Sunday, December 30, 2012

Believe it or Not

"I can't believe it." 

That's what Curt said when he realized the milk he'd just put into the combined ingredients was sour. Boy, could I relate.

It seems the physical world is my Achilles heel, the enemy's bullseye when he takes aim. It could be as simple as buying the 'perfect container' only to discover it's 1/8 inch too tall. Or it might be tearing out the hem of my skirt when it catches on the buckle of my boot. Who ever heard of that?

I'm not sure why these annoyances are so difficult for me, but they are. I'm able to rise above them for a while. Then I'm jerked backward as I pass through a doorway when the belt on my robe catches on the door knob. I'm jolted out of my comfort zone and the next round begins.

So here's the question, why is it that we "can't believe it"? 

I mean, I'm sure these disruptions happen to everyone. Why do they get us down? Why do they catch us off guard?

I'm starting to think that maybe I need to devote a little more time to remembering the state of the world in which I live. It's a fallen world, tainted by sin. 
"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time". Romans 8:22  
Ah ha, so I'm not the only one who finds these aggravations groan-worthy. 

Maybe I should think about being more surprised and grateful when things do go according to my hopes or plans. Yes, that makes sense since Jesus is the One who directs it all. 
"The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." Hebrews 1:3a

The verse continues, "After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." Once Jesus accomplished His task in this fallen world He joined His Father above the fray. 

No wonder I so often feel out of step with my surroundings. I belong to Christ who sits enthroned above. 
"My Father, who has given them [my sheep] to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." John 10:29

The fallen world doesn't even know Christ so why would 'it' know me? 
"He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him." John 1:10

Sin brought death into the world, but Christ brings life to all who are in Him. 
"For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." Romans 5:17

Fallen world - things go wrong.
Christ reigns - heavenly peace.

Yup, it's time. Believe it!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Back at the Ranch

Well, okay. So it isn't a ranch, but it is home and that's where I am. 

I mentioned a while back about one of my successful attempts at pointing to the existence of God with the folks around me. [22 October, Who Knew?] The victory that day with the cashier at the grocery store has kept me pumped for the last two months. I finally saw her again last week so I directed our cart into her checkout line. 

To say I was excited to take the next step in my language learning and Truth sharing would have been more than accurate. I got my cart in order and made sure I was out of the way but ready. I stood quietly as she finished with the person before me, an 'older gentleman' who was having difficulty bagging his purchases. 

I kept a patient smile on my face as I practiced the words in my head. Dobry den. Jak se máš?

When the gentleman turned to walk away, I poured all the warmth and enthusiasm I could muster out through my eyes toward the cashier. I got out the "Hello", but I never got to utter my cheery "How are you?" The unhappy look on her face and the impatient tone of her voice drove the words from my lips. 

Oh no! I thought. What did she want to know? Oh, she said "... máte kartu." She wants to know if we have one of the special cards for regular customers. I need to give the right answer. 

I quickly responded, "Ne."

Okay, that was good, but now what? She's already grabbing items and passing them over the bar code reader. I have to start putting them into our little cart or they'll pile up and slow her routine. 

Bu ..., bu ..., but all I want to do is ask her how she is. I ought to be able to do that simple task while I'm loading our stuff. There isn't that much in words or food. 

Yet the Czech words don't re-materialize. The cashier holds up the bag of tangerines I forgot to weigh and Curt has to rush back to the scale to get a price sticker. Beads of glow [ladies don't sweat] appear as I concentrate on making progress with my packing up to cover my mistake.

Dear Lord, I wanted to take at least another babystep on behalf of your glory. Instead here I am just trying to keep from being a burden in this lady's day. She already seemed upset about something and I don't want to make it worse. Please come along side me here.

Curt reappears with the tangerines all properly weighed and tagged. 

God, bless him.

I've only got a couple more items to place on top as Curt pays the bill. He pockets the change. I tighten the drawstring.

"Děkujeme. Na shledanou." I say "Thank you very much" and "Good-bye" with as much appreciation as I can.

Phew! I don't ever want to repeat that experience.

A couple of thoughts come to mind. 

"Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." attributed to Francis of Assisi.

"Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." 1 Peter 2:12

"There sure is a lot more to living this expat lifestyle for the Lord than one might think." Lady in the Loge

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Trouble in River City!

I'm pretty confused at the moment. 

I don't think I've ever had so much trouble!

When a song grabs me I tend to listen to it over and over. It usually doesn't take long for the lyrics to stick in my brain. I've always thought it was because the tune and the words cling to each other and make the task easier. So I asked myself this morning, What's wrong?

I came across the song a while ago. When I caught myself singing a phrase from it here and there I decided I'd like to commit it to memory. Simple, I thought. I'll start with the first verse. 

After a week I still don't have the six lines down pat - most upsetting. When I'm reading the words I do just fine, but for some reason they don't seem to be sticking.

          Arise, my soul, arise,
          Shake off thy guilty fears.
          The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
          Before the throne my surety stands.
          Before the throne my surety stands,
          My name is written on His hands.

I was stumbling my way through the lines this morning when I stopped short. Okay, Sandra, it's time to figure this out. What's making this exercise so difficult? 

It took some humble consideration to realize that it might be because I was having trouble grasping the full meaning of the lyrics. Part of the reason the song means so much to me is that I recognize the negative influence "guilty fears" have had in my life. So that wasn't the problem.

I identified the places I was getting stuck; "in my behalf", "my surety", "my name". Either the words wouldn't come or my mind would substitute others in their place. Time to step back and ponder.

Perhaps I need to meditate on the implications of the lyrics for my own heart and life in order to be able to more easily commit them to memory.

The Risen Wound-bearing Christ appears before the throne of justice on MY BEHALF.

He stands there as MY GUARANTOR* paying the debt of perfect obedience I owe the Father. (repeated twice)

MY NAME is engraved on the hands of the Worthy Advocate who intercedes with the Holy Judge.

I'm thinking it's going to be a deep journey to memorize this hymn. Care to join me?



*Surety means "a person who takes responsibility for another's performance of an undertaking, for example their appearing in court or the payment of a debt." (widget dictionary)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Light & Life



This is our official Christmas tree for 2012. It's 13 inches tall, not including its pot. The ornaments on it are from Ohio, New Hampshire, Maine, and the Czech Republic. We think it's cute so positive comments only please. Thank you.

As I sit here contemplating our second Nativity celebration on the field I have to be honest that there are some delightful aspects and some less than optimal features. 

Our new home has us elevated well above the holiday hustle and bustle of the city. We had to prepare to ship our family presents well ahead of time so we haven't been engulfed by shopping fever. We're definitely looking forward to a quiet day to reflect on the incomparable gift of a Savior born in a stable.

The downside is that we don't have our family or any of our traditional decorations around us. The stockings my grandmother knitted are in storage. We will share our gift-opening fun with our grandchildren over skype where the hugs are not nearly warm enough. The distance can be difficult at times.

So where's the balance?
How do I/we decide if it's a good celebration or not? 

I realized today that my itty-bitty tree has the answer.


When I plug in the string of lights, the tree seems to come alive. The ornaments jump out to remind me of their significance. The variety and depth of the branches catch my attention. What was once a dark and cold image becomes a lively and warm delight.

So it is with my life. When I'm with Jesus the dark and cold becomes lively and warm. Hallelujah!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Deliverer is NEAR

I am not surrounded by human foes that verbalize threats as David was.

That might be too easy.

Instead I'm encircled, hounded by unseen challenges and irrational fears that threaten my peace.

Thankfully God PROMISES to answer my cries from His holy hill. 

I am able to sleep and awake because God SUSTAINS me. 

I call out for deliverance and it comes from the LORD. Hallelujah!




Psalm 3

A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.

Lord, how many are my foes!
    How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
    “God will not deliver him.[b]
But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.
Arise, Lord!
    Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
    break the teeth of the wicked.
From the Lord comes deliverance.
    May your blessing be on your people.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Alf Factor

                                               I'm an alien.

I don't look like Alf, but the label is still accurate - a foreigner, especially one who is not a naturalized citizen of the country where they are living. I live in the Czech Republic, but I hold a passport granted by the United States of America. Even my newly issued long-term resident visa doesn't change my alien status.

That's okay with me. There are loads of words that people use to identify themselves and those around them. Some are more accurate and/or more tasteful than others. The ultimate label is the one I seek. It's the "Well done, good and faithful servant!" found in Matthew 25:21, 23.

A word I stumbled across recently is causing me to consider the best plan to reach my goal. 

Available!

The way I look at it available is what Abraham was in Genesis 22:1, Jacob in Genesis 31:11, Israel in 46:2, Moses in Exodus 3:4, Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:4,5,6,8,16, Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8, David in Psalm 40:7,  and Christ in Hebrews 10:9 and Revelation 3:20. 

Avail means to use or take advantage of an opportunity or available resource.

Able means having the power, skill, means, or opportunity to do something.

So when I put myself at God's disposal, make myself available to Him, He can use all the power, skill, means and opportunities in and through me to accomplish His will. Now that's a pretty handy place to be for my servant quest and His glorious Name. 

Are you an alien? Whether you are or not, you can still be available.


PS   For clarification, I do know that alien can also mean a hypothetical or fictional being from another world. I am definitely NOT one of those no matter what you've heard on the grapevine.

Open Skies

The goodness of the LORD is all around us. Some days I recognize it more easily than others, but my awareness has no impact on His presence. Rather, His presence has everything to do with my awareness.

I've been reporting about my Abyss-Cave-Tunnel experience through my blog posts, 3 October and 8 November. It was a series of trials that lasted over several months which I hope never to repeat. I did my best to share the reality of the struggles though I pray God's graciousness stood out in stark relief against the harshness of my ordeal. It's only right that I let you in on the release from my confinement.

The physical sensations caught my attention first. It was as if I had come out of a dark and cramped enclosure and stepped into the middle of a wide expanse of open sky. I could feel the sun pouring its brilliance over me. The warmth of the rays evaporated the dankness of the underground chambers. It was as if I were seeing for the first time as I took in the colors that surrounded me. I simply couldn't process their harmonious hues fast enough.

I could feel my lungs expand as I breathed in the fragrance of the flowers. The fresh air going in and out caught me by surprise. I realized that I must have been holding my breath during my agony. For the first time in a very long while I was actually breathing freely. My mind flashed to the words of John 8:36, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." Then it jumped ahead to John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Thankfully I kept notes on the breakthroughs I gained because they allow me to share with you and remind myself as I do so.

Freedom from the Hot Seat
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1,2

I have been given a new and deeper awareness of the Truth of these verses. The battle that rages inside me is not me against myself to be able to do the right thing. It is my true self clothed in the righteousness of Christ warring against the flesh that heeds the call to sin. It's the same struggle Paul faced in Romans 7.

My pardon has already been effected through Christ's absolutely sinless life, substitutionary blood sacrifice, and victorious bodily resurrection. In light of the Son's work, the Father is not holding me on a 'hot seat' waiting for me to make a mistake so He can zap me. I stand in a fresh category of blessings.

"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, who sins are covered. Blessed is the man who whose sin the Lord will never count against him." Romans 4:7,8

"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit." Psalm 32:1,2

The joy and peace this new setting engenders causes me to realize that since I'm not on the 'hot seat' I no longer need to try to put anybody else on a 'hot seat' of any sort. Oh the freedom Truth brings!

Esteem God as God
"Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth." Psalm 46:10

It's not enough to know about God or have a nodding acquaintance with Him. It's not even enough to understand His gifts of grace and faith or love Him for who He is and all He does. I've come to appreciate the need to recognize and revere the God of Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 in His rightful place of sovereign authority.

  • God is not a 'placeholder' for human beings, such as a father, friend, husband, boss, or anyone else. God is holy and perfect in all His attributes while humans are imperfect in all their ways. I realized that often my understanding was backwards. I was looking at people to be perfect, getting frustrated when they weren't able to fulfill my expectations. Worse yet, I was getting angry with God, blaming him when people couldn't make things right according to my standards. God is God and there is no other.
  • God is not a 'gum ball machine' for petty pleasures. I can never hope to be good enough or smart enough or anything else enough to put the right 'coin' into a heavenly machine, pull the lever, and have my dreams come true. I need and want to be in relationship with Him, to grow so close that His will becomes my will. That will be blessed contentment no matter the circumstances. "Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:3,4
  • God is not a 'safety net' for used up resources. Yes, He promises to answer me when I cry out to Him in need. He does rescue me when all hope is gone. But need-based relationships are flawed. God wants and I crave more, much more. I want a Garden of Eden type of relationship that infiltrates my being. "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20
  • God is the great I AM. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He is worthy of ALL the gratitude, love, honor, praise, reverence, awe, respect, adoration, . . . I can muster, expressed in humble submission and devoted service. Yielding to Him in my being and obeying Him in my doing.

Psalm 146

Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. 
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. 
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them - the LORD, who remains faithful forever. 

He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. 
The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, 
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. 
The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. 
The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. 
Praise the LORD." Psalm 146:7-10

I was like a bird struggling in panic against a trapping net and then miraculously set free.

Psalm 124
A song of ascents. Of David.

If the LORD had not been on our side - let Israel say-
if the LORD had not been on our side when men attacked us, 
when their anger flared against us; they would have swallowed us alive;
the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, 
the raging waters would have swept us away.
Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird out of the fowlers' snare;
the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

I can claim no super powers, not even an extraordinary level of such things as spirituality or intelligence, skills or abilities. "From the LORD comes deliverance." Psalm 3:8

"He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me." Psalm 18:19

The Almighty and Holy Creator and Sustainer could have left me in the dungeon of my confusion and fears. Instead He held me close. He showed me the way. He brought me out into open skies. His motives and purposes are His own and I am humbled before them. May He make Himself likewise known to you. Amen

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Heart-cry

O Dear LORD, hear my desire for my
  • understanding to be according to Your Word.
  • requests to appear before you.
  • deliverance to be according to Your promise.
  • lips to overflow with praise to You.
  • education to be on Your decrees.
  • tongue to sing of Your Word.
  • help to come quickly from Your hand.
  • heart to delight in Your Law.
  • life to praise You.
  • sustenance to be Your laws.
I have wandered away like a helpless lamb, please find me since I am remembering Your directions.

Psalm 119:169-176
         Tau
May my cry come before you, O LORD;
give me understanding according to your word.
May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.
May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, O LORD,
and your law is my delight.
Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Karate Kristmas

Please excuse my playful spelling in the title of this post. It's not an attempt to take CHrist out of the season we're in at the moment. I could tell you I couldn't help myself when I chose it, but that wouldn't be true. 

Circumstances of the last couple of weeks have caused me to ponder how preparations for any event can throw the regular routine of our lives out of balance. It seems that for followers of Jesus Christ the celebration of His birth into this world is a prime example of what I mean. 

If you remember the Karate Kid in the first movie, you'll recall that in the heat of battle his opponent injured his leg. The strategy he used to address the situation was to lift the damaged leg and adopt the well-known crane stance. He was in the midst of physical conflict he stopped and took the time to get himself back in balance before plunging onward.

In recent days I've been feeling like the Karate Kid myself. My leg wasn't hurt in a martial arts showdown, but I'm definitely sore. The rush and crush of the holiday pace has taken its toll on me. The tension arises between wanting to bask in the Father's love as expressed in sacrificing His only Son for my benefit and to make all proper arrangements in our home for the celebration of that Son's natal arrival. 

I'm beginning to think the Karate Kid had the right idea. I've been noticing the effectiveness of spending some quality time on my knees and in the Word at the beginning of each day. When I make sure to stop and meditate on the Truths of Scripture I find myself feeling more peaceful and confident. It's as if my heart and mind are back in balance, more able to meet the demands of the day.

I still can't hold myself up on one foot with my arms in the air. I haven't been awarded a belt of any color for my self-defense prowess. I'm just trying to keep the image of the Karate Kid with me as I approach Kristmas.

I know it's a mixed metaphor, but Matthew 11:28-30 comes to mind.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Meditation

Thank you, Father, for hearing my cry for help. Your nearness to me in the midst of trials of all kinds allows feelings of expectation to rise.

Thank you for clothing me in the righteousness of Christ. Your application of the perfect, sinless life He lived in this fallen world to my account allows me to raise my voice in Your throne room.

Please cause me to set aside flimsy cynicisms and quests, mere rituals and roles that I might dwell in Your presence (being) and live in response to Your will (doing). Please undertake the following for Your own glory. Amen
  • Keep me humble.
  • Lead me in the way to go.
  • Cause joy to abound in me.
  • Spread protection over my life.
  • Bless me in Christ's righteousness.
  • Surround me with the shield of divine favor.


Psalm 5

For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.

Listen to my words, Lord,
    consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help,
    my King and my God,
    for to you I pray.
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
    with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand
    in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
    you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
    you, Lord, detest.
But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.
Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies—
    make your way straight before me.
Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
    their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
    with their tongues they tell lies.
10 Declare them guilty, O God!
    Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
    for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
    let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
    you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Harried Holidays

God I need relief, mercy, attention.


I don't know about you, but I'm in the midst of way too many responsibilities and far too much pressure. Over time I've come to understand that the Father arranges these phases that I might draw closer to Him as I recognize my own inadequacies. I am thankful for His spiritual exercises. 

God points out the danger of letting my focus waiver toward fantasy and falsehood. My heart and mind need to be intentionally and firmly focused on Him and His Truth. He reminds me that He has set me apart for Himself, and that He WILL HEAR ME when I call.

I look toward heaven as I fight the battles of flurry, frustration, and fatigue. I apply effort at turning my heart and mind upward in the midst and using even my rest time to contemplate the person of Jehovah Jireh and His relationship toward me. I am speechless!

God calls me to lay everything at His feet and to TRUST Him. The King reminds me of His plan to bless me with the basics of life as well as greater gifts, such as light and joy. 

I notice my spiritual muscles are developing. I am more able to rest in tranquility day and night as I remember and embrace the reality that God is the ONLY ONE who can and does establish me securely. 

How are you coping as the holiday season gets underway? Are you making the most of this fresh opportunity to come to know God more fully and rely on Him more completely? 

I'd enjoy hearing how you're doing.


Psalm 4

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.

Answer me when I call to you,
    my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
    have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
    How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.
Tremble and do not sin;
    when you are on your beds,
    search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
    and trust in the Lord.
Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
    Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy
    when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Escape Destruction

Rebellion
The rulers of the earth scheme together to throw off the restraints of the Law Giver and His Judge.

Response
The LORD mocks, rebukes, and horrifies in wrath as He announces His Son, the Ruling Reconciler.

Recourse
Heed the alert, O rulers, serve The LORD, rejoice in humility, and embrace The Son to avoid destruction and enter the Blessed Shelter.


Psalm 2

Why do the nations conspire
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand
    and the rulers gather together
against the Lord
    and against his Anointed One.
“Let us break their chains,” they say,
    “and throw off their fetters.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
    the Lord scoffs at them.
Then he rebukes them in his anger
    and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.
I will proclaim the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have become your Father.
Ask of me,
    and I will make the nations your inheritance,
    the ends of the earth your possession.
You will rule them with an iron scepter;
    you will dash them to pieces like pottery.
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
    be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry
    and you be destroyed in your way,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
    Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Frozen Thanks-giving

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5:18


I'm finding it pretty easy to be in a thankful mood today. My daughter bought me a pint of my very favorite ice cream to eat all by myself. It's a treat I haven't enjoyed for over a year. As you can see from the photo it's already half gone and I'm going to swallow the rest as soon as this blog is done. So this will be brief.

Besides enjoying my surprise, I am enveloped in the blessings of our family dinner table. Thanks-giving is my favorite holiday. The opportunity to tell each other the things for which we are thankful is an annual event that warms my heart. This year though my Honey isn't by my side so the joy is tempered.

You see, I'm in the USA and he's still at home in Prague.

There's another detail that's sobering my thoughts. It's the ads I've seen about extending Black Friday sales into Thanks-giving evening. I've been convicted recently about my less-than-ideal level of gratitude for all the blessings God pours down on me. The increased pressure to buy more is not a welcome visitor to my holiday.

I'm working hard to clarify the difference between the desire and the need categories. Cherry Garcia definitely qualifies as a desire rather than a need. As a matter of fact, I've been noticing that there are a lot of things around here that sit fully inside the desire category. My passport country seems to have a lot more enticement to confuse the two than my host country.

I'm thankful to be here for now because that's God's directions. I'll be thankful when I go home for the same reason. How about you? Are you thankful where you are? Tell me why.

Father, I'm grateful that you moved us to Prague. Please get me back to my Honey right on time. Thank you, in Jesus' Name. Amen

Monday, November 19, 2012

Plentiful Praises

Praise God a dozen times.

Where?
Praise Him in His sanctuary, in His mighty heavens.

Why?
Praise Him for His acts of power, for His surpassing greatness.

How?
Praise Him with the resounding trumpet, with the harp and lyre, with tambourine and dancing, with the strings and flute, with the clash of cymbals.

Who?
Let everything that has breath praise Him.

Psalm 150

Praise the LORD.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD.