A few days ago Susanne and I went on a cruise to celebrate her health journey this past year. While on the trip we met a unique individual. I was sitting in the hot tub and this elderly man came in and sat next to me. He immediately told me he was 95 years old. He was a World War 2 Veteran and had taken part in the Battle of the Bulge. He asked me if I had seen the State of the Union this year? I told him that I had seen some of it, to which he replied: “I was introduced by the President and was sitting right behind his wife in the gallery”.

It is not every day that you sit next to a genuine national hero. I spent nearly a half-hour with Mr. Irving Locker. You can find him on YouTube talking about his many battle experiences. He is from New Jersey and now lives in the Villages in Florida. His stories were spell-binding. He suffered frostbite and his unit were under constant danger from the Nazi army. Many of his fellow soldiers did not make it back home. The ingenuity, determination, and grit of he and his unit is truly inspirational.

Mr. Locker found out that I was a pastor and he made the following statement: “Pastor I thank God every day for my life.” He introduced us to his wife and we visited with her for a few moments as well. Later in the week, I got a picture of him and Susanne at a ceremony honoring the veterans that were on the cruise. It was a honor to talk to him and to have our pictures taken with him. My encounter with Irving got me to thinking: We really are blessed!

None of us would be where we are today except for the grace of God and the sacrifice of a lot of others! So much gratitude is owed to so many that we could spend all of our lives just saying thank you! You may think that our encounter with Mr. Locker was just a random chance. I believe it was a divine appointment! Do not think I am special, we all have divine appointments, mostly we are busy rushing through life and fail to realize that God is ordering our steps.

I am asking God to help me slow down so that I can live in the moment. I believe that God has each of us right where we need to be, in order to be the answer to someone’s prayer. Are you willing to count your blessings? Are you willing to be a blessing to someone who needs your presence, encouragment and help?

We really have much for which to be grateful. I am a blessed person. May each of us seek to be dispensers of grace in this bitterly divided world, lets be grace-filled and kind.

Count your blessings!

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