Thanksgiving

Just in case the crowds, the cooking, the turkey, the traveling and the TSA have made you forget what it’s all about, here’s a reminder:

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. Psalm 95:2

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving.  Sing praises on the harp to our God. Psalm 147:7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:7

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.           Colossians 4:2

Response

Great faith is responding to God when it is hardest to do so, either when the thing He demands of you hurts or else seems totally impractical.  It is faith that continues to respond to the Word of God in the absence of outward encouragement. – John White

(as quoted in the book Faith Crisis by Ronald Dunn, Life Journey Books, 2007)

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”  Mark 9:23

Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”  John 11:40

 

 

Soar

I’m not sure where they go in the summer, but come November, they’re back.  They aren’t the prettiest of God’s creatures.  Downright ugly, actually.  But from down below, there’s something about watching them circle high above the earth that’s intriguing.

Yes, the turkey vultures are back.

Huge flocks of these enormous black birds are  all over the sky, soaring  to unbelievable altitudes.  From what I’ve read, they catch “thermals” (rising currents of warm air) and can stay up there for 6 hours without flapping a wing.  I’m impressed.  Supposedly, they are up there looking for prey, but sometimes they get so high I think they must be doing it just for fun. 

I also read that they soar so they can rest their wings.   What a contrast to the hyperactive little hummingbirds I watch at my parent’s house in the summer.  At  52 wing-flaps per second they flit here and there, darting and zooming and making it impossible to follow them for very long.

I think I’d like soaring better.  Maybe that’s why God tells us we can mount up with wings like eagles.  He doesn’t tell us to be all frantic and nervous like the hummingbird (as beautiful as they are).  He tells us to slow down, to wait on him, and renew our strength.   

So while the ruby throated hummingbird might be a whole lot prettier, flashier and more exciting, I’d rather be soaring with the big old birds who know how to catch the updrafts and rest.  They might not be as majestic as eagles, but I think they know they’ve got a good thing going on.

I think I’ll give soaring a try today.

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.  Psalm 37:7

For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

Perfect

Yesterday was perfect by South Florida standards.  OK, maybe it was perfect by my standards, but it was still a very good day.

A cold front blew in cooler, drier, humidity-free air. The sky was a breathtakingly cloudless turquoise blue. The palm trees seemed a shinier green than usual as they waved in the breeze. The water in the intracoastal waterway was sparkling.  The flowers and trees that bloom this time of year were brighter and more colorful.  And on top of all that, it was a Saturday, and I could thoroughly enjoy it.

It almost made me want to break out into song.

O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the works Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed,
Then sings my soul my Saviour God to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.

Of course God is in the not-so-perfect days as well.   And admittedly, I’m not so quick to break into song when I’m hot and cranky and tired of seemingly endless summers.   But then along comes a day like yesterday when God gives me a delightful reprieve, and it just does my heart good to be reminded of His power displayed through a “perfect” day. 

Then sings my soul.  Thanks, Lord.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork”.  Psalm 19:1

“PRAISE the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament!” Psalm 150:1

How Great Thou Art, Carl Boberg, 1885

Inescapable

It hit me from out of the blue.  There I was, mindlessly clicking through the blog of a woman who left the city, married a rancher and now is raising her family on the prairie and writing cookbooks that sell millions of copies. 

And then, I clicked on a perfectly framed picture she took of that amazing prairie view which came with a description of why she loved her wonderful life, and suddenly I became wistful…and overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed  with an ache to know what God is doing in my life, why I’m living in the tropics when what I’d really like to be doing is kicking through piles of leaves, why I’m managing my single life when what I’d really like to be doing is living with my own cowboy and raising my own little pack of ranch kids. (Maybe not literally, but the thought has crossed my mind that I think I’d enjoy the ranch life).

“God, is my life going on behind your back?”

Of course it’s not.  I knew better than that. It was just one of those questions that bubbles to the surface when one reflects too much.   I found myself turning to Psalm 139, which my Bible has titled,  “God’s all-seeing eye and inescapable presence”.

“Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up.  You understand my thought afar off.  You comprehend my path and my lying down.  And you are acquainted with all my ways…And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139: 1-3, 16)

While this isn’t where I expected to be at this point in my life, none of it is going on behind God’s back.  He fashioned my days and created my calendar and has me in this place (with palm trees), in these circumstances (still waiting), at this time (November, 2010) – for a reason.   And it’s all going on under His loving and watchful eye. 

So while I can still allow myself to wonder about prairie life and cowboys, this is still a pretty good place to be – in the inescapable presence of God.

Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are- the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”  Genesis  16:13

“Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the LORD; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD.  Jeremiah 23:24

Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  Psalm 121:4