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Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Art Of Giving Thanks

Gracias, Merci, Danke, Takk, and Thank You! November is the month of thankfulness.  Mothers nudge their young children with the cue, “What do you say?”  It never grows old to hear words of appreciation for kindnesses and remembrances given. 
          When we learn kindnesses comes through sacrifice, we understand and appreciate the ‘art of giving thanks.’   Recognizing the gift of kindness is the first step in learning the ‘why’ of thank you.
          Recently I found Mother’s poem on Thanksgiving, written in 1973. I read it before, yet never saw the depth of the words before. I understand now.  Before it contained words to describe our 'thank you’s’ to God.  Suddenly, it is more.  Without God in our hearts, there is no kindness or need for ‘thank you’s’.
          Mother taught me to give thanks, first to God and then to others.  She continues to teach me through memories of her and her countless writings about thankfulness and loving others.
         We sing the song, Count Your Many Blessings, without understanding the blessings we enjoy are an overflow of what God the Father has given us.  Our lives are in His hands.  He keeps our feet from stumbling.  Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises. Our lives are in his hands, and He keeps our feet from stumbling.  Psalm 66:8-9.
         Where else can we find an outpouring of love and a family who cares with reassurance?  Where else can we find hope and an abundance of just what I need?  Yes, God is our everything.
         Andrae Crouch wrote lyrics to sing when words fail me.  How can I say thanks for the things You have done for me?  Things so undeserved, Yet You gave to prove Your love for me. 
         Why do I celebrate giving thanks to God?   “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.”  John 3:16-17.
         It is through the Name of Jesus; I am no longer a slave to fear, I’m a child of the King.  (Bethel Music.)  Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.  A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.  So, if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.”  John 8:34-36.
         Can we name all the blessings God gives us in one twenty-four hours?  Where do we begin? Made in His Image, we breathe His air into our lungs. He surrounds us with growing trees, flowers, and other things made as He designed.  He created rabbits and elephants, goldfish and the huge whales.  Nothing is too small or too big for Him to create.  He fills the sky with stars and He names each one.  Clouds traverse unmarked trails in the sky with bursts of color. He waters all the earth. He made the light in the skies for the day and the night. 
    Then our Father God sent His only Son Who gave His life to bring us to His Father.  Who is Jesus?  He is the reason our hearts fill with gratitude and celebration at the mention of His Name.       
         I Am
·      Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:29.
·      But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” He said. “Take courage. I am here!”  Matthew 14:27.
·      “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20.
·      Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.  John 6:35.
·      Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12.
·      So he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. John 10:7.
·      I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me.” John 10:14.
·      Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.”  John 11:25.

The Art of Giving Thanks
We walk through a late summer day
Over mounted blessings on our way.

We think of fruit and garnered grain,
Of sunny skies and gentle rain.

A touch of pain to guard our health,
A bit of want to thank for wealth.

Of love enfolding all of man
Around this world and back again.

Of hates all weeded, joys all sown,
Of nourished hopes, at last full-grown.

Of family trees that ever grow,
And all the special friends we know.

Count not enough, one day of praise,
But I thank the Lord, through all my days.

                           Anna Daisy Siemens 1907-1998


Wednesday, November 07, 2018

A Mystery

    Man lives for mysteries he can create or untangle in his mind. However, it takes a lifetime to know there is a spiritual wisdom beyond understanding, a true mystery. 
     A Man often boasts about his wisdom as he creates an architectural masterpiece that stands for years, or a bridge spanning a body of water, a true engineering marvel.  Man can create melodies and lyrics to delight the ear. 
     Then to gain power, a man makes war and destroys lives God creates.  We do not understand that only when we approach God in humility as one of His creations, can we glimpse, in part, His great glory.
         Only God created the earth with towering mountains and streams of water and life.  He gives us a love song through the blood of Jesus Christ whose lyrics contain hope, joy, and peace with life every more.
For since the world began, no ear has heard
and no eye has seen a God like You,
who works for those who wait for Him! 
Isaiah 64:4.
       Man becomes a philosopher, known for his lofty thoughts and ideas, and he has not fully fathomed the mystery of God’s eternal plan for man.
         We watched seasons come and become impatient.  We want to see more than the mundane of the succession of life.  We see the births of new life and we rejoice.  Then we see deaths and separation from those we love on earth.  We ask why because we do not understand God’s plan. 
         Waiting is lonely work on earth. The act of waiting creates a tenderness with the joy of the expected joy of the coming of Jesus.  And we turn to I Corinthians 13:12. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 
         We ask how long will we have to wait?  Each moment we wait becomes more precious, for as we wait for our Lord, we will find ever more the wisdom for which we long.  
         Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.  Oh Lord, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.  Psalm 90:12-14.
     For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”  I Corinthians 15:53-55.
     Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.  Psalm 25:4-5  

            A Mystery
     It is a mystery…
    That in love You made me
     In love You saved me
     And I ask, how can this be?

     It is a mystery.
     Each day I praise none but Thee
     As far as I can see
     You alone lift and carry me

     Jesus is a mystery
     His love makes me free
     He takes away my mortality
    Changed in a twinkling, I shall be  

     In this life, I stumble,
     And fall and find humility
     I trust Jesus, and He covers me.
     With His love - It's a mystery.

     Each day when I wake
     I open my eyes to see,
    The beauty God created
     And know it is just for me.

    Never will I understand
    His thoughts and His deeds
    He creates red roses
    And the lowliest of weeds.

    He paints His creations
    With never-ending hues
    Of colors so rare!
    I give praise for God’s Good News.

                  Emily A. Combs