Happy Thanksgiving!

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Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100

Where is God’s lovingkindness leading you?

Colored RoseAll the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth

It is a great and awesome thing that God gave Himself, so that men and women would be able to live with Him forever.

Declare His lovingkindness in the morning and His faithfulness by night!

The Lord is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
The Lord is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works.
All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations. Psalm 145:8-13

Lovingkindness leads us to the manger.
Lovingkindness leads us to the foot of the cross.
Lovingkindness leads us to repentance.
Lovingkindness leads us to thanksgiving.
Lovingkindness leads us to proclaim His mighty works.
Lovingkindness leads us to say, “Come, Lord, Jesus.”
Lovingkindness endures forever.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!

My prayer:

May you be filled with His love to overflowing; may you abound in His peace that passes all understanding; may you bless others widely as you live out the hope that is in you.

3 promises for those who wait for the Lord

Eagle small

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

 The LORD is the everlasting God,

 the Creator of the ends of the earth.

 He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.

 He gives power to the faint,

 and to him who has no might He increases strength.

 Even youths shall faint and be weary,

 and young men shall fall exhausted;

 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;

 they shall mount up with wings like eagles;

 they shall run and not be weary;

 they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

Tttddp … tttddp … tttddp.  Eyes peer through the hospital doorway. I see a crutch, then a white-haired man grinning from ear to ear.

“Hi, I’m Rev. Henry. I’ve been praying for you. May I come in?”

I nod my head.

Tttddp … tttddp … tttddp.

My life changed that day.

In and out of hospitals. Waiting for the decisive test, a test that could kill me, a test that could tell the doctors what was wrong.

At 19, I thought I was doing what God had planned for me. I met the man God had prepared for me. I was going to college. Then, I got so sick I became a college dropout.

There I was in a hospital bed waiting … waiting on the test … waiting on God. And in walked this white-haired man whose legs didn’t work right smiling as if he had the best life in the world.

My family did not attend Rev. Henry’s church, but through friends and my father’s co-workers, I was placed on the church’s prayer list.

Rev. Henry visited me faithfully and after the hospital, he discipled me in the lovingkindness of the Lord and showed me that through adversity, God gives His people strength.

My life verse, Isaiah 40:31, has proven faithful.

Three promises for those who wait on the Lord:
  1.  Strength renewal. Rev. Henry’s legs didn’t work, but he was strong because he had endured the polio that placed his legs in braces for life. He passed that strength on to me. The strength came from leaning upon God and consuming His word.
  2. Spiritual perspective. Eagles see God’s creation from the mountaintops. They soar above the small matters, and yet, their eyes can see the small animals, swoop down and scoop them up. Waiting on the Lord gives us the ability to soar above the problems, and yet, when God gives us His wisdom, we can see what is standing in the way of our relationship with God and remove it quickly.
  3. Supernatural endurance. When we wait upon the Lord, God gives us the strength to go beyond the limits of our bodies and our minds to accomplish what He has prepared for us to accomplish before the beginning of the world.

The word “wait,” qavah, means to “look for, hope, expect.” It’s an active verb, active in the sense that the person of God is trusting in God and acting upon what she is expecting God to do.

My prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word. It is a true and living Word that contains great and precious promises for us. Thank You for these promises. Teach us how to wait upon You.

What are you waiting for God to do in your life? What are you doing about it?

Have you chosen a hard life? 3 steps to the good life

Israel

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them. Deuteronomy 30:19-20

I had lunch with a new high school graduate. He told me his immediate plans for the future: get a tattoo, stretch his earlobes, and get a job. There are long-term plans as well. No plans for Jesus. I told him that his plans for his body will limit the type of job he will be able to get. He acknowledged that.

He chose the hard life.

The Israelites listened to the blessings of following God and the curses of disobedience. Blessings brought life and prosperity. Curses brought death and adversity.

3 steps to the good life

  1. Loving the LORD. “Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5
  2. Obeying His voice. “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.'” 1 Samuel 15:22
  3. Holding fast to Him. “For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,” Hebrews 3:14

Blessing

Dwelling in the promised land. For the Israelites, the promised land flowed with milk and honey. God had given it to them; they just needed to possess it. For Christians, the promised land is eternal life through following Jesus.

The Israelites took the three steps for awhile and enjoyed the blessing. They turned away and returned many times; each time, experiencing curses or blessings. Ultimately, a remnant will return to the Lord, loving Him, obeying Him, and holding fast to Him. They chose a hard life, but they will enter the good life at the end of this world.

I’m trusting that in this young man’s wanderings, he will find the path to eternal life by becoming a follower of Jesus and learn how to take the three steps that lead to the good life.

Prayer is powerful.

My prayer for you

Father, You have set before us life and death, blessings and curses. Help us to understand how deeply You love us. Your lovingkindness leads us to repentence. Obedience follows. Increase our ability to hold fast to You. Increase our desire for You and Your fellowship. Thank You, Lord. In the nature and name of Jesus, we pray. Amen

What path have you chosen?

 

 

What if we laid down our sorrows?

What if we laid down our sorrows for the joy of the Lord?

Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him. Psalm 32:10

What if we laid down our shame for the joy of the Lord?

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

What if we laid down our sickness for the joy of the Lord?

for I, the LORD, am your healer.  Exodus 15:26

What if we laid down our pain for the joy of the Lord?

and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. Revelation 21:4

What if we said, “Yes, Yes, Lord”?

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20

What if?

My prayer for you:

Great and loving Father, thank You for taking our sorrow, our shame, our sickness, and our pain and turning them to joy. Give us the wisdom to lay them down at Your feet. Give us the ability to say “Yes, Yes, Lord.” We want to dine with You in Your perfect holiness. We praise you, Father, Healer, Joy Maker.

Yes, Yes, Lord, Amen!

From pounding cabbage to healing focus

Cabbage2Today, I crushed juniper berries, shredded three huge cabbages, tossed the shreds with salt and juniper berries, squeezed the water out of the cabbage, dumped bowls of mixture into the fermenting crock and pounded until more water appeared. Then, I covered the mixture with a cabbage leaf and pressed weights onto the leaf. Lid on, I poured boiled water around the lid to create a seal. Three to six weeks after the crushing, squeezing, pounding, and darkness, savory sauerkraut will reward my tastebuds.

As I prepared the cabbage to become Vitamin C-rich sauerkraut, I was reminded of how fibromyalgia crushed my spirit and twisted my nerves and muscles into knots of pain. I was reminded of Job.

“And now my soul is poured out within me;
Days of affliction have seized me.
17 “At night it pierces my bones within me,
And my gnawing pains take no rest.
18 “By a great force my garment is distorted;
It binds me about as the collar of my coat.
19 “He has cast me into the mire,
And I have become like dust and ashes.
20 “I cry out to You for help, but You do not answer me;
I stand up, and You turn Your attention against me.
21 “You have become cruel to me;
With the might of Your hand You persecute me.
22 “You lift me up to the wind and cause me to ride;
And You dissolve me in a storm.
23 “For I know that You will bring me to death
And to the house of meeting for all living. Job 30-16-23

26 “When I expected good, then evil came;
When I waited for light, then darkness came.
27 “I am seething within and cannot relax;
Days of affliction confront me.
28 “I go about mourning without comfort;
I stand up in the assembly and cry out for help. Job 30:26-28

Intense nights crawled.

“Lord, where are You?”

Weary mornings shouted.

“Lord, help me get up.”

Demanding days disheartened.

“Lord, I can’t do this.”

Crushing  commutes castdown.

“Lord, I’m so tired.”

Piercing pain pervaded.

“Lord, I want to quit.”

Praising Psalms prevailed.

“Lord, Your lovingkindness endures.”

Eager eyes examined.

“Lord, Your Word is life.”

Listening heart refocused.

“Lord, You are my desire.”

Then Job answered the Lord and said,

“I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6

12 The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; …17 And Job died, an old man and full of days. Job 42:12-17

God healed Job when he turned his eyes off his sickness and loss and onto the greatness of God.

God healed me when I gave up and told the Lord that all I wanted was more of Him. At that point, the Holy Spirit empowered me to present my body to the Lord as a living sacrifice.

My prayer for you

Father in heaven, You are all we need. Heal our lives, our bodies, and our spirits. Father, pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us. Enable us to see You as You are. Enable us to present our bodies as living and holy sacrifices to You. We love You, Lord and bask in the light of Your glory.

What will be the fruit of your crushing and pounding?