Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

The Blessing of Generosity

Today is the first day of the Advent season. This is the season leading up to Christmas when we look forward to the coming of the Christ child into the world.

This year my church put together an Advent devotional and I was asked to contribute two entries. I previously shared on of my contributions, and I decided for the start of Advent to share the other. The scripture readings this devotional article is based on were chosen by our pastor. I encourage you to click on the links to read them before reading my thoughts on how they are connected.

Scripture References: Amos 6:1-8; II Cor. 8:1-15

Devotion

The prophet Amos warned those who had plenty but failed to care for those in need. Though they enjoyed the lap of luxury, they would “be among the first to go into exile” because of their complacency.

By contrast, Paul writes of the Macedonian church that lived in extreme poverty and yet exhibited a generosity towards others that was beyond their own ability to give. He then urges the Corinthian church (and each of us), “as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”

It is easy when we are blessed with material possessions to spend all our time enjoying them and forget about those in extreme need. Perhaps the reason the Macedonians were so generous is because they never forgot what it was like to be in physical need and had compassion on those in similar circumstances. As a result they were blessed with spiritual wealth and the grace of our Lord.

God is honored by our desire to give and to help those in need; He is honored even more by the fulfillment of that desire. He does not expect us to give beyond our ability, but to give out of the grace we have known in Christ. The spiritual wealth we gain through a closer walk with Jesus and sharing with others is better than all the gold and jewels in all the earth.

Thought to ponder/challenge

We must guard ourselves that we not allow wealth and material possessions to be our comfort, forgetting those in poverty. We must remember to always give out of the grace we have been freely given.

Prayer

Our gracious Lord Jesus, help us to not grow complacent because of the wealth you have blessed us with, but well up within us a desire to be generous and share your material and spiritual gifts with those in need.

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Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Service

A Psalm of Lament and Thanksgiving

I love the Psalms because they are both prayers and songs. As I’ve been reading one each morning during my prayer time, I find that a Psalm of my own – a Psalm of both lamentation and praise – is forming in my mind. So I thought I’d write it down and post it here for Thankful Thursday.

A Psalm of Lament and Thanksgiving

Oh Lord, my God, how long
will You stand by as cancer
strikes those I love,
as pain and sadness
are all around me

How long must we endure
this broken world
sometimes wondering
where You are,
where is Your promised refuge

Tears fall upon my pillow
as I long for salvation,
for healing and no pain
in the lives of my loved ones
my friends, my family
Your children

Still I praise You, Oh Lord
I trust in Your promises
clinging to faith and hope
found only in You
I lift to Your throne
Your children in need

Your faithfulness endures
beyond what I can see
with eyes blinded by pain
Still I know, I believe
Your grace and mercy
are more than this world needs

May Your name be exalted
Your grace be embraced
Your love be never-ending
Your peace from me radiate
So that those in need
will know You and praise You
forever and ever

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Filed under Faith, Family, Jesus, Life, Music, Poetry, Psalms

Receiving and Giving

In the past two weeks I have received two blogging awards from fellow bloggers. I hope the givers of these two awards won’t mind if I combine my acceptance of the awards into a single post. Between the busy-ness of life and not feeling well since New Years, I just haven’t had time to respond individually. I figure a joint acceptance is better than none. I also want to nominate all of the bloggers listed below for both of these wonderful awards. J They all deserve it and I hope you will visit their blogs.

The first award I received was the Candle Lighter Award that was given to me by Caddo Veil at http://caddoveil.wordpress.com/awards-earthly/.

The Candle Lighter Award belongs to those who Believe, who Always Survive the day and those who Never Stop Dreaming; for those who Cannot Quit; for those who Keep Trying–and if you’re in this category, you are Entitled to this Award.

Caddo is a relatively new blogging friend of mine, and I thank her for blessing me with this special award. I also thank God for giving me that will to believe and that faith to continue on in spite of the obstacles, trials, and struggles that this world has thrown at me in life in general and in regards to blogging.

The second award I receives was the Kreative Blogger Award that was given to me by April over at Thoughts from the Porch. This one made me smile because I’ve never really thought of myself as creative. I think of my sister and my son as creative because they are both visually artistic. But as I thought about it I realized God has given me the gift of creativity with words, and that is just as special. I want to thank April for reminding me that I am creative.

For this award, I am required to share 10 things about myself. Some of these things may already be known by those who read my blog or know me in person, but here goes:

  1. I was born in California.
  2. I have a sweet little dog named Roman, named after the book of Romans.
  3. I’ve been married for 25 years.
  4. I was baptized during my first year in law school, when I was 23.
  5. I am spatially challenged, and if you move the furniture I can’t picture how it was before you moved it.
  6. At 5′ 8″ I am the short one in my family.
  7. My favorite color is red and I love to wear red clothes, especially my red leather (lambskin) jacket that my mother-in-law gave me.
  8. If I had my choice of cars, it would be a red Thunderbird, the model with the little round window in the back.
  9. I love to cook, but I hate to clean up afterwards.
  10. I would be lost if not for Jesus as my Savior and the Rock to which I cling every day.

Okay, now for the fun part. Here are __ of my favorite bloggers that I want to share these two awards with. I didn’t get to read all of their blogs as much as I would have liked in 2011, but am determined to visit them more in 2012.

http://blesseddad.wordpress.com/

http://brokenbelievers.com/

http://inhislovingservice.wordpress.com/

http://iftodaywehear.wordpress.com/

http://justifiedfreely.wordpress.com/

http://efalkenbury.wordpress.com/

http://pronetoponder.wordpress.com/

http://outofedenministries.wordpress.com/

http://shoesforanimaginarylife.com/

http://sptp2011.wordpress.com/

http://butchdean.wordpress.com/

There are a lot of other blogs I like, but since I’m going to have to go notify everyone I give these awards to that I’ve given them, I better stop here. I’ll save the rest for the next time someone gives me a blogging award.

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Filed under Blogging, Faith, Life

Psalm 75 – Remembering Who Deserves Thanks

Between Zechariah and Esther my Bible-in-a-year schedule has a few days of Psalms to read. I am very happy about this because I love the Psalms. On my schedule yesterday were Psalms 74, 75, and 76.

I decided to post Psalm 75 for today. It is a beautiful Psalm that reminds me who deserves our thanks for all the blessings in our lives. It is the Lord who will ultimately mete out justice to the proud and wicked who deserve it. It is also the Lord who will impart His great mercy on the humble who trust in Him and sing His praises.

Psalm 75

For the choir director: A psalm of Asaph. A song to be sung to the tune “Do Not Destroy!”

 1 We thank you, O God!
      We give thanks because you are near.
      People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds.

 2 God says, “At the time I have planned,
      I will bring justice against the wicked.
 3 When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil,
      I am the one who keeps its foundations firm.
                         Interlude

 4 “I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’
      I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists!
 5 Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens
      or speak with such arrogance.'”
 6 For no one on earth—from east or west,
      or even from the wilderness—
      should raise a defiant fist.
 7 It is God alone who judges;
      he decides who will rise and who will fall.
 8 For the Lord holds a cup in his hand
      that is full of foaming wine mixed with spices.
   He pours out the wine in judgment,
      and all the wicked must drink it,
      draining it to the dregs.

 9 But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done;
      I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
 10 For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked,
      but I will increase the power of the godly.”

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Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, postaday2011, Psalms

Psalm 107 – Give Thanks to the Lord

This Thanksgiving weekend, I decided it would be appropriate to post a Psalm that gives thanks to the Lord, not only for the blessings He bestows upon us, but simply because of who He is. I think Psalm 107 fits the bill.

Psalm 107

 1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
   his love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say this—
   those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
3 those he gathered from the lands,
   from east and west, from north and south.

 4 Some wandered in desert wastelands,
   finding no way to a city where they could settle.
5 They were hungry and thirsty,
   and their lives ebbed away.
6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way
   to a city where they could settle.
8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
   and his wonderful deeds for men,
9 for he satisfies the thirsty
   and fills the hungry with good things.

 10 Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom,
   prisoners suffering in iron chains,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God
   and despised the counsel of the Most High.
12 So he subjected them to bitter labor;
   they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he saved them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom
   and broke away their chains.
15 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
   and his wonderful deeds for men,
16 for he breaks down gates of bronze
   and cuts through bars of iron.

 17 Some became fools through their rebellious ways
   and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
18 They loathed all food
   and drew near the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he saved them from their distress.
20 He sent forth his word and healed them;
   he rescued them from the grave.
21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
   and his wonderful deeds for men.
22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings
   and tell of his works with songs of joy.

 23 Others went out on the sea in ships;
   they were merchants on the mighty waters.
24 They saw the works of the LORD,
   his wonderful deeds in the deep.
25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
   that lifted high the waves.
26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
   in their peril their courage melted away.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunken men;
   they were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he brought them out of their distress.
29 He stilled the storm to a whisper;
   the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 They were glad when it grew calm,
   and he guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
   and his wonderful deeds for men.
32 Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
   and praise him in the council of the elders.

 33 He turned rivers into a desert,
   flowing springs into thirsty ground,
34 and fruitful land into a salt waste,
   because of the wickedness of those who lived there.
35 He turned the desert into pools of water
   and the parched ground into flowing springs;
36 there he brought the hungry to live,
   and they founded a city where they could settle.
37 They sowed fields and planted vineyards
   that yielded a fruitful harvest;
38 he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased,
   and he did not let their herds diminish.

 39 Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled
   by oppression, calamity and sorrow;
40 he who pours contempt on nobles
   made them wander in a trackless waste.
41 But he lifted the needy out of their affliction
   and increased their families like flocks.
42 The upright see and rejoice,
   but all the wicked shut their mouths.

 43 Whoever is wise, let him heed these things
   and consider the great love of the LORD.

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Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Poetry, postaday2011, Psalms

The Root of Thanksgiving – A Poem

The Thanksgiving Day Quotemeal email I got from Heartlight.org was a wonderful quote by Henry Ward Beecher, a mid-nineteenth century clergyman:

Pride slays thanksgiving, but an humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow.  A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.

As I read it, a poem started to form in my mind so I thought I flesh it out for today’s post.

The Root of Thanksgiving

Seeing his co-worker get a promotion
Mr. Proud is angry and unhappy
thinking the promotion should be his
Never thankful for the job he has

Seeing his co-worker get a promotion
Mr. Humble rejoices with him
believing his day will come
Always thankful for the job he has

Seeing his neighbor drive a new car
Mr. Proud swears at his old truck
sure he should have a new BMW by now
Never thankful that he doesn’t ride the bus

Seeing his neighbor drive a new car
Mr. Humble smiles as he starts his old beater
knowing it will get him to his destination
Always thankful that it is his free and clear

Seeing fat cats on Wall Street and CEOs
rake in the dough, Mr. Proud is indignant
certain their wealth should be spread around
Never thankful for the blessings he has

Seeing fat cats on Wall Street and CEOs
rake in the dough, Mr. Humble is saddened
confident they don’t have the peace of the Lord
Always thankful that money doesn’t define him

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
   “Never will I leave you;
   never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 (NIV).

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Thanksgiving – A Poem

Today is Thanksgiving Day! It makes me think about how perfect Thankful Thursday is as a theme day. I’ve been looking back over the poems I’ve written for Thankful Thursday this year, and noticing on my stats page that they are getting hits from web searches on thankfulness this week. It has been such a blessing to me to consciously focus on being thankful for something every single week. But somehow, no matter what I start with in a thankful poem, I always end up at Christ. Perhaps that is really where I should start. I know that He is at the center of all there is to be thankful for in my life.

In celebration of the holiday, I wrote a poem about Thanksgiving, ending with the ultimate Thanksgiving feast in Heaven. I wonder if in Heaven there will be a special day set aside each year for Thanksgiving? Or will we just be so filled with thankfulness every minute of every day that it won’t be necessary?

I pray you and yours will enjoy a wonderful day of thanks and joy this Thanksgiving Day!

THANKSGIVING

Turkey, roasting in the oven, golden brown
Hand mashed potatoes, stuffing, pecan pie
And all the trimmings for the holiday feast
Now the best part is family joined together
Knowing all the blessings of the King
Son of God, who made all things possible
Giving all good gifts to those who love Him
Immanuel, God with us, better than life
Veritable feast awaits, eternal life of joy
Incredible joy and thanksgiving fill hearts
Nevermore to know sorrow and tears
God’s blessings to be thankful for eternally

6 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare
   a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
   the best of meats and the finest of wines.
7 On this mountain he will destroy
   the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
 8 he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
   from all faces;
he will remove the disgrace of his people
   from all the earth.
            The LORD has spoken.

 9 In that day they will say,

   “Surely this is our God;
   we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
   let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
Isaiah 25:6-9 (NIV).

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Pear Crisp for Recipe Friday

One of my favorite fall desserts is Pear Crisp. We used to have a Bosc pear tree with the best pears and so I would make crisp every year. One year we had over 100 pears from this one tree. Unfortunately, fruit trees don’t last forever and this year we didn’t get a single pear from this old tree. The leaves were also looking kind of diseased and so we took it out and have replaced it with maple trees. So this year, if I want to make Pear Crisp, I will have to buy some Bosc pears.

One thing I love about this dessert is that it is kind of healthy because of the pears. But it is also very easy to make. I think I’m going to make it for Thanksgiving dessert this year.

Pear Crisp

Ingredients:

6 large Bosc pears
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp corn starch
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp dried orange peel
6 packets instant oatmeal
½ cup butter
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Spray the bottom and sides of a 13″ x 9″ baking pan with cooking spray. Peel and core pears, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Toss in a large bowl with lemon juice to keep the pears from turning brown. Add blueberries, corn starch, sugar, cinnamon, and dried orange peel, and stir to combine. Turn out into baking pan.

For crisp topping: Allow butter to soften to room temperature. In a medium bowl, combine softened butter and instant oatmeal packets to a crumbly consistency. (Any flavor of oatmeal will work, but my favorite is Apples & Cinnamon). Stir in nuts, if desired. Spoon oatmeal mixture over the top of the pear mixture. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until fruit is fork-tender and topping is golden brown. Serve warm (with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired).

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Filed under Faith, Family, Life, postaday2011, Recipe

A Prayer of Praise

For the past few days instead of writing today’s post in my head I’ve been writing another post in my head. That other post is dated January 1, 2012. It’s the date on which I will have, God willing, successfully completed my pledge to post-a-day in 2011. The reason this post has been floating around in my head is because I have been quite busy lately and have had a hard time keeping up with posting every single day, especially since I generally schedule posts ahead of time to go live at 8:00 a.m. each morning. Obviously, I did not accomplish that today.

As I kneeled to pray this morning, feeling weary and out-of-sorts because I hadn’t posted today, an idea for today’s post came to me. But I didn’t have time to actually put it together until after getting home from work. It’s not much of an idea, but it’s what God gave me, so it’s what I’m going with today.

I just want to share how I start my prayers each morning, and that is with thanksgiving and praise. The first few lines, sometimes more, of my prayer always go something like this:

Heavenly Father, I praise You and worship You. I love You with all my heart. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Almighty. You are the Creator of all that is, both seen and unseen. I am nothing without You, I am but dust, and even the dust I am formed of would not exist if not for You. I have not words sufficient to describe You, and yet I offer what I have. You are merciful and forgiving, and I praise You for Your compassion and love for me. I thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your willing sacrifice on the cross to redeem me, to pay the ransom I could not pay. I thank You for Your Holy Spirit to guide me and give me strength and courage.

It is only after this introductory language of praise that I move into prayers of thanksgiving for specific blessings or answers to prayer, and then onto prayers for others and my own needs. On mornings when I am rushed, this introduction may be all I get to, followed by a brief “You know the people and the concerns that are on my heart, and I thank You in advance to the answers to those prayers.”

But the introductory praise is essential to my prayer life. It’s not that God is not aware of these things, or that He doesn’t know that I am aware of these things. The prayers of praise are really for me, to put me in a correct frame of mind and attitude for the remainder of my prayer time and for my whole day.

If you do not currently include such langauge of praise in your prayer time, I encourage you to borrow my prayer. Or develop your own prayer of praise to begin your daily prayers. Try it for just a week and see how it changes the rest of the day. It’s a habit worth cultivating.

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Psalm 100 – Praise and Thanksgiving

I’ve been in Austin, Texas for the past week visiting family who I haven’t seen in a long time. In honor of the 100+ degree temperatures in Austin, I decided to post Psalm 100 for today. It is a wonderful Psalm praising God for His creation, and I think it is appropriate even when it is hotter than blazes. We should praise God at all times for He alone is able to create something from nothing.

I also think this is an appropriate Psalm for today because I am thankful to God that I was able, along with my sister, to go to visit aunts, cousins, and the next generation of our family.

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving thanks.

 1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
 2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
   come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
   It is he who made us, and we are his;
   we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
   his faithfulness continues through all generations.

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