It’s a day for giving thanks.
Thanksgiving day. I remember so many holidays filled with food on the table, children and family.
This year will be different.
We will still cook the meal, the fresh frozen turkey that we ordered is thawing.
Picked up already made pumpkin pies from a local market we like, plus all the trimmings.
We have figured on line grocery shopping out and it is a new convenient way of getting what we need.
I will miss having family over.
I love the china and crystal and fancy table settings.
I love to use table cloths with napkins to match.
Sometimes fresh flowers too.
This year it will be only two of us and our two cats who get no treats.We will share our meal with a porch pick up for our grand daughter and her boyfriend.
We will also give a plate to our neighbor who is alone.
It’s such a different year we have to adapt to the new ideas.
It is a change that is hard but so necessary.
This virus and the need for staying home is affecting everyone.
I am not happy about it but I also know it’s very important to stay inside.
Our governor has stated there could be a fine if people were not listening to the rules.
Or even jail time. Which is quite ridiculous considering this is family time and a holiday.
It is kind of crazy the way this all has come out.
This virus is like none other and is very sneaky.
It is meant to do great harm.
Because I have cancer and radiation history I must be very careful.
Really all of us have to be careful.
One holiday won’t hurt us especially if we manage to keep ourselves safe.
I am thankful for family, for friends, for phone calls and texts that keep us together.
Thanksgiving, it’s a day for giving thanks.
It’s a day for giving thanks.
May we be awake and alert.
This last Sunday our Pastor was teaching on the book of Revelations; which is the last book of the New Testament of the Bible.
It is full of end times warnings, dreams, visions and teachings.
It is also sometimes very hard to understand without someone explaining it.
He mentioned that in our time and culture today we must remain awake and alert.
There are sneaky people who are trying to undermine the truth and principles we live by.
Our United States was made with a declaration of Independence that holds truth and values.
There are those who have tried to minimize truth, or twist it for their own good.
Like a false prophet they create their own rules that only benefits the agenda they preach.
Pastor was saying that we have become a tolerant society, who turns the other way when faced with facts.
When our grand daughter was born early she was in the NICU setting of the baby area.
Within that room they had babies of all sizes and with all health issues.
She was tiny. A whopping 2 pounds 11 ounces, but you know what? they had babies smaller than that.
I will never be a believer in abortion and I would NEVER be a believer of full term abortion.
A society who tolerates and agrees to infanticide is a scary place to be.
I do not believe in removing the elderly either.
Some countries have made it ok to do that. I pray that OUR USA would never come to that point.
What Pastor was saying; so much of this sneaks into the thoughts and the everyday; and we become numb.
It scares me to think of how different our USA has become in my lifetime and I don’t want to watch more.
Now with the pandemic of covid people are losing businesses, houses, vacations, and now holidays.
Our Oregon is in a mandatory lock down.
Families are struggling to find hope in this crazy time.
It could be very depressing but we have to believe that things will change.
I will choose to believe it will be better, that the dark works of the evil one will be exposed.
The truth will remain as a constant.
We cannot lose our strength and we cannot lose our freedoms.
Maybe it’s time for us to be on our knees and pray our prayers.
“Our Father who art in heaven HOLY is your name.”
Let us pray from a place of trust and hope.
May we be awake and alert.
A day of remembering our freedom.
Today is considered Veterans day. November 11th.
My dad and my husbands dad were veterans.
Leaving the comforts of home as young men to fight for their country.
It is hard for me to imagine young 18 year old men and women leaving home;
some right after they graduated from high school.
They may not have even voted but they could fly far away and serve.
Wars have always been horrific to think about. I remember when I was in high school it was the Vietnam war.
I never thought of it much other than it was intense and horrible.
Then about twenty years ago I was working in a temp job and my ‘buddy’ who became a friend was from Vietnam.
She came over to the states on a fishing boat that ended up having many deaths.
The captain was not truthful to them.
She told me how her family was killed during the war.
It ended up only being herself and an uncle who helped her on the boat to escape.
We cannot imagine having fear follow us, or having our entire family wiped out.
She said it was very difficult for her to understand.
She suffered greatly. I knew there were painful memories hiding in her spirit.
As I got to know her more she showed me another side of war.
We often think of our soldiers.
But the innocent victims are to be thought about too.
I cannot even imagine the intensity of war.
Many come home with post traumatic issues.
I know my husbands dad served under General Patton.
That was intense and horrible.
Many things he never spoke about and those memories of war were hidden deep.
I would imagine talking about them would be really hard especially as the years move on.
Today is veterans day, where we hang our flags, listen to special tributes and remain thankful.
A day of remembering our freedom.(source of photo unknown)
Today is our wedding anniversary.
We are celebrating 47 years.
Actually we have known each other almost 49 years because we dated in high school and he graduated a year before me.
We were young, and not knowing much. I was 18 and he was 19.
A lot has changed in the years spent together.
Our first child was a son then three years later we had a daughter.
We raised babies into teens then from teens to adults.
Both got married and had children creating for us the blessings of being grandma and grandpa.
It has been many ups and downs and better and worse moments but through it all; we made it together.
We are more mature now, in our 60’s and age has not been kind to our waist lines
but we are healthy and happy and that is way more important than a number on the scale.
We have seen preemie babies and also teens; once more pass through our doors.
The circle repeats itself with our children and then with their children.
I feel honored to be called grandma to six.
Our son had three sons and our daughter had three daughters.
It is a privilege to live close to them and be an active part of their lives.
We celebrate us today.
It has been a journey that nothing can prepare you for when you first begin.
Life as we knew it as young adults was like playing house.
Through the lessons learned together and shared, we have matured.
We have cared for each other through surgeries, recoveries, and illnesses too.
We have watched our parents age and pass away and that has left us feeling very different.
Life has changed us for good; and we have a story to tell and a legacy to leave.
Today is our wedding anniversary and we will celebrate with a nice dinner and dessert.
In the midst of Covid rules and isolation issues we can still set aside some time for us.
It is good to be together.
As we move into our sunset years there will be many unknowns.
So long as we have our faith and our God; that is all we need to face the years to come.
Today is our wedding anniversary and we will celebrate us.
The gift of friendship is one that I do not take lightly.
My best friend and her husband live about three hours away from us.
It was a hard adjustment for me when they moved, she used to live three blocks from me.
When they were little our boys used to play together and it has been a friendship of over 30 years.
We always have a wonderful time of sharing with each other.
My friend and I have been close for many years. She is a gift to me.
As we have aged we have changed in our physical appearances and also our health.
Both of us are dealing with potential health problems but we are strong;
and we encourage each other and we pray for each other always.
It is a friendship of comfort. There are no games and no hidden agenda’s.
It is a friendship that challenges the best in us to come out.
I value her and her wisdom and her ability to rise above her situations.
She is a warrior who survived losing her first husband, and who waited for over 7 years;
for the right ‘other’ man of her dreams to come into her life.
She is happy and lives in a beautiful home that they have built together.
I am delighted that she is loved, cared for and is doing very well these days.
She is classy and smart and I am so very glad to be a part of her life.
The gift of friendship is just that, a gift we unwrap carefully and then treasure.
It is something that creates in us a ‘feeling’ of value.
I believe in her and she believes in me.
We pray for each other and always want the best for each other.
When we talk on the phone it is always a few hour phone call.
I miss her being closer to me, we used to walk and talk and share matters of our hearts in person.
“Many people will walk in and out of your life but only true friends leave footprints in your heart.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
The gift of friendship is the best gift ever. I pray you have that ‘special friend’.
(photo from David Hill winery, Oregon)
Our souls will feel refreshed.
“Oh God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (NIV)
We will reach for a soda, a cup of coffee or tea, but the real ‘refreshing of our soul’ is time with the Lord.
My challenge and question for us today: What are you reaching out for?
Since I had radiation I have realized water is what I need to flush the toxic stuff away.
If it has a bit of juice in it, or a juice like flavor like cranberry or pomegranate, it is easier for me to drink it.
It purifies and detoxes the body and healing of cells takes place rather quickly.
So it if it works, why is it so hard to grab that glass, and do what is right?
That is not too different from our time with God.
We make time for family, friends and coworkers, but find it very hard to cut out time for God.
It is often not an easy choice for us.
The verse says, my body longs for you, that speaks of a desire, to have God so close and so intimate.
A relationship, of choice.
God I earnestly seek you. That is desire, for relationship.
Our world, in which we live and exist, is a dry and parched land.
It offers very little for a ‘soul’ experience.
Especially now with isolation and social distancing.
I love to go to the beach for refreshment and rest.
I love to sit on an uneven log and take in and smell the freshness of the wind, water and ocean.
Watching the surf pounding forward and back with power and majestic strength.
I listen in the quietness, for seagulls and children playing in the sand.
I find it a great mystery how the powerful waves just ‘know’ how to crash and turn on rocks wet and cold.
It refreshes me for a moment.
This verse is talking about a soul, so quenched and so parched.
It longs for a cool glass of refreshment.
God’s love, God’s spirit through the word, is refreshment to our soul.
God, you are my God. It reflects relationship.
Have you ever had a special friend in your life, a good friend?
Has it been a long time since you have seen them?
You long for a time when you can share, catch up and enjoy each others stories.
A phone call works but it’s not the same as a visit in real time.
One day you tell yourself: I have to see them. I have missed them greatly.
This is the feeling we ought to strive for with God.
Oh God I have SO missed you.
As we enter into the word, it refreshes our spirit. The soul becomes filled with life.
It is water that is refreshment, to our parched and weary lives.
May we challenge ourselves to sit.
Drink in the word and allow it to seep into our lives, like a warm cup of tea.
Our souls will feel refreshed.
Take your everyday, ordinary life – your eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering.
Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.
Instead, fix your attention on God.
You’ll be changed from the inside out.
Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.
Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity,
God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Romans 12:1 vs 1-2 the message
When I read this it stirred in me a new thought.
It is saying to us that our lives are an offering to God.
Dictionary.com says the meaning of offering is: ‘a show of intention.’
So this means we intentionally offer our lives to the Lord.
Dictionary.com said; ‘deliberately or willfully, done with intention or on purpose, by choice.’
So we choose to give all that we do, to the glory of God.
Is that possible always? Some days are not so good.
We all have bad days, I certainly do.
The verse says to us “you will be changed from the inside out.”
So as we choose to fix our heart and attention towards God, and embrace what HE wants for our lives; we grow and we change.
We become mature in our thinking.
We become discerning in the ways of the world and culture around us.
Yes we have to live here, yes we have to work and do every day things,
the challenge for us, is to decide what do we want to embrace?
What values do we want to hold onto.
The verse said “readily recognize”, that means we choose to look with our spiritual eyes.
To recognize something, we would have to know it already.
Like someone we have known or a place we have been before.
To be changed from the inside out is an intentional act.
Our choice to embrace the good and learn from the bad.
God desires to help us but We can’t receive help unless we are willing to accept it.
I think we all can relate to our ‘cultures desire’ to pull us down.
Turn the TV on and you will see and hear all kinds of messages.
They are not necessarily positive or good for us, especially now in this political climate.
If we embrace those messages we loose the message of God’s truth.
In our maturity and our growth let us not compromise the intent.
God is helping you to learn as he says,
Here is what I want you to do.
Take your ordinary every day life and place it as an offering.
When you read the word vandalism, what image did you first think about?
The image of someone spray painting a fence or throwing a rock through a window?
Our current climate in the downtown part of Portland has been vandalized over and over.
The definition of vandalism is:
willful destruction with malicious intent, to do harm or destroy;
OR willful or ignorant destruction of artistic or literary treasures.
It’s been very sad to see the violence lately.
When our Pastor spoke about this one Sunday many years ago, it provoked a lot of thought in me. (imagine that!)
The word vandalism brings to our minds many images.
We would never take a spray paint can and destroy someone else’s property.
Yet I challenge us to think of this in a different way.
In this political climate when we talk bad about someone.
When we choose to hear a rumor and believe it, and maybe even spread it more without knowing facts.
When the words we say become less in line with the truth.
We are committing vandalism of the heart.
Fragmenting the heart and reputation of one another.
We do not have the right to do that anymore than the ‘violators’ who vandalize Portland.
It is like we are committing a homicide of the heart. It is death to someone sacred.
It creates death to a relationship, and places a judgement on someone else’s character.
The willful destruction, is when we choose to spread the rumor, or believe the untruth.
The malicious intent, is when we choose to say harmful or unkind things about someone.
With the intention of doing harm. It hurts us, as well as the one we are talking about.
So in this journey called life, we must be careful with our words, our thoughts, our actions and our intentions.
God has given us all, if we follow him, a discerning truth.
If we read the word, if we take caution in our motives, and if we listen to our heart.
We will be truthful to ourselves and those around us.
The challenge today, is for all of us to examine our lives and see if there is anything hurtful we choose to do.
Let this be our prayer:
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, Oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Lord God, help us to redeem our words towards one another and be kind.
“And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, Just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:2
When you read the word vandalism I hope you see it more clearly now
Rest for your soul.
As he was teaching, Jesus said, “unless you come to me as a child, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven”.
We know he did not mean ‘be born again’ by your mother. That’s impossible.
He meant, come to me…with ‘Freedom of heart’… Freedom from rules…Freedom from fear, with a child like spirit, spontaneous…with joy and excitement.
Come to me with innocence and a desire to learn.
Have you ever seen a child so joyful and so excited; they could not contain the feelings within them?
You say to them ‘calm down’ and they know they can’t. It is so exciting, and so wonderful.
They are in the moment. They share the joy with you not caring, who is watching or listening.
Jesus says to us, “come to me as a child”.
Who would not run to their Father especially if he was a safe person?
He wants freedom for us. He wants us to rush into His arms.
As a child who needs a protector. As a child who SO misses his or her daddy.
“Abba Father I have missed you. Please hold me as I rest in your arms.”
Would you run towards a God who is pleading for you to come, or would you run away?
I guess it would depend on your experience with your earthly father.
We know the days have been hard and the fatigue is surrounding us.
Jesus says, “come to me everyone; who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest”.
He is not talking about sleep for a weary body. He is talking about rest for your soul.
Rest for a heart ravaged by life.
Rest for a soul so beaten down by adult responsibilities and duties.
Rest for a soul that is tired.
“Come to me. I can give you the rest you need. I am able to fill your heart with so much. Your needs will be met.”
Is your heart longing for the God who loves you?
I pray you will soon find.
Rest for your soul.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 NIV
Strong words coming from the Lord.
Whenever an angel would see someone, the first thing they would say to them was; “do not fear.”
The angel said it to Mary, then Joseph, and many others.
Knowing we are not alone is a wonderful promise.
For I am with you. A comforting message. I am here. I will not let you face your circumstance alone.
Do not be dismayed. That is not a word we use often so I was curious of it’s meaning.
Looking up that word it means, [to break down the courage; dishearten thoroughly;]
[sudden or complete loss of courage; utter disheartenment.] sudden disillusionment.
So He is saying, don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I see the whole picture.
Even when you don’t know the outcome of what is in your life, I am with you.
I will strengthen you and help you.
What a promise and a peaceful message.
We don’t have to rely on ourselves we can trust in the process.
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Again we are not left alone. He holds onto us. Leading us as we follow his way.
It’s such a good word for us especially now in this climate we live in.
The world and it’s craziness.
Do not fear…three powerful words. Strong words.
Perfect love casts out fear.
Trust softens fear.
Fear can cripple us and stop us from growing and moving forward.
When we feel strengthened we feel empowered and ready for the next steps.
I really like this verse.
It speaks of hope, and relationship and caring and compassion.
It assures us that God the almighty is for us and with us.
So do not fear, for I am with you.