Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Crooked Trees and Frosted Cookies

Mark 4:21-22

 Jesus went on: “Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don’t you put it up on a table or on the mantel? We’re not keeping secrets, we’re telling them; we’re not hiding things, we’re bringing them out into the open.
We sing the carols. We see the family.  We buy the gifts.  We send the cards. We say Happy Holidays to everyone we meet.  We make special dinners.  We decorate the tree.  We string popcorn.  We light the candle wrap the presents.  We frost dozens of cookies.  We stock the stockings.  We tell the stories.  We attend church. Does this make it really Christmas or does it just appear to be?
We argue about what to buy.  We complain about the tree size. We get mad at the cat. We often go broke.  We ignore other financial obligations.  We are tired.  We are weary.  We go above our normal routine just to get the perfect gift.  We eat too many cookies.  We dread seeing family.  We hate cranberry sauce.  We’d rather eat the popcorn.  We go to church because grandma said so.  We dread pretending to be happy.  We are disappointed with our gifts.  We never seem to get what we really wanted.
Do we really even get what Christmas is?  What does it really mean to you?  Christmas is a holiday to most of us that really can either stretch or stress us.  So many people out there are just trying to get by, that when Christmas comes they lose all hope in God at all.  I know families out there who will not have much of a Christmas but I believe God will show up.  I believe we have a loving God who will take care of us according to His will if we are willing to seek Him.
Jesus came to save this world from sin.  Sin causes pain.  If He came to save us from sin then He also came to save us from pain.  For so many the holidays are just filled with pain, not joy.  The NIV version of the Bible mentions joy 244 times.  To me that means it’s pretty important to God that we find joy.  This year for me even though I am happy in life, Christmas just does not have the same meaning as it used to.  It seems to have lost its joy.  We have not even put up a tree yet and usually that goes up the minute Thanksgiving is over with.  Not sure what is going on in my heart with this but I am seeking God for answers.
This Christmas I urge us all to really look at that day and explain to ourselves why we celebrate? What we celebrate? How we celebrate? Who are we celebrating?  If Jesus is not the answer then we have an appearance of Christmas.  We need to begin to seek the face of God and ask Him to show us Christmas so that we can start to tell others what it really means.

Lack of Potential Syndrome

Colossians 3:15-17

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
When God created the earth He had communion in mind.  He created a space to find peace.  He created running waters to sooth the soul.  He designed stars for a glamours night view.  He added a sprinkling of birds and animals to roam. Then He created His masterpiece…man.  Made in His image and for the purpose of a relationship.  On top of that He has provided everything we need to survive.  How have we gotten so far off track?
As I am here in the middle of Thanksgiving preparation I am forced to rest in between preparations just because of timing, I can’t do everything all at once…God did not rest during the creation process until the seventh day, what commitment.  He was so excited to bring life to what He created that He did not take time to breathe in between.  What if we loved God and only rested in Him, not stopping in the flesh to rest, but to lay down our lives and rest IN Him?  What if we kept busy with the things of God the whole time?
In today’s society we are often so beaten and abused by those who are suppose to love us that we develop a lack of potential syndrome in our lives.  We can only hear the words “You’re not going to amount to anything” so many times before we begin to believe it.  Or how about “You’re not doing that right” and someone just takes over what we are doing and does it their right way?  I could list so many more awful things which we have been flooded with in our lives that we would all be depressed by the time I got done.  Let me share this with you:
Our God sees your potential. He has programmed you to love.  He believes in your dreams and He sees your heart.  Begin today to see yourself as God does.  Reflect on the fact that you begin as a purpose…to have a relationship with the One Who created this very earth.  Disregard all of those hurtful things which have been spoken over you..they no longer matter.  Begin right now to accept you are loved.  You are wanted.  You are desired. You matter.  Yes, you…YOU matter to God.
I pray today on this Thanksgiving that we begin to allow our broken pieces to mend and give our shattered selves to Jesus, He is the only one that can heal our pain.  He is the only one who will not tell you lies.  He will bring truth to any lies spoken to you.  I pray that each of you finds self-worth today for I am thankful you read these words I spiel out.  God has a purpose for each of our lives with the end result being UNITY IN HIM.. Yes, resting IN Him allows us to hear His heart and stay in tune.

Grumble, Grumble, Grumble

Genesis 28:15
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Numbers 11:1
[ The People Complain ] Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

Psalm 55:17
Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, And He will hear my voice.

Brace yourself, this lesson might be a little harsh as I know it was a bit for me.  When one realizes that their actions are seen and heard by God, our jaw drops and we shrink back from what we just did and quickly ask for repentance.  Today a dear friend of mine said this to me and reminded me that while in the desert places, God is watching and listening to see where He can help. If all we are doing is mumble, grumble stuff, how is He suppose to help us?  Complaining does not give God a canvas to work with.  In fact, it probably delays the process so to speak because God cannot move in an unwilling vessel and what if He is trying to move us out of the desert but we are not listening to hear above our own complaints?

I have been in this spot so many times.  During my childhood while my parents were constantly at battle with each other, yelling an screaming, I was unhappy.  Beer cans flying through the air.  The empty threats.  Some of you know where I have been.  Not a peaceful moment, even when one of them was absent from the home the other was complaining.  Now granted I was just a child and really did not know how to reach out to God but sure enough all my friends knew how it was at my house because I would tell them.

Teenage years, did not want to cry out for help of any kind, because I had told God that I had everything under control  The smoking, the drinking and the dating.  Yup!  I knew it all.  Did not complain much at this stage but it is what set me up for the next stage of my life, marriage.  By not listening to God, I ended up making my own bad choices, which I now see God is working for good, yet I struggled for a long time.  I had stopped the party scene when I became pregnant with my son, quit smoking when I knew my body had had enough and I walked out of a destructive marriage, yet none of these things could I have done without God pulling me through it.

Once I realized I truly needed God, things began to be easier to take.  I knew He had control.  I believed in the master plan.  I had no doubts, so I thought until I realized my grumblings when they were pointed out to me.  How could I possibly still be complaining after all God had and is still doing for me?  Where is my trust that He will lead me into the Promise Land?  I want a new home so badly, yet I know in time it will come to pass.  Things sometimes are frustrating with work, yet I know my job is there because God led me to where I am.  I know it is human nature to grumble, especially in todays society where the thought process becomes: we deserve it so why don’t we have it?

The “I deserve” was a short battle for me.  Directly after separating from my husband I felt a freedom I had never known before.  There was money where there wasn’t before.  My short leash was gone and I could go to the grocery store and not have to hurry home or get a phone call of panic because I had taken too long.  I grabbed all of the free time and luxuries I wanted because I felt I deserved them when in reality, I did not.  This mentality did not last long because in my crying our for God, He truly showed me that He would provide for me and He proved it.  He began to replace all which the enemy had stolen and more.  I am now beginning to see what really matters in life and it is not things or money.

Now as the days toward the Promise Land are just around the corner, we must learn to kick our complaining to the curb!  God is in control and we need to accept this for truth.  If all we are doing is whining and complaining and not letting God know our needs, how is He suppose to help out in our current situations?  Instead, praise Him in the storms.  Delight in the good things He has given to us.  Show Him love with our worship.  Stop dragging our feet as we enter into the church and enter into His gates with praise and thanksgiving.  Let God know we are anxious for what He has next for us.  Begin to strengthen the relationship by honoring Him and bringing to Him the best of who we are.

While we are focusing on Him, this world and its’ demands will quickly fade and soon we no longer will be grumbling about this or that.  We will be so in tune with God, we can close our eyes and know provision is right in front of us.  I urge us all to journal our praises for one week and see if the rest of our week was better than last week.  Sing to Him when no one else is around.  I am sure I look like a fool half the time when I am driving because sometimes I get so lost in worship I forget where I am going.  (thank goodness for angels)  When we are showing our thanks to God, it is hard to be spiteful or snippy.  It is more difficult to be mean or snide.  It is harder still to contain our joy at times!  God is good and He loves to hear our praises.