Thanksgiving 2015

November 23, 2015

This morning I am sitting with my mom at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I. She recently fell and broke her hip. The hip was repaired rather than replaced. This happened while in rehab from another malady. She suffered a compression fracture in her lower back while at home hanging up curtains. Such is the journey of life.

On Wednesday they will move her once again for another stint of rehab – “Tockwotton on the Waterfront” More than likely she will not return to her tockwotton 1home in Hope Valley and her independence. Instead she will remain in the Providence area in some type of assisted living arrangement.

I will enjoy Thanksgiving Day with my mom. Maybe we will watch the parades together like we did when I was a child. Although growing up, she was very busy in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day.

Without exaggeration, she would prepare the complete thanksgiving meal as well as, setting the most inviting table. The menu consisted of turkey, homemade dressing cooked in the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, turnips, butternut squash, broccoli, green beans, corn, tiny boiled onions, cranberry sauce, and crescent rolls . For dessert we had homemade lemon meringue pie, apple pie, chocolate cream pie, pumpkin pie, and mincemeat pie.

The table was set with the holiday dishes and matching glasses and cups complete with my great grandmother Gray’s linen tablecloth.

This Thanksgiving I am blessed to watch the parades and have dinner with my mom

 

 

Growing Forward or Going Backward

John instructs us, Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. (NLT)

Pastor Greg Laurie addresses that topic in a recent article. Here are some  highlights.

  • Christians need to question if they are growing or going backwards, as
    there’s no other alternative.
  • A believer doesn’t backslide overnight; it’s a slow, but sure, process. Things of the world gradually start looking more appealing than things of God.
  • To keep growing, at least three things are required: 1) you must read, study and love God’s Word. 2) You must pray without ceasing. 3) You must be actively involved in the Church.

Hebrews 10:24-25, 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (NLT)

  • How can you love God whom you can’t see, if you do not love His people whom you can see? Not going to church is proof that something is wrong with you spiritually.

1 John 2:19 These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.(NLT)

  • We go to church to serve others, if we are mature Christians. We don’t choose a church based on its facilities, or how good the singing or music is.
  • The Church exists for three reasons, 1) the glorification of God, 2) the edification of the saints, and 3) the evangelization of the world.

So which is it? Are you growing forward or going backward?

 

Time Flies

As far as I was concerned 2015 was rolling along just fine. This past year has been a year of monumental change for many people, myself included.  Our church family has spent much of the year planning and preparing for a physical move. On Easter Sunday it became a reality.  Most of the spring and summer has been a time of settling in and improving our space. 

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http://www.soar.actlikeasuccess.com

Now with autumn upon us, the shortening of the days, and the subtle reminders of the coming winter, the “days gone by” have hit me all at once. It is November! There are just a few short weeks left to this year. Yet we have so much to do. Thanksgiving is upon us and the noise and commotion of Christmas and New Year’s follows almost simultaneously.

I’m not complaining about the swiftness of the clock. That’s how time flies. Richelle Goodrich writes about times reality, “Life may dawdle along in minutes but don’t be deceived, for it will sprint by in years before you even notice.”

I am just surprised, as I am every year, at pace of the sprint and the enormity of the opportunities before us. God has blessed us with so many options in life. Yet, as much as we might like, there is no way we can do everything that beckons.

So to make the most of the time we must research, prioritize, and make lists. Yet even our best lists are often nothing more than wishful thinking. Life itself seems to have its own plan for our life. Life’s plan often fills itself with routine, repetition, and regret.

Don’t be a prisoner of time. Enjoy November, embrace December, and find the time to seek out a few of the opportunities that beckon. And remember, ALL our times are in God’s hands. Your time is in God’s hands. My time is in God’s hands!

But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand.” – Psalm 31:14-15, ESV

So, Why Do You Pray?

When it comes to prayer I am regularly confused.

I pray for things.  I pray about things. I pray for good things. I pray for other people. I am even unselfish in my prayers at times. However, I must confess often my prayers are not answered as I originally prayed.

Over time, I have come to realize that because we live in a fallen world that no matter how hard we pray, regardless of the level of faith, our good prayers with our unselfish intentions are not always going to become a reality.

NOW, that sounds kind of disappointing, if not downright depressing. Why then should I pray to God, if God is going to let me down at some point?

On the other hand, if everything I prayed about came to pass as my prayer directed then I would be able to corner the “prayer market” and make a comfortable living praying for people.  “Send in those prayer requests folks, along with your best financial gift.”

But still I am confronted with the question, why should I pray?

Well, first of all I believe the Bible. The scriptures clearly teach that we should pray. In fact, Philippians 2:6-7 says, “don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.”

So I pray about those things in life that give me cause to worry. The list is long! The promise I get from God through the scripture is that even though my prayers may not be answered as I wish, I will experience a peace that cannot be explained.

The outcome may not be as I had hoped. I may be personally disappointed and saddened. However I don’t think there is anything more satisfying and redemptive than the experience of God’s peace that comes through faithful prayer.

So why do you pray?

 

 

 

 

 

 be blessed

 

 

Back To The Future

http://www.propertycasualty360.com
http://www.propertycasualty360.com

It is 1985 and Doc Brown, Marty McFly, and his girlfriend Jennifer take the time-traveling DeLorean into the year 2015 to straighten out the future of the McFly family. Specifically the date is October 21, 2015. Well, their plans do not quite work out the way they had anticipated. So they have to go back to 1955. Or at least that is what I have read from the reviews.

What an idea. Imagine trying to peek into the future. Would it be exciting or devastating? Would our wildest dreams come true or would our worst fears be realized?

We spend a lot of time trying to predict the future. Our whole economic system seems to be based on what the perceived future holds rather than the events of the day. A fortune is won or lost in a day in the Stock Market based on the dicey projections of a few prognosticators.

Planning for retirement is also another way we attempt to predict the future. And, while past performance is no guarantee of future results we are banking on it!

Of course the vocation with the poorest attempt at predicting the future has to be your local weather forecaster. In what other position are you financially rewarded when the chance of being right is only 50%?

Even major theologians have jumped on the bandwagon of “Back to the Future” as they predict at least one Armageddon in each generation.

Who knows what will happen in the future? I haven’t even decided what I am going to have for lunch.

My lack of futuristic knowledge does not vex me for I am reminded of a word that the original “Back to the Future” guy said. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 NIV).

Now, about the Chicago Cubs winning the 2015 World Series ……

On Doing Our Part

peighton and leavesYard work is not one of my “joys” in life. I think if I were to be an inventor I would invent a material one could place in the yard and the proper landscaping could be drawn on it. It would be lifelike and completely maintenance free. But alas I dream!!!

Monday was the day for yard work. Debbie and I tackled a few items on our list. Fortunately we had Peighton to help us. Now you might think that a 4 year old would not accomplish very much but as the picture reveals she was of great assistance and very eager to do “her part.” Of course, “her part” was a little less strenuous than our part. Nonetheless her participation made the work go well.

In life, we are all responsible for a part of the work.   The list is long and the need is great. We all have different levels of skills and abilities.  I have found when we all eagerly do our part, the work goes well and a lot is accomplished. I know that physical limitations keep some folks away. However your prayers, encouragement and moral support are important as well.

Will you do your part with eagerness and joy? We surely get a lot more done when you do.

My Mom Is A Great Cook

feast-plateMy mom is a great cook. She creates the best meals. I really can’t tell you which one is my favorite. Although I can tell you, that when I go home for a visit she makes whatever I desire. That’s my mom!

For the benefit of my siblings, I say that the reason she cooks my favorite meals is because I’m special and she loves me, more!

Each Monday at Century Assisted our Bible Study group repeats the 23rd Psalm. As we repeated it this past week, I was reminded of a comment I recently read on verse 2, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

You see sheep in biblical times were very special. In addition to their great value for milk, food, clothing, and tent covers, they were also used at times as a form of currency. Sheep were often a gauge of wealth and status.

Also, sheep are frightened by rushing water, and will often choose not to drink it. So the shepherd lovingly seeks out and provides what the sheep desires, still and slow moving streams to quench their thirst.

We know that God is the great shepherd and we are his sheep for whom he cares and provides.  He loves us and considers us special.

The Lord loves me and considers me as special as my mom does. I like that picture!