The Gifts Are Opened…Now What?

So, the day after Christmas and all of the gifts have been opened, exclaimed over and thanks given (I hope, at least) for the time and effort that the giver put into choosing the gift for you. In order to truly appreciate a gift, one needs to be aware of the effort and time that the giver put into the package that he/she gave you. Now, take that thought and apply it to the gift that God has given each of us.

The time God put into offering His Only Son as a sacrifice for our sins…well, He planned it since the beginning. So, more time than I have ever put into a gift, for sure! The effort God put into the gift…well, He gave up His Only Son for each of us to be able to have an eternal relationship with Him. Jesus left His home in Heaven and came to earth, suffered and did. That’s a lot of effort for sinful man, many of whom don’t accept or appreciate the gift. The gift of Jesus was costly and showed an unbelievable amount of love from the Father for each of us, His children.

So, now what? With gifts from family and friends, we express our thanks, sometimes write a thank you note and may or may not actually use the gift. With God, the gift is so wonderful that we need to spend time on our knees thanking Him for it and then we need to spend the rest of our lives dedicated to serving the One who made it possible for us to even exist, much less in a relationship with the Sovereign God and Creator of all. The what next part is giving our lives to Him so that He can then reach out to others who need to know about the gift that they were given but may not have received yet. It’s important that we carry through with sharing the testimony that God has given us so that others can know the same freedom, joy, hope, love, mercy and grace that we have. God sent His Son for all…an indescribable gift that should never be taken for granted but should always stir up thanksgiving and the urge to tell others about what God has done.

May you always know the peace and love that come with the gift of the birth and sacrifice of Christ! Have a blessed day, my friends.

In Everything Give Thanks

No matter what the circumstance is, there is always something to be thankful for. Notice that the Scripture says IN every situation, not after you have made it through to the other side. I am facing a mountain right now and God spoke clearly to me this morning to give thanks to Him. After all, I have spent the last few weeks with posts about thankfulness and then a challenge comes around and I started whining and thinking of all of the negatives. It seems that my husband and I came to Maryland to visit family for Thanksgiving, but he will be leaving to go home without me because my son needs me to care for the youngest as I did last year. That was a vague possibility in the back of my mind since his normal caregiver is a family member who lives here in Maryland, and just as she did last year, she took another job. And, of course, gave the family no notice about her plans. Just a text that said, “On my way home from my new job.” I was angry at first at the numerous hardships this causes me, the inconvenience of not having enough warm clothes here or all of my extra meds. But I quickly calmed down, got my husband to pick up my OTC meds that I don’t have here and have become resigned to the fact that I will be here for most of the next two months. That may not seem like a mountain to most people, but the little one is now a very active toddler, and I am a very slow-moving Nanna who stays in pain from arthritis. That being said, God is always full of mercy and loving kindness and had helped me to make it through the days so far that I have been caring for him this week. God even put this verse into my mind this morning first thing when I awakened and emphasized the word “in” for me as His Spirit whispered soft words of encouragement for me. So, I’m facing a mountain but I won’t be alone because God is there. He knows my physical shortcomings and He promises to strengthen me and to keep me (and the little one) safe. I need to look at it as an opportunity to be a good witness and to be helpful during my aged years. Inconvenient? Yes, but a lot of opportunities are.

Give Thanks by Don Moen

Since today is Thanksgiving, I will cease my current theme unless the Lord leads me in this direction more. I just want to say to each of you that I am thankful for your taking the time to read, to comment and to share my blog. You are nameless and faceless friends, but you are important to me and you matter a great deal to the Lord.

May your Thanksgiving Day be filled with blessings that overflow from your heart to the hearts of those you love. Be blessed to be a blessing!

Thanksgiving Month

Hurray! My favorite month of the year has arrived! It’s the month with beautiful colors outside, a little nip in the air but not too cold and the month when we are reminded to be thankful. My personal opinion is that thankfulness should be an every month, every day thing, but I am grateful that here in the United States, we at least still have a holiday to be thankful. I just wish more people were mindful of the fact that the One we should always be thankful to is God, not our bosses or our own selves. Anyway, my plan is to post things daily to make us think of thankfulness to God. Today, I am focusing on attributes of God from my devotional this morning.

God’s love is absolutely unfathomable to our finite minds. Just when I think that I have a small grasp on what it’s like, I find out that there is so much still there for me to discover.

Since all of creation was made by God, He has compassion on each of us and on each of the creatures and other living things He has made. Some in my family have the belief that God is just up in Heaven somewhere waiting to crush us. Not so! He is there but He is waiting to pour out compassion and love on us, since He knows our weaknesses and how hard we have to work to stay on the right path. He understands because Jesus lived the earthly life and went through trials and temptations just like we do. God didn’t say life wouldn’t present challenges, but He did say He would be with us through it all.

Nothing, not one thing on earth or anywhere else can separate us from God’s love. His love surrounds us daily if we just recognize it. Sometimes I have to pray especially to see the evidence of God’s love for me. It’s not a selfish prayer, just a realistic one for me that I need to pray sometimes. And the answer is practical and immediate. I see His love all around me in His creation: in the smile of the baby in the stroller, in the report from a friend that she is out of the hospital and doing well, in the sun shining through the branches of the colorful trees outside and in the blue sky laced with clouds. God loves me and you so much that He gave us the world to enjoy while we occupy the earth. Look around you and see God’s love, for yourself and for all of His creation.

May you enjoy this thankfulness journey with me and may each day bring new insight into all that each of us has to be thankful for. God bless you!

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful to be home again! I got home yesterday afternoon, got most of my things unpacked and just relaxed in the environment that I am used to. The last ten days had been stressful but I survived and one of the main reasons that I was able to hold it together was my dependence on the Lord and my attitude of gratitude. It’s hard to be grumpy when you are grateful! And I am so grateful for family, friends, health, God’s provision…the list goes on and on. So, today is a day to praise. Is everything going well in my world? No, I have family in the hurricane in Florida, but both have assured me that they are okay. I even heard from my brother early this morning. They are on the backside of the storm and expecting possible tornadoes after the hurricane passes later today. But I am thankful that God is watching over both of them and confident that He will take care of them as He sees fit. He is God and there in none other!

Have a blessed day of gratitude to the Lord for all He has done, but mostly for Who He is!

How to Enter into God’s Presence

Every day should be a day to enter into the presence of God. But how do we go in? My devotional this morning gave me clear insight and instruction.

It’s very clear that the first thing we should do when entering God’s presence is to be thankful, truly and from the heart. We need to spend time in awareness of who God is, not just all that He has done for us, although that is important, too.

This is the same verse from “The Message” version of the Bible. I don’t usually use that version because it is such a loose translation, but I like this verse because it is so appropriate for the 21st Century. I don’t know about you but I have what seems like hundreds of passwords for different online sites, so many in fact that I have a locked password manager on my device so that if I forget a password, I can look it up again. Or, if I’m using my usual device, the computer itself completes the password for me so that I can enter the site. Isn’t it wonderful that the password for entering into God’s presence is always the same? “Thank you.” Just “thank you.”

May you have a blessed day, filled with thanks and standing firmly in the presence of the Lord.

Do You Want to Survive or Thrive?

This has been a hard season for all of us. We haven’t been able to do our regular activities and some of us have spent most of the last eight months or so mostly confined to our homes. But, God clearly told me that He has not changed and He is still my firm foundation. Hallelujah!

In the midst of this whole crisis, I decided that I needed to find another church. The reasons are numerous, but I prayed about it and got the “go ahead” from God. So, when I was getting a crown put on my tooth, the dental assistant was talking about her little boy being in a boot like mine after he got hurt accidentally at home. She said that he was possibly facing an amputation, but they had the whole church praying and the surgeon was able to save his foot. Again, Hallelujah! So, I asked about the church she attends and, long story shorter, my husband and I visited there and I really, really liked it! I felt peace there and love how the pastors (there are two) used so much Scripture in their sermons. So, we are transitioning to a new church now. I say “transitioning” because my husband is on the board of our former church and can’t really leave it until February. So, another big change in our lives, but hopefully, all for the better.

We had made plans to have our son and his family here for Thanksgiving and I was so excited about getting to see our grandson for the first time in almost nine months! He turned eighteen last February and that is the last time we saw him. But, alas! It was not to be because our granddaughter was exposed to Covid at school, so the family has to be quarantined for two weeks. I texted my son last night to make sure that they were able to get groceries delivered for Thanksgiving. They hadn’t purchased the turkey or anything previously because they had also planned to be with us. His reply was “yes” so that means that I don’t have to talk my husband into an hour plus trip to deliver a Thanksgiving meal to their porch. I hope that you will join me in prayer that Iris and her family don’t get sick. I praise God that I can share my prayer needs with you and I am confident that you will lift them up to Heaven with me.

So, where does the title of today’s blog come from? Dr. Denison, of course!

Dr. Denison November 24, 2020

May the Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you with grace and mercy! Happy Thanksgiving!