Proclamation

Thanksgiving Day was never really supposed to be about the turkey, the pies or the football. And it certainly was not about Christmas sales. It was supposed to be about prayer and praise to Almighty God. Seems we’ve forgotten that. So here’s something to help us remember. These are the words of President Abraham Lincoln when he established the 4th Thursday of every November as the holiday we’ve come to know as Thanksgiving. I’ve highlighted some of the parts that I want to let sink in this week. Maybe we should start calling it “Thanksgiving and Praise Day”.

Now that would make us stop and think, wouldn’t it?

Thanksgiving proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln, October 3rd, 1863:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

courtesy of http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/thanks.htm

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

Anniversary

Ten years ago today I got a phone call that changed my life.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting in my car waiting outside an office for a scheduled appointment, and as is usually the case with me, I was early. So out of boredom, I called home from my cell phone to check the messages on my answering machine. Yes, we had answering machines in those days. It might have even had one of those tiny little cassettes.

And there it was. An offer from a publisher. To publish my book.

I don’t remember much about the appointment that followed, only that I’m amazed I kept it all together, pretending it was a normal day and that this was just another meeting I had to check off my to-do list. I wanted to scream, “Don’t you people understand that my life just changed???”

But I didn’t.

I went home and listened to the message again and returned the call and told them yes, I’d love to have them publish my book. And then I sat down at my kitchen table and wrote out a prayer in my quiet time journal before I made any other phone call to my family or friends. Because this was God’s project, not mine. And I needed to speak with Him about it first.

“Lord, you’re the first one I want to come to with this! A publisher wants to make me an offer! My head is spinning and I want to cry and laugh and jump all at the same time. It’s been a long road, but I entered a new path today. I don’t know where it will go from here, but “thanks” doesn’t seem like enough. Give me wisdom and discernment . I haven’t been down this route before, but You have, and You know how to take care of me”. And He has.

He gave me a platform to tell other single women what He had shown me about waiting and trusting and believing. And in His wisdom and love, He has kept me single myself. That wasn’t my plan, but I think sometimes that it’s opening more doors and giving me more credibility in the area of trusting God with the most personal desires of our hearts. And since that phone call in November of 2003, there has been a Spanish version published and both an English and Spanish blog, and God has brought me into contact with so many amazing people.

Because of a phone call.

It’s a reminder to me that God can change anything, anytime, in any way He wants. Sometimes we plod along for years waiting for The Big Moment we’ve dreamed of. Sometimes it’s not a Big Moment. Sometimes we just need to know God is still at work in our lives, in our challenges, in our everydays.

I didn’t wake up that morning thinking that it was the day that would change my life. I didn’t wake up this morning thinking that TODAY could change my life. But the great thing is knowing and believing that God can change anything, anytime, in any way He wants. Maybe today.

And I like that.

(And P.S. – Anticipatience is is being re-released as an e-book soon! Stay tuned!)

The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)

Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD. Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:4-5

For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. Ecclesiastes 9:1

Fair

“But it’s not fair!”

It’s usually something you hear from a child when some great injustice has been placed upon them, something like having to go to bed while others stay up, or getting a perceived smaller piece of cake than a sibling.

But truth be told, sometimes it’s the grown-ups who say it. Oh, maybe we don’t stamp our feet and cry and carry on, but somewhere deep in our hearts, we say it. And sometimes we say it to God.

We believe that life isn’t fair, that God treats others differently than us, that He blesses some and withholds blessing from others. We toy with the idea that He’s placed some great injustice upon us.

And apparently, mankind has had this tendency for some time.

Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is not fair”. Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair and your ways which are not fair?” Ezekiel 18:25

I’ve thought those words. I’ve always tried not to dwell on them, tried not give Satan a foothold. I know that if I linger on the “unfairness” of life, I’ll begin to doubt the goodness of God. But sometimes the “it’s not fair” slips through. I look at the blessings others have, I remember how long I’ve waited for some prayers to be answered, I think that others have an easier road to travel than I do.

And in doing so, I forget that God’s ways are higher than my ways, His knowledge is limitless, His wisdom so much better than mine.

I’ve always loved the end of the book of Job, where after Job’s friends have gone on and on about what they think Job has done wrong to deserve his misery and how they think he can fix it, God steps up and puts them all in their place.

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determines its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with its doors, when it burst forth and issued from the womb; when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band; when I fixed My limit for it, and set bars and doors; when I said, “This far you may come, but no farther and here your proud waves must stop!” (Job 38:4-11)

In other words, God knows exactly what He’s doing, and for us to question it or question Him or think we know better is silly and ignorant indeed. God’s ways are fair and if I am His child, His ways are for my good and my growth.

And there’s nothing unfair about that.

But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Romans 9:20

He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He. Deuteronomy 32:4

The LORD is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works. Psalm 145:17

The LORD is righteous in her midst,
He will do no unrighteousness.
Every morning He brings His justice to light;
He never fails,
But the unjust knows no shame. Zephaniah 3:5