Sometimes we need to be told bluntly what we already know by experience yet refuse to admit. Life is an obstacle challenge. Quit expecting it to be easy. Without opposition there is no life. You don’t get to ride down the slide if you haven’t climbed the ladder to the slide deck first. The seed doesn’t become a plant unless it pushes through the ground first. Paul says we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Even our thought life is an obstacle course to overcome! Every obstacle is an opportunity that offers growth and life.

At Thanksgiving, we give thanks as we should for things we once enjoyed or for things we currently enjoy. But, eventually, all good things come to an end! We should remember to give thanks for the imperishable things cannot be destroyed—things that cannot perish, spoil, fade, or burn. They can’t even get lost because they are kept in heaven for us (I Peter 1:4). Hebrews 12:28 says we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. In Luke 10:20 Jesus told disciples who were elated because of their success, to rejoice that their names are written down in heaven.

In the last week of his life Jesus gives the Olivet Discourse in John 15. Jesus talks about being the vine and us being his branches. Jesus says the Father prunes the branches, so they become more fruitful. Then Jesus told his disciples that they were already clean because of his words to them. When I read the Bible, I tend to read it to add something to my life. But the way to fruitfulness is to read the Bible to prune something away from my life. The way to fruitfulness is less of me and more of Jesus.

In so many words Oswald Chambers wrote that the sole value of a Bible college is that Jesus can help himself to a student; the college has no other value. The same thing can be applied to the church. As an organization the church has no value if it isn’t enabling Jesus to help himself to people. That must be modeled in church leadership. The desire of church leaders to be taken captive by Christ so we live and move and have our being in Jesus keeps the church from a mission of simply keeping the doors open.

Oswald Chambers writes “God breaks up the private life of His saints, and makes it a thoroughfare for the world on the one hand and for Himself on the other.” My introverted nature rebels. Then I am reminded of Jesus. I think a case could be made that He was an introvert. Yet, Jesus was either deeply engaged with people or going off to a secluded place to be deeply engaged with God. Apart from a thriving relationship with Jesus, I can do no good in relationship His people. My relationship with God is not simply for my own enjoyment.

It seems God desires to teach me about intuition as it keeps popping up in my reading. It is defined as the ability to understand something immediately without conscious reasoning. Lolly Haskal says it is knowledge based on experience stored deeply in your brain and quickly available on demand. John Maxwell says we are naturally intuitive in our area of giftedness. Others have described intuition as being based in the heart or even the stomach. Oswald Chambers described it as impulse trained by discipline. Wisdom is more than academic. Wisdom employs intuition disciplined by the Holy Spirit and experience.

Today would have been my father-in-law’s 98th birthday. I only got to know Elmo for a few years and then we lost him to ALS. I am thankful for the way he loved my wife as she grew up. I am thankful for the blessing he was to us in our early years of marriage and ministry. I am thankful for the godly heritage he instilled in his family and for his sense of humor. Elmo reminds me to be thankful for all the people who have blessed my life and to be a blessing to someone else today.