Thanksgiving

Come Before God With Thanksgiving

The beginning of the first proclamation of a national day of Thanksgiving from 1789. – by George Washington.  (before it became a yearly thing)

‘Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, humbly implore his protection and favor…”

The goal was always to thank God for his provisions. That is what Thanksgiving is about!

Why is God where our Thanksgiving beings, as it says in verse 2 “come before him with Thanksgiving.”

He gives Salvation to us

The Psalm reminds us that God is the Rock of our salvation. Right now there is turmoil in families all over the world.  If we were left to our own devices to somehow obtain salvation and make sense of it all, it would be like trying to build a mansion on the beach with no foundation.  Sure, you might get by for a while, but the wind and waves will come at some point and the house will be destroyed.

We can be thankful today that despite all the changes in our culture, positive or negative, that God does not change.  We can be thankful that He still saves sinful people from the mess of sin we are in.  He takes us and places us on the Rock, Christ Jesus.

He Made it All & is Over It All

In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land – Psalm 95:4-5

 There is purpose and order in the creation.  No matter what is going on at any given moment, God is still the real King.  Why?  Because He made it all.  I mean try to imagine this scene.  The depths of the earth in his hand.  The mountain peaks, some of which people have never climbed, and never will climb, are his.  The sea in all its splendor is God’s. He owns it because He made it.    I mean I have made some amazing things with Lincoln Logs and Legos,  but never anything as amazing as the universe, the depths of which we can never fully grasp.

This makes my heart burst with thanksgiving because it tells me that God is always on the throne.  God is never surprised by anything that happens.  There is no molecule in the universe that he is not aware of.   He made it all.  He knows it all.    It reassures me that no matter what I am going through, no matter how alone I might feel, I can find comfort in knowing that God knows exactly what is going on.

He Knows and is Involved With us Personally

This is where it gets crazy.  God over everything, but He knows everyone personally, individually.   It is one thing to recognize that there is a God who is over everything, who is larger than anything. Many people believe in a “higher power.”  But, the difference here is that God is personal and involved in our lives.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; – Psalm 95:6

He is our maker.  That means we are not a mistake and not junk.  Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s handiwork, His masterpiece.  He has molded each person individually like an artist does with clay.

So, as we gather today we give start by giving thanks to God because in Him is where our Thanksgiving begins.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!  

 

Advertisements

It is time to write a note to someone!

Everything seems to revolve around social media now.  We send messages on Facebook and text messages for everything.  Phone calls are rare and handwritten notes are fading away.  The personal touch seems to be lacking at times.

wpid-IMAG0311.jpgSo this morning I wrote my three boys a note.  There was nothing all that earth shattering about any of them.  I just told them about how much I loved them and how I am proud of them.  I shared something about how I pray for them and left it at that.  This is so meaningful for them.

Therefore I want to encourage you to do the same for people you love.  This week is Thanksgiving.  Maybe there is someone you have been taking for granted.  It could be that a handwritten note would encourage someone’s day in ways you don’t realize.  This is true even if you have horrible handwriting like me!

Pick up that pen and write one to someone and watch how God blessing in that!

Thankfulness Overflowing Before Frantic Store Going

Thanksgiving is first

Thanksgiving is first

If everything I have belongs to God, then I must learn to appreciate what I have.  If I have been given everything in need in Jesus Christ, then I must appropriately overflow with thankfulness.  This is a healthy way of life.  Instead of looking at what other people have or at Black Friday ads and hoping to get something you don’t have, you look at all that you do have.  It is a lifestyle that sometimes is hard to do with all of the stuff around us, but it is so freeing to say “thank you” for even the most mundane things as a realization that nothing comes from you.   It is all God’s!   This type of attitude makes us happier people and even keeps us away from burdens like unnecessary debt.  Yes, that was me tying frivolous spending to a lifestyle of thankfulness.

Christmas is coming up again.  But did you know that before Christmas is this holiday called “Thanksgiving?”  What is making matters even more interesting this year are the number of stores once again opening on Thanksgiving.  It seems like some retailers are pushing things up every year putting their own bottom-line over their employees family time.   I understand the need to make money as a business, but I also know that people need time to stop to give thanks.  It is not just about turkey and football, it is about health and worship.  It is about happiness and time with family.  So, just stop and give thanks without looking through all of those ads and desiring to buy things that you cannot afford.  And please do not buy my family gifts that you do not have the money to buy.  That defeats the purpose of this season, in my opinion.

But Christmas comes soon enough --

But Christmas comes soon enough —

Instead we need to find our foundation in Jesus Christ.  It is in Him we live, move, and have our being.  It is in Him where we received everything we could ever possibly need.  And actually it is really the gift of Jesus we celebrate at Christmas anyway, not the material items we give each other.  You have been given fullness in Christ!  He is available right now, offering Himself to you.

Soon it will be time to deck the halls and I am looking forward to that.   But let’s not forget about Thanksgiving first.

 

Yes, I am thankful.

 

 

Yes, I am thankful.  

Come Before God With Thanksgiving

The beginning of the first proclamation of a national day of Thanksgiving from 1789. – by George Washington.  (before it became a yearly thing)

‘Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, humbly implore his protection and favor…”

The goal was always to thank God for his provisions. That is what Thanksgiving is about!

Why is God where our Thanksgiving beings, as it says in verse 2 “come before him with Thanksgiving.”

He gives Salvation to us

The Psalm reminds us that God is the Rock of our salvation. Right now there is turmoil in families all over the world.  If we were left to our own devices to somehow obtain salvation and make sense of it all, it would be like trying to build a mansion on the beach with no foundation.  Sure, you might get by for a while, but the wind and waves will come at some point and the house will be destroyed.

We can be thankful today that despite all the changes in our culture, positive or negative, that God does not change.  We can be thankful that He still saves sinful people from the mess of sin we are in.  He takes us and places us on the Rock, Christ Jesus.

He Made it All & is Over It All

In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land – Psalm 95:4-5

 There is purpose and order in the creation.  No matter what is going on at any given moment, God is still the real King.  Why?  Because He made it all.  I mean try to imagine this scene.  The depths of the earth in his hand.  The mountain peaks, some of which people have never climbed, and never will climb, are his.  The sea in all its splendor is God’s. He owns it because He made it.    I mean I have made some amazing things with Lincoln Logs and Legos,  but never anything as amazing as the universe, the depths of which we can never fully grasp.

This makes my heart burst with thanksgiving because it tells me that God is always on the throne.  God is never surprised by anything that happens.  There is no molecule in the universe that he is not aware of.   He made it all.  He knows it all.    It reassures me that no matter what I am going through, no matter how alone I might feel, I can find comfort in knowing that God knows exactly what is going on.

He Knows and is Involved With us Personally

This is where it gets crazy.  God over everything, but He knows everyone personally, individually.   It is one thing to recognize that there is a God who is over everything, who is larger than anything. Many people believe in a “higher power.”  But, the difference here is that God is personal and involved in our lives.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; – Psalm 95:6

He is our maker.  That means we are not a mistake and not junk.  Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s handiwork, His masterpiece.  He has molded each person individually like an artist does with clay.

So, as we gather today we give start by giving thanks to God because in Him is where our Thanksgiving begins.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!  

 

You know what they say….

It was my intention to spend Tuesday using the phrase “you know what they say” to start as many sentences as possible.  But, you know what they say, things are often look easier on paper.  Then there is that whole memory thing.  Yes, I forgot about it.  But, I had good reason.  My 3-year-old son and I took a trip to Boston to pick up Grandpa from the airport.    Whenever I travel off Cape with my kids there is always an element of adventure to it.  It is true that we don’t get out much, but even more than that is the way my kids take in the world.  It makes for interesting stories.

Ready to go! You know what they say, you just can’t be too prepared.

He grabbed his backpack and his hat and we were ready for the journey.  On the way we needed to make a few stops.  I had some grocery shopping to do, gas to purchase and kitty litter to buy.  He was ready for anything, including a jungle safari. He also had with him a few random toy tools.  You know what they say, you just can’t be too prepared.

We got onto the highway and were on our way.  He just sat quietly with his backpack next to him, staring out the window.  For those of you who know my children, you know that our youngest boy is the quietest of them all.  I actually think that he is soaking it all in for a future literary project of some sort.  We will see.  The first words he said to me was “is this the airport”?  This is another sign of how little we get out because it was the grocery store.

The store was not too crazy.  This is a good thing since my son wanted to push the cart.  This proved to be an interesting technique because I would stop to look at something and he would keep moving like some sort of conveyor belt.  It was like speed shopping and bumper cars wrapped into one.  He wanted to help.  You know what they say, it is never too early to start training your kids life skills, so I let him push.  We finished up, packed a few things in the cooler, and we were on the road.

Why do they close traffic lanes on holiday weeks?  Traffic stopped and my son said, “there are a lot of travelers.”  It was hard to understand what he was saying, but when I figured it out I realized he seemed to understand what I was feeling.  To make matters even more frustrating, people were rude and in a hurry.  You know what they say, calm down.

We managed to get to the gas station and there was a long line.  My son asks “why are we stopped?”  I pointed to the cars in front of me.  He said, “they should move.”  Once again he seemed to understand my feelings.

We got on the road again and made our final stop for a bag of kitty litter.  We walked into the store, grabbed the bag, and walked to the “express” lane.  The lady in front of us had two candy bars to purchase, so I thought we had selected the correct lane.  It would have been quick except she needed to dig through her purse to find her cash.  Then she had to recount it and look for change.   All of a sudden she realized she needed a pack of cigarettes also, which they sell in the express lane.   It was then back into the purse to look for some secret stash of money in there.  I guess I do see the irony of the word “express” here.   You know what they say, there is no rush, just hurry up.

Back to the van and back to the highway.  We were getting closer now, my son was having his snack, and there were brake lights again.  This time a car had rolled off the road into the ditch.   A few miles later there was another accident on the other side of the highway. It slowed us down quite a bit.

We made it back.  Our groceries were still cold.  My car was still upright and we had Grandpa.  It was a successful trip.

This is a picture of what most days look like, albeit with different scenarios.  But, you know what they say, it is good to give thanks!  I got back to church to finish my Thanksgiving message for the service Thursday and I realized I had so much to give thanks for.  Sure, I was annoyed because of all the delays in the day, but at least I could be annoyed by such trivial things.  I had the ability to purchase gas and groceries.  There are blessings in the waiting, like spending extra time with my son.  We had someone to pick up from the airport, and arrived safely.

Let’s not forget all those little blessings, even in something as mundane as a drive to the airport.  Time is just flying by and unless we slow down, we will miss those things.

You know what they say, don’t sweat the small stuff and it is all small stuff.

Stick With One Bowl of Cereal Next Time

Don’t let that bird get away!

It is not even Thanksgiving yet and I already feel sick.   I am  not talking about the problems associated with eating too much turkey, which seems to be a lesson we need to relearn every year.  In fact, this lesson is something I actually live most days of the week with my boys.  Each morning I need to tell  them to “take it easy” with the amount of cereal they take.  They seem to believe that if they don’t eat all of the cereal in one morning it will disappear.  As a result, they often take more than they can eat because they just don’t know when to stop.   They then realize that the bus is still coming, and they are not as hungry as they once thought.   It is wasteful and frustrating when I see money getting dumped out.

This is not surprising behavior.  We are masterful at thinking we need something.  Where do you think my kids get it from? Still, I am amazed at the increasing number of elementary school kids with i-Pods, i-Pads and other i-things.  Then I hear from my kids how so many people have so many expensive toys and how awesome they are.  “Blah, blah, blah”  I tell them that they are free to get one when they get a job.  They usually get into a discussion about how many of these fun little devices they would purchase if they had $1,000.  Then there is the reality check when I tell them that they actually cost  real money!  I came home one day and my 8-year-old son told me he had $500.  He then showed me his wallet which  had $500 in  fake money in it. He asked, “what can I buy with it?”  I told him that it just doesn’t work like that because  if you have no money you can buy nothing.

Christmas is coming, but debt doesn’t have to be.

This Friday starts the Christmas retail season.  This start feels vain to me.  Does anyone real think that  standing in line in the early morning to get a sweet deal on something is the “reason for the season” ?  I mean, sure, early bird deals might be a real bargain, but spending money is spending money.  If you are able to spend it, then by all means go for it, but  more and more people are not really able to spend it.  I heard on the radio yesterday about how I could get a spa installed today at my home and finance the entire thing.  The tag line was “why wait for tomorrow what you can get today?”   As much fun as a spa might be, we all know that this is not a smart financial decision. As far as black Friday goes,  I know retailers rely on spending during this season for their bottom line.  The truth is if people are just going to buy things on credit to get a  deal, then it is just going to slow down retail in the months that follow.  After Christmas is over people are hit with the realization that they need to pay their credit card bills.

I know people have their reasons, but I believe we need to get a grip on spending.  All the debt people are carrying around is just too much of a burden on our economy.   Maybe we could focus on my practical  budget friendly items this year and avoid the big ticket items.   Maybe we could just take a simpler approach to Christmas for a change.  No matter how it works out, our eyes will tell us to have another bowl of cereal, even if all we need is to simply finish our coffee and be done.  I promise you there will be more cereal tomorrow!

What are some things you do to keep spending in check during Christmas?