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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

ThanksLIVING

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 107:1

We are celebrating Thanksgiving at our house today.  That's the way the schedule worked this year.  And I am thankful to have 20 feet under, whatever day it is! I love to gather with family and friends and feast on favorite foods.  Yummy.  I love the smell of turkey roasting in the oven, my Mom's dressing (we don't do stuffing over here!), and cranberry relish in my pretty glass bowl.  It HAS to go in the pretty glass bowl.  I love Thanksgiving.  Love the festivities.  The fellowship.  The intentionality of reflecting on God's abundant grace towards us...and thanking Him for it.  We aren't sticklers for rigid traditions nor for legalistic religious observances but our family started something a couple of decades ago that is a treasure to us all.  We all look forward to this and willingly arrange our Thanksgiving schedules so we can do it each year.  We go around the table 5x and each person shares one specific thing he or she is thankful for from this year.  Then we record it all in our journal.  It's precious time together.  The most fun is reading back the posts from previous years!  Hilarious!  We've seen boyfriends come and go, new babies announced, and gratitude for odd things like pine cones.  But it's one of those things that a Mom keeps stored up in her heart forever, looking round the table and hearing the hearts of her family praising our Heavenly Father for His steadfast love to us.  It's sweet indeed.

Now, I know that traditions aren't to be trifled with so I'm not about to change this one.  In fact, I gotta go locate that journal right now cuz it got packed up with my dining room stuff when we moved my folks in last week!  But I am gonna try something new this holiday season with regard to thanksgiving.  Let me explain....



For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  Mark 10:45
I want my life to not only be one of GIVING thanks but also of LIVING thanks, a pouring out of service for others.  Because the Son of Man loves me....and I love Him...and His people.  So He gave me this idea for us to try.  I'm a little hesitant to just put it out there, because I am not too creative and my presentation of things leaves a lot to be desired.  But I thought you might want some ideas, too, about how to live a life of service, some ways to demonstrate that for your kids, some projects to help them think of others instead of only themselves.  Maybe you can take my idea and customize for your crew and snazz it up a bit!
I thought of 24 simple projects that can be done from December 1-24.  An Advent calendar idea.  I wrote each one on a piece of paper and placed it in an envelope.  Then I taped all 24 envelopes on a piece of poster board and numbered them.  To make it a little sweeter :) I included a Hershey's kiss, too! The plan is to open each day's envelope and perform the project assigned within. And to eat the chocolate, of course!!!  The projects aren't complicated nor are they revolutionary but my hope is that Betsy and I (and Chip & Mary if they're home!) will pry our eyes off ourselves, pour out our lives to serve others, brighten a few days for some other folks, and have ourselves some fun in the process.

My goal is to post our activities regularly, just to give you some ideas of what we're doing.  But I know myself and I'll bet I don't get the post done every day.  Hopefully, the ThanksLIVING project will get done each day!

Wish me luck :)


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Victory begins with a song

Today's Wednesday's Word  is a whole chapter - 2 Chronicles 20.  I won't post the entire chapter here but I urge you to read it.  It's that good.

I don't normally find myself in the book of 2 Chronicles.  1 Chronicles either, for that matter!  But this chapter has a compelling story with a potent message for us.  I'll summarize the first part and then we'll look at a couple of verses to find that message....

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The best defense.....

The best defense is a good offense.  I've heard that (and its reciprocal) proclaimed often in my den during football season.  The way to defeat an opponent is to score more points than they do.  Duh. 

That said, how do we "score points" against our enemy? 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

There's no place like home....

Surprisingly, I didn't bawl my eyes out.  I went home....to Mama and Daddy's.....for the last time.  Packed 'em up and moved 'em here with me.  And didn't cry.  Any of you that know me, know that I cry over most everything meaningful.  Weddings. New babies.  Sweet letters.  Everybody home for the weekend.  Holding hands.  And loads of other non-meaningful things.  I cry.  Except this time.  I thought I would lose it.  But I didn't.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Helmet of salvation

In keeping with our theme in recent Wednesday's Word posts, let's continue with our armor.  Next piece - helmet of salvation.

  and take the helmet of salvation Ephesians 6:17a

First, what is it?  The helmet, obviously, protects the head.  Our heads need protection because the mind is where the battle takes place.  The helmet provided for the Christ-follower is "salvation". To understand this significance, let's consider the fact that salvation has three facets to it.  The first is "justification", God's declaration that a person is made acceptable to Him by grace through faith in Christ, receiving the Spirit of Christ.  The second facet is "sanctification", the process by which a Christ-follower is conformed to the image of Christ, the work of grace through the soul. The final aspect of salvation is "glorification", when a believer enters Eternity and is transformed in body to be immortal and incorruptible.

This protection of thought with regard to salvation gives the believer confidence that the relationship with God is secure, that God is indeed doing the work of transformation in one's life, and that one's eternal future is assured. Such confidence wards off the thoughts of doubt and fear and insecurity propelled by the Enemy.

This helmet is also a reminder to the believer to renew one's mind through Scripture, thus transforming one to the image of Christ....further protection from the darts of the devil.  This commitment to  mind renewal undergirds the confidence just mentioned.

One final thought on the helmet.  The helmet referenced in this passage was one worn by the Roman soldier.  It was made of metal and covered not only the head but also the face.  Atop the helmet was a plume, a large colorful feather that identified the army to which the soldier belonged.  Get the picture - in battle, you would know who your allies were by the color of the feather on their helmet.  What message is conveyed to us by this feature of the helmet?  A conspicuous lifestyle, one that clearly identifies us as a follower of Christ. That offers great protection from the Enemy in the battle.

Confidence that our salvation is assured.  Commitment to renew our minds.  A conspicuous lifestyle that tells the world who we belong to.  Our helmet.