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This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

Besides the holidays each year, November or December bring with it for my household a reminder that the cat, “Patches”, is due for her annual shots.  Patches is an outdoor cat, and she has the freedom of roaming the area where we live.  In her eleven and a half years, she’s only disappeared twice for more than a day at a time.  She’s like me most of the time, a homebody.  So when the time comes for a trip to the vet, she has to be tricked by treats or petting or whatever so that I can hold her long enough to shove her into her crate.  You can see from my picture that this is not a favorite activity of hers.  Neither is it one of mine.  However, it is something that certainly must be done.  It’s the plan, the schedule, the necessity to help keep her healthy and safe.

Ever feel caged up by life?  Maybe you feel that you were shoved into your circumstances by some invisible hand against your will, out of your plans, wild-eyed and wondering what could possibly come next.  Think on this.  What if the Maker never grabbed us up and brought us in for a checkup?  What if He never called us home, gathered us in His arms, and yes, sometimes, allowed a cage to hold us down, so that He could take care of what’s best for our lives?

Patches’ shots are necessary for her.  The short trip to and from the vet’s office certainly does her no harm.  And once it’s all over, I open the cage doors, and she runs off into the yard to do whatever it is that cats do all day, none the worse for wear.  And soon the trauma of the cage and the vet and the shots are all forgotten, just another part of making it through life.

And one side thought.  Because I am allergic to the cat, just the short time with her on vet day gives me a very scratchy throat and headache for the rest of the day.  But I do it because it’s necessary.  I dare say that God gets no enjoyment out of having to reel us in for a checkup either, but He does it because it’s necessary, because He loves us.

May your cages, your checkups, your shots, your trauma, by God’s design, be helpful and oh-so-temporary.  Endure.  For the child of God, it won’t be long until those cage doors are opened by His hand once again!

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

My photo this week is of a pesky horsefly.  Now, read that correctly.  It is not a measly little housefly.  It is a gigantimongous horse-sized horsefly.  Of course, it isn’t really that big, but it certainly looks like it.  Its buzzes sound huge.  Its bites hurt greatly.  It is a greater pest than a simple housefly.  It is big.

But is it really?  The horsefly, as much of a pest as it is, remains a small pest at that.  It can be swatted, stomped, squashed, and otherwise driven away.  It is just a fly.  A bug.  An insect.  And we are human, so much bigger than that tiny problem!

Now, think about the fact that our great big God is so much bigger than tiny little us or any problem or pest we may be experiencing this week!  The issue, be it great or small on our scale, can be swatted, stomped, squashed, and otherwise driven away by the Master’s hands!

You may feel pestered, bitten, bothered, and greatly annoyed in many ways by any number of pests this week.  However, God has the power to drive them away if He chooses, or to protect you and soothe you from the bites along the way.  Horsefly or housefly.  Big issue or small.  Let God take care of it for you this week!

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

Take a look at this week’s photo first.  As you study it, you should have no trouble telling where I must have been when I took the picture.  You see what appears to be a city’s downtown area, and you see a giant curved shadow in the foreground.

The shadow, of course, is of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the top of which I was wandering around in when I captured this view.  The shadow gave away my location.

Just a very simple question for every one of us this week.  As I write this, it is Monday morning.  That means yesterday was Sunday and a day observed by worshiping.  My question is this — When you walk among your coworkers, friends, family, etc. this week, will they be able to tell where you’ve been by the shadow you cast?

Will they see the love of Christ because you spend time with Him?  Will they see any of a multitude of other things because of how you use your 24 hours each day?  What shadow will you be casting for the lost world around you to see this week?  May they see Him!

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

When you picture a church building in your mind, what do you see?  Do you see a grand sprawling cathedral?  Do you see a quiet little white building nestled in a grove of trees where it has been for generations?  Or maybe you see something in between, similar to this small church, the Basilica of St. Louis King of France, in downtown St. Louis, Missouri?  This church is grand for its size, with ornate architecture and massive columns, but is small in terms of space.

We live our daily lives in a world that is quite obviously spiraling down the drain.  We gripe and complain about our leaders (the ones we ourselves elected to serve).  We hurry and run and hardly spend time with friends and family.  And yet, on any given day of worship, many of our church houses sit far from full.

Until God’s people see the importance of spending time with the Lord in a daily relationship and in corporate worship, how can we expect the rest of the world to feel any differently?

As a “P.K.” (preacher’s kid), I quite literally grew up inside the church building, and I still find it difficult to understand why folks don’t see the need to be there.  For me, it’s a must.  I pray that as the Lord leads you through your week, you will speak with Him about the necessity of spending time in His house with His people worshiping Him.  Any Bible-believing and teaching church, grand or small, would be thrilled to have you with them this Lord’s Day!

Just a thought.

Weekly Inspiration

By Ryan Kelly –

“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” Romans 15:1-2

Life will often give us circumstances that cause us to become weak either physically, mentally, or spiritually. When we are exhausted, even the small things in our day can cause significant problems and frustrations. Sometimes, we just need a hero to swoop in and help us with the problems of life.

God will equip people to fill this role. You don’t have to be exceptionally talented or smart…you just need a heart set on helping a brother or sister in need. Perhaps he is equiping you to be a hero in someone else’s life. To that extent, stay vigilant for opportunities to be a hero in someone’s life and help them in their time of need.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

This photo happens to be of three of my favorite things — a sunrise, a mountain, and a river.

Although, admittedly, I am the type person that sees a great many more sunsets in my life than I do sunrises, I do love the sight of one.  It signals a brand new day, of course.  A new day with new opportunities, new chances, new beginnings.

To me, a mountain is one of the most majestic and glorious things God ever created.  Standing high above anything and everything else, it points to the heavens, tall, mighty, and proud, inviting all who will to come explore its grandeur.

Then there’s the river.  I live not too very far from one, and cross it many times in a week.  Rivers bend and curve, stretching for many miles in each direction, inviting exploration or simply relaxation as you listen to the flowing waters.

With a new beginning, an invitation to grand exploration, and the relaxing sounds of rushing water, I need no other comforts for my week ahead.  I know the God I serve has given me yet another opportunity to be a blessing & a witness for Him, another chance to see and be a part of the grand world He created, and another chance to relax as I listen to the sound of His calming voice leading me along.

A sunrise, a mountain, and a river.  I need nothing else from Him this week.  How about you?

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

In all my years of sharing these “thoughts” I’ve never shown you a picture like this one.  Here you see a lone church pulpit.  It is flanked by organ and piano, by American flag and Christian flag, by a Bible and the offering plates on the communion table, and by a lovely stained glass in the baptistry.

This particular pulpit stands in one of our nation’s smaller churches, but the building size makes no difference.  It makes no difference that the pretty flower arrangement happens to be silk and not fresh-cut from someone’s yard.  It matters not that the stage area is rather small.  What truly matters here is the Word that will be brought from the pulpit’s preacher.

And what also matters greatly is the ears that will be in the pews hearing the anointed challenge from the Lord.

How did you spend your Sunday this week?  How do you plan to spend the next one?  Were you in a Bible-believing church congregation worshiping?  The writer of Hebrews reminds us to “forsake not he meeting of ourselves together.”  Simply said, we desperately need the fellowship of the common believer!

Before you complain to the Lord this week by asking Him where He has been for you lately, ask yourself where you have been for Him.  Do I have to attend church to be a Christian?  No, certainly not.  But as a professing Christian, I should want nothing more than to spend my time in worship along with others who have the same desire.  Where will you spend your time this week?

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

At first glance, you might not see anything special about this week’s picture.  But look closely.  Yes, it is just a highway lined by trees.  But those trees, those gigantic trees, called Ponderosa Pines, line this highway near the Pacific coast of Oregon.  Look at the size of the trees in reference to the car on the highway.

A tree is just a tree.  Well, no, it isn’t.  Each part of our country is different.  I grew up with a yard of very large oak trees.  Today, my yard and most of those around me are full of just plain pine trees.  Certainly not the same shade providing variety of tree I played under as a child.

You will walk your routine this week as a tree.  You may be straight and narrow like the pines in my yard.  You may stand mighty and fierce like a grand old southern oak.  You may flower and sway like a crepe myrtle.  Or you may stand way above the rest of us like a Ponderosa Pine.  None of that really matters, as long as you stand.

Winds and storms come.  Dig your roots deep and stand.  Human forces may seek to destroy you.  Plant your roots and stand.  Other trees may fall your way.  Hold on strong and stand firm, reaching to the heights that are meant for God-fearing people to reach.

Yes, you may just be a tree.  But just look how tall and mighty and unbelievably strong you are compared to the world at your feet.  Be the strong person you are called to be this week.  Tower above the world’s problems, and stand.

Just a thought.

Weekly Inspiration

By Ryan Kelly –

“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13

Never give up on any fight in life. Always work hard, always rise to the challenge, and never back down. Through Christ, you can be victorious in any battle.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

I’ve shared many signs with you in the past few years, but here’s another.  It says, “Please Keep Off The Walkway, Don’t Handle The Fish”.  Now, those of you who know me personally know that my middle name is ‘sarcasm’.  I read this sign and immediately think, “Well, if the fish didn’t want to be handled, they had no business being on the walkway to begin with!”

Of course there were no fish on the walkway.  This sign was posted at a fish hatchery.  We were free to wander the grounds, but not to be on the walkways between the large fish tanks or to lean over the edge and bother the fish.  I’m not quite sure why anyone would want to, anyway.  However, most signs are indeed posted for a reason, and the reason is usually because someone has tried to do the very thing that is being warned against.

As you wander in your daily work, how hard is it for you to remain focused?  Are you easily distracted by the things around you, even to the point of putting your hands and efforts into things where you have no business?

Allow me to challenge you to remain focused this week.  Love your neighbor.  Lend a helping hand.  But be careful not to neglect your own duties as well.  If you stopped to “handle all the little fish”, too many others would too.  And that isn’t good for the fish.  They must learn to swim and survive on their own.  To some, that might sound cruel.  To the fish who never learns to swim, it is detrimental.  And another thing — if you wander those walkways so closely between those fish tanks, and you slip and fall into one, not only have you possibly injured yourself, but you have greatly disturbed the inhabitants of the tank!

Just a thought.