Thursday, November 19, 2015

All Circumstances, Lord? ALL Circumstances?

All Circumstances, Lord? ALL Circumstances?

By Shelly Burke, Editor

Give thanks in all circumstances.               1 Thessalonians 5:18

About 10 years ago my kids and I and my sister and her daughter went to southern Missouri, where our parents retired, for Thanksgiving. My other sister and her husband, from Canada, were there too. It’s the one time a year we’re all together.

From the beginning, the trip seemed jinxed. Cody and Morgan and I drove to southern Nebraska to pick up Becky and Logan, and we got a flat tire on the way. In the dark. On a cold, cold night.

We got to Kansas City at rush hour time, and somehow ended up going through KC instead of around it (sidenote: in all the years mom and dad have lived in Missouri, I think there has been ONE TIME I’ve gotten AROUND Kansas City…the rest of the trips I’ve somehow managed to go through part or all of it!) The low fuel light was on…and we were stuck in construction.

We stopped at the first gas station we came to and my sister’s comment, after we got on the road again, was “Let’s stop at a prison next time…the restroom would probably be cleaner than that one!”

Within hours of getting to mom and dad’s, Cody complained of a stomach ache and started vomiting. The next day dad took us for a ride in his boat and on the way back to their home Morgan threw up…in the back of their car…that they’d just started leasing. There’s not one picture of us all together that Thanksgiving because either Cody or Morgan were sick in bed the whole three days we were there.

Early in the morning of the day after Thanksgiving, Becky woke me up. “Logan isn’t feeling good. I think we should leave so we get home before you and I get sick…or we could be here for a long time.” (Mom and dad and my sister Deb and her husband Steve were glad we we drove out they were throwing open the windows to air out the house, despite the temperature being in the low 30’s.) We loaded up the green-faced kids, mom gave us an armload of towels, and we started the 400 mile drive home.

We stopped 8 times in the first two hours, in a few parking lots…gas stations…and at least once on the side of the road. It was very long trip.

Give thanks in ALL circumstances Lord? What could I possibly be thankful for about that Thanksgiving trip?

As it turns out, many things. We were able to coast into town on the flat tire, and it only took AAA a little while to get there and change the tire. We didn’t run out of fuel in the middle of construction in downtown Kansas City. I hope I’ve been in have been in the filthiest gas-station restroom that I will ever be in. Although there’s not a picture of all of us together that Thanksgiving, we were all together!  Becky and I didn’t get sick until we were home…and dad (who had to preach in church that Sunday) didn’t get sick at all.

Of course, our circumstances on that trip were very minor compared to many things people face every day—a terminal diagnosis, the sickness of a child, the break-up of a marriage, loss of a job. But God’s command is the same: Give thanks in all circumstances.

What can we give thanks for during trying, terrible times? If nothing else, our faith. And we can be thankful for Jesus and His death that gave us life. Nothing, and no one, no circumstance, can take away our salvation. No matter what the outcome of anything you are going through, you are not alone. The Lord is with you. And believers will be with Him, for eternity. And that is something to be thankful for!

Read more by Shelly at

"The Only Way" Scripture Memory Challenge December

The Only Way

By Shelly Burke, Editor

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
                John 14:6

Chances are, if you’re reading the Nebraska Family Times, you know that Jesus is the only way to eternal life--heaven. Many people, however—even so-called believers—do not believe this.  Some believe that “it doesn’t really matter who I believe in—Mohammad, for example—or what I believe, as long as I really and truly believe it, I’ll get to heaven.”

Others believe in Jesus, but only believe that He was a “good man” or that He “didn’t really die and come back to life.”

Others believe that Jesus is part of the way to heaven…but to get there they must also be a  ”good enough”  person or pray “enough” of the right prayers or give “enough” money to the church or to charities.

In the verse above, Jesus does not say that He is “part of the way” to heaven, or “one of the ways” to get to heaven. He is very clear that He is the way to the Father, to God, to eternal life. Jesus does not say he is “part of the truth” or “one of the truths”; He says that He is the truth.

Do the people you love and  care about know this? Are you sure? If not (or even if you know they know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life), invite them to one of the many church services that will be held this Christmas season. It’s easy—simply say, “Would you like to go to church with me Christmas Eve? Our church has a beautiful service—I just love singing the Christmas songs”, or “The choir concert at our church is wonderful—would you like to go with me?” or “I love starting Christmas Day celebrating the real reason—Jesus’ birth—and then continuing the celebration with family and our special dinner. Would you like to come with me to church?”

What better gift could you give someone than to introduce them to the eternal truth?
Shelly is the editor and publisher of the Nebraska Family Times. Read more at If you would like to receive FREE Scripture Memory Cards, email