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This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

This is a picture of two of my favorite people in one of my favorite places.  Without knowing anything else about them or the location, you would simply have to take my word that what I’ve said is true.  But I won’t leave you wondering.  Those are my parents, and they are sitting in the middle of a lavender farm at Hood River, Oregon, not far from the base of Mount Hood.

My parents are just that – mine.  Your parents, relatives, family, and friends are your favorites because they hold special meaning to you.  This place, Hood River, holds special meaning to us, as it is where my Dad was born, and it is a most beautiful place to visit.

As you think back (farther back for some of us!), especially to the holiday seasons, you perhaps remember all the family members who once gathered in droves to celebrate.  Many of these have long since inherited their eternal reward.  You remember the places, grandparents’ homes, special trips together, or family recipes that need to once again be brought out and dusted off for use!  You remember just a few of your favorite things (cue the music here with Julie Andrews singing).  And your heart smiles.
Our trips back to Oregon have been blessed ones.  My parents are still with us and continue to take one day at a time through health difficulties and those other ‘benefits’ of aging.  The majority of our crew was able to gather for this Thanksgiving – another of my favorite things – and we plan to do it again for Christmas.

Favorites.  Blessings.  God’s goodness, granted to us to through those we love and hold dear and through precious memories of days gone by.  My Dad’s mother, in particular, would be especially pleased that we’ve visited their old stomping grounds in the beautiful northwest U.S.  She would be thrilled at the family gatherings, and she would be right in the middle of the kids’ games herself.  But I believe she would be most proud knowing that her “favorites” love the Lord and continue to rely on Him daily.
God doesn’t have favorites among His children.  — Oh, but maybe He does.  Maybe we are all His favorites.

You are one of mine.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

It’s all the same.  We just use different words to describe it.  Some say it’s a momento,  Some might call it a treasure.  Some would say it’s an artifact.  And still others might call it junk.  Whatever the word, the fact remains that whatever it is to them, we might have other ideas.

A few years ago, a cousin who has now recently passed on to her Heavenly reward sent me a package.  The first thing I noticed was her name and return address, of course, but immediately also noticed that the box seemed to weigh nothing at all.  I ripped into it as soon as could, and I found this old hat along with a handwritten note.

It seems that her father, my great uncle, found the hat in the barn on the family property one day many years ago and brought it home with him because it belonged to his father, my great grandfather.  He held onto the hat for years, then my cousin wound up with it.  And then, because she called me the “family historian,” she thought I might like to have it.  I was thrilled, and the hat is high on a perch in my home today.  I never knew this particular great grandfather.  He died five years before I was born.  But this old broken well-worn hat became for me a connection to my family and my past.  I have many other momentos (or pieces of junk, depending on your view) from other various family members, and each have their own connection for me.

Interesting, isn’t it, that we hang onto things that remind us of our past?  And yet, our future is so much more important!  One thing the holiday season helps to do is remind us of what is most important in our lives — faith, family, and yes, good memories.

It’s okay to look back on the past.  Just don’t set up camp and dwell there.  I look to hand off some things to my kids one day.  Whether they keep them or chunk them will be their prerogative.  What I most want them to look back and remember is that their old Dad tried his best to teach them about those most important things.

Enjoy your holidays.  Make new memories.  And share the old ones as you do.  Introduce the new generations to stories of faithfulness and God’s goodness in your family!
Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

Even if you’ve never been around any pigs long enough to pay attention to their behavior and habits, you probably have seen pictures, like mine here, of pigs playing in the mud.  It seems that when we think of pigs, we think of mud and messes.  At some point, most of our mothers even accused us of keeping our rooms in a mess like a pig sty.

Pigs wallow in the dirt and muddy mire.  They seem to enjoy getting nasty, and they enjoy it very much.  As a matter of fact, these pigs are playing in the one lone mud hole in a several acre pasture.  They sought it out and spent quite a while in it.  But why?  Pigs wallow in the mud, not necessarily because they love the look, but because it makes them feel good, and they don’t care what anyone else thinks.

Too many times, we wallow in our sin.  We seek out opportunities to play in the mud and mire of the world.  And why?  For the same reasons as the pigs.  It feels good, and we don’t care what anyone else thinks.  But sin makes us dirty, it makes us stink, and it very often makes us unpresentable — all because we simply want to feel good!

Pigs are great animals.  They’re smart.  They can even make good pets.  So, don’t look down on them because they wallow in the mud.  Don’t judge them, or any one else around you, simply based on where and how they wallow.  Remember the dirt in your own life.

The grace we can all receive from God Almighty will clean us up from our muddy filth, though!  God knows I can’t get cleaned up on my own.  But praise His Name, He loved me anyway, called me to Himself, and cleaned me up.

Pigs will always be pigs.  Humans will always be sinners.  But as Christians, we answer to the One Who loves us anyway, and will forgive us of our sin every single time we choose to go wallowing in it.  Let me encourage you to bring your nastiness to Jesus today!  Wallowing in the sin of the world may look like fun, but all it will do is remind you of what a pig you are without Jesus!
Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

This redheaded woodpecker is a beautiful sight to behold.  We actually have several different woodpeckers that frequent the property around our house and the neighbor’s, and they are entertaining to watch.  This one, for instance, was making quite a bit more racket than what I would normally hear.  So, I looked to see why.  And as you can tell, the bird was pecking on a plastic and metal television satellite dish!  No wonder it was making a racket!

My first thought was that the bird is crazy!  But the more I think about it, the more I wonder if it knew something I didn’t.  Surely there was a reason for his satellite dish knocking rant.  Surely there were bugs or worms or something hiding in the cracks or around the base.  Surely the bird had seen something to make the work worthwhile.

As a Christian in today’s world, folks will see you, and they might even hear your racket, but most certainly they will at times think you’ve lost your mind.  But what they don’t know is what they don’t see.  They don’t see Jesus, so they can’t see why we work for Him.  They don’t know the Lord, so they don’t understand why we look for Him daily.  They don’t understand what the Scripture means when it tells us to “taste and see that He is good!”  Ah, but we Christians do!

Now, I realize that by categorizing myself like this satellite-knocking woodpecker, I may have labeled myself a birdbrain.  Oh well, to be a birdbrain for the Lord is the best kind of crazy there is!

Let them look at you and wonder this week.  But, keep on pecking, looking, and searching for the goodness of God in everything.  I promise you’ll find it!

Just a thought.

Bless Others

By Madison Moore –

Do you ever just wish you could tell someone off for their offense against you? I do. I’m a peacemaker, which means I want to run away from conflict at all costs, but sometimes I don’t back down and I’m too quick to speak. Not just my words but also my thoughts. I find myself dwelling often on the sins of others instead of seeing that person as an image bearer, fearfully and wonderfully made and in need of grace. Because as we all know, we are just as sinful as the next person, and our eyes and hearts need adjusting to see our own messiness.  

Yesterday I was reading in 1 Peter 3 and read these verses:

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”

There’s a lot packed in here, but what struck me is Peter telling Christians to bless those who do evil against them. Yes, I know that revenge belongs to God and that we’re supposed to offer grace, but, bless—that’s a lot to ask, God.

In the Greek, ‘bless’ here, means to speak well of; to praise. We do this because of the grace and mercy God has shown us in Christ Jesus. We’re imitators of Christ, and if our hearts are seeking God, the Holy Spirit will help us bless others in word and deed. Practically speaking, this could mean asking God to bless a particular person’s day, for them to have a revelation in Christ Jesus, for there to be healing in their life, and so on. Or, you can respond with kind words and a smile.

In the following verses in 1 Peter 3, Peter references Psalm 34:12-14:

For ‘Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.’”

Peter continues to warn Christians against speaking evil and urges us to seek peace and pursue it. I’m reminded of Proverbs 18:21:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

If we truly believe that God is who he says he is, then we must believe that our words matter and hold power—that we can tear down ourselves and others, or we can speak (think and pray) words of life and follow in the footsteps of our Savior.

It’s not easy, but it’s what God has called us to do. It’s for our good and his glory, and God’s ready to bless us for doing so.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

An old window in an old house down an old dirt road, telling of the old days.  I don’t remember my thoughts at the time I took this picture, but I do find it interesting that all of the old original glass in this window remains intact.

Here in the side wall of a grand old abandoned house is this dusty window.  Its panes are somewhat wavy.  It hangs in a frame covered with flaking paint and in need of caulking.  At one time this window, like many others, would have been raised to let in a cool summer’s breeze.  And those of us who have lived in old frame houses such as this will understand that the same window, in its closed tight position, somehow always let in winter’s cool breezes as well!

This window allowed the residents to peer outward into the yard to watch the neighbors or the occasional traffic coming down the dirt road.  The same window, with curtains and sashes pulled back, would have allowed the occasional passerby to gaze inward and observe a family sitting down to dinner or a child attempting to chase the beloved pet back outside.

Windows keep in the heat or cold, and yet they also keep out the heat or cold.  Windows allow you to see outward, and they also allow you to see inward.  The window protects but also allows some interaction.

If you compare this window to the Word of God, you might find some similarities.  The Bible allows one to see inwardly and address the needs of the soul, while it also allows one to see outwardly and apply it to a world much bigger than our little space at home.  The Word protects me from the evils of the world, and yet it gives me insight into the same things so I can be better prepared when they happen to come my way.  Through the divinely inspired Scriptures, I can see God.  And perhaps even the most beautiful thought is that He looks down, sees me through the old wavy crookedness, cracks, flaking paint, and draftiness of my life and loves me anyway!

What will He see when He looks through your window this week?

Just a thought.

God Uses the Willing, Not Just the Able

By Ryan Kelly –

Have you ever felt the Lord telling you to step out and do something, only to back down thinking that you aren’t good enough? Most of us have.

The vast majority of people have a fear of failure. This is why a boy may shy away from asking a girl out on a date. This is why many dream of owning a business, but they never start one. This is why people don’t go back to school, don’t strive for the better job, and don’t speak to the stranger across the room. They are afraid of failing.

Fear can be paralyzing, and it can affect us all.

Think about this: how many people do you think God equips to do a job, for them to only refuse to follow this calling out of fear? So many people fail to witness to a non-believe because they don’t think they know Scripture well enough. So many people fail to help someone less fortunate because they don’t think they can offer enough. So many people have fear over the Lord’s calling in their life…and they fail to realize that God did not give you opportunity without also standing beside you.

Sure, there are plenty of people out there that may be smarter, quicker, more well spoken, or more popular. But are they following God’s will? Are they willing to take the chance? Remember Moses – he was likely a stutterer and was far from the “best” person to talk to Pharaoh about releasing the Israelites from Egyptian captivity. But Moses was willing where everyone else was not. They were afraid, he was not. He took what God gave him and trusted that the Lord was by his side, and in doing so he led a nation out of captivity and into freedom.

What do you think the Lord will do with you? When He opens a door for you, it is no accident that you are the one standing there waiting to go through. You must simply have enough faith in the Lord that He will help you accomplish the task set before you. And, you must deny yourself and be willing to sacrifice the time and effort that it will take to accomplish this task.

There are so many verses in the Bible speaking about fear, it’s hard to cite them all. But one of my personal favorites is 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 

Don’t be fearful of your inability to do what God wants you to do. If you are willing, He will make you able.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

I’ve had the privilege of visiting several museums of all kinds and sizes over my fifty-plus years.  Each and every one has something unique to offer, be it the unusual rare Picasso sculpture, the Hope Diamond, or rusty Civil War bullets.  The picture I’m showing you this week is of the famed Musée du Louvre, or the Louvre Museum in Paris.

The Louvre is a wondrously huge place filled with ornate statues and massive paintings.  Housed in what was once the Louvre Palace, these art works and others attract millions of visitors annually.  The one thing we wanted to see while there was a simple painting of a simple woman.  It’s a work you might have heard of  — the Mona Lisa!  Yes, we wandered through the throngs of people, we studied and followed our guide maps, and we asked an English-speaking museum worker to point us in the right direction.

And, yes, there it was.  Alone on the far wall of a grand room hangs a surprisingly small painting under constant guard.  And amazing as it seems, the incredible numbers of people patiently each took turns and briefly, if only for just a few short seconds, posed for photos with the grand lady.  The guard of course, ever alert, reminded everyone to remain behind the ropes and barriers, and he hurried us along for the next curious sight-seers to have their turn.  And then it was over.  We had been all over a huge museum to see a small relatively disappointing painting.

On what do you set your sights and hopes this week?  Do you build up, wandering and wondering about what’s to come around the next corner, in the next gallery, only to be disappointed when you finally arrive and it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?
Certainly your experience with the famed Mona Lisa could be much different than mine, but the question I wish to pose to us is this  — How much greater, how much more beautiful, how much more wonderful is the love of Jesus for His children than all the excitement any earthly treasures could possibly bring?  If only we were as eager to spend time with the Lord as we are to stand in line to visit some famous attraction.  When I finally have my turn in line to come before the Master, I know I won’t be disappointed!  What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see!

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

You are looking at a photo I took while walking along the outer walls of the medieval fortified city of Saint-Malo, located on the French coast of the English channel.  It is a beautiful city indeed, one that works hard to preserve its historical aspects.  In fact, our bus was not allowed on the ancient narrow streets and had to unload and remain just outside the city.  We then walked into town dragging our suitcases with us.

Our evening walks around the walls of the city afforded us some beautiful scenic views, the walls themselves reminding us of times long past.  The walls were built around this city and many like it to provide protection from enemy attacks.  

I wonder how often we, still today, surround ourselves with walls, attempting to keep out anyone and anything.  Way too many times through the covid pandemic of the past couple of years, we have walled ourselves up away from others.  We’ve hidden behind the walls of our homes, venturing out only when we deemed it ‘safe.’  But one thing about walls is that they not only keep you inside, they also keep others out.  And which is more dangerous?  More sad?

The walls of our homes and our churches provide comfort to God’s people while we gather to live and worship, but let’s be careful that we don’t use our walls as an excuse to keep others out.  Certainly we must protect our own in times of peril, but there must remain points of access.  Even the completely walled city of Saint-Malo had great large doors through which we walked to gain entrance.  Even the great walled city of Heaven itself has gates through which one must pass.  Jesus is the only door.
This week, don’t hide behind your walls.  Instead, walk atop them, taking in the scenery, and allowing access to those who desperately need to be a part of something greater – the family of God.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

For only about the third time in these past few years, I’m breaking my own rule and using a photo that includes myself in it.  But, do me a favor and focus not on my sheepish grin, and instead notice the wooden pulpit behind which I’m standing.  Simple and plain, and yet a pulpit used in sharing the Word of God.

This summer I was privileged to visit the Billy Graham library, home, and museum at Charlotte, NC.  It is indeed a beautiful place to visit.  One can tour Billy Graham’s relocated boyhood home, his and Ruth’s gravesites, and an onsite museum, which you are reminded is about the Gospel, not the man who preached it.

I wandered, listening to video presentations, looking at artifacts, and hearing the Gospel presented, and then rounded a corner to see the very pulpit that was literally carried around the world for Billy Graham to use to preach that Good News.  I, of course, took the opportunity, aided by a kind stranger, to have my picture taken.  I must admit I was in awe and had a slight chill of goosebumps on my arms as I stood reverently still in that quiet space for just a moment.

But what remains the most remarkable is not that plain wooden pulpit, certainly not the man you see behind it, and not even the great Rev. Dr. Billy Graham, but is the Gospel message that was shared from the Word of God while he stood there.  

In human standards, I will never be another Billy Graham.  However, I can share the very same message of God’s eternal love!  Now THAT gives me goosebumps!Share the Word with me this week.

Just a thought.