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               42 years ago, today, January 24, I gloriously and triumphantly entered this world. I am sure that all of you remember exactly where you were when you heard the news of my birth. Walter Cronkite (if you don’t know who he was, Google him) led his evening news with the announcement. President Gerald Ford took time out of his day to offer his congratulations. The United Nations paused their activities to applaud this great event. Times Square in New York City through a huge party in my honor.

                Truthfully, none of those things happened (I know that many of you might have thought so) except that I was born on this day. The heralded Dallas New Era did publish a birth announcement that was read by at least a hundred people. There were not really parties and events scheduled for that day.

                As I think back on the previous 42 years I realize that I have lived a very blessed and fortunate life. I grew up in a two-parent home. I always had everything that I needed. I had two sisters that I could stand to be in the same room with (just kidding, I love my sisters.) I got through high school without being stuffed in a locker. I have two degrees that I received with no college debt attached to them. I married the most beautiful woman in the world who loves me, even though I can be a pain sometimes. I have a smart, handsome son who hasn’t decided that I don’t know anything yet (he is 11. I say give him two more years and dad will become useless except for money), and a precious little girl who still likes to hold my hand. I work at a church that I love and excites me for its future. I have a good life.

                I also know that my good life is a product of God’s love, mercy, and blessing on me. I know this because the Bible tells me so. James 1:17 says, ”Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above…” All of the good in my life is because my Father in heaven has chosen to bless me. I do not know why I have been chosen for this life that I have, but I am grateful for it. I am grateful that when I was seven the Gospel was presented in such a way that I knew I was a sinner and I needed Jesus, so I asked him to be my personal Lord and savior. I am grateful that I had a mom who took me to church every time the doors were open. I am grateful that I had a church that was kind, warm and loving. I am grateful for my call into ministry. I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for Shallow Well Church.

                I know that many people look at their birthdays as just another day. They only recognize that they have just made another trip around the sun. I do not want to be that type of person. I want each year to bring me closer to God, my family, and my church. I want each of my 365 days a year to mean much more than the passing of time. I want to live in such a way that one day I will hear my Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I also want to live in a way that will encourage each of you to live in that way also. The best birthday present I can receive is to know that all of the people that I care about the most will receive the same reward in heaven that I will receive, if not even more of a reward than I receive.

                Now, I must be off. President Trump is calling. I am sure it is to tell me that my birthday will be “HUUUGE.”

                                                                                                                                Marty

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