Happy Thanksgiving

I have much to be thankful for; Americans have much for which to be thankful! I was reminded of something that I normally don’t think about – one of those things we take for granted until it’s gone.

Electricity…flip a switch, turn on the water (yeah, I don’t think about this one either but there’s a pump…), and we do what we want, when we want.

Yesterday at 5 pm our electricity went out. No apparent reason. Thanksgiving eve. 🙂 Just when all the prep begins, cold stuff that needs chilling assembled. Everything came to a halt. It was off until 11:30 pm….

I have sleep apnea. No machine, no air. My O2 sats drops to 83 without it; my throat still hurts and so does my head! Yes, I have much to be thankful for.

At 3:40 am I rolled out of bed. Started again with assembling Thanksgiving goodies….electricity, off again. This roller coaster continued until daylight (around 7 am here). This is a daily existence in Africa. Power is not something that stays on. Power is not something you count on. Power is precious and they are thankful when they have it.

We are blessed in this nation by many, many things that others appreciate as if given things valuable, worth indescribable!

Bibles are another such luxury. New Christians, when given bibles in places where there are none, will hung their longed for bible, kiss them with tears streaming down their faces.

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. Psalm 42:1

It takes getting outside of who we are to really see how precious our gifts are.

I am thankful, too, for each of you – whether you are a regular reader or just happened to drop by today. Thank you. Its an amazing thing to link together like this, don’t you think? Let’s be aware of all our gifts today….especially each other!

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Sleeping Giant

I have had the pleasure of getting to know and hearing preach a dear brother from Africa. Africa is one of the places I witness God’s plan of bringing forth beauty from ashes.

Pastor Chris spoke of miracles matter-a-fact…a retelling of common occurrences. Not unusual, normal. I’m talking read in the Bible kind of miracles – normal.

Now, I ask you, church, is this your experience? Are we in America experiencing that kind of encounters frequently with God?  

 And Peter opened his mouth and said: Most certainly and thoroughly I now perceive and understand that God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons…Acts 10:344  (Do you hear “It is no secret what God can do! What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you! With arms wide open, He’ll carry you through! It is no secret what God can do!”?)

This should be our normal too! We have so much comfort & freedom here I am afraid we are the sleeping giant. We depend on our devices and programs far more often than we do God. I’m not saying our programs are bad; we just operate on what we can do rather than what God can do. Let’s get over our methods & cry out to God as if our lives depended on it! We can expect miracles when we expect Him to act on our behalf. It’s not so much what we do, it’s what He does! Our part? Surrender and relationship with the One who created us.

Another truth Chris spoke, ‘we need to get over thinking we are fighting for God – it is He who fights for us’! The Spirit inside me did cartwheels when I heard that! Isn’t that what Moses did, Joshua did, Gideon, and many others did? ! And, what happened in Judges when the Israelites started doing what was right in their own eyes?

Lord, help us to lean on You, depend on You, call on Your name! We need You desperately! Reveal where we depend on ourselves and may we be quick to repent. You are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow AND what you have done, are doing, and will do for others You WILL do for us. Move on our behalf. We need miracles here….wake us up! For Your honor, Your glory, and the display of Your power. Amen and amen.

 

Ayden Christopher

This sweet baby is my grandson. Why, am I introducing you to him? Well, that’s because I am so thankful for him.  When my daughter was 8 months pregnant with him we discovered he had a heart defect. Special arrangements had to be made because not every hospital can deal with heart defects. Ayden was born August 14, 2010 with Hypo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome. This picture is his birthday. He had to be whisked off immediately after birth. This is the prep he had to go thru.

Ayden lived 12 days due to complications. There are surgeries to correct this and many children live.  He didn’t make it to the first one. Our time with him was precious-howbeit painful. We celebrated his 1 week birthday, we have a pic of  him wearing a college ring (his uncle’s). We savored every small thing!

God is Sovereign and sometimes it hurts. When you lose a baby the grief is different but still enormous. It’s every thing Ayden didn’t get to do, we didn’t get to do with him, all our hopes and dreams we grieved. I’m crying as I’m writing BUT I still smile when I look at sweet face. I cannot wait to see him again! I’m thankful I will, I’m thankful for him! Though his life was short he is loved tremendously!

 

Nothing New Under the Sun?

“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”
Mahatma Gandhi
(1869-1948)

I had to smile as I read this, why? Well, it’s not the first place I’ve read it; although its possible that many might think this statement is original and credited as such.

Check this out:   Proverbs 23:7  For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

Doesn’t this say the same thing?! The book of wisdom in the Bible recorded this “quote” long before Gandhi!

I’ve actually heard of practices very similar to Christian beliefs existing in unknown native tribes upon the discovery of their existence. I find this fascinating. God loves us so much, we are made in His image, and we can see that imprint! Of course, I’m not saying that our hearts don’t turn away. I think Gandhi and Solomon have accurately stated they can!

So, what are you thinking about?

 

Horses, Chariots, & Man – oh My!

Fears become almost living, breathing things. I say almost because fears exist in our minds. What we are afraid of, no doubt, is often tangible….but it is not fear itself.  We can know this because we may or may not share the same fear but the object remains the same. Hmm, already the weight of a fear is diminished when we  consider others are not afraid of it.

Psalm 20:7 saysSome trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

This is the sure fire way to NOT be afraid – remembering the name of our Lord! Why? because He is with us, because He tells us 365 times in the bible not to fear, because He is for us, because His arm is not shortened, because HE’S GOD! So what does it mean to trust in chariots & in horses? Well, those are symbols for things that make sense to us for winning battles, being victorious, and just plain & simple safe. Chariots would be like tanks and horses, like migs. Yeah, I know, there’s a huge difference, but in bible times they would have offered the same comfort. We want something we can t-o-u-c-h and s-e-e. But here’s the problem – if we can touch and see it, it’s limited. God is not.

The Red Sea parted and the Israelites walked on dry land – only to have the Egyptians swallowed with their horses and chariots on the same ground. The walls of Jericho fell after it was encircled for seven days. Gideon and the 300 men with him defeated the Midianites by blowing trumpets and breaking pitchers. Over and over in scripture we see where the battle is the Lord’s!

Romans 8:31 says: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

 

Faithfulness

Lamentations 3:22-23
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

No matter which way the election here went yesterday there were going to be disappointed people…especially in a race as close as this. Yesterday we were divided people. Today let’s be one people. Nothing yesterday, today, or tomorrow catches God by surprise. He is still on the Throne!

Yesterday we voted based on our beliefs and someone has to win and someone(s) has to lose. Many Christians are bummed because of our belief that life begins at conception (Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”). A good many of us have never had an abortion…but we harbor other sin. All sin saddens the heart of God; all sin has to be paid for by a blood offering and for Christians that is Jesus’ blood. Plain and simple, it covers all sin. I’m not saying we should ignore sin-to the contrary! I’m just asking before grandstanding about a particular sin we remember from whence we came and the pet sins in our own lives today. Our hearts may cry ‘but it’s not murder’ but God’s heart says ‘all forgiveness cost the same-My Son’s blood’.

Today, His mercies are new! He is Faithful!

Help. Anyone? Please………….

Have you ever needed help? Who do you look to for it?

I have been moved by the interviews with victims of Super Storm Sandy. Their cries were loud. They were demanding. They expected response. And response they are getting. Churches & Crisis Response Teams are there & others are forming. People want to help. During times of distress we come together, we share resources. We care and we wonder what if.

A couple things come to mind here. First, if Jesus is your Savior, we are told to come boldly into the throne room for grace & mercy in our time of need. This is promised to us because of our inheritance in Jesus. We are God’s kids. He desires to care for us, and loves doing so!

Secondly, everyday there are victims of genocide.  Did you know that? Do think about what they must face each day of their lives? I cannot help but think what impact we would have if we rallied on their behalf as we do in other crisis. We’ll not see one of them demanding someone do something. They accept their lot in life, just doing the next thing next. The media has yet to give coverage day after day, hour after hour, to these atrocities. They have no voice but ours.

In no way do I want to diminish the loss and utter destruction from Sandy. What I want us to consider is the difference manpower can make in the lives of those that need us. One such group is the Nubian, who live in rocks to hide from missiles. No way to provide for themselves….only hide. You can learn more about them at http://www.savethenuba.com.

 

Ashes…..now what?

Storms can leave behind rubble. The TV, internet, and twitter has been full of updates and pictures. Those whose reality this is likely cannot view the exposure they’ve been given. They need help and it is in the helping, standing alongside, hugs, kindnesses that healing begins.  How beauty births out of ashes. As followers of Christ, it is a healing – restoration ministry we have been given. This often is when the world accepts the church, rather than trying to limit, control, and even persecute her.

Emotional storms leave rubble behind also. The chances of having that rubble exposed to the world  is a little more narrow; there are exceptions of course, but the vast majority of us escape it. Does it change our loss? Not at all. More than likely we feel isolated though, there aren’t throngs of others experiencing what we are…well, at least not that we are aware of. This is one of the reasons Father said not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. (Hebrews 10:25) It is there we find the helping, standing along aside, hugs, kindnesses that nurture healing. Jesus wants to bring beauty from our ashes….but we have to let Him. He eagerly awaits our invitation, to carry us, to bring peace to us, to comfort us. It is He who is the Healer….no matter where our storms come from. You have all His attention-turn to Him.