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December 15, 2014

Simply Follow the Light

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

When [the three wise men] heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. “

Matthew 2: 9-11(NKJV)

This year just our younger granddaughter, Ellie Kate, will be able to go with us. Keeping the tradition, although slightly modified since our elder granddaughter, Hannah is unable to attend with us this year. Next year Lynda and I hope we will be back on track with both of our precious granddaughters attending the annual Christmas musical with us at Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa. Florida.

What I am about to describe occurred a few years ago and was one of those unexpected moments of life-changing clarity. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

December 8, 2014

A Needed Reminder

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2: 8-12 (ESV)

Well it happened again this past Saturday night. I watched my favorite movie of all time—“It’s a Wonderful Life.”

It happened “unexpectedly,” while I was flipping between “The Preacher’s Wife” with Denzel Washington and the late, Whitney Houston, and the ACC and Big 10 Championship games.

There it was and there it stayed on our television screen. Despite having seen it at least a hundred times and preparing to watch it next week on DVD, I sat there watching it to its glorious eye-moistening end as all of those people whom George Bailey’s life had touched, came to his aid during a time of trouble and need.

The movie never fails to remind me of what God was trying to tell us so many years ago when He sent His Son for you and for me. And it is a reminder I need. It is a reminder that many of us need. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

December 1, 2014

Bethlehem Morning

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9: 6 (KJV)

Even if I wanted to wrap myself in the quiet darkness of the early morning, with five windows in my upstairs office the morning’s sunshine has a way of breaking through into the sanctuary I have created with my thoughts. The moments of sitting alone in that darkened corner of my world wondering, planning, a bit anxious about what today and tomorrow will bring are always penetrated by that incessant light.

I wonder if there’s a message there—from long ago—we have yet to learn. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

November 24, 2014

A View from the Mountaintop

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

Psalm 50: 14-15 (ESV)

I don’t know all that’s going on in your lives at the moment, but I’ll bet if you’re anything like me, you’ve had your share of valleys to walk through lately. Whatever they have been, it seems there are times that you can’t seem to catch a glimpse of the sunshine which you have heard was out there somewhere.

Well, why don’t you and I take time this week to stop, and climb back up on the mountaintop, and take a moment to remember and reflect on all the blessings of our lives? Perhaps this week—this Thanksgiving week—we could try something different. Perhaps, instead of dwelling on the things in the valley, we change our perspective to a view from the mountaintop, and list all the blessings for which we can be thankful.

Maybe begin with the basics, all the things for which you and I are thankful everyday—you woke up this morning, your bride, your husband, the health you have left, your children and grandchildren, the family pet. Maybe it’s a paycheck, a donation to ministry, food on the table, the wrinkled smile of an older and loyal friend, a precious child, and a phone call of caring which comes when you need it most, an unexpected hug, and a beautiful sunset. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

November 17, 2014

What Are You Doing That’s Important?

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Train yourself to be Godly.  Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

I Timothy 4: 7-8 (NLT)

So, what are you doing that’s important?

For instance, those who are working around the world to stem the loss, report that twenty-six thousand children will die today because of starvation or a preventable disease. Children and families will go to bed hungry in this country at the rate of one in five, and around the world at much more alarming rates?

So, what is it that you are doing that is all that important?

Maybe you’ve wondered at times about what it is about your job that is so important. Or what is it that you can use your job for that may be important?

This past weekend hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to watch and produce football games in colleges around the nation and within the National Football League. The beginnings of the basketball season will do the same in the months to come.

Yet it is conservatively estimated that twenty-seven million adults and thirteen million children will be forced this year into sexual trafficking systems in this country and other countries in the world. So is it really that important that we won or lost the game, rather than whether we played the game with integrity and honor? Or is it more important that we use the opportunity of the game to share what may really be important with all those who watch? Is it really so important that a coach win the conference championship, rather than win the hearts and minds of the players so that they grow and learn and make a difference in the world?

Maybe we should be asking ourselves whether we are using the gifts and opportunity (the platform) God has given us to make a difference in this world. Maybe we should be thinking that if God placed us here—what can we do to make a difference? Maybe we should be giving some thought to what God expects of us.

In the movie “Chariots of Fire,” Eric Liddell had to respond to the critics saying that he wasted too much time on other pursuits—namely Godly pursuits—to ever be considered as a world-class runner.

His critics suggested that he needed to change his approach to training if he ever really wanted to be a runner that competed successfully at high levels, and who won awards, fame, money and other worldly accolades. His response to his critics was succinct and direct when he said—

I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast.

And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

For Eric Liddell it was all about God. And God’s glory.

In the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, France he was forced to withdraw from the 100 meter competition—his best event—because one of the heats for the event was run on a Sunday. He would not run on Sunday. He knew from where his ability came, and he knew he was running for God’s smile and honor. His heart’s desire was to honor God with the gift God had given him. Liddell went on to win the Bronze Medal in the 200 meters and the Gold Medal in the 400 meters.

After reaching the pinnacle of competitive running in those Olympics, Eric Liddell left for China as a missionary, again simply to honor God. He would continue to do that up to the date of his death in a POW camp.

Eric Liddell realized that the two greatest passions the Lord had placed on his heart—running and reaching the lost—should both be used to his utmost—for God’s glory.

For God’s glory. Not alone for championships and trophies, money or fame or awards.

Maybe that’s what we should be doing with our lives. Maybe that should be the focus of our lives—God’s glory. It’s just a thought.

The reality is that God has given all of us incredible gifts, abilities and talents, deep reservoirs of passion, so many opportunities, and in many cases the resources to help others. What do you suppose He wants us to do with all of that?

Trophies? Championships? Stuff? Money? Fame?

Remember the earlier numbers: 26,000 children dying; 1 in 5 hungry at night; 27 million adults, and 13 million children in unspeakable slavery.

What do you really suppose He wants us to do with our lives?

If it is to make a difference in the lives and world around us, and all for His glory—are we doing that? Is He smiling down on you and on me?

If you didn’t before now, will you do it today and from now on? How will you do it? Maybe it has to start with the focus of our lives.

Doing what is important—changing the world one life at a time.

Just something for us all to think about now and always, and in all ways?

Others may be counting on it.

So, again, what are you doing that’s important?

In His Name—Scott

 

Copyright 2014. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts
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