are darker chapters, understand the decisions leading to those actions, learn from them, and move forward in the light.
by Brenda A. Smith, BWFLI.com, BreakfastWithFred.com
“Christian higher education is clearly targeted by the “woke” educational activists.”
The courageous men and women who dedicate themselves to the full development of students who are excellent in academics, professional skills, and the faithful following of Jesus need our prayers and support. As we think of Thanksgiving may they come to mind. May our gratitude for their commitment to our great triune God give us hope in a chaotic world which desires the eradication of God-fearing education.
Please pray for the students who are unable to go home during this special time because of distance or financial difficulties. We encourage you to share hospitality, fellowship, and your practical witness.
May we remember, also, families who often sacrifice to provide a Christian education for their children. Their loving encouragement provides a foundation upon which they build their future.
Thank you for praying. Each month we receive messages of appreciation from administrators for our spiritual dedication. Our community of faith rejoices as we see the Spirit work powerfully.
Giving Thanks and Thinking Straight
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened (Romans 1:18-21, NAU)..”
There are three things about this text to which I would call your attention. The first is that failure to give thanks to God is attributed to unbelievers, and it is part of Paul’s justification for their condemnation. It is interesting that while God requires His saints to give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18), here Paul says that God expects all men to give thanks. Failure to show thankfulness toward God is a serious matter, for all mankind.
The second thing I would point out is that for which we are expected to give thanks. This Thanksgiving, many will give thanks for a job, a roof over their heads, money in the bank, and food in the cupboard – material provisions. But Paul says here that thanks should be given to God for who He is, based on the marvelous revelation of His nature and character in His creation.
Third, Paul speaks of the danger of thinking more highly of (worshiping) creation, rather than the Creator. And when mankind turns their thinking upside-down in this manner, God gives them over to even greater distorted thinking.
Thus, if we, and the students in our schools fail to think rightly about God, we will most likely not think rightly about every area of truth. Let us be thankful, then, to God, for God, as He has revealed Himself to us in nature (and Scripture!). It is then that we will be able to think more clearly about everything else.
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Weekly Thought – November 22, 2022
Fred and Mary Alice established gratitude and thanksgiving as foundational for their family. They built into each child “Be A Blessing” was an essential part of the family vocabulary. Thanksgiving was Mary Alice’s favorite family celebration. And all year long whenever the family gathered around the table she would smile and say, “Now, THIS is Thanksgiving!”
Count Your Blessings
Gratitude is a very positive emotion. Han Selye gives it high marks in his celebrated spectrum of emotions. The grateful are among the happiest, most balanced individuals. They have an outward view of life. They have kept the old ritual of “counting blessings.”
Gratitude should start with the very basics: life, health, adequate food, clothing and shelter, love among relations, freedom, and a personal relationship with God. Too often we take the basics for granted. And focusing on the “big blessings” can distract us from recognizing and acknowledging those we just assume.
When I first read in the Psalms that God asks for “the sacrifice of gratitude” I wondered how that could be. Then on further consideration I saw when we are grateful we appreciate that another has done something for us we could not do for ourselves. The arrogant, self-sufficient ones find gratitude difficult. Too often we want others to need us, but resent needing others. God is saying to us He wants our egos to say, “Thank you. I need you – or as the hymnist says, “I need you every hour.” This is a humbling experience, but it is also exhilarating.
Have you stopped recently to make a list of things for which you are grateful? I hadn’t, so as I was thinking about this I quickly jotted down some: feet I can still use to walk 18 holes; a back that doesn’t hurt all the time; eyes for reading and seeing loved ones; punctuation, because without it I would have to read text out loud; enough coordination to drive a car; some discretionary money which I never used to have; my opposing thumbs that make hands workable; a comfortable place to work and something to do; some competitive souls to argue with and a pen and paper on which I made this list.
And if you need help, you can always add Heaven, grace, forgiveness, and the presence of the Spirit.
Have you made your list? If you’re not thankful by now, then shame on you. And if shame doesn’t work, then start writing down the reasons others should be grateful for you. That very short list might develop a great deal of gratitude.
This week carefully consider: 1) How long has it been since I made a gratitude list? 2) What difference would gratitude make in my personal and professional relationships? 3) Who needs to hear “Thank you?”
Words of Wisdom: “…When we are grateful we appreciate that another has done something for us we could not do for ourselves.”
Wisdom from the Word: “The LORD strengthens and protects me; I trust in him with all my heart. I am rescued and my heart is full of joy; I will sing to him in gratitude.” (Psalm 28:7 NET Bible)