Thanksgiving

...now browsing by tag

 
 

July 27

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

I’m back!! It’s been a couple of days due to travel. I know…you have been waiting with baited breath.  🙂 So I’ll start with an update:

  • Jo’s sister, Vicki, was given a chest X-ray, which actually turned out clear. She had a cough so they decided to test her and she tested positive for COVID.  She has had it once and been vaxxed and boosted twice. Gotta wonder… Anyway, that was a surprise so they have her in jail for a few days. Her dementia is progressing and there are some other health issues. Thanks for praying for her.
  • Our short time away to Ohio went ok. The glitch was on the way there. We were bebopping along when we came to a screeching halt. Not from a near accident but because all traffic was stopped. For 2 hours. When we finally got to the place of the bottleneck, we saw a burned out truck-cab and load. I’m not a rubbernecker so I drove while Jo looked. What we did see was the truck was unrecognizable. Of course, the pastor part of me hoped all were okay.  Needless to say, that put us 2 hours behind so we missed eating supper with Janna, Mike, and Braden.  But that sure beats the 4 hours we once sat still a couple of years ago.

It is easy to get bummed out over events that derail our plans. Robert Burns once said, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” My way of saying that is “The best laid plans of mice and men often go down the tubes.”

In times like that, my mind flashes to an idea. All timing is God’s timing. Then this morning I read Isaiah 25:1- “Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” Reading that verse cemented that thinking for me. We left about 10-15 minutes later than we had planned wanted to. Could that wreck have involved us? I’ll never know-nor should I worry about it- because my time is in His hands.

I won’t understand everything. I’m not supposed to. Nor is God obligated to tell me. I simply need to trust that my time and my times are in His faithful and loving hands.

July 5

Tuesday, July 5th, 2022

The day after. There are a lot of those. The day after Resurrection Sunday. The day after Thanksgiving. The day after Christmas. The day after New Year’s Eve.

Consider:

  • The day after Resurrection Sunday we encourage people not to forget the new life we have because Jesus is alive.
  • The day after Thanksgiving we encourage people to remember to be thankful, not just one day, but 24/7/365, for all God has given.
  • The day after Christmas we encourage people to remember that the spirit of Christmas doesn’t die at 11:59 p.m. on December 25th.
  • The day after New Year’s Eve (NY Day) we encourage people to start anew, to consider the new year as a new time to start over.

The day after Independence Day. It was a bloody 4th in many places. The most tragic a deadly shooting in Highland Park, IL. Chicago. LA. NYC. Hollywood elites calling for us to cancel the 4th, to cancel America. I can’t even repeat what some said it is so vile.

I have another reason for celebrating the 4th. Two reasons actually. It reminds of the following:

1.The freedom I enjoy as a citizen of this country. America isn’t perfect; nothing is. To the naysayers I say, “Take a hike. Go Where you think you will have the freedom to speak out against what government. See what it gets you. And I won’t be visiting you in prison.”

2. The freedom I have in Christ. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Free from from the power of sin. Free from the chains of sin. Free from the slavery the enemy wants to hold me under.

So my day after today is celebrating my freedom of living in this nation. But my greatest celebration is living in true freedom found only in Jesus Christ.

And you?  What are you celebrating this day after?

June 2

Thursday, June 2nd, 2022

Revelation 22. I ought to have a sense of relief. It is finally over! But I don’t. I began this venture on April 18th and every “Shadow” post since then has been on my reading through Revelation.  I have been writing about 4 devotions a week on Revelation.  Never, in all my college days or in the almost 50 years of being a pastor, have I ever spent this much time in Revelation. While I’m still not too sure about the interpretation of it with all its twists and turns, I have enjoyed- and actually learned 🙂 – from my daily foray. Today, I come to the end…Revelation 22.

My original intent was to tell you, “Just read it,” but I can’t. There is more here than I thought. So here is my attempt to draw your attention to some of the meaningful lessons in this chapter.

1. Eternity (new heaven and new earth) will be s-o-o-o-o different.  Our forever home will be unlike anything we have experienced or can imagine. I’m going to capsulize verses 3-5 by saying Jesus will be all we need. Being in His presence will be beyond the pale.

2. John’s reaction was to fall on his face at the feet of the angel who has been his guide, the messenger who showed him all things. John was immediately told to get up and worship only God. No man-cult leader, religious teacher, huckster, or dare I say Pope- is to be bowed down to and revered. Only ONE deserves that. (Verses 8-9)

3. Jesus, as the Alpha and Omega, the first the Last will return to reward His followers. He will also judge those who are not. (Verses 12-13)

4. Special privileges (entering the city by the gates) will be granted to those whose robes have been washed white. Only the holy can enter the city. (Verse 14)

5. Another name Jesus gives Himself: “I am the root and descendant of David, the bright morning star.”  (Verse 16)

6. And finally, the words which should be on the lips of every Christ-follower: “Come, Lord Jesus.”  Maranatha. (Verse 20)

“Father, I am ready to see Your face in all its glory, up close and personal.  I echo John’s words: ‘Amen. Come Lord Jesus.’ ”

May 19

Thursday, May 19th, 2022

Do I call Revelation 15 the song of the saints or the calm before the storm? For this devotion, let’s go with both for that is what it is. Chapter 16 unleashes the bowls of wrath and Armageddon (I looked at the headings preceding the paragraphs. I have yet to read it).  🙂 But rather than try to put my stamp of interpretation of chapter 15, let’s just meditate on the song in verses 3-4. I wish I was a musician who could sit down and put this into song. What a powerful praise song it would be. But since I’m not…

Just a couple thoughts/highlights of chapter 15:

1. God’s works are great and marvelous.

2. His ways are righteous and true.

3. We will fear (adore, honor, worship) the Lord and glorify His Name.

4. God’s righteousness will bring worship from all people.

The consummation of this worship was the majesty and glory and power which filled the temple (not earthly but heavenly). The angels were being prepared for what was to come.

“Father, may my praise fill the temple. May my praise be that which flows from my heart of adoration to You, the One worthy of it.”

Just a Word

Thursday, November 25th, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I know I don’t have many readers…at least many who comment.  Strange as it may seem I don’t really do this devotional blog for you all. I do it for myself. I love the early morning Encounter Time I have with Jesus and this blog is my journal entry which everyone can see. I need the discipline which comes with daily journaling.

I’ve made some adjustments lately. My day off is Friday. Lately God has gotten my attention-not by drastic measures but my reading and listening-that I need to honor that day off. I still have my Encounter Time but have decided to refrain from writing in my journal and posting it here. That is what I do all week long and a true sabbatical (day off) is NOT DOING what I do all week long.

All that to say: unless I am especially “inspired and led” to do so, I will not be posting on Friday, in fact, the whole weekend. I direct you to my other blog for a weekend post about my sermon for Sunday.  I usually do that on Thursday some time. I will approve and respond to any comments, of course, but I think it is wise for me to take some prolonged time away from the computer.

I’m going to continue with my “Shadow” blog into 2022. I love having you join me and would love it if you would bring some friends along with you. Not the four-legged kind, but some of the two-legged ones.  My dream is this would reach more folks. Of course, it would help if I was on social media but that “ain’t going to happen.”  I refuse to support blatant bias.

Again, I hope you have a grateful Thanksgiving Day. If you read this after the fact, I hope you had a blessed day.  Thanks for reading.

November 9

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

Today is a random day, a day of collection of random thoughts. I hope one of them knocks on your day today and says, “This is for you.”

Reading from Acts 18 this morning made me see more and more how much of a lightning rod the Apostle Paul was. But very valuable lessons emerge from that chapter:

  • Paul was committed to preaching about Jesus. He set up shop as a tent maker, serving his way in Corinth. But when Silas and Timothy showed up, he let them handle that side of things and he “devoted himself completely to the word.” (verse 5). Even in the midst of our long day, our faith should take precedence.
  • Even Paul realized there are times when ears will be closed and hearts will be hard. (verse 6).  When that happened, he shook off the dust of the Jews and committed to telling the Gospel to the Gentiles. As hard as it is at the time, we too must realize words are no longer heard. We are done. Not done praying, but done prodding and pleading. 

Psalm 141:3 ought to be the life verse for some people, especially me. Speaking first and thinking later is all too common. I need a gatekeeper.

Finally, I spent last night with a friend. Jo and I made a short 30-45 minute jaunt to a friend’s house. We laughed. Ate Mexican. Visited. Worked on a new banner for my 2022 sermon theme. And got home past my bedtime. But some  things are worth it! Spending time with a friend is one of those. Thanks Ryan, Amanda, and Aleah (their 20 y/o daughter whom we have known since she was about 6).  Yeah, time flies when you are having fun. 🙂  Oh, I forgot Findlay, their dog, who was there to greet us. The Bible speaks of the gift of friendship. I can only say, “Amen.”

“Father, somewhere, somehow my day will be touched by one of these. May I be able to recognize it.”

{NOTE: Along with three other men from OVCF, I will be attending a one-day conference sponsored by 95 Network, a network dedicated to helping and encouraging pastors and leaders of small churches.  I will respond to any comments as soon as I am able}.

November 1

Monday, November 1st, 2021

The past week or two (or is that year or two?) has brought about the endless parade…wait for it…Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. Tragically, I’m caught up in that cycle as well, because if I want to spend time with Jo when I get home, I am forced to sit in my recliner and watch them with her.

Whatever can be said of those movies-and a lot could be said (good and bad)-one word stands out: P.R.E.D.I.C.T.A.B.L.E. I have learned though that the best thing I can do is keep my mouth shut. Don’t comment. Don’t predict. Due to a heart issue, Tami has had to stay with us and even she has gotten into the act (of predicting).

November begins the approach to two of the favorite holidays-Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m not telling you anything new with that revelation. 🙂 They say that thanks to inflation this will be the most expensive dinner on record. And due to the supply chain crisis, this may be the most empty-shelved Christmas on record.

I could say all sorts of things politically but I won’t. Instead, let me say this: rather than bemoan those facts, why not pivot? Why not take a different approach? I’m not advocating doing away with with either of the holidays, but why not redirect them? Why not fix the Thanksgiving dinner but go easier? (I’m fine without pumpkin pie and anything cinnamon by the way). How about inviting others to share it with you? Why not have a pitch-in capped off with a time of gratitude? As for Christmas, why not go a little easy on the expensive gifts and stick to a more personal offering? A coupon book of monthly outings. A monthly commitment to send a gift to a ministry in someone’s honor? And here is something novel! Why not truly focus on the gift of Jesus?

Let’s use today as an on-ramp to new joy, new focus, new direction, and a new relationship with Jesus?

“Father, focus me on You. May these next two months be truly remarkable in my walk with You and the depth that is developed.”

My blogging friend, Martha, is having some serious and painful gum surgery today. Would you please say a prayer for her when you read this? Thanks.

October 27

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

So here I am early in the morning. Earlier than usual that is. I didn’t sleep well. I’m thinking several things played into that…nothing specific I can put my finger on. I did receive a steroid shot in my knee so that played into it I’m sure. Plus I have some things on my mind. Not worry but some decisions which need to be made. Nothing bad or serious…they are just there (if you know what I mean).

Anyway, God in His inimitable way comes when and where needed. The book of Jeremiah records Jeremiah’s struggles; Lamentations his anguish over the nation of Judah’s stubborn refusal to follow God. And yet, in his darkest hour, he writes these great words:

I recall this to my mind, Therefore I wait. The Lord’s acts of mercy indeed do not end, For His compassions do not fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lam.3:21-23

Then I read Psalm 119:156:

Great are Your mercies, Lord; Revive me according to Your judgments.”  (I finished a week in Psalm 119 this morning)

New every morning. Great is His faithfulness. Can there be any words or thought richer; more packed with meaning; more promising of hope; more overwhelming with love that those? I think one would be hard-pressed to find them.

So even though I’m sure fatigue will hit sometime today, I am “revived” (as the psalmist puts it) by the promise of God’s new morning mercies.

“Father, thank you. They are the only words I can find to say right now.”

All Scripture from NASB2020.

September 22

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

First day of Fall! I don’t know whether to cry or to cry. 🙂  Yeah, I’m a warm weather person. Sort of hard to ride a bike with snow and ice on the ground. Anyway, right now we are in our 3rd of 40 days of rain. On the positive side, least it is liquid sunshine not white flakes. Okay…on to the devotion.

The dictionary defines hero as “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”

We hear a lot of talk these days about heroes. For the past year and a half we have been hearing about the front line workers who are heroes. Nurses. Police. Fire. Doctors. In my mind, they are heroes. Sadly, their heroism is being brushed aside and forgotten because of the vaxx mandate.  I will withhold comment.  🙂

I grew up with heroes. Comic books. TV shows. Athletes. Just like every other kid I had my favorites. Over the past decade the idea of a hero-a superhero- has been taken to a whole new level thanks to cinema.  Superman became Spiderman. Spiderman was soon enveloped by the Marvel universe of Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers, and others. Batman rose from the comic book dead. Spiderman came back to life. Jason Bourne lived through mind games and countless fights and car chases to walk away each movie. The list goes on.

I think we need to stop looking to fantasy for our heroes and see them right next to us. They live with us. They work with us. They worship with us. They play alongside us. They are the mom and dad who love their handicapped child as though he/she is “normal.” They are the old man/lady who do their best to care for their mate who doesn’t even remember their name anymore. I recently read of a woman who took care of her former soccer-playing comatose husband for decades. She is a hero.

“Heroes come in every age and size,” Bob Goff writes. (#264-p.313). I’ve always believed that. I’m convinced, while we focus on the few who have prominent names, there are literally hundreds of thousands who go unnamed and unnoticed.

Heroes don’t wear capes (unless it is a dad playing “house” with his daughter). They don’t wear tights and have indestructible shields, and superhuman abilities to leap tall buildings. No…heroes are ordinary people doing ordinary things on ordinary days in extraordinary ways. Be a hero. Better yet…acknowledge one.

“Father, may I recognize a hero and not let him or her go unnoticed.”

September 17

Friday, September 17th, 2021

3 chapters. 3 passages.

I’ve been reading through Psalms again-my second time this year. I’m using a different translation this time through-one I am getting more familiar with and have really grown to love. The NASB2020. But the translation really is unimportant to the weight and import of these 3 passages.

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy.” (Psalm 61:2b-3a)

“My soul waits in silence for God alone; From Him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 62: 1-2)  {Note: for an added bonus read verses 5-8}

“God, You are my God; I shall be watching for You; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and exhausted land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1)

These verses came home to me recently as I was visiting with someone. This man’s life had been controlled by alcohol and at the ripe young age of 67, he came to know Jesus as his Savior. He is now 78 and has not had a drink in all those years. He speaks of being in the muck and being pulled out in his former job (he is retired) with a major pipeline. His reference to Psalm 69 was so refreshing because he was able to make a great application with it. And he also spoke of how Jesus did that for him. He now stands on the Rock-Jesus-his refuge and strength. What a refreshing visit it was!  May his tribe increase!!

May my heart be as tender to God’s help and saving grace as his.

“Father, You are my strength. My rock. My refuge. May I always acknowledge that and live that.”