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True Faith: Don't forget to say 'Thank you'

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By David Binkley, Sr.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (Colossians 3:15 NIV)

Owning a real Barlow Case knife was a dream that never came true as a boy. Granddaddy Binkley used to keep a Barlow knife in his pocket and it always fascinated me with the proper care he gave that knife. He taught me how to sharpen the blade on his whet rock - sometimes spitting on it a little while he worked the blade. Most likely, all my uncles carried pocketknives. Granddaddy mostly used his to carve off a plug of Day's Work chewing tobacco.

As a boy, when Christmas time came to our home, our parents correctly reasoned that with a family of eight children they could not give one child a better gift than they could give the other children. Therefore, their solution was that we would not have the traditional gift giving or a visit from the Ho Ho Ho man. Occasionally, our mother's brothers would drop something off for us like an old glove or old wood handled four iron that we cut off and used as a chipper. We did not lack for ways to have fun growing up

Later on, working as a deckhand on a U. S. Navy ship, I noticed that an old-salt Boatswain's Mate who was responsible for my training as a seaman, always used a Barlow in working with the lines. Immediately, I determined that as soon as our ship came back into our home port of Long Beach, Calif., my first purchase would be one of those authentic Case knives. Over the years I lost several knives, but each one was quickly replaced. For a while, I had some good reason to have it in my pocket, like when I was selling and installing school furniture. There was always some occasion to trim something or open a box. Seldom did I find time to sit and whittle, which was a relaxing thing to do and helped a man to think more clearly about the matters of the day.

A pocketknife in my pocket was part of my dress routine for several decades. If someone wanted to know what to get me for a birthday, they knew that I could always use a good pocketknife. All that stopped one day in the early 90?s when I first started taking trips to Russia as a missionary evangelist. A security guard at the border once asked me, "Why do you carry that weapon?" That shocked me to think about my small Case Barlow knife as a weapon! It was with a bit of sadness that I finally gave up carrying a concealed weapon, even though I had never thought about it as a weapon.

Did I ever say thank you to Mom and Dad for not getting me a pocketknife? Mom used to let us boys play with an old table knife that Daddy had broken off the sharp part. I suppose she understood that boys just have to have some boys? things. Now I sincerely feel a great sense of thanksgiving for parents who did not give me every thing we asked for.

There are so many things that I thank them for giving me. It surely was a great sacrifice for them to make it possible for us to have a full set of Harvard Classics. Along with that, Mom insisted on us regularly reading articles in the Reader's Digest and using Building a Better Vocabulary. I am very thankful that she would check us by subtly opening a conversation about some article she had read and asking for our opinion.

It takes most of us the better part of our lifetimes to learn that gratitude improves our attitude in all situations. No doubt, that is why the Bible is full of beautiful passages of thanksgiving. Psalm 100 is perhaps one of the most memorized chapters in the Bible. In this inspiring scripture, we receive encouragement to give thanks for God?s goodness, His mercy and His enduring truth that is light for us in this dark world.

One of the best habits that was ever suggested to me was made by a Bible salesman. He said he learned it from someone else and passed it on to me. Over the years, I have shared the wisdom that was freely given to me when I was a young student of the Bible. There are 150 chapters in the Psalms. Read five chapters each day either in the morning or in the evening before going to sleep. There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs. Read one chapter each day in the evening or morning and at the end of a month you will have completed reading Psalms and Proverbs. Then, start all over again at the beginning of each month. Keep this up until your mind is saturated with the eternal and superior wisdom of God.

Someone else later suggested that I read God?s word aloud for ten minutes and silently for twenty minutes each day. That is also another habit that will increase your comprehension of any subject matter and more importantly if you read the Bible in this manner, you will discover great hidden treasures that have always been right under your eyes.

The Bible is the most complete and perfect book in the world because it contains precisely the wisdom that God wants us to use as we grow in spirit and in truth. In the Bible we learn that we are all sinners and do not deserve salvation. We should be truly thankful that Jesus came to seek and save lost souls. On this mission of mercy, Christ also was a powerful teacher who demanded that all people must repent of sins. Eternal salvation is not an option for those who refuse to change their attitude toward sin. After all, according to God?s word, sin is the willful violation of God's law. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4) In the Bible sin is properly regarded as rebellion against God just as it occurred long ago in the Garden of Eden.

Are you already a Christian? Have you thanked God recently for the hope of eternal life in the paradise of God? Or, are you still in a state of denial about your lost condition? Learn to be humble and thankful that God exposes our sinfulness. Please contact me if you would like to become a Christian. Jesus told a parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee thanked God that he was not a robber, unjust person, an adulterer and even that he was not like the evil tax collector. On the other hand, the tax collector would not even look toward heaven, but cried out to God, "Be merciful to me a sinner."

You are encouraged to attend the services of the Church of Christ at the corner of 3rd and E Streets. Write me with any questions or comments. David Binkley, Sr., P.O. Box 186, Cedar Key, FL 32625 or E-mail at dgbinkley@aol.com. You may also request to receive the daily WORD OF THE DAY by e-mail. Check out our web site at www.cedarkeychurchofchrist.com