Coming soon . . . God’s Daily Word: A 365-Day Devotional by Jerry Stratton
I’ve known Jerry Stratton for . . . gosh. I don’t know how long I’ve known Jerry. Since I was young and cute and still wore a size nothing. And one thing that’s always stood out about Jerry is . . . well, several things, actually. His wisdom. His kindness. His compassion. And his humor.
Here’s what Jerry has to say about himself:
“I retired from the U.S. Army in December, 1984 with 30 years of service. In 1986, I answered God’s call to the gospel ministry, and for the past 27 years have served as pastor, minister of education, and director of missions. I am a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas and Baylor University, Waco, Texas. I am blessed with a wonderful wife of 59 years, two great children, and six fantastic grandchildren.”
But Jerry is a humble man, with many, many impressive accomplishments, which we’ll discuss in a later post. For now, I want to share how he’s blessed me, time and again, every day for a number of years.
Several years back, Jerry started a devotional blog. I ended up on his e-mail list, and each morning I’d read his thoughts about whatever topic he discussed that day. And day after day, the wisdom of his words gave me something positive to think about that day.
This was especially helpful when I sat in the hospital with my dad, who was dying of cancer.
It was helpful when my world crumbled, in so many ways. His words made me laugh and brought me hope.
So when Armonia Publishing decided to publish a 365-day devotional study, Jerry was the first one who came to mind. Below is an excerpt from our upcoming release, God’s Daily Word, for January 3. The book will be out in October, but we’ll give you some sneak-peeks from time to time, so you can get as excited as we are.
Husband: “Do you have any idea how many really great people there are in this country?”
Wife: “No, I don’t, but I’m sure it’s one less than you think.”
Good Quote: “Time wasted is existence; used is life.” ~ Edward Young
Live As If This Year Will Be Your Last
“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.” Psalm 39:4-5 NIV
“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14 NIV
I don’t mean to be morbid, but it seems appropriate that we should live the new year with a view toward the end of our lives. We would be wise to pause and think about how we would want to be remembered, and about what is important in life. I think most of us will want people to remember us as someone who made a difference in the lives of others. Once we’ve decided how we want to be remembered, then we should work our way backwards to the present and start doing those things for which we want to be remembered: loving, caring, serving, giving.
Robert Morris said, “I hate funerals and would not attend my own if it could be avoided, but it is well for every person to stop once in a while to think of what sort of a collection of mourners he is training for his final event.”
We should live and let happiness surprise us. Happiness will surprise us if we give ourselves to others. Jesus, in the upper room, wrapped a towel around his waist, took a basin of water, and washed his disciples’ feet. He assumed the role of a common servant and said to his disciples, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done for you,” (John. 13:15). Then Jesus concluded, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed (happy) if you do them,” (John. 13:17).
I believe Jesus knew that happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it flies away and the more elusive it becomes. But if you stoop and serve, it will light on you unexpectedly. The happiest people are serving people; happiness just sneaks into their lives, sometimes when they least expect it. Real happiness is a by-product of a well-lived life—as was modeled by Jesus.
The deaf, blind, and mute Helen Keller put it this way: “I find life an exciting business—and most exciting when it is lived for others.”
Danny Glover had this to say: “We make a living by what we do. We make a life by what we give.”
If we live as if this year might be our last by serving others, the new year will be the best year of our lives.
Love your devotional. You are a blessing, Jerry Stratton. Thank you for your wisdom. Debby Howard