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Website development, lost "friends" and gratitude to God

 April 2010 

Len and Jennifer McGrane

During the month of April much time has been given to redeveloping the website. Three months ago we contacted a friend, Len McGrane (who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand) to see if he could help us with the Families Walking with God website. Len and his family have lived in Pakistan and Egypt, but now have a website development business at www.netgain.co.nz

We especially wanted to achieve two main goals:

1. Too make it much easier for people to download the Q.T. sheets from around the world. The different sizes of paper used in various countries has presented a challenge in the downloading of the sheets.

2. To be able to enable people to order the diaries from all over the world and get them sent to them at a modest cost.

We are thrilled with what Len has achieved with the overall look of the site. I am sure that people will be able to download the Q.T. sheets much more easily than in the past.

We are still working on being able to get the diaries printed and posted around the world at a low cost. This should happen in a few weeks.

While we were at the homeschooling conference in Christchurch, we spent time with Len McGrane looking at the development of the website. Len also has a passion for spending time with the Lord each day and for memorizing Scripture. He has been very encouraging to our family.

One day he told me that his memory verses were like his "friends." He gets joy out of memorizing the Lord's Word as our family does. It is difficult for me to put into words the huge blessing that Scripture memory has been in our family.

When we came back from Christchurch, Kathy discovered that she had lost her "friends." Let me explain: From the age of 16, when Kathy made an adult commitment to follow Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade, she was put in contact with some Navigators. Navigators are an international para-church movement whose main aim is to make disciples.

An integral part of their discipleship program is Scripture Memory, which Kathy took on. She learnt many verses throughout the whole Bible. Well, over the past few months, she has been reviewing the verses she learnt years ago. She had in her verse pack 83 verses that she had written out from Genesis to Psalms. She was, therefore, very upset that she had lost her verse pack.

For days, she searched everywhere in our house. She contacted the airline and phoned people like her mother whom she had spent time with. She prayed that the Lord would help her to find them.

Well about 6 weeks later, when she was talking with Leanne, the daughter of the people we stayed with in Christchurch, she mentioned her lost verses. Leanne said that they had found them and were posting them to her. Kathy rejoiced that she had found her "friends."

It is hard for me to put into words the huge impact that Scripture memory has had in Kathy's life. At present she is learning Revelation Chapter 2 and 3, which contain Jesus' messages to the Seven Churches. Kathy has been very influential in my life in getting me passionate about Scripture memory.

Len also told me that during his Quiet Time he tried spending time giving thanks to God for his previous day's blessings and he found this to be great.

It is also hard to put into words the huge impact that making gratitude a key part of our Quiet Time has had in our family.

For many years Romans chapter 1 has been a great challenge and encouragement to me in promoting the need for gratitude in our lives. Verses 21 to 25 say this:

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen"

From verses 26 to 32 there is a terrible list of the sins that people get into. What has really struck me about this passage is that the people knew God, but they neither glorified Him as God, nor gave thanks to Him. A lack of gratitude to God for all He has done for us, eventually leads us into sin. Conversely, when we are deeply grateful to the Lord a joy develops in our lives and we find sin to be repugnant to us.

This deep joy in God will give us the power to break addictions in our lives. A large number of Christians are addicted to such things as internet pornography. Joy in God will break that addiction.

There is an old hymn by Charles Wesley called "Oh, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing", which has this wonderful line in it: "He breaks the power of cancelled sin, He sets the prisoner free." When I was a young man I used to wonder about those words. I knew that Jesus had died for me, thus cancelling my sin, but I didn't think it was really true that He could break the power of sin in my life.

From a young age, I struggled with such things as selfish ambition, unforgiveness, fearful thoughts, impure thoughts and coveting material possessions and the praise of people. But as a young man, books like "From Prison to Praise" helped me to deliberately praise God in every situation. When I went to church and if was feeling despondent, it seemed to happen that the minister would have the old hymn,

"Count your many blessings,
Name them one by one
And it will surprise you
What the Lord has done"

I would sing that hymn and often, reluctantly, I would count my blessings, and I could see how wonderful the Lord had been to me. Then my whole attitude would change.

In retrospect, I can see that thanksgiving and gratitude to God has had a huge impact in my life and the life of my family in helping us overcome sin.

(Just before this letter was put online, I was talking again with Len about the importance of making gratitude a key part of our Quiet Times. He said this, "In my QT today in Daniel Chapter 6 with the story of Daniel praying three times a day facing towards Jerusalem, I had never noticed the phrase, 'giving thanks to God just as he had done before.'" Chapter 6:10 says this: "Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before." Daniel obviously had the practise of giving thanks to God at least three times a day.)

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