A Message From Tom Ascol – My Heart Is Full of Thankfulness

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The Gettys wrote the song “My Heart is Full of Thankfulness” in order to express gratitude for spiritual blessings that flow from the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Eternal blessings far outweigh temporal ones but for believers, they are not unrelated. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). All of our good gifts—temporal and eternal—have been purchased for us by Jesus.

Over the last four days I have been overwhelmed with blessings that have been poured out from above but have come to my family and me from God’s people around the world. Last Sunday morning, during a time of extended prayer with my Grace Baptist Church family, I passed out, fell off of a high table chair, and landed head-first on the floor. My fellow pastor, Jared Longshore, has given more information here and here and in the brief podcast.

Today, by God’s grace and much sooner than any medical personnel expected, I was released from the Intensive Care Step-down unit of our local trauma hospital. When I fell, I suffered multiple frontal sinus fractures, a supraorbital fracture, and trauma to my cervical spine. The initial prognosis was uncertain and, quite honestly, rather bleak. Yet, a little more than 72 hours after being transported by ambulance to an emergency room, I was escorted out of the hospital in a wheelchair to a waiting car.

As I sit in my favorite chair in my den, wearing my not-so-favorite cervical collar, my mind has rehearsed some of the many reasons I have to be thankful. God’s blessings have been poured out on me in the form of acts of kindness, words of encouragement, and prayers for healing.

The elders, deacons and members of Grace Baptist Church have been amazingly kind and generous in ministering to my family and me. Friends near and far have reached out with offers of practical help and reassurances of prayers. Beyond these, many acquaintances and even people whom I have never met have contacted us with expressions of love and concern. Some of the brightest moments of the last three days have come as I have listened to family members read messages of encouragement sent via email, text and social media. So many people have promised to pray. And there is no doubt that the Lord has heard and answered those prayers.

Though doctors have not been able to give a definitive diagnosis, many of the more serious considerations have been ruled out. I will be under the care of various physicians for the foreseeable future but hope to be cleared to return to my normal responsibilities in the near future.

There is no way that I could possibly thank each person who has reached out with words of encouragement but I hope that this note will at least acknowledge my gratitude to God for the way that He has stirred up people to pray for me the last several days.

Join me in praising God for His overflowing grace.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain;
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again;
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me in His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With pow’r upon my heart

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside;
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly;
Whose ev’ry promise is enough
For ev’ry step I take
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace
Whose ev’ry thought is love
For ev’ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all
To love and follow him

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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