Last Thursday marked my 100th article published on this devotional blog site.  Who would’ve thought it was possible.  As in many aspects of daily life, it is truly by the grace of God that I am able to do the things that I do.  And so I pause for a moment in my writings and I lift up my voice (and keystrokes) to give praise to my God who has given me strength over this last year, and to thank some important people.

One of the purposes of The Listening Post has been to “tell my story” of all the adventures I’ve had over a lifetime of faith and Christian experiences.  But really, it is much more about trying to tell God’s story as I reflect on what He has done in me and through me, and to remember all the incredible people who have touched and influenced my life.

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My gratitude goes first to my immediate family who gave me a home and a place to explore faith as a child.  For many years, my mother took all us kids to church and Sunday School and some seeds of the Gospel were planted.  My sister, who went to be with the Lord in 1992, brought me to Youth Group and helped me to see that church was more than just “Religion”.  My Grandmother’s missionary life and her firm faith were an anchor for me.  My brother’s salvation story as an adult showed me God’s incredible grace.

Leaders in the Christian faith held out a lifeline for me as I wrestled with faith and an unfriendly world.  The caring of Youth Group sponsors, the deep exposition and teaching of God’s Truth by powerful preachers, and the wisdom and knowledge of Scripture of my many Bible College & Seminary teachers grounded me in my faith that has lasted a lifetime.

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And then there all the many Christians I have met around the world in my travels.  In Central America, I’m thankful for a small church gathering in Panama that looked after me while my shipmates wasted themselves and wanted me to join in their sin.  In Honduras, and Dominican Republic and also in Brazil and Mexico, I saw the tireless efforts of career missionaries, and it strengthened my resolve to follow in their steps.

In Scotland, Tanzania, South Africa and Vanuatu I met simple everyday Christians who exuded the joy of the Lord, and I knew that my faith was not some North American ornament or oddity, but a deep down real life experience of a relationship between a humble human being and the God of the Universe.  Every time I have shared a meal together, prayed with or met in worship with one of these precious saints, I knew that I was part of a much bigger picture, the universal body of Christ.

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Above all, I have had the privilege to live and visit some very remote parts of Papua New Guinea where one feels like he has truly gone to the “ends of the earth”.  God took a Canadian mountain boy and placed him into the hot sticky jungle lowlands to learn how to live with very little and teach him how to love his tribal neighbors.  I had the opportunity to speak the Words of God to a people group who truly “hunger and thirst” for divine truth and forgiveness from God.  How I thank God for all the years He has allowed me to live out my faith in that remote location.

And even these past three years of living with a muscle disease has been a time of drawing me closer to God.  I have had to learn to depend on Him more than ever before, to truly “walk by faith”.  I have seen now how God has used me to bless others these past few years in ways that I never could have imagined possible before.  And so I thank God for allowing me to have a voice and a message and a continuing ministry in Bible translation, in spite of this illness.

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Of all the blessings of people and events that I hold dear, there remains one tremendous constant in my life for which I am thankful, and is a big reason for having this devotional blog ministry.  It is being married to Jill, my life partner and cheerleader who continues to let me dream big dreams and who encourages me to keep on pursuing the ministries I am involved with.

Jill has been by my side now for 27 years now.  She knows the joys and the heartaches I have experienced in ministry over three decades.  And she saw the pain and darkness I was falling into when this disease hit me.  I believe God led Jill to encourage me to write so that I might remember all that God has done in me and through me, and to speak from my heart.

And so for eight months now I have had this wonderful outlet whereby in telling my story I get to tell His story.  Many people have written to me to say what a blessing it has been to read these articles.  I am thankful for that, but I want to say that this blog ministry has been medicine for my own soul and a healing for my own body.

It could be so easy in a situation like mine to just waste away in this living room recliner and let this disease take my life.  But God has been gracious to let me remember so many blessings that He has given me throughout my life, that I eagerly come back time after time each week, ready to tell you another adventure and let you see God and His goodness through my life story.

So for those who have touched my life, I say “Thank you!”  For those who say that I am touching their lives, I say “Isn’t God good!”  And to God I say, “Thank you Lord for letting me count my blessings, one article at a time.”

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