We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Our children need to witness the grown ups around them loving and praising Jesus. They need to hear us praying. They need to see us reading the Bible and know that we believe what it says and that we obey it. We teach best by modeling behavior that we want them to emulate. I pray that as you begin your preparations for the holy day ahead, that you will include your young ones in the "whys" of the season. God bless you!
For he will avenge the blood of his servants,
And will render vengeance to his adversaries,
And will make expiation for his land, for his people.
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
The floods of ungodliness made me afraid:
The cords of Sheol were round about me;
The snares of death came upon me.
In my distress I called upon Jehovah;
Yea, I called unto my God:
And he heard my voice out of his temple,
And my cry came into his ears.
And my prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.
They that regard lying vanities
Forsake their own mercy.
But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay that which I have vowed.
Salvation is of Jehovah.
Monday, November 27, 2023
Sunday, November 26, 2023
Advent beckons us to pause and reflect on the profound truths that underpin our faith. Let us remember the humble circumstances of that holy night, when a poor child was born in a stable, and His bed was a manger—a feeding trough for animals. The manger, a symbol of simplicity and humility, sets the stage for the remarkable story of the Incarnation.
Consider diligently him that is before thee;
And put a knife to thy throat,
If thou be a man given to appetite.
Saturday, November 25, 2023
Friday, November 24, 2023
Thursday, November 23, 2023
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
Each kernel, intricately explored in recent weeks, has been a stepping stone leading us toward a heart brimming with thanksgiving. The first kernel prompted us to reflect on the awe-inspiring creation that surrounds us, inviting us to acknowledge the Creator with a heart full of praise. The second kernel guided us on a stroll through the beauty of home and family, emphasizing the joy found in the simplicity of life's blessings.
"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever." Psalm 107:1 (NLT)The year was 1621. Those who had made the pilgrimage to what is now the United States of America, had a great feast that lasted three days. It was a celebration of thanksgiving to the Lord for His provision and protection which followed a time of extreme hardship in which many had died. None of these precious souls had envisioned the difficulties they would face before they set sail and I often wonder how those who survived were able to show such gratitude after all they endured.
The holiday of Thanksgiving that we observe each year has become a day that is engulfed in activity that causes tensions to run high. Rather than a day of praise and gratitude, it is spent exhausting ourselves attempting to fulfill expectations of family and guests. After the food has been served and the kitchen has been cleaned, men gather around the television and women rush out to shop in stores that now open early to capitalize on Christmas dollars yet to be spent.
Before we know it, midnight as come and the day intended for giving thanks has ended for another year. Recipes made once a year are filed away and all thoughts turn to the next big day of festivities. In all of the hustle and bustle, how much time was actually given to the Lord in appreciation for His great love and care?
Aside from the necessary prayer at the table tomorrow, will we spend any private time with Him reflecting back on how He has sustained us this year? Will our hearts be consumed with gratitude or will our focus be on the troubles of the moment? Whatever our struggles are today will likely still be struggles tomorrow and will be vying for our attention. Will we choose Him over worry and chaos?
We are the Lord's first priority. He is always present. Always listening. Always within our reach. We may not be able to see Him physically with our eyes, but He is always active in our lives. Every blessing that we receive comes directly from His hands. He has promised to take care of our needs and to guide us through each step we need to take. No matter what arises in our lives, His power is greater, His love all-encompassing and He is worthy of our praise.
This year has been full of ups and downs, some of them have knocked me off my feet, which I am sure you have experienced as well. However, the one thing we have always been able to count on is that we have a Father that can be depended upon to pick us up and dust us off and help us take the next step, no matter how hard that step might be. Let's spend time with Him tomorrow letting Him know how much we love and appreciate Him. Without Him, there would be nothing to celebrate.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Tuesday, November 21, 2023
And with a wrathful man thou shalt not go:
Lest thou learn his ways,
And get a snare to thy soul.
Monday, November 20, 2023
Sunday, November 19, 2023
Heavenly Father, as we gather our hearts in prayer, we are humbled by the richness of Your Word and the journey we've embarked upon in exploring the fifth kernel of gratitude—for health and Your sustaining grace. Your Scriptures have resonated with the melodies of thanksgiving, reminding us to "be thankful in all circumstances, for this is Your will for us who belong to Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We lift our gratitude for the precious gift of health, recognizing it as a divine endowment intricately woven with the threads of Your unending grace.
Lord, in moments of trial and triumph, may our hearts echo the symphony of thanksgiving, embracing the delicate dance of health and grace in our lives. As we step into each day, may the rhythm of gratitude guide our steps, and may we stand firm in Your grace, rooted in the recognition that each breath is a testament to Your faithfulness. In the name of Your Son, Jesus, whose sacrificial love secures our eternal gratitude, we pray. Amen.
Today, as we stand on the brink of Thanksgiving, our hearts turn to the fifth kernel—the kernel that symbolizes gratitude for health and the unyielding grace of our Heavenly Father. In a world marked by uncertainties, trials, and triumphs, our health becomes a precious gift, and God's grace, the steady anchor that sustains us through every storm.
Saturday, November 18, 2023
As we journey through this Bible study, let's open our hearts to the profound theme of gratitude. The fifth kernel represents our thankfulness for health and the unyielding grace of God. In times of adversity, when storms of life threaten to overwhelm, our faith in God's provision becomes a beacon of hope. Feel free to share your stories and experiences in the comments, as we learn from one another's journeys of thanksgiving through trials.
1. Gratitude in Adversity: James 1:2-4 (NLT)
"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."
Reflect and Share: How have challenges in your life become opportunities for spiritual growth and endurance?
"And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus."
Reflect and Share: Share instances when you felt God's provision during times of need.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
"Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying."
Reflect and Share: How does rejoicing in hope contribute to a heart of gratitude, especially in challenging circumstances?
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation."
Reflect and Share: In what ways has God's faithfulness been evident in your life, leading to a heart of thanksgiving?
Friday, November 17, 2023
Thursday, November 16, 2023
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their prayer..." 1 Peter 3:12a (NIV)
I can still see the look in his eyes. When my daughter was four years old, we went to Texas City, Texas to visit my parents and my aunt and uncle. One of the things I wanted to do was to take her to Galveston to see the beach and the ocean. On the evening that we chose to go, my father, who never wanted to miss a moment with his first grandchild, decided to ride along.
Before we got to the beach, she spotted a roadside carnival and began asking if we could go there after the beach. She liked the sand and all the water, but she was most excited about stopping to have some fun on the way home. Being that I also always loved carnivals, we stopped.
She rode the Merry-Go-Round and a couple of other rides meant for young children. We played a couple of the games and had some cotton candy. She was curious about the Ferris Wheel so I asked the man who was running it if it would be safe for me to take her for a ride, as I was concerned about my weight causing a problem. After giving me the history of the wheel, he assured me it was more than sturdy enough.
Now my father had never liked this particular ride. He didn't trust it and he surely did not want his daughter and granddaughter on it. He told me he didn't think it was a good idea and he asked me to please reconsider. However, by this time my daughter was excited and, frankly, so was I. After taking our seat and as the wheel started moving, I looked at my father and saw distress. He was so worried.
When I recalled this incident the other day, I began thinking about our Heavenly Father and how diligent He is to watch His children. Psalm 139 tells us that He is always aware of what we are doing, so I wonder what the look would be in His eyes when we put ourselves in danger or engage in sinful activities.
The look in my dad's eyes came from his love for us. If our parents love us that much, just think how incredible the love of God is! I didn't honor Daddy's request and it hurt him because he was trying to keep us safe. When we fail to follow the Lord's leading, we have to be aware that we are choosing our own path rather than staying under the protected cover of His wings.
Thankfully, nothing happened to us that evening. Were I to have the chance to relive the moment, I would take my father's advice because now I understand that, in his wisdom, he knew that I was putting both myself and my daughter in avoidable danger. With age comes a deeper understanding of the frailty of life. I am so grateful for his deep love and that the Lord chose that precious man to raise me. And I am astounded by what the Father has taught me about Himself through my time with my dad.
Lord, thank you that your eyes are always on us. How I'd love to see the look of love that you have for each of your children.
"I sing because I'm happy. I sing because I'm free. For His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me." 💓
The word of Jehovah is tried;
He is a shield unto all them that take refuge in him.
For who is God, save Jehovah?
And who is a rock, save our God?
God is my strong fortress;
And he guideth the perfect in his way.
He maketh his feet like hinds’ feet,
And setteth me upon my high places.
He teacheth my hands to war,
So that mine arms do bend a bow of brass.
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation;
And thy gentleness hath made me great.
Thou hast enlarged my steps under me;
And my feet have not slipped.
Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Monday, November 13, 2023
Sunday, November 12, 2023
We come before you with grateful hearts, acknowledging the precious gift of friendships in our lives. Thank you for the tapestry of connections that you've woven into our journey, each friendship a unique thread contributing to the beautiful design of our existence.
Lord, help us to cherish and nurture these bonds. May our friendships be built on the solid foundation of love, trust, and understanding. Teach us to be loyal friends, just as you exemplify unwavering faithfulness to us.
Grant us the wisdom to appreciate the differences that make each friendship special, and the patience to navigate through challenges. May our friendships reflect the beauty of unity in diversity, mirroring the love you have for each one of us.
Lord, may our hearts overflow with gratitude for the friends who sharpen us, support us, and journey with us through life's highs and lows. As we celebrate the gift of friendships, help us to extend the same grace and love to others.
In the name of Jesus, our ultimate friend and confidant, we pray.