Devotions

in Church

Pass It On

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3 

We remember people for so many different reasons. We remember those who show us grace when we do not deserve it, those who call us out when we do deserve it, and those who have shown us random acts of kindness. I have a running list of those to whom I am grateful, and it is more like a scroll than a list. 

Mr. Hoyt Williamson – I am grateful for Hoyt Williamson. I only met him once. It was September of 1987 and I was 20 years old. My mother passed away about a year prior and I was living in a one-bedroom apartment working two jobs, attending college classes in the evening, and I was financially challenged...in laymen’s terms, I was broke! My car was on its last “leg” (or should I say, “wheel’) and I knew I needed reliable transportation to get to work and to class. 

Each morning, I left for work at 5:00 a.m. for my first job. About thirty days before I met Mr. Williamson, the electrical system on my car battery would not charge. My neighbor who left for work around the same time as I was always willing to give my battery a “jumpstart” so that I could get to work. For that 30-day window, this kind person would wait in his car to make sure mine would start and we would both go our separate ways. 

After about a month, I realized I could no longer rely on the kindness of this awesome neighbor. I found a car dealership not far from where I lived - Hayes Chrysler Dealership. This place of business remains today. I drove up to the front building and parked my car. As soon as I removed the key, smoke literally started seeping from underneath the hood. It was in this very embarrassing moment when I met Mr. Hoyt Williamson. He approached my vehicle and noticed my complete humiliation. He was kind and compassionate and acted as though everything was perfectly normal. 

Mr. Williamson asked for a mechanic to come and check my car out so we would know its trade-in value. Then, he walked me to a brand-new car with a mileage of about 100 miles. We both knew I could not afford a new car so in my usual “let’s just state the obvious” manner, I went ahead and let him know I could not afford a newer model. Yet, by the time the dealership closed that evening I was driving away in a brand-new car. It was a 4-door “Sundance.” Not exactly something any of my peers would want …or even drive. However, that evening when I was driving home, I felt safe. 

At the end of the day I asked him how my car had any value and how he worked it all out. He told me not to worry about the details. He said he did for me what he would do for family. He also said that the Lord had been good to him and he tried to pass on the blessings whenever he could. Mr. Williamson extended the love, grace, and mercy of God to me through a car sale. More than that, he offered me hope and security in a world that, for me, had been turned upside down. 

For over eight months, we have been living in a world that has sometimes felt upside down. However, in the midst, I imagine God has used people in your life to show you unexpected and undeserved kindness. As we near Thanksgiving, we often call to mind those to whom we are grateful. I only spent six hours with Mr. Hoyt Williamson, but he has left an eternal impression on my heart. Not because he found a way to get me a car, but because he found a way to teach me to “pass on God’s blessings.” 

During this season of advent and giving thanks, I pray you will call to mind the many blessings God has bestowed on your life through others and find a way to pass them on. 

I am blessed by you! 
Much love, Betsy 

Posted by Betsy Butler
in Church

Thanksgiving Day

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.” Psalm 100:4 

On this Thanksgiving Day in the United States, Americans are encouraged to pause and give thanks to God. In his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln wrote: 

“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.” 

In 1863, the United States was in the Civil War. Thousands of young Americans had died, while others faced the prospect of death. Yet, in such a challenging time, President Lincoln called upon Americans to remember the richness of God’s blessings and to be thankful. 

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a difficult year. We are experiencing a global pandemic. Hundreds of thousands have died, and many more are sick. This crisis has brought economic challenges and inequities, and severe unemployment. Racial prejudice rears its ugly head throughout our society, and senseless violence has taken hundreds of lives. The threat of terrorism continually confronts our nation, even as terrorist acts devastate the wider world. 

We need to hear the encouragement of Abraham Lincoln again. Despite this year’s challenges and setbacks, God has richly blessed us. Thanksgiving is due just as much today as it was in 1863, perhaps much more. 

When we give thanks, we are encouraged to remember God’s blessings. Counting our blessings reminds us of God’s gracious nature. This is more than enough reason to give praise to God. In the language of Psalm 100, we enter God’s gates with thanksgiving so that we might go into his courts with praise. Thanksgiving for what God has done leads us to praise God. 

May you enter God’s gates with thanksgiving today, so that you might celebrate in his courts with praise! May God give you a rich and blessed Thanksgiving Day! 

Posted by Bob Winstead

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