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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Testimonies of Praise

        Thanksgiving day is past, the day Americans all over the world stop to celebrate God's blessing in the new world to be called the United States of America.  However, it is not a one-day celebration.  If we haven't done it yet, we need to learn to cultivate this thankfulness.  We need to become so thankful to our Father God that it overflows from us to others.  I know, some people have heard that you are supposed to overflow God's love to others as you pass through the days and weeks but am I suggesting anything new?  Overflowing thanksgiving to others shows as praise to our Father.  So, we will be worshipping Him in our everyday life.  Isn't this what we want to show the world around us?  Won't this make them stop and wonder about our faith?  Hmm, a thought.  If you do this, you will be given new opportunities to share of God's love through the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
        Do you have a story of God's greatness which you have seen or personally experienced?  Have you considered that this sharing of the story and thankfulness is one testimony you can use to share God's love, a door to share Jesus' ultimate love gift?  Wow, it is perfect and right before Christmas, the celebration of Jesus' birthday.  So, if we cultivate thankfulness so that it flows everyday, we cultivate opportunities to share the Gospel. 
        In this day of severe recession that has been a part of our daily lives for 3 years, isn't this the most right time to share/overflow your thankfulness?  Often times of most difficulty is the time when people are most receptive to hearing about Jesus and His love gift to all humanity throughout generations.  People are most receptive to hear of hope during hard times.  People want to know that there is more to life, that this life can't be all, that there is hope for a better life.  Go about your day being thankful.  Be overflowing.  Open the doors for others to see God's love in you.  Be prepared to give account of your joy in God.  Be ready to give a testimony of God's love gift in the birth, life, death and resurrection in Jesus.  People want hope.  People need to hear about the love of Jesus and his life giving gift of salvation and an eternal better/best life.  Are you thankful today?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Remembering, Reliving and Revering

        It is almost Thanksgiving.  People are making plans for the holiday; Americans are making plans.  Wherever they live, Americans will be searching for a turkey or a substitute and pumpkin pie, or something reasonably like it, and will be inviting friends and family to join in the festivities...but, are they really.  Christmas decorations have been up in the stores all month.  Children are making Christmas lists.  Churches are thinking about pageants and music.  Some people are thinking about snow and the fun and others are thinking about how to get away from it.  In the midst of all this, it seems that we have forgotten what November 24, 2011 is about.  It is the one day we, as American, set aside to thank God, upon Whom our country was founded, for His provision to us this year.  If we have not given Him a thought til now, this is the one day, not the 52 other Sundays of the year, that we think about our Creator and Provider and say thank you.
        The first year, the year in which Thanksgiving began, the Pilgrims, who were spiritually-minded, suffered immensely.  One hundred and four people set out for a new world where there would be religious freedom.  They had experienced persecution in Europe for their religious beliefs and were seeking a new home.  They landed on a new continent and built a fort and houses and sought to plant and grow crops.  Many times the crops failed and after their initial fear of the natives, some tentative steps toward friendship were made and counsel was given by these native residents of their new home as to how to plant and grow crops.  By the end of that first year, fifty-two people, men, women and children, had survived and chose to give thanks to God their Provider.
        What does this have to do with us 400 years later?  Well maybe we don't have to grow our own crops.  Maybe we don't have to build our own houses, or make our own clothes, or chop our own wood.  Maybe the natives are no longer timid or scary or heathen.  However, we still have received these things and have survived another year to tell others about it.  Did we provide our own homes or food or clothes?  Did we create our own jobs or teach our own children or doctor our own sick?  I must say, and all would if they were humble enough to admit it, that each of these came as gifts to us from our Creator and Provider and Sustainer.  If you cannot admit that, then you do not need to celebrate Thanksgiving.  However, if you are humble enough to admit that you are not the provider of your own welfare, then Thanksgiving is the day which you set aside time to allow your mind to peruse the last year and all the benefices that came to you and all the endurance that you were given in hard times and then to cast thanks to the One who has provided for all your needs and often has given you more than you could have ever considered asking for.
        Thanksgiving is a time to cast back and remember and then to pronounce thanks to our God.  So, as you prepare the feast or sit back and smell the aromas or taste the succulence of the food, give a thought to Who has, in His onmiscient wisdom and knowledge, provided enough for you to make it through another year.  Give thanks and praise to our Father God.  Then, after ample time is spent on remembrance and thanks, we can look forward to celebrating the birth of a King.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Creaking and Shaking

        On the eve of my hubby's 48th birthday, he turns to me nonchalantly and asks, "Is there anything I should know about 48 dear?"  I can't even remark.  For nine months of the year I am older than him and he lets me know it weekly.  I quietly respond that he wasn't even a twinkle in his mother's eye when I was born.  That has never stopped him from coming up with the statement later in the same week stating that I am older than him.  So, how do I respond to today's question?  Do I take it as a last chance to "poke" me before he catches up?  Do I wonder where he has been the last 9 months as I navigated year 48?  Or am I so dumbfounded by the question that I say nothing.  I chose the last option but not because I thought it was the best answer but because I had nothing wise or witty to jab him back with.  My thought is to keep my mouth shut so I don't jump right into the middle of the statement that I am still older than him.
        For these next three months I get to step back and watch as he navigates his 48th year.  I get to watch as he makes decisions and either learn from his experiences or chuckle at his new baby steps into this foray of 48. 
        I must say, we are going gracefully toward that 50 mark but time is starting to show upon us.  Yesterday I remarked to him that my grey hairs were matching his grey his beard.  You see, his head hair is letting go of his scalp before it has a chance to turn grey.  I can say with glee that mine is turning grey and not letting loose.  But, my bones are showing/creaking out my age now.  I tell you what, if they ever wanted to tape a squeeking rocking chair, they only need follow me with the recorder; my ankles and knees are a cacophany of creaks and grinds.  If I am making more noise in this middle age, I must say that he has won that contest hands down.  The sounds that emanate from him during sleeping times must register in the 30s on the decibel meter.  I sent him to the ENT doctor to see if there was anything we could do.  Nope, everything looks fine.  I went to my doctor with exhaustion and she prescribed pills that would get me to a deep sleep and keep me there.  I must say, she is right most of the time but when the tiles of our roof and the timbers holding them up begin "falling" around me, wake me up in time to get out of the house.  His nocturnal vocal emanations could bring the roof down.  God has, however, saved us from this demise, too.
        It is fun and therapeutic to wrestle with middle age and it's idiosyncrasies.  It does have it down moments, but if you can't turn them into times of laughter at some point, they will get you down.  Make light of those moments when the knees creak and the rafters shake and then it will be easier being 48+.