Give Thanks

Oh give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples.  Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; speak of all His wonders.  Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.  Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually.  remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth, . . . He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth” – Psalm 105:1-5, 7

I realize that it has been a while since I posted, but as all of us know, life gets busy.  Since this blog is not my first responsibility, I have to give other ministries higher priority.  Thanks for your patience.

As we all know, Thanksgiving is just a week away (+/-).  For the last several days I have been contemplating what would be the best topic on which to write. With the convergence of the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, homesickness for family, reminiscing about my old mentor, and a wonderful experience over this past weekend, I have been overwhelmingly convinced that I need to say something about the things and people that I am thankful for.

First, I am thankful for my wife and children.  God truly blessed my life in August of 1986 when I fell head-over-heels for a beautiful blond haired, blue-eyed Arkansas girl.  The first day of my college experience, fresh out of high school, I looked into those big blue eyes and was smitten.  Unfortunately, she was not.  However, by God’s grace, it took only a week for me to win her over.  I’m convinced the final nail in her coffin was when she heard me sing at the freshman talent show.  She may argue that with you, but I still think it is true.  About eleven months later, at the ripe old age of 19, we were married.  Married life has not always been easy, especially for her since she is married to me, but I would not trade my years with her for anything.  I thank God for my wife.

As for my children, all I can say is that God blessed us richly with two of the greatest.  When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I prayed desperately for a daughter.  I’m not exactly sure why, but I did, and did He ever deliver.  She is such a delight.  She provides the physical comedy in the house, which she has learned from her favorite comediennes, Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett.  She sings like an angel.  She is daddy’s little girl for sure.  And she has her dad wrapped around her little finger.  Just don’t tell her.

For our second child, I simply prayed for a healthy baby.  Once again God delivered big time.  My son is a great blessing.  He is the stand-up comedian, sometimes without meaning to be, but more often than not, he has a funny quip ready for a quick delivery.  His greatest interest is making movies with Legos and stick-figure software.  He has a great talent and imagination.  I praise God for both of my children.

Without doubt I cannot allow a time of thanksgiving to go by without thanking God for my mother and father.  My mom, Betty Spurlin, has worked since she was a little girl in Kentucky.  She has sacrificed her life and physical well-being for her family.  She has shared the love of God with her children and other members of the body of Christ.  Without her influence, I doubt that I would have turned out as well as I have (keep the smart remarks to yourself).

My father, Robert Spurlin, is a man of superior character.  He taught me, by word and deed, what it means to be a man of God.  Watching him as I grew up gave me an accurate portrait of our heavenly father’s nature and character.  He is a simple man, not in mind, but in needs and desires.  His desire for his three sons was simply that they love and serve God.  As I look at my two brothers, I see that he accomplished his task and God has answered his prayers.  I thank God for my parents.

I also thank God for my brothers.  Their examples to me helped to develop a real character.  Take that how you wish.

My in-laws are also special people.  From the very first time we met, Jim and Sandra Black welcomed me into their family and adopted me as their own.  I don’t think a man could ask for a better MIL or FIL (mother-in-law, father-in-law).  I thank God for them.

It has been a few years since I’ve spoken to my mentor, the man who led me step-by-step through my PhD program, Dr. Mal Couch.  Mal was the founder of Tyndale Theological Seminary and Biblical Institute and has been a driving force in theological education for many years, even to this very day.  He was my encourager, teacher, and friend for many years.  He still ministers through the small body that he pastors in Clifton, Texas and his online ministry, Scofield Prophecy Studies.  He has been a blessing to many men seeking to prepare for the ministry and I’m sure that his reward in heaven will be great.  I thank God for Malcolm O. Couch.

I also thank God for the friendship of a man named Garry Kirk.  When I graduated college and went to work for a teen psychiatric facility (yes work – I was not a patient) he and his wife took my wife and I under their wings and befriended us.  Because of their influence we became members of First Baptist Church of Benton, Arkansas.  Garry and Kathy were such great friends to us back in the early days of our marriage, and his friendship has been steady and unyielding over the past 18 years.  I thank God for Garry and Kathy Kirk.

This past weekend God richly blessed my life.  I was privileged to be allowed to sit under the teaching of Dr. Charles Ryrie.  In case you haven’t heard of him, go to your local bookstore, look in the Bible section, and you will most likely  find a Ryrie Study Bible.  Now rest assured, he did not write the Bible, but the annotations within it were written by him.  Dr. Ryrie is a theologian of the first degree.  He has done so much for the body of Christ, much that has gone unappreciated by many in certain theological circles, and God has greatly used him to further the message of Christ.  It was such a great time for me to be able to meet him and to be instructed by him.  I thank God for Dr. Ryrie and the experience of being instructed by him.

There are many who must be excluded from this blog.  Without doubt, I could go on for some time,  but time is something that I am now out of (oops! I ended with a preposition).

Finally, I thank God for Cornerstone Bible Church of Lubbock, Texas.  I am thankful for the many people who attend Cornerstone who are hungry to study the Word of God.  I am thankful for the leadership: David Backus, Jim Henson, and Christopher Robinson.  Backus provides the fire and passion for the elder board, probably because he is a Marine, but definitely because he loves God and the Word.  Jim Henson, aka, Spreadsheet.  Jim is the organizer of the elder board and provides a great deal of levelheaded leadership.  His love for the Lord’s church is evident in his life.  He also has a sharp wit and has cut me deep many times.  Christopher Robinson is the younger elder, but has wisdom far beyond his years.  His passion for evangelism is catching and without him, well, we’d be much older on average.  In all seriousness, I thank God for Cornerstone Bible Church and my friends and co-laborers on the elder board.

As we enter this “holiday season” (Thanksgiving/Christmas) be sure to focus on what is truly important and the real reason for the celebration during this time of year.  Oh, and answer this question: For what are you thankful?

I pray this helps.

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