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Reflections – Nine Life Changing Words


Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. A new book containing over one hundred of his best columns, “Everywhere You Go There’s a Zacchaeus Up a Tree,” is now available at your local or online bookseller. Contact us at rcministry@ameritech.net
By Roger Campbell Ministries

Nine words written long ago from a lonely Roman prison cell might, if heeded, break down most of the barriers that divide families, hinder the growth of churches and separate friends.

Ten years earlier, Paul, the apostle, who penned these powerful words had visited Philippi, introduced a few there to faith in his Lord, spent an unusual night in the local jail and, upon being set free by an earthquake that shook the prison doors off their hinges, started a church.
What were these nine life changing words?“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you”

In her book, “Thank You Power,” Deborah Norville recommends focusing on something beautiful and sharing it with someone else. This is exactly what the writer of these nine powerful words was doing. In spite of the imperfections of the people in the church to which he was writing, he chose to focus on the good memories he had of them and this made him thankful they had become part of his life

Every day we’re faced with the choice of being grateful or grouchy. Grateful people attract others; grouchy ones repel them.
The popular daily devotional guide, “Today in the Word,” relates how some visitors to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, are gaining a new appreciation for thank-you notes
Instead of coming back to an expired parking meter to find a fifteen dollar ticket, first time violators find a note that says: “Thank you for visiting downtown Chapel Hill!”

What caused this new acceptance of rule breaking When the city council realized that about one third of parking citations were issued to first time visitors and that some of these visitors weren’t likely to come back for another visit after getting a ticket, they decided that thanks might be a better approach. It’s likely that these fine free fortunate people were uttering a few thankful words of their own.

We’re now nearing the time of the year that incubates attitudes of gratitude. Fields of golden grain have been harvested; colorful crops of fruit are largely off the trees or vines and it’s pleasant to bask in the beauty of colorful fallen leaves decorating lawns and crunching beneath our feet.

A great harvest makes thankfulness come easy, but the Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk, concluded we ought to be thankful in either bounty or blight, writing, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock be cut off from the stalls – yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

But Paul’s call for being constantly thankful can be difficult to achieve because it encompasses every member of our family and church.
How could the author of this powerful nine word formula carry out his goal of continual thankfulness? He chose to focus on the faithfulness of these frail people rather than their faults and this enabled him thankful for them all.