This morning I’m thanking God for all the things in this life he has given me so far. Like anyone else who has lived 52 years, I have things in life I could be bitter about today. I know that while my specific circumstances are unique, the hurts and pain I feel are common to all. But I have a God who is in control of all that. I have a forgiving Savior who draws me near to himself to comfort me and give me a peace that I can’t even understand, much less explain. I have a Shepherd who is teaching me how to walk with him and follow him, even across the treacherous parts of this journey. I have a Lord who is patient with me and ever faithful. I have a Creator who loves me as I am but continues to transform me into what he wants me to be. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity in my life to have a relationship with such an amazing, awesome God.

I am also thankful to God for providing me with a family–not perfect, but a gift to me just the same. I had a dad who loved me enough to make sure my physical needs were taken care of. I’m thankful to God that my dad came to know him more as he aged and knew his Savior and Lord before he died. I am so thankful for my mom today, and I miss her today more than ever. What an incredible faithful woman who persevered through so many hurts and pains in her life; she never gave up. She’s my role model. I’m also thankful for my brother and sisters who have walked by my side through thick and thin; they have believed in me no matter what.

I’m thankful for friends who have encouraged me, spurred me on, loved me, and often carried me and my burdens. Each is a gift from God.

I thank God for my wife today. She has truly been God’s gift to me for the last 22 years. I would not be the man I am today without her presence in my life along the way.

I am blessed by my four children today. I don’t need any birthday gifts other than what God has given to me in them. My prayer is that I can continue to have the wisdom to teach them God’s ways and that they too may choose to live by grace rather than bitterness.

Today, on my birthday, I’m thanking God that I have the privilege to be his child, to be his friend, and to be his servant. He gets the honor today.

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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