We started a tradition in my family, years ago, of naming the things we are thankful to God for on each Thanksgiving.
This year, I would like to share with you those things that I am thankful for. The three primary things I am thankful to God for this year are my salvation, my family, and the business that He has given me. In many ways, these blessings are the natural result of the service I’ve chosen to give to God. (Heb 11:6) For this reason, I’d also like to take a short moment to walk through some verses, and to try to describe the results of my attempts to follow the same.
The salvation Jesus Christ offers is easily summarized in this verse:
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Ps 2:12)
Salvation starts when a man chooses to trust God’s son, Jesus. This is a commitment. As a result of trusting God, this man will keep God’s words and obey as he is able. The result, according to this verse, is such a blessing as only God can give. It’s value is greater than gold (Ps 19:10) or rubies (Job 28:12-19, Prov 3:13-15).
My life changed significantly when I chose to trust God’s son, Jesus. It is because of these changes, and the results of following God, that I am now so thankful this year.
When I first committed my life to Christ, I was married but had no family to speak of. My wife and I were separated, and we had no children.
My fiance and I both graduated from the US Air Force Academy. She went to Columbus, Mississippi to become a pilot, I went to Dayton, Ohio, to get a masters degree. We were married while we were apart.
During this dark time, I still remember the first day I arrived at Emmanuel Baptist Church, now in Bellbrook, Ohio. At the time I was deeply troubled, not knowing if my wife and I would ever be together. Joint assignments were not sure things. Much to my surprise, the pastor there was quite convinced that we would be together. How could he be so convinced? This made no sense to me, since he hardly knew me. He explained that he was convinced because he knew the character of the God he served. At the time, I wasn’t sure how to take this. Was the pastor a crack, or did he really know the Almighty God of heaven and earth that well?
No, the military is not kind to couples where both are in the service. Sometimes the personnel office is able to station military spouses together. Sometimes, as happened with me after our first assignment together, the personnel officer will just throw his hands up in the air and declare that military spouses aren’t guaranteed to live with each other.
Marrying a military spouse didn’t leave my wife and I in a happy place. I would certainly not encourage others to take this path.
Some time later, my wife and I found the verse in Titus, where God instructs the older women to, …
… teach the younger women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discrete, chaste, keepers at home, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Titus 2:4-5)
The word “at”, found in the phrase “keepers at home”, convinced my wife that she shouldn’t be in the military in spite of her training and experience as a helicopter pilot. She than began the (long and drawn out) process of separating from the military. The result of this process was that, after four happy years together, we were separated for the next year. During this time, we didn’t know how long it would be until we’d be together again.
And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. (Gen 9:7)
Before coming across this verse, or rather before I took it seriously, I had been of the belief that every couple should have two children, and so to maintain the world’s population. After evaluating these verses, I chose to do as I was told.
Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. (Prov 5:18)
Those who know us would declare that we now have a “large” family. I would simply say that every one of our children is a blessing that I am genuinely thankful for.
The Bible also teaches how to raise up the children God gives, and provides encouragement and instruction for the same.
Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul. (Prov 29:17)
Yes, we did choose to abandon all of the sage advice printed in “Christianity Today” for the words of the Bible itself. (Prov 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14, 29:15, Eph 6:4) Perhaps it was a risk doing so at first. Now looking back, I am very pleased with the result. Today my children are one of the delights of my life.
What is the alternative?
As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. (Is 3:12)
No, I think I like the results of following God’s way better. Indeed, hath the LORD not promised,
Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. (Ps 128:1-3)
This describes my life today. Because of this, I am thankful for my family: a family I would not have had, were it not for God’s instruction and subsequent blessing.
I am also thankful for my business.
When I started Gisselquist Technology, LLC, I knew very little about business. I knew about technology. I knew about signal processing. I knew about the military acquisition process. I knew a little bit about digital logic.
Why did I choose to start my own business? Because of verses like,
Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. (1Cor 7:23)
But just because a man goes into business doesn’t mean he’ll be successful at it. Perhaps I’m only “successful” because my goals are simple: I only wish to provide for myself and my family.
On the other hand, God does make some promises here as well. For example, the very first Psalm talks about prospering at whatever you choose to do.
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Ps 1:1-3)
“Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”, huh? True? Yes.
Or how about the ending of the 23rd Psalm?
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Ps 23:5-6)
“My cup runneth over” sounds like a blessing that a man doesn’t have room enough to receive. (Mal 3:10) Today, I feel like God’s blessing runs over from my cup onto those around me, such as my family or those I work with.
Well, does it? Is this witness true? Let me offer these evidences. First, my oldest son graduated from college debt free, and now my second child will be graduating from college this year, also debt free. My third child is still in college, and remains debt free. This evidence, however, may be more due to their work than my own. So let me offer a second piece of evidence and share that I’ve doubled my gross receipts for the last two years, year over year. This, mind you, is in spite of a group of individuals that tried to cancel me two years ago, and swore never to work with me. It is also in spite of all of the COVID shutdowns and subsequent chip shortages, which in many ways I have been quite insulated from. As my third evidence, my wife and I were able to save up enough to purchase new vehicles while on my business salary. This year, it was a Honda Odyssey. Finally, this year, I have someone joining me to help me out with my tasks.
If that’s not “success”, I’m not sure what is.
So, again, I’m thankful this year for my success at Gisselquist Technology, LLC.
This year, I am thankful for what God has done in my life and the joy that I have to share.
Let me encourage you to also join me in counting your blessings this year, and in thanking the God of all blessings for what he has done in your own life as well.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice! (Phil 4:4)
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Mal 3:10)