Greetings and Welcome!

My goal is to share encouragement, grace, and hope from God’s Word, and to brighten your day. Mission trips abroad have enlarged my heart and reminded me once again that regardless of our skin color or location we all need a savior, and His name is Jesus. I pray that my articles will lift your spirits and point you to the One who loves you most.

Read Fran's 10/15/2018 Interview with Helene T. Steilian

Read Fran's 9/9/2018 Devotional on ARISE Devos website

Read Fran's 8/26/2018 Devotional on ARISE Daily Devos website

Read Fran's 7/14/2018 Devotional on ARISE Daily Devos website

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Click to read Fran's interview with Smashwords.com


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May God bless you in your journey of faith.
Warmly,
Fran


ALWAYS THANKFUL

By Fran Caffey Sandin

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5: 16-18 NIV).

What happened? I gradually opened my eyes, looked up, and all I could see from my front passenger seat was the broken, cracked, dislodged sunroof of our white Volvo. Stunned, I felt my husband, Jim, put his hand on mine as he asked, “Are you okay?” I didn’t know. I wanted to speak but couldn’t. It seemed only a few minutes later, an officer opened the car door and repeated the question.

On a beautiful, sunny summer day at 6:30 p.m., Jim and I were on a two-lane FM road, traveling east, waiting for an oncoming car to pass before turning left into a restaurant driveway. With the left-turn signal clicking, we watched the car traveling west pass by. That’s when it happened!  We were struck from the rear by a Dodge Ram 1500 truck traveling 55 mph! Our car landed in the ditch. We had no idea what hit us. Evidently, the truck driver’s eyes were not on the highway.

Wow! Jim’s head hit the ceiling where a deep gash required 19 staples to close. Neither of us remembers the actual crash. We partially awakened in the ambulance on the way to the emergency room. Our seat belts and head rests protected us from more serious injuries. The frame of our car greatly cushioned the blow, but our bodies were sore for many days.

As we recovered from mild concussions, hematomas, cuts and bruises, we were giving thanks.
We were thankful for no broken bones, for efficient care in the emergency room, for friends from church who drove us home from the hospital, for our daughter and my sister who came to help us through the first few days. The oncoming car was not involved in the accident. Most of all we thanked God for His protection.

We cannot compare our suffering with that of the apostle Paul, but we can learn from his example. Beaten with rods, bruised, bleeding, with his feet in stocks, placed in a dingy jail, he sang hymns of praise to God. (Acts 16: 22-25) It is impossible to be thankful FOR everything, but we can be thankful IN everything because God is greater than our circumstances. Paul even tells us that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8: 28). While Paul and his companion, Silas, were imprisoned, the guard heard them singing. When an earthquake caused the prison doors to open, the guard was ready to kill himself because he thought his prisoners had escaped. They had not. Paul said, “Do not harm yourself! We are still here.” The guard ran to Paul and Silas, fell down trembling before them and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul answered and said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved and your household” (Acts 16: 26-31). The guard took Paul and Silas to his house where he washed their wounds and fed them because he and all his house believed in God (Acts 16: 31-34).              

That incident reminds me of a statement by singer Joann Shelton, “Praise moves me from Complaint Avenue to Thanksgiving Boulevard.” Paul and Silas were not mad at God for their situation. Instead, they adopted an attitude of praise (Philippians 2: 14-16). In my own life experiences, I have learned the value of having a thankful spirit because bitterness cannot grow in a thankful heart. After our wreck with both vehicles totaled, Jim and I asked the insurance representative to tell the truck driver that we have forgiven her and are praying for her healing, physically and spiritually. Every day we thank God that we survived our accident. It could have been so much worse.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you have promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13: 5). At this Thanksgiving time of the year, we remember that You can use even our heartaches, suffering, and problems to bring glory to yourself and cause us to grow in spirit. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.