“O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people, In the courts of the LORD’S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalm 116:16-19)
As you take a trip through Scripture, you can’t help but see that God desires some things from us as human beings. One of the things He desires is that we would offer, what the Psalmist calls, the “sacrifice of thanksgiving.” God continually desires that we give thanks to Him for all His bountiful blessings!
Here is my “sacrifice of thanksgiving” that I recently shared with our staff:
- I am thankful for salvation. God allowed me to be saved at a young age! For over 55 years, I have known the Lord. While I am far from a perfect man, I know that getting saved early in life kept me from a lot of heartache and grief. God has been good.
- I am thankful for my wife. We married young, and she has walked faithfully by my side these last 42 years. She is one of the reasons I am able to pastor this church. She is a Proverbs 31 woman and because of that, it enables me to be in the ministry.
- I am grateful for my family. God has blessed Denise and me with three sons. They have married wonderful women and have given us ten grandchildren. They range in age from 5 to 14. That make 18 of us. Plus, my mom is still alive and is living a vibrant life at 89 years of age. These are great blessings!
- I am likewise thankful for Cleveland Baptist Church. Although this isn’t a perfect church, it is truly a great one. It is vibrant, alive and filled with wonderful people who love the Lord. Most of our people through the years have been just working class people. Many of them were first generation Christians—saved and then learned how to live the Christian walk through the ministry of this church. I love the diversity of our church. It is diverse racially, economically, socially and in the realm of age. One of the great privileges of my life has been to be called the pastor of Cleveland Baptist Church.
- I am thankful for the upcoming ministry transition. This year has been a year of transition that will be completed, Lord willing, on June 2. I am excited for my son, Pastor Pete Folger, who has been called by this church to be my successor. He has been gifted by the Lord to lead this church in his generation. While there are things I am going to miss about being the pastor of this church, I am also very excited about the future ministry that I see the Lord is putting together.
- I want to thank God for the ministry God has given to Denise and me. For the past 40 years, we have been blessed by God to serve the Lord here. I cut my teeth in the ministry at this church. It has been a wonderful time of our lives to serve my home church.
- I want to thank God for the staff of Cleveland Baptist Church and Heritage Christian School. Tuesday mornings I pray for each of the staff by name. I pray for them and their families and the ministry that we share. They are a great staff that serve the Lord faithfully.
- I praise God for the blessing of good health. I have been blessed with few health issues through the years. I do not take this for granted.
- I want thank God for the friends in the ministry. Across the country and around the world, it is a joy to call sweet and precious co-laborers in the Lord’s vineyard as my friends.
- I want to thank God for America. As flawed and struggling as she is, America is still a wonderful place to live and serve the Lord!