All posts by Pastor Thom

I'm Thom Fowler. I pastor two churches and also work full-time in a retail environment...but that is what I do, not who I am. I am a follower of Christ and to me that's not just about going to church, opening my Bible occasionally and saying a prayer once in a while. For me following Christ is interacting daily with Someone who knows me and, despite my flaws, loves and accepts me.  "Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes." Ephesians 1:4 NLT  My motivation for blogging is that I know that others struggle with life as I do and a partner on the journey is always welcome. 

Lifting Each Other Up

Father, the ebb and flow of life sure make it challenging. I truly believe You use all of my ups and downs to help me to grow – to stretch me. Right now life in general is on an even keel but my spiritual life is a little wonky. I want to spend time with You but part of me keeps throwing things in to the works to hinder me. I’m not waking up early enough to do this and so I don’t. I feel like You are saying, “Its time to grow up. I love You, but it is not in your best interest to continue on as a child. I am here, and I always will be, but it’s time for you to take responsibility. I want to spend time with you but you need to take the initiative to take action.” Father, I know You believe I can – help me not to let You down. Help me to grow up. Amen – so be it.

I Thessalonians 3:6-10 (<<click here)

Lord, I realize that getting together with fellow believers is of utmost importance. Your word encourages us to not give up meeting together” Hebrews 10:25 But just as important is what we do for each other in the in-between times. Our remaining strong in our faith encourages the believers to remain strong in their faith. “It gives us new life to know that [others] are standing firm in the Lord.” vs.8

Lord, help me to pray for my fellow believers, those that are near, those that are far and for those I don’t even know. Help me to be grateful for them – may they be inspirational to me to keep on keeping on. Help me to pray faithfully for them. And, Lord, help to pray for more than just physical things – though they are important as well. But help me to pray for their relationship with You. I struggle spiritually and I know that I am not alone. We all struggle. Our world and our very nature are constantly attempting to pull us from You. We want what we want. We want the easiest path. We’re tired and worn out and just want to crash…and rest… and sleep. Help us all to get that “new life” by encouraging each other to remain strong in our faith.

July 21st, Tues, 7:48 am

Trouble with a Capital “T”

Thank You in advance, Father, for the beautiful day ahead! Also, thank You for yesterday’s blessings. It was so nice being with Karen all day – talking, laughing, eating, and looking. I am so grateful that Your hand has been upon us. You have answered our prayers and the prayers of others – our love for each other is stronger than ever. May it ever be so. Praise Your holy name!

I Thessalonians 3:1-5 (<<click here)

Harold Hill proclaimed in The Music Man, “Trouble, oh we got trouble… with a capital “T” and I can surely say it’s not limited to River City. Lord, we all struggle with trouble. Through the years many have tried to blame sin or lack of faith for the trouble we experience. Now we can get ourselves into trouble with sin or a lack of faith but many times You use our trials and tribulations to “build character (James 1:2-4), perseverance (Romans 5:3-5) and sensitivity toward others who also face trouble (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).*NLT LASB

Lord, we can’t avoid them so help us not to fume and stress but to trust You to get us through them and when we come out on the other side that we will be more like You!

July 18th, Sat, 7:29 am

*New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible

Bit by a Roaring Lion

Father, so many times in life I have sung of my anchor holding in the storms of life. And Father I claim that as truth. In the struggles and heartaches of life You are surely a solid rock and a sure foundation. I am so grateful for the security of our relationship. But anchoring in You has another dimension as well. Many times in my life my connection to You – my anchor holding fast in You – has been the lifeline to pull me back, for as another old hymn state “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.”

Too many times I have strayed just far enough away that I can pretend that I can’t hear Your voice calling for my return. But whatever has caught my fancy soon proves to be unfulfilling and shallow and once again my anchor brings me back to You. Thank You, Father, for Your unwavering love!

1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 (<<click here)

Paul, a rock-solid devout believer in the power of the resurrected Christ, attributed his inability to return to the church at Thessalonica to Satan. We don’t know what he did to hinder Paul – but we need to learn from Paul.

Peter clearly states that the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) and he surely is out to get us. Lord, You know this is an ongoing struggle for me. I have no doubt whatsoever that he exists. I guess I’ve always felt that we empower him too much. This goes back pretty far but I can still recall one of comedian Flip Wilson’s catchphrases, “The devil made me do it.” For years I have balked at that – he can’t make me do anything! But he can sure provide plenty of enticements! So I might not get “devoured” but I’ve been bitten plenty of times!

I consciously strive to undermine the devil’s power. He may impact people all over the world but he cannot be all places at once – his demonic hoard does his bidding. He cannot know everything – though he’s been around long enough to have us pegged pretty well. And he is not all-powerful  – he may have the ability to do what he wants – but he is surely limited and he does lose.

He is a foe to be reckoned with and he will surely wreak havoc in our lives BUT… he will not prevail and I am determined, only in You, Lord, to stand against him!

“I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.”

“Abide with Me” words by Henry F. Lyte, 1847

July 17th, Fri, 6:59 am

Persecution

Father, Your presence this morning was and continues to be so comforting. Waking at 5:00 made for a very short night but feeling You with me as I laid back down for a few more minutes made that rest even more sweet. I’m so glad that You led me to pray during a portion of that time, too – gives a whole new freshness to “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” 🙂

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 (<<click here)

Lord, You certainly experienced persecution (even to the point of death). Paul did, as well as, the Jewish Christians and the Thessalonians. But me?  Uh…no. I’m not putting a requisition in, by any means, but the term is thrown around a lot today. I realize that many of my brothers and sisters in the faith are laying their lives on the line and many may be ushered into Your presence even this day. (Lord, may Your strength and love fill believers in the Middle East and other areas of the world today.)

But persecution here? Uh…no. We may have had our toes stomped on but we have yet to be persecuted. Lord, I sincerely believe that if we did experience real persecution in our country that many would not have the stomach for it and would quickly desert the ranks.

I don’t know when it will happen or even if it will happen in my lifetime but persecution will come. And, Lord, if it does come while I still have breath, may I use every one of those breaths, to proclaim my faith in You. May I be filled with Your strength and love to the very last breath!

But, Jesus…as I sit here and ponder…I realize that regardless of persecution that I should be living that way now! I have no idea when my life here will be complete so I plead that You will give me the strength and love to live out my faith and to share that faith, each and every day! May I be true to You – Amen!

July 14th, Tues, 5:54

Full of What’s Good

Father, I am grateful that You care about me. Most every morning You gently wake me up to spend some time with You – before my day gets rolling. Some days are easier than others. This one’s a little tough. Yesterday was wonderful Your presence in both services, a very enjoyable day with Karen! But even on good days – wonderful days – my mind can tangent! Thoughts of anger, superiority, frustration, lust, gossip, selfishness, pride – they all traipse through my mind. Sin is always around the fringes of my mind, ready to trip me up, pull me down. Many times – most times – thanks to You, Father, they flit into my mind and are gone. But sometimes I linger just a little too long… forgive me, Father. Continue to fortify my defenses, help me to wield my “shield of faith” (Ephesians 6:16) as I ought to. Give me Your strength and fortitude – I fail in my weakness but I am strong in You.

I Thessalonians 2:13 (<<click here)

Lord, what would I do without Your Word? As I shared with a friend recently what we fill our minds with affects what shows on the outside. Luke 6:45 speaks of storing up good things in our hearts. “for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Lord, help me to store up Your Word for as Paul says to the Thessalonians “this word continues to work in [we] who believe.” Of course, the Bible is our main tangible source but You also use devotionals and speakers. You use music. You use periodicals and blogs and Facebook posts. Help me to fill my mind with the good. And please help me to be wary of the bad in close proximity – to throw up that “shield of faith” “to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” I am strong only in You!

July 13th, Mon, 5:44 am