A Blessing For The Believing

The blinds on the windows are closed today, Nothing much to look at. Just gray skies. A bit of rain. Downright gloomy, you might say.

But I just heard those birds chirping. Seems they decided to sing anyway, to act like it’s spring even when it doesn’t look or feel like it.

FTI Blessed Believers

And it makes me curious. So I peek out, searching in vain for the winged creatures that defy gravity and, at least on this day, common sense.

I cannot see them, but the sound of them lets me know that all is well.

And I imagine the days following Jesus’ ascension into heaven when His followers were waiting behind closed doors, windows shut tight, hearts clinging to invisible hope.

Suddenly, the promised Comforter, The Holy Ghost, God’s Spirit, came upon them, overwhelming their dark with the light of a new day.

But they did not see Him. The first sign of His presence was a sound. The sound of “a mighty rushing wind.”

And the first sign of our faith is the sound of our praise, the songs we sing to God even on dark days.

Listen. Jesus is speaking. His promise still whispers from the holy pages.

“Blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

Blessed are those who put their trust in God, who hope in things unseen, even when it makes no human sense.

Blessed are the believing.

The sun is beginning to drip from the cloud-soaked sky. Can you hear it?

It is the sound of gloom lifting and doubt falling, making way for spring, the joy of a new day dawning.

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” Acts 2:2

Heavenly Father,
When life makes it difficult to see you,
let us hear you. May we be assured that you are
bringing something beautiful our way, even
when it doesn’t look or feel like it.
A new day is about to dawn.
Help us to believe.

Feasting on Thanks at The Harvest Party

It’s Harvest Party Wednesday and I’ve been thinking…

Isn’t it interesting that a month centered on giving thanks coincides with the month that ushers in growing reports of depression in people?

If you’re there, go here to AHolyExperience.com and read more about how writing down things you’re grateful for can help.

Because, when you really think about it, we all have some reason to be thankful. Sometimes, we just need a reminder.

So here’s another creative way to count blessings…Read about the 5 kernels of corn idea at StoneGableBlog.com

Or how about baking thanks right into the thanksgiving meal with these Gratitude Rolls from BeautyandBedlam.com

Let’s learn to be grateful so that we can teach the next generation how to be. Here are 10 ways from TheBetterMom.com.

“All that we behold is full of blessings.”
William Wordsworth

May your November find you feasting on thanks from God’s harvest of blessings.

P.S. I’d love to hear from you! Connect with me in the comments or stay in touch by signing up for blog updates. If you do that now, you’ll also get on the list to receive my quarterly newsletter and be automatically entered into the drawing for my giveaway which ends on Nov. 19th.


Let’s Talk Turkey

Most would agree that the undisputed centerpiece of the American Thanksgiving feast is Turkey.
 
The National Turkey Federation estimated that 46 million turkeys—one fifth of the annual total of 235 million consumed in the United States in 2007—were eaten at Thanksgiving. 

(Source: History.com)

But I think we could also agree that no Thanksgiving table would be complete without the sides.

The lively flavors of sweet potato, pumpkin and cranberry are a perfect compliment to thetaste of the average turkey.

And the gravy! Let’s not forget that dazzling drizzle of deliciousness that brings it all together.
It’s the yummy combination of sweet and savory that makes our taste buds tingle with delight.

And, speaking of yummy…

This juicy, little butterball is the newest addition to our family!
Couldn’t you just gobble him up?

Fun Facts from EatTurkey.com:

Did you Know?

Only tom turkeys gobble.

Hen turkeys make a clicking noise.

Domesticated turkeys cannot fly.

Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 miles per hour and can run 20 miles per hour.

I love this time of year! It’s a time of giving thanks to God for the blessings He has given us. And it is also a time to share those blessings with others.

Because the truth is there are many people who cannot afford a Thanksgiving meal, or any meal for that matter.

“A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

FeedingAmerica.org reports that “For 1 in 6 Americans, hunger is a reality.” Click here to read more statistics on their website and see if your state is one of the 7 listed as being the highest for household food insecurity, (meaning families who don’t know where there next meal is coming from.)
I was reading this scripture in Colossians the other day and, for reasons I can’t explain, it sounded like a menu to me.
Please forgive the seasonal analogy here…If we are feasting daily on the meat of God’s Word, if this is the centerpiece, then the “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” mentioned in Chapter 3, verse 12 will be the attributes (or sides) that bring the Word to life. Verse 14 goes on to say this:

 “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

So I guess LOVE would be the gravy.  🙂

Yes! Because love is that great unifier that binds us together. Makes life taste better. Turns Thanks-giving into Thanks-living.

Below is a funny look at Thanksgiving. Sort of what happens when expectation meets reality. Sometimes you just need to laugh. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. May your tables and hearts be full to overflowing with blessings. And lots of gravy!

All Mom Wants for Thanksgiving from skitzychicks on GodTube.

What We Get When We Give

I remember that lady, so broken by life that she could only speak in tears. Her words, the wet and salty kind, ran right through me. She came for help like all the others who were hit hard by the failing economy. I handed her the kleenex as she filled out the necessary paperwork.

Then there was the man who had been without work for some time who sheepishly confessed that he had never had to do this before. I could feel his embarrassment at having to ask for assistance for the very first time. I listened and assured him he was not alone. 

I’ve seen many faces come through the doors of this place – this old, concrete, falling-apart building in our community where a few paid staff works with an army of volunteers (of which I am one) attempting to build up the falling-apart people we are privileged to serve.

They come in with varying needs and requests. Sidetracked by an unexpected life event such as job loss, illness or divorce. They need help finding work, healthcare, legal aid, a place to live, clothing, money to pay bills, food to put on the table for their families.

And what I’ve learned these past few years is that we are all falling apart, in one way or another, at one time or another.

We are all different, but the one thing we all have in common is our need for hope.  The hope that we are loved and cared for and that things will get better.

And I feel this – the tie that binds all humanity together – whenever I pass along a cart of groceries to that out-of-work father or a sack of diapers to that overwhelmed mother. Or even when I hand over a box of kleenex to the despairing widow. We are all connected. The young, the old and everyone in between.

We are connected by our loving Creator so that we can offer hope and compassion to each other in our times of need. And He made it so that when we open our hands to give, we also open our hearts to receive. It’s the principle of sowing and reaping, as described in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8:

“Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.”

I read this and the words convict. Do I give bountifully the way God has given to me? Do I lavish love on others the way God has loved me? Is my attitude in giving always pure and unselfish? The short and painful answer is no.

But my insufficiency is all the more reason to entrust myself to the One who is all-sufficient. When I go to Him, confessing my need, He fills my empty heart with cartloads of grace, my hands with sacks of mercy. He even throws in a box of kleenex when necessary. And He dries my tears with hope, letting me know I’m not alone.

What about you? Do you know that you are loved and cared for today?

Consider what God has to say:

“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3 

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 

Father, thank you for your love and compassion and for showing me that, by reaching out my empty hands to carry someone else’s burden for a while, my own burden feels lighter and I get more blessings than I could ever give out. Teach me to follow your example and to give as you have given to me – unselfishly, cheerfully, abundantly. Amen

Photos courtesy photos8.com

Thankfulness

In reflecting on the subject of gratitude and the many gifts in my life, I came across the quote below. Sometimes the circumstances of life can steal our smile and cause us to momentarily lose sight of our blessings. This is a reminder to me to never forget how truly rich I am because of God’s mercy and to always remember to be thankful.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive the week.

If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of the world.

If you have money in the bank or in your wallet, you are among the top 80 percent of the worlds wealthy.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

Author Unknown