Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  People are bustling around, going to and fro.  Some have friends and family with which they will share a meal and enjoy each other's company.  That's a true blessing to be near your family and actually enjoy being with them.  Much of America gets this right; many just miss the boat.

Bill and I are not with family this year for Thanksgiving and, to be quiet honest with you, it's a little strange.  I'm reflecting on the Lord's blessings in our life, but that human connection, that family bond, is so significant.  Being by ourselves demonstrates to me what many people go through during holidays and other important times when they are alone and everyone else has the cheer of connecting with others.  Bill and I still have each other.  Some people have no one.  My heart should ache for them.  Maybe God is giving me a glimpse into that kind of compassion for hurting people.

I do have one dear friend that has noticed my melancholy approach to this time of year.  She has bent over backwards to get Bill and I to come enjoy wonderful food and fellowship with her family.  I'm so grateful, but somehow I think we're supposed to sit this one out.  We are going to a homeless mission on Thanksgiving morning to help serve their food.  Maybe God will further open my eyes and heart to the plight of people who have nothing or no one.  My desire is that they will know that they always have God; that He never leaves them or forsakes them.  It is also to show them kindness and genuine compassion, to offer up prayers for them and to give them a sincere smile along with a scoop of good food.

Bill and I have been impressed lately that, in order to carry out the ministry God has set before us, we have to love others with our entire hearts, not with just our minds.  That's no easy task for me.  You see, to love completely is to open our life and our heart up to possible hurt and pain.  I've spent many years trying to protect myself and those I love from pain.  If I let my guard down, let people in, I could possibly get hurt.  It's that kind of love we have to demonstrate to those which God allows us to minister to.  Don't get me wrong, we do have love for people in the ministry wherein God has allowed us to serve.  But, I'm talking about a  different kind of love; a magnified agape love that Jesus had for others; a selfless kind of love; a love that means we could get hurt by human nature and a sinful world.  I've come to realize that is the only way to truly love well.  Any other kind of love is controlled by us, dispensed at will.  Selfless love just IS.  It comes from God's power and Spirit.

So, I thank God for this Thanksgiving.  I thank Him for teaching me a lesson in love.  I thank Him that His love is sweet enough to put His arms around me and remind me that He is more than enough for me.  I thank Him that I have such a wonderful life partner in my husband, Bill.  I thank Him that my daughter has a wonderful husband and that his sweet family is so gracious to be her family when her parents cannot be there for her.  I thank Him for my parents, who are now feasting at His banquet table.  I thank Him for my sisters and their families and Bill's sister and their families, whom we love dearly.  I thank Him for all of our relatives whom we don't have the opportunity to see often, but are forever in our hearts.  I thank Him for our friends, new and old, who are such an important part of our life.  I thank Him for a calling to ministry and hearts that a sensitive to His leading.  It is only through Him that we are able to reach those whom He has appointed us to impact and touch for His kingdom.

Yet, Thank You, doesn't seem sufficient to thank the Savior of the world.  Even though my effort to thank Him will fall short of that which I need to thank Him for, I still will attempt to give Him my thanks and praise.  I thank You, LORD, for your forgiveness.  When You forgave me, You set everything else in motion for the outcome of my life; You gave me a reservation to spend eternity with You in heaven.  For that, I thank You!  I thank You, LORD, for your Word and Your Holy Spirit that guides me and comforts me; gives me wisdom and gives me strength.  For that, I thank You!  I thank You, LORD, for a life of blessings.  You have given me Your love and the love of others.  You have healed me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I thank You, LORD, for a heart of praise.  You have filled my heart with gratitude towards You and all that You have done and continue to do for me.  For the music you put in my heart and on my lips, I thank You.  You want to spend time with me.  You welcome me to come to You in prayer.  You hear my prayers and You even have mercy on me and answer so many of my prayers.  You are AWESOME, dear LORD and I THANK YOU!!!

That only scratches the surface of what I could thank my LORD for.  This list is nowhere near exhaustive in thanks potential.  It just helps me work through centering my thoughts on where my help comes from.  I pray that God continues to expand my heart in love and thanksgiving for Him and the people He loves.  He has called me to do that with all my heart.  With His help, I'll get better at it, day by day.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 147:1
Praise the LORD.  How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!

Col 3:15-17
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.  Let the word of God dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jesus Calling

I am a raving fan of Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling" Devotions.  I often can't get enough of the sweet richness just one day's devotional message brings to me, so I often read forward for several days and then read them over as each day occurs.  As a matter of fact, if you are looking for great gift ideas for Christmas, consider stocking up on these little gems.  They make thoughtful and valuable gifts that pack the weight of daily blessings to fortunate recipients of such a gift.  Take my word for it....I'm right on this:-)

I have given away at least five of my own copies of "Jesus Calling" in recent months because the Holy Spirit prompted me to do so on the spot.  Why?  I just wanted to bless someone with what I feel is a kiss from God through the pages of this devotional.  The forward to this devotional tells of how the author writes in a style that embodies the Holy Spirit speaking directly to her (or us as we read it).  She writes in a conversational style that speaks God's Spirit to our spirit and references bible verses that prompt the foundation of the devotions.  I'm 100% sure you will love it for yourself and everyone that receives this gift will love it as well.  You can thank me

This brings me to my reason for speaking of this today.  I read forward to the devotion for November 6th.  This is a presidential election year and I found it interesting to see the devotion for this day.  It encouraged my spirit and reads as follows:

"Seek to please ME above all else.  As you journey through today, there will be many choice-points along your way.  Most of the day's decisions will be small ones you have to make quickly.  You need some rule of thumb to help you make good choices.  Many people's decisions are a combination of their habitual responses and their desire to please themselves or others.  This is not My way for you.  Strive to please Me in everything, not just in major decisions.  This is possible only to the extent that you are living in close communion with Me.  When My Presence is your deepest delight, you know almost instinctively what will please Me.  A quick glance at Me is all you need to make the right choice.  Delight yourself in Me more and more; seek My pleasure in all you do."  This passage is found in "Jesus Calling" and is based on scriptures from JOHN 8:29; HEBREWS 11:5-6; PSALM 37:4

Life is full of choices.  God gives us the freedom to make our own choices.  He leads us in paths of righteousness, but we always have to make the choice to go our own way or to follow His ways.  I'm so grateful He gives us a road map through His Word and a personal guide in the person of His Holy Spirit.  Jesus is calling.  I so want to hear Him and answer appropriately.