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"When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah.  After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.  Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years.  Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away."   Genesis 5:21-24

We don't know much about the man named Enoch in the Bible; however, we know enough.  Genesis 5 spares a few short verses to describe Enoch for us.  This is quite different from someone like Moses, whom we read about in many verses and chapters, even books, of the Bible.  Yet, both of these men are listed in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11.  The key description we find over and over again about the men and the women in Hebrews 11 is "by faith."  They lived their faith out loud, and they honored and glorified God by faith.  I love what it says about Enoch in Hebrews 11:5.  It says, "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: 'He could not be found, because God had taken him away.'  For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God."  Not once in Genesis 5 or Hebrews 11 does it mention any service or work Enoch provided...not once.  It only says, "Enoch walked faithfully with God (twice in Genesis 5)," and "He was commended as one who pleased God...by faith (Hebrews 11)."  I'm sure Enoch did do many great acts of service and works for God, but he was commended for walking faithfully WITH God, not just working FOR God.  Maybe as Christ followers we should spend more time focusing on God the Father through our relationship WITH Jesus Christ than we do focusing on our services or our works FOR God?  Maybe as Christ followers we should focus on walking WITH God the Father daily, enjoying His overwhelming presence in our lives, more than focusing on doing something FOR God.  I'm not saying our acts of service and works are not important; in fact, James says in James 2:17, "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."  I believe the acts of service and works God calls me to do will mean so much more when I am enjoying my walk WITH Him.  I also believe that I will serve and work from a heart that understands I can never earn more of God's love in my life.  He loves me unconditionally.  I am not serving and working FOR God's love; I am serving and working FROM God's love because of His overwhelming presence that I get to enjoy through walking WITH Him.  My prayer is that we can be known as Enoch was known - as Christ followers who walk faithfully with God...as Christ followers who are commended as ones who please God.  May our focus be on Him today and each day we live...for His glory and His honor.  Amen.

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."   1 Peter 5:7

It doesn't matter where you've been or even where you are.  It doesn't matter what you've done or what you haven't done.  The Bible says in 1 John 4 that love comes from God, that God is love, and that God first loved us.  Paul says in Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  So I will say it again, it doesn't matter where you've been or even where you are or what you've done or what you haven't done.  All that matters is that you know these truths: God loves you!  God cares for you!  Today you may feel as though He does not love you or as though He does not care for you, but don't trust in your own feelings.  Trust in God.  Trust in His Word that is truth.  He loves you!  He cares for you!  Once you know these truths and believe these truths, you can turn to Him in repentance and in faith.  You can cast your anxieties, your worries, your heartaches, your pains, and anything and everything on Him; He will take it.  He will forgive you.  He will refresh you.  He will lift you up.  Believe it today!  Claim it today!  Live it today!

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"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."   Psalm 34:18

All of us have them...days that are just going to be harder than other days.  All of us have lost someone special, someone who blessed our lives...whether it was days, months, or years.  For me and Marty, this is our day that is harder than others.  On November 6, 1996, our sweet little girl, Hillary Noble Thomas, passed away due to a brain tumor.  For a little over five months, she filled our lives with so much excitement and joy.  Her big brown eyes and her crooked little smile commanded our attention and stole our hearts.  She was a beautiful gift from God.  Not a day goes by that we don't think about her.  And though that time in our lives was extremely difficult, we held on to God and held on to each other.  God's Word says in Psalm 34:18, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."  We can tell you that God's Word is absolutely true.  God got us through it, and He is still getting us through it.  We still cry at times thinking about our first-born baby girl, but mostly we smile and laugh at the wonderful times we enjoyed with her.  Our God is good...all the time!  And we know that we will see Hillary again because of God's love for us and our faith in Jesus.  We still love you, Hillary.  We still miss you, Hillary...but we will see you again.