I have many reasons to be grateful today – health, strength, family, friends, provisions… But here are seven primary reasons I have to especially give thanks to God for his goodness to me.
Life: I thank God that he has spared and sustained my life through another year. As I grow older (and more mature, I hope), I am experiencing an increasingly greater sense of my own mortality. I am still a young man. And I trust I have many more years to live and serve God. But I am also aware that life is “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14 – ESV). So I am grateful for every day of life God gives me.
Salvation & spiritual growth: I thank God for saving me by his sovereign grace. I praise the Lord that he has not treated me as my sins deserve. Instead, he has given me eternal life through faith in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And I thank God that he is still at work in me, conforming me to the image of his Son. And he will bring the good work he has begun in me to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).
Crystal: I thank God for my wife, Crystal Reanne’ Charles. She is my “Sunshine.” It seems like the Lord transforms her into just what I need her to be, exactly when I need it. It is an amazing thing to experience. To steal a line from a Jack Nicholson movie, she makes me want to be a better man. I love her and thank God for giving her to me.
H.B.III & Natalie Marie: I thank God for my two children. They are gifts of God that give a sense of gravity to my life, keeping me from drifting away in superficialities. I praise God as I watch their continual growth and development. And it’s the coolest thing in the world to be their personal “Jungle Jim.” I just don’t have the words to express what they mean to me. I thank God for them and pray that they would continue to grow as Jesus grew (Luke 2:52).
My call to preach: I thank God that he has called me to be a herald of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. My goals for my preaching are pretty simple. I want to be faithful, clear, and authentic. However, these simple goals are incredibly lofty for a sinner like me. I am still amazed that God would use someone like to do something as important as this. I am truly grateful that the primary task of my daily life is to get ready to preach and teach the word of God. I can’t believe I get paid to do this. And I thank God for every opportunity he gives me to proclaim the scriptures, be it in season or out of season.
MSMBC: I thank God for the wonderful privilege of pastoring Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church. November 5th marked the sixteenth anniversary of the day I was selected to pastor this great church. And even though I have been called to spiritually nurture the congregation; they have done just as much to nurture me over the years. The primary human credit for what is good about me and my ministry belongs to the loving membership of MSMBC. I thank God and pray for them in all my prayers (Philippians 1:3-4).
2006: I thank God for all that he has done for me, in me, and through me in 2006. This has been a challenging year for me in some respects. At points, I have been low in spirits to a degree that is not typical of me. But in the midst of it all, God has been faithful. And through the ups-and-downs, the Lord has continued to use me, help me, and bless me. Amazingly, the things that “stick” to me about this year are all positive – that is a reason to be thankful, in and of itself.
“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift.” – 2 Corinthians 9:15 (ESV)