Friday, November 23, 2018


Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. Thanksgiving has always been about family. About spending time with those I love best. About special dinners around the table with family and friends.

In the last couple of years my attitude about Thanksgiving has changed a little bit. I still love sitting around the table sharing a special meal with family and friends. I still enjoy memories of Thanksgivings past. Memories of my parents, now in Heaven. Memories of our children. Memories of Christmas shopping with my mother on the day after Thanksgiving. (We didn't call it Black Friday back in those days.)

But since my stroke in November, 2016, Thanksgiving is forever linked to that event. I still have no memory of Thanksgiving 2016, my first day in Rehab.

Last year I was able to assemble a meal for my family. Some of it I actually made myself!

This Thanksgiving I am overwhelmed when I think of how far I have come in these two years. Thanksgiving has truly become a season of thanksgiving. I have come a long way!

Even if there were never any more turkey and pumpkin pie, I have so much to be thankful for. I am blessed beyond measure. As I have read Facebook posts from two years ago, I am overwhelmed by the prayers offered to God on my behalf. I am overwhelmed by the notes and cards and letters I received. I am overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of love from family and friends and even from people I have never met.

Thanksgiving is more than a holiday for me. It is more than a great meal. It is a lifestyle. It is a constant awareness that our God is a great God. That He is faithful. That He answers prayer. That nothing is impossible with our God!

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."  (Ephesians 3:20-21 NASB)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thankful for Facebook Memories

If you are on Facebook, you are familiar with the daily Facebook memories that show up each day on your home page. For me, these have been opportunities to see pictures of my grandchildren from a few years past, or to be reminded of places we have traveled, and occasionally get a good chuckle over something I or some friend had shared.

At this time of year, these Facebook memories are something altogether different for me. They have connected me to this time two years ago, to a time I have no memory of. Every day this week, Facebook has connected me to friends and family, and even to strangers, who prayed for me during the days and weeks following my stroke in November, 2016. I had no idea what was going on back then, but as Facebook has brought these things to my understanding, I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving.

Here in our family, we often refer to this as the time I was "away". Since I "returned", I had often been told that there had been a lot of people praying for me. Until these Facebook memories started showing up, I had no idea just how many people had prayed for me. Friends I hadn't seen in years. Family members. Church friends. People I don't even know. I am overwhelmed and humbled by this outpouring of prayer on my behalf.

While I was in Rehab, I received a number of cards. From friends, from family, from church members, from people I don't even know. I saved every one.

Al read these to me as they came in each day, because I couldn't read them myself. Several times over the course of the last year, I have reread these notes. The reading has been a little easier each time. And it is my plan, during this season of Thanksgiving, to read them again.

Just as with the Facebook memories, each of these notes is overwhelming and humbling. Each is a reminder of just how much I have to be thankful for this year.

Along with the cards and notes, I also received a number of other notes.

I have no idea who sent these love notes from God. Like the other cards and notes, I didn't really understand them at the time. But, like the other cards and notes, I have reread them several times during this last year and been blessed and encouraged.

Sometimes, it is easier to focus on what is wrong than on what is right. To focus on what I can't do rather than on what I can do. These Facebook memories remind me of how far I have come. Of how much I have to be thankful for. They help me remember the things I don't remember. And they help me remember that what I can do is a whole lot more than what I can't do.

What happened to me in November 2016 could have had a very different outcome.

These Facebook memories are a reminder of that.

And these Facebook memories are a reminder that with God, nothing is impossible.

Today, in this season of Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for the miracle God brought about in my life. I'm thankful for friends and family and strangers who prayed me through that experience. And I'm thankful for Facebook memories!

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits." (Psalm 103:1-2 NASB)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Bought With A Price

Yesterday was Veteran's Day, a day when we remember and honor those men and women who have served in our nation's military.  I'm glad there is a day set aside for this purpose, but I also think it's sad that we don't remember them more often.  That we don't think about and honor those men and women, and their families, who sacrifice so much on our behalf.  Who pay the price so we don't have to.  We must never forget that freedom isn't free, and that many have sacrificed much on our behalf.

Freedom comes at a price.  A great price.  And not only the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens, but the our freedom in Christ as well.  May we never forget the great price that our Savior paid that we might be free from sin.  May we never forget what it cost Him.  May we never take it for granted.

We so often take our freedoms as Americans for granted.  Shame on us!  And shame on us when we treat our freedom in Christ that casually as well.

May we live this day, and every day, with gratitude for all that is ours in Christ Jesus.  May we never forget what it cost.

"For you were bought with a price."  (1 Corinthians 6:20 ESV)

"Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  For he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed."  (Isaiah 53:4-5 ESV)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Election Day

It's Tuesday. It's Election Day here in the United States.

On this Tuesday, I'm thankful for the privilege of voting. Voting is a privilege denied to many around the world, a privilege many around the world only dream of.

We are blessed in this country to have this privilege. To be free to go to the polls. To voice our opinions through our ballot choices.

On this Tuesday, I'm thankful for the founders of this country. Thankful for their wisdom in designing this system. And I'm thankful for the men and women who, for more than two hundred years, have fought and died so that we might continue to have the privilege of voting. Let's not take it for granted.

Beyond the privilege of voting, I am thankful today that no matter what the results of today's election may be, God is still God. God is still in control. God is still sovereign. We need to cling to those truths.

Elections have become a very contentious process. Because that is true, on this Tuesday I'm thankful for the Word of God. Thankful for its truths to cling to even in the midst of stress and weariness over this election season.

I'm thankful today for these words that remind me Who is in control:

"Daniel said, 'Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him." (Daniel 2:20-22 NASB)

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear." (Psalm 46:1-2 NASB)

"Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46:10 NASB)

Especially today, how thankful I am for these words of truth! How thankful I am that, no matter what happens today, the sun will come up tomorrow. God will still be God, and God will still be in control.

Today, may we rest in that truth. May we keep our eyes on Him. May we vote. May we continue to pray. And may we be still - cease striving - and know that He is God.

"For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us, nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You." (2 Chronicles 20:12 NASB)

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Time Change

I'm not sure who first decided that moving our clocks forward or backward every six months was a good idea. I seem to remember that Benjamin Franklin has been credited with the idea. Of course, when Ben mentioned daylight savings time, it was in the middle of a satirical essay, which may means even he didn't think it was such a good idea. The idea became standard practice sometime in the late 1970s, and we've been doing it ever since.

Taking an hour from one end of the day and putting it on the other end of the day really accomplishes nothing, in my humble opinion. There are still only twenty-four hours! Well, it does accomplish something. It messes with my body clock. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one!

Since we had the "fall back" over the weekend, this morning - and probably for the rest of the week - I'm trying to adjust. Not really sure what time it is. A little out of sorts. Thinking it's mid-morning when it's really only eight o'clock. Things like that. Of course, I'll adjust. We all will. We're flexible like that. But I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who will be complaining about it.

Adjustments are a part of the journey of life. Today we're adjusting to the time change. Tomorrow may be something different. But no matter what adjustments there are to make, we have the option to complain, or to make the adjustment and move forward.

It's a choice.  Which will you choose?

"Finally, brothers [and sisters], whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."  (Philippians 4:8 ESV) \

Friday, November 2, 2018

Cobwebs and Dust Bunnies

There have been times in my life when I was energetic about household tasks. Like dusting, for example. Times when I would get my dust cloth and furniture polish, all the necessary tools for thorough cleaning, and go after those dust bunnies and cobwebs with a vengeance!

Some times. not so much! I always want things to be clean. I just don't always want to spend my energy to make it happen. And so, on those days, I would make a half-hearted effort - a "lick and a promise", as folks used to say, and end up with a half-way result. A half-clean house.

In the interest of full disclosure, I no longer do the house cleaning. In this season of my life, I have someone who does that for me, and she does an excellent job. But that isn't my point. As I have been thinking about it today, it has occurred to me that there may be many of us who are the same as I was. Who often take a half-way approach to house cleaning. And there may be even more of us who often take that same half-way approach in our relationship with the Lord.

We think that an hour - maybe two - on a Sunday morning is enough for God, and that the rest of the week belongs to us to do with as we please. We don't believe that we need those mid-week services or those small group studies. Those are for the fanatics or for people who really need some extra help.

We think that a quick devotional paragraph or two - if we have time - is adequate. We are not willing to dig any deeper, to actually make an effort to study the Bible or to memorize Scripture ("Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee." - Psalm 119:11) or to actually apply it. That's for the fanatics and the super saints. Not for regular people.

And what about sin? We all have sin in our lives that needs dealing with. Gasp! Yes, we do. This means you! And me! And dealing with it is more than just a quick "forgive my sins" and then going on about my business. That's the half-hearted approach. Dealing with sin requires confession. Being specific. Confession means calling it what it is. Confession means agreeing with God about what is sin. And then "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9).

When it comes to sin, it's His opinion that matters. Not yours. Or mine. Or your sister's. Or the neighbors. Or the celebrity on TV. And knowing His opinion would require actually spending time with Him. In Bible reading. In Bible study. In prayer.

Something to think about.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way." 
(Psalm 139:23 NASB)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

In Everything

"In everything give thanks."  (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB)

Welcome to November! It's the season when people suddenly remember to be thankful. Across social media, people will be listing things they are thankful for. These are the same people who spend the other eleven months of the year whining and complaining!
But today's verse is very specific. Not just for November, but for every day of the year. In everything, on every day. Not just in November.

In everything. In all things. However, you want to phrase it...

No exceptions.  There are none of those phrases we want to add to the end of the verse.

It doesn't say  in everything except.......

Except cancer. Or a stroke. Or some other illness.

Except when I lose my job.

Except when I run out of money.

Except politicians. Or when I don't like election results.

Except when my friend or my spouse or my son or my daughter or my best friend hurts my feelings.

Except any of the other things you might be able to think of. There are no clarifying phrases at the end of that sentence.

In everything.

Everything means everything.

It's pretty clear.

Note that the verse doesn't say anything about feeling thankful. This is not about an emotional response to circumstances. The verse says to give thanks. That involves the will. A deliberate choice to give thanks, not because I feel like it but in spite of the fact that sometimes I don't.

Give thanks. In everything.

Today might be a good day to start.

"In everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."                           (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB