Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving  Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. (Psalm 95:1-2)

It’s Thanksgiving time in America. That annual time when we gather as families and friends, feast on turkey and potatoes and pies of various kinds, and celebrate all that we are thankful for. In our country, most of us have more to be thankful for than we can even begin to list. The Bible tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1Thessalonians 5:18) so in honor of this splendid holiday I wanted to share with you some of the things I am grateful for. Since an exhaustive list is beyond the allowable space, I’m going with my top five (in no particular order!).

My wife. I have discovered that Donna isn’t just an extraordinary wife, she’s an extraordinary human being. Her kindness, elegance, grace, and consideration know no limits and she’s well-read, intelligent, thoughtful, engaging, and fun. We have so much in common that we easily find things to do together and spend as much time with one another as we can. On many occasions she has demonstrated her outstanding character and her loving demeanor, not just with me but with everyone she encounters. She is accepting of others, finds the best in people, and is always there when I need her. She isn’t just my wife, she’s my best friend.

My parents. My mother and father are both still alive and have been married for more than 65 years. I learned so much from my parents. I actually have good manners and can hold my own in virtually any social situation – thanks, Mom! She taught me all kinds of social graces and the kind of respect for others that most of us want our children to have. My dad loves my mom and loves our family and is the finest example of a man I will ever know. As a teen I freely admit I was a difficult child, and I really didn’t get much better until about age 30, but my mom and dad never gave up on me and were always there for me. My mom and dad are amazing people!

My job. Four and a half years ago I was feeling dejected and wondering if I had outlived my time. Then I got this job. It is the perfect job for me as I have the privilege of being a mentor to several younger coworkers and I have influence at all levels of the company. Rather than being at the end of my usefulness, I find myself working on what I think may be the signature accomplishments of my career. I work with very talented people that help me learn and grow and make each workday as enjoyable as a work day can be. Many of them are more than coworkers, they are friends.

My sobriety. There was a time where I was a rebellious, self-centered, obnoxious man who was rarely sober and not much good to anyone. I had an ego as big as the moon yet I was a coward to my very core. Without alcohol coursing through my veins, I couldn’t face the world and with alcohol I didn’t want to. That was my life at one time. It’s now been more than 26 years since I last took a drink. A quarter century. So many people have helped me along the way it would be impossible to name them all. And God truly has done for me what I could not do for myself. My sobriety isn’t just important….it’s everything!

This blog. When Donna and I started Reign Drops, it was certainly a simple beginning. I’m not sure more than a few people, mostly friends, ever read those first few posts. As much as we tried to promote our writing, growth in our audience seemed to come slowly. My how things change. According to the statistics on our host site, we have now been read in 98 countries around the world including: Brazil, Italy, India, Canada, Spain, Australia, Portugal, Malaysia, France, Germany, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Peru, Ireland, England, Algeria, Russia, Greece, Argentina, Philippines, Serbia, South Africa, and Pakistan. We prayed God would use our writing to help advance His kingdom, and it seems we now have a worldwide reach! Donna and I love to write and we’re able to use that love to serve God so I am very thankful to have this blog and for those who read it.

It is written in 1Chronicles 16:34, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Without a doubt, my list could go on and on. I am blessed beyond anything I could ever have a right to hope for and I praise God for all my blessings. How about you? Have you been working on a gratitude list this year? Is now the right time to tell God how thankful you are?

Donna and I would like to wish you and your family a blessed and happy Thanksgiving from the bottom of our hearts. And we thank you for reading Reign Drops Blog. We’re grateful for each and every one of you! God bless.

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Labor Day

Labor Day   Labor Day is a national tribute to the contributions American workers have made to the strength and well-being of our country. The origins of Labor Day can be traced back to a celebration first held in New York City in 1882. There is a bit of debate over who actually first proposed the Labor Day holiday; some records show that Patrick McGuire, a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was the first to suggest the holiday, while others believe it was Michael McGuire who proposed the holiday while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

While the actual founder of the Labor Day holiday may be unclear, what is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a celebration and picnic in 1882. It was originally held on a Tuesday but, in 1884, the Central Labor Union proposed holding the holiday on a Monday and urged similar organizations in other cities to also celebrate. Over time more municipalities and states began to adopt the celebration but it wasn’t until June of 1894 that Congress finally made it a national holiday. It has been celebrated on the first Monday in September ever since.

In addition to being a recognition of the American worker, Labor Day is also the first obvious sign that fall is coming. Here in Minnesota, another sure sign of fall is the conclusion of the Minnesota State Fair, which also happens on the first Monday in September. The beginning of the NFL’s new season is another indicator that summer has passed and fall has come. Upon returning to work after the Labor Day holiday we are sure to hear water cooler discussions about NFL roster cuts, fantasy football drafts, and predictions of how our home team might do.

Another telltale signal of fall’s impending arrival is the gradual color change that is already beginning in some foliage. Within a week or two you will notice the color change as you travel around during your daily activities, if you’re not seeing it already. It won’t be but a few weeks and the rakes and light jackets will be out in full force and fall activities such as pumpkin carving and fall color drives will be on our weekend agendas.

For me personally, September marks the anniversary of my conversion to Christianity many years ago. I had attended a men’s event at Evergreen Community Church where the pastors and speakers shared their conversion stories and it was there that I first realized that Christians weren’t perfect people; they were individuals just like me who had accumulated a lifetime of regrets and mistakes and were in desperate need of forgiveness. The only difference was that they had found that forgiveness and I had not. I cannot begin to explain the impact four hours of such testimony had on me.

With my head full and my heart twisted, I left that event not really knowing where I was going or why. Unsure of what to do or what to think, I just got in my car and started driving. Soon I found myself at a bookstore where I purchased a paperback Bible for $4.99 and the next thing I knew, I was sitting on a rock at Taylor’s Falls (a beautiful place on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border) overlooking the river valley as I started reading God’s Word for the very first time. Freed from my misconceptions of what a Christian is, the words in my little paperback Bible touched my heart in a new and meaningful way. Starting that day I read the Bible as much as I could.

Just a couple weeks later, in mid-September, I found myself alone in my apartment when the reality of my situation came over me. I was newly sober (just over two years at the time) and besides the elimination of drugs and alcohol from my life, not much else had changed. I was continuing to live a life I could not be proud of, and deep inside I was not a happy person. And through God’s Word I was learning that all throughout history, men just like me had found themselves in the very same place, in the very same dire need of forgiveness.

And it was then and there that I fell to my knees and I prayed and released my guilt, remorse, and regret to the only One who has the true power to forgive, Jesus Christ. And in that very moment, all those years ago, I became a Christian; a new creation. The old had gone and the new had come. I was reborn and had found true recovery at last. I was a Christian; a child of God. Life has been far from perfect in the intervening years, but the deep and ingrained joy of knowing Christ has guided me, informed me, and comforted me.

Are you feeling the need for forgiveness? Is this fall the time for you to experience the cleansing and healing that can only come from the One who died so that you might live? The Bible says in Romans 10: “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart. And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” (Romans 10:8-11, NLT).

And in Hebrews 4 it is written, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16, NIV). It’s often hard for us to imagine, but Jesus walked this planet just like we do now, and He experienced life as we know it. This is why He is so accessible to those who seek Him, so I pray you will let today be the day that you come to Jesus and find His forgiveness and perfect love.

If we can help answer any of your questions, please do not hesitate to write us at ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com. And as we prepare for the changing of the seasons, may God bless you and keep you.

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