April 1, 2020 - Taking Things for Granted

"Never take someone you love for granted. Hold every person close to your heart because you might wake up one day and realize that you lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones." Ashley Fern

When I woke up this morning I realized we are facing some of the toughest times of our lives. The mere fact that we are mandated to stay home is a tough pill for some to swallow. However, it can and should be seen as a blessing as it relates to the pandemic. If we know that there is a virus that is so dangerous that it kills, staying home becomes less of a challenge.

When I woke up this morning I realized how much we take so many things for granted. There are so many things we live with from day to day that we assume they will always be available to us. It hits home when you do not have the flexibility and freedom that you once had. In times like these, it causes us or should cause us to appreciate everything we have and everything we receive. I ask you today to just look around you and count your blessings. Life has provided so many conveniences that in times like these we appreciate those conveniences more than ever. I want to remind us of a few things that are not available to us today and we were taking them for granted. I realize this morning that I can't go to visit the sick. I can't go to the cleaners to get my clothes cleaned. My children can't go to school. We can't go to church. We can't even go to visit our friends. We can't shake the hand of our neighbor. We can't cross the state lines in our cars. We can't go to Lowes to pick up supplies to complete my project at home. I name these few not as complaints, but to point out that we took so many of the freedoms we had for granted.

I realized that I had taken some of my friends for granted. This season should cause us to reach out to our friends and let them know that we love them. Now is the time when we should appreciate the little things in life and life itself.                   

It is true that the things in life that really matter and make us happy are right there in front of us. If you have children cherish them. If you have family stay close to them. If you have friends, seek them out. If you have enemies, pray for them. There is food on the table and a roof over our heads, remain thankful. Again, value the little things right before us.  

As I write these short messages, I am reminded of those who may have lost their jobs. We take it for granted that the job will last forever, but now is a time of crisis in your personal life. Prayerfully there are alternatives to your situation. It may be that some of our young people may have to return home and live with parents or relatives. It will be a blessing to have somewhere to go. Sometimes we take for granted those who have helped us along the way. Some of the things we take for granted, others are praying for.

If you have a spouse or a special person in your life, today may be the day you realize you took them for granted and let them know how special they are.             

Yes, sometimes we take God for granted. So many Christians fail to pray until we are in trouble.

We take the gift of salvation for granted. Paul wrote, "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9 Let us not take salvation for granted. It does not cost us anything. All God requires of us is to confess and believe in Jesus. Regardless of all that is going on around us, may we as Christians be reminded that, "Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved."

I do not take it for granted that everyone knows about salvation. Take time to tell somebody who this Jesus is.

On a side bar, please stay home. We have been informed by our president Donald Trump and Health experts that, "The next two weeks will be painful." Please stay safe!    

May we continue to keep our trust in God, humble ourselves, pray, repent and keep our faith in God?

Robert Earl Slade, Pastor