I am so blessed to have so many great friends. Every year, on this day, I receive so many cards and letters wishing me a Happy Birthday! Facebook has made it so easy for friends and relatives alike to render birthday wishes, and this year is no different. And like many folks, I am deeply grateful for them.
The Apostle Paul reminds me in 2 Timothy 1:3, “I thank God, who I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day.” Seriously, I do make it a practice to thank God daily for all those friends whom He has placed in my path over the many years He has allowed me to live on this earth.
Indeed, God has brought me in contact with so many people of all races and nationalities it is impossible to mention them all by name. Regardless of whether you are friend or family, I will take this one opportunity to express my gratitude to God for you. Many of you have prayed for me when I entered ministry. That, in itself, means more to me than you will ever know. As many of you know, ministry is a calling and I accepted that calling with heart-felt thanks to God.
Ministry has given me the opportunity to meet some of the most wonderful people, including Dr. Charles Stanley, Dr. Bailey Stone, Dr. D. L. Lowrie and Dr. Jerry Sutton, just to name a few. These men have inspired me more than I’ll ever be able to express. Oh, I’ve also had many pastors who have supported me and prayed for me as I entered the ministry and proceeded to go to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for a much needed education. I mostly want to thank my dearest friend in the ministry, Rev. Ken Flowers, who encouraged me through my time at seminary and then in my pastorates. So you see, I am most grateful to all my friends.
Lastly, I will forever be grateful to my wife Deanna, for the love and companionship and support she has given to me during our nearly 48 years of marriage. Not only did she give me her moral support but she sacrificed her life to me so that I could follow my calling. And to my mother-in-law, Dean Ogden, who quietly and reverently prayed for me up until her death.
Gratitude sometimes just doesn’t seem like enough. That being said, I am so very grateful to have had so many wonderful people in my life. Thank you Lord Jesus!