When a Flood Comes

Feeling overwhelmed?  Stressed out?  Facing a flood of sorrow, pain, economic problems?

flood

We all have those times in life.  Times when we may even question if God cares.  If God even exists.

When we are struggling through a difficult time we do not need a “Pollyanna” quoting scripture or telling us “it will be alright.”

pollyanna

While I certainly do not want to be guilty of that, I have been thinking of some of my friends who are currently going through tough times.  Remembering tough times that I have experienced.

Natural floods are terrible events, destroying homes, lives, communities.  For anyone who has been through such an event, I cannot begin to imagine how you must feel.  But in reading about floods, I have discovered that not everything about a flood is destructive.  There are good things that come from a flood.

Wetlands provide nutrient-rich sediments that give support to plant and animal life.  These wetlands, in return, affect air quality for humans and support healthy fisheries.

wetlands

Floods also deposit river sediments and these sediments replenish nutrients in topsoil.  These distribution of river sediments make farmland more fertile.  Think of the ancient civilizations that flourish along the floodplains of the Nile, the Tigris and the Yellow rivers.

Flood waters also absorb into the ground and recharge underground aquifers.  This brings fresh water to natural springs, wells, rivers and lakes.  Many populations depend upon ground water and this replenishes these sources of fresh water.

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As in the natural world, so in the spiritual.  Tough times are – well – tough.  No one would choose to go through those floods.  But when they come – and they do – it helps to know there are also blessings to be gained if we will remain steadfast in our faith in the Lord.

In my tough times I have found one of the best, if not the best, antidote to despair, depression, or giving up is the Word of God.

W. Phillip Keller said it best:

“For all of us there are bound to be formidable “floods” in the stream of life.  Just as Joshua and Israel faced a raging river that overflowed its banks and inundated its flood plain, so will we.  God does not try to hold us back from the          rampaging currents of life.  He does not ask us to retreat or withdraw from that threat which would seem to engulf us.  He does not urge us to try and find some way around the apparently impossible barriers before us.  Rather He asks us to believe quietly that:

* It is He who brought us here.

* It is He who will keep and preserve us here.

* It is He who will take us on from here.

This is faith in action.  This is the private, positive response of the person whose confidence reposes in Christ.”

I love this portion of scripture in 1 Corinthians.  If you are struggling right now, I hope it will encourage you.

“And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.”

 

 

Are You Called?

God's call

As followers of Jesus Christ, we sometimes hear people speak about receiving a call from God.  Some are very certain they have received a call from God for a certain ministry or a certain job or even a certain place to live.

In the Bible we read of several dramatic calls of God.

There was Moses and the burning bush.

Moses

Little Samuel who heard the voice of God calling him in the night.

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And the very dramatic call of Saul who was persecuting the church but became the Apostle Paul after his encounter with Jesus.

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Yet, for many who follow Jesus there has been no dramatic call, no definite word from God as to the vocation they should pursue.  For those who feel they have never had a definite moment when they sensed God leading them into an area of ministry, they sometimes feel as if they are second-class Christians, not as spiritual as those who have felt a definite “call of God.” 

There is clearly nothing wrong with those who have a clear “calling” from God.  But whether you ever have that “burning bush” moment, whether you ever know without a doubt what God has called you to do, you can rest assured God has called you.

Called you to what?

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.  1 Peter 2:9

Peter tells us that we have been called to be a priest.  When we think about the duties of a priest, we must remember that Peter was writing this at a time before organized religion with its priesthood.  He would be thinking of the priesthood as defined in the Old Testament.  This subject, I confess, is beyond my own training and knowledge but looking at the Levitical priesthood and comparing that to our being priests I saw these similarities:

  •  In order to be a priest you had to belong to a certain family.  You had to be a descendent of their first priest Aaron.  As someone called to priestly work today, we also have to belong to a certain family.  And by belief in Jesus Christ, we do,

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  John 1:12-13

  • Great emphasis was put on the Old Testament priest to be “holy.”  They could not come into the temple to administer the sacrifices without proper cleansing.  There would many rules about how they had to live and even dress.  So God has called us to live a pure life as we serve Him.

So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.  1 Peter 1:14-15

  • Function of the priests were to serve both God and man.  This is what we all are called to do, regardless of whether we feel we have received a “special calling.”

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  John 13:12-14

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Colossians 3:23

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.  Romans 12:1

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.  1 Corinthians 15:58

I think these scriptures show us that whether we are a secretary, a fireman, a teacher, a doctor, a nurse, a stay-at-home mom, whatever  we are – we have a calling from God.

  • Serve others
  • Whatever your job, give it your very best as to the Lord
  • Live a life that is worthy of the name “Christian”

 

 

 

 

God’s Promises for the “Old Folks”

As I wrote a few weeks ago, turning 70 was an emotional time for me.

I’m “Officially” Old!

getting old 1

In sharing with one of my good friends, who recently also turned 70, we came up with some quotes about being old.  (Can’t claim these as originals.)

You know you are getting old when:

  • You used to do the shuffle; now you just shuffle along with the lost.
  • The twinkle in your eye is only the reflection of the sun on your bifocals.
  • You remember when you could refer to your knees as left and right instead of good and bad.
  • You can remember getting through a day without taking a picture of anything.
  • Your idea of a night out is sitting on the patio.
  • Most of the names in your address book start with “Dr.”

And the one thing I really love about growing old:

getting old

I had to laugh at this one.  My granddaughter recently had a sleepover at our house.  When she comes over, she comes prepared for Grandma to do nothing but play with her.  I try to keep up with her but often find I need to excuse myself to use the bathroom.  At one point she asked so innocently,

Grandma, why do you go to the bathroom so much?

I just thought,

Someday you will know little one.

But in reading God’s Word I found some wonderful thoughts on how God views the older generation.  I love these.

Gray hair is a mark of distinction; the award for a God-loyal life.  Proverbs 16:31

That is why we never give up.  Though our bodies are dying, our inner strength in the Lord is growing every day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the LORD’s own house.  They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.  Psalm 92:14-14

I will be your God throughout your lifetime until your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.  Isaiah 46:4

Not that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.  Psalm 71:18

All my life I have been active working for the Lord in my church. You name it, I have probably done it. Worked in nursery, played the piano for worship, led the women’s ministry, organized kids klubs, taught Bible classes and even cleaned the toilet.  Now my age and energy have limited how much of that I can do.

Yet I have many more years and I want to still be of service to the Lord.  As I have sought the Lord for what He would have me do in this “last stage” of life, I found a new purpose – to be an encourager for the younger women who are now doing the work I used to do.

To pray for them and speak words of encouragement. To be there to offer advice (only if asked); otherwise to just let them know someone is in their corner cheering them on.

So I have discovered:

Sometimes you get to what you thought was the end….and you find it’s a whole new beginning.

beginning

 

 

Have You Had Your Checkup?

doctor

Every six months I get a routine checkup from my doctor.  She checks my A1C, my cholesterol, vitamin D levels, my blood pressure.  She listens to my heart and takes a look at my ears and my throat.  We discuss any problems I might have.

I keep these appointments faithfully not because I am sick but because I want to make sure I remain healthy.  By seeing her on a regular basis and discussing my health if something does go wrong, we can catch it before it is a serious threat to my life.

As a follower of Christ, I think it is good that I also do a routine checkup on my spiritual life.

Some questions I ask myself:

  1. Am I sharing the good news of Jesus or just sharing my own ideas?  Do I study God’s Word so I know what it says or do I just pass on what someone else says without bothering to check God’s Word for the truth?
  2. Am I making those in my cirlce a matter of intense prayer.  What am I doing to reach beyond my own circle?  Am I praying for other groups of people, other nations or only “my four and no more”?
  3. Am really living in agreement with what I say I believe? Do I “walk the walk” or only “talk the talk”?
  4. An old song I used to hear goes through my mind when I ask these questions.  That song said:

If I were arrested for being a Christian, would there by any evidence to convict me?

 

guilty

 

 

Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did….1 John 2:6

spiritual checkkup

 

 

 

The Joy of Being Number 2

We all love a winner!

#1

We hold parades, parties, all kinds of celebrations when our team becomes state champion.  Coming in second in a state-wide contest leaves people feeling so dejected.  They seem to forget that being second means they have beat out many other teams.

#1 team

In the Olympics, athletics say they are going for the gold.  You don’t win silver, you lose gold.

This desire to be number 1 is not necessarily a bad thing.  To try to do your best, to succeed, to take pride in what you achieve, to have a healthy self-esteem are all good qualities.

But when that desire to be number 1 becomes so important that it leads us to step on others to reach the top, to despair when we do not achieve first place or to be overly prideful when we do, it has become a negative influence in our life.

For years I struggled with being number 2.  As a pastor’s wife, I worked right alongside my husband.  I visited women who were in the hospital, counseled those who were struggling with issues of life.  I taught Bible classes, played the piano and led the Christian Education department in the churches where my husband was pastor.  My youngest daughter and I went to the Philippines with my husband as missionaries.  While there we also taught classes and worked with churches.  Many Sundays, we each went to a different church to speak.  My daughter conducted a Kids Klub and the children in the neighborhood called her “Tita” or “aunt.”  I conducted a Bible class for a group of professional women and taught leadership classes to one church’s leadership board.

Yet when we returned to the states and visited the churches who had supported us to give a report of our work, they always introduced my husband and talked about the work he had done there.  It was usually

We are glad to have Pastor Paul and his family with us today.  Pastor Paul recently returned from the Philippines where he……..

A few times my daughter asked me “Were we there too?  Did we do anything?”

But slowly God helped me to see that my motive in working for God must always be to do His will and not to expect or even desire recognition for my efforts.

And it was through reading about Barnabas “the Encourager” in the Bible that I found  my role model for all I do.

We first meet Barnabas in Acts 4 where we are told his real name is Joses.  But the apostles nicknamed him Barnabas “Son of Encouragement.”

Barnabas

And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

I love that thought.  To be a person that so encourages others that he becomes known not by his real name but by the nickname of “The Encourager.”  That has been my prayer – that I would be someone who encourages, builds up, strengthens others.

The next time we meet Barnabas the gospel has been received in Antioch.  When news of the new group of Christians there reached the church in Jerusalem, they sent Barnabas to meet with the Christians there.  And there again he encouraged.

News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.   When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.   He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

We see Barnabas having success in the work at Antioch.  So what did he do?  He headed off to Tarsus to find Saul (who became known as Paul, the writer of much of the New Testament). 

Barnabas had been Saul’s friend when he first became a Christian.  The church at Jerusalem was afraid of Saul because they knew how he had persecuted the Christians.  But Barnabas, stepped in and told them Saul was a new man. 

When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.

Barnabas brought Paul back to Antioch where the two of them worked together sharing the gospel with the new church there.  As you read the story in the book of Acts, you see for quite a while it is “Barnabas and Paul.”  Later in the story it becomes “Paul and Barnabas.”

This is the joy of being willing to be number 2.  Barnabas brought Paul from basically exile in Tarsus and encouraged him to become a main leader in the early church.

Barnabas and Paul

The church writes, speaks, quotes Paul a lot.  There are churches all over the world named after him.

But it was Barnabas, “the Encourager” who no doubt encouraged Paul to follow the calling of God on his life.  We know God had called Paul to the work of bringing the gospel to the Gentiles so he would obviously do that because God is in control.  But I like to think that God used Barnabas to help Paul step up and fulfill the call of God on his life.

Finally we see the heart of Barnabas when later in his ministry with Paul, the young man John Mark wanted to go with them on their second missionary journey.  Paul refused to take John Mark with them because he had left them halfway through their first missionary journey.  Paul was not willing to give him a second chance.  But Barnabas’ heart was that of an encourager.  He insisted John Mark be given a second chance.

Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.”  Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,  but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.  They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,  but Paul chose Silas and left,

Most Bible scholars believe this John Mark was the one who wrote the Gospel of Mark.  So again Barnabas was instrumental in helping another young man fulfill the work of God in his life.

That’s what I have asked God to help me be.  That one that encourages others to follow the call of God on their life.

barbabas

When we get to heaven, I imagine the lines will be long for those wanting to speak to Paul.  That’s okay.  But I’m going to look up Barnabas and tell him how he was my role model in life.

 

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.          1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

Angels All About Us

I was recently asked to give a speech to a women’s group on the subject of angels.  As I began to research this subject, I realized I do not remember ever hearing a sermon on angels, or being in a Bible study on the subject of angels.

While I do not remember hearing that much about angels in the church, the world at large is getting quite interested in them.  Unfortunately, the portrayal of angels that we see on TV and in the movies often fall far short of the Biblical description of them.  I collect angels, but I must confess the angels in my collection look nothing like the description of angels in the Bible.   The angels in my collection either look like beautiful young women – gorgeous enough to be Miss America – or little, fat winged infants half-dressed.

angelsangels 3

These portrayals put them more in the category of fairy tales and fantasy than messengers of the Most High God.

No wonder they seem unbelievable to many people.  On the other hand, many who are disillusioned with our modern secular world are turning to the supernatural.  You can now find many who claim to have angel encounters with the angel of a tree or a flower.

To live by Scripture rather than the ideas of the world means that we have our own way of thinking about angels. The fact that we have neglected them, or been taken in by the movie, TV, greeting card or New Age version of them, tells us we had better get back to the Bible and its description of angels.

Angels are mentioned at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament.  While the Scriptures give no definite figures, we are told that the number of angels is very great.  Since angels are spiritual rather than physical beings, they don’t have to be visible at all.  Elisha once prayed that his servant would see the armies of angels surrounding the city, and the young man discovered that he had overlooked a lot of invisible beings.   When angels do appear, they generally appear in the form of men.

In Genesis 18, Abraham welcomed three angelic guests who appeared at first to be nothing more than some travelers. In the following chapter, two angels went to Sodom where they were assumed to be simply a pair of human visitors.    Sometimes an angel appears to be a man with unusual features. Daniel saw an angel with arms and legs resembling polished metal and precious stones, and a face like lightning. The angel that rolled back the stone from Christ’s tomb was radiating dazzling light.   The books of Isaiah and Revelation describe some highly unusual beings referred to as seraphim and living creatures.

Angels in the Bible never appear as cute, chubby infants! They are always full-grown adults. When people in the Bible saw an angel, their typical response was to fall on their faces in fear and awe, not to reach out and tickle an adorable baby.

angels 4

We don’t know whether every angel carries out the same tasks, or whether some of them specialize in certain areas. The Bible does speak about classes of angelic beings like cherubim, seraphim and archangels.  We are even told the names of two notable angels both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament:  Michael and Gabriel.

The unnamed angels who appear most often in Scripture carry out a variety of tasks—all designed to serve God…

  • Worship and Praise

Isaiah 6:1-4 – In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.  Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”   And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.”

Revelations 4:8 – The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:  “Holy, holy, holy,   Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”

What is exciting to me is that Revelation gives a hint that we will one day join these angels in worshipping God.

Revelation 5:11-13 – Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice:  “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”  And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:  “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

  • Angels have a second ministry in Scripture. They are there for news as well as praise. In fact, the Greek word for angel is “messenger of God.”

We see this ministry in the Christmas story.

Luke 1:28-31 – And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”  But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.   Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.   And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.

Luke 2:8-14 – Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”   And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:  “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

In fact, we see angels at every turn of the life of Jesus Christ — at the end as well as at the beginning.

  • It was an angel that announced to Zacharias that he and Elizabeth would be the parents of a man we call John the Baptist.
  • It was an angel that appeared in a dream to Joseph to reassure him that the child Mary was carrying was the Son of God.
  • It was angels that rolled away the stone at the grave of Jesus and appeared to the women to tell them that Jesus was risen.
  • It was angels that appeared to the disciples after Jesus had risen into heaven and told them that this same Jesus would come again.
  • Jesus Himself said that He would return someday with His angels

Third ministry – the one I want to really think about today is that angels are used by God to help us.

  • They guide us
    • Joseph at the birth of Jesus
    • The women at the tomb
    • Cornelius in the book of Acts
    • Phillip in the book of Acts – led him to the Ethiopian
  • They protect us and deliver us
    • Lot and his family
    • Daniel in the den of lions
    • Disciples set free from prison and then later Peter
    • Even Jesus was ministered to by angels after his temptations and again in the garden just before going to the cross

Does that mean every human being has a “guardian angel”?  Only scripture I could find in the entire Bible is one where Jesus was speaking of the little children.  In Matthew 18:10 He says:

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Whether we can take from that one verse to say we all have a personal guardian angel –  I don’t know.

As Scripture teaches, the “hosts of heaven” — whole legions of angels — watch over us. We cannot settle for less.

Psalm 34:7 – The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them

Hebrews 1:14 – Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.

angels 5

In all these roles, biblical angels are about God’s business. They are instruments of God in the struggle with sin, evil, error and death. Their praise, news and deeds, therefore, have nothing to do with our private agendas. Here we part company with many popular views of angels. Angels do not spend time looking after our personal interests, or furnish us with horoscopes about our future or give us directions on how to plant flowers correctly. Angel “sightings,” so to speak, always have a godly purpose and must be tested to see if they witness — as the angel Gabriel did — to something about Christ, or in conformity to Scripture’s teaching.  Paul warned us in Galatians that even if an angel preached something contrary to the Word of God, we were to not accept it.  In fact, he said if such an angel appeared with a new doctrine, they should be cursed.

Scripture teaches us also that angels are not just a now-and-then occurrence. The angel hosts are everywhere! They are present wherever the truth of God hits home — in reading the Bible, in hearing a sermon, when our sin is forgiven by Christ’s word of mercy, when our life is changed.

But God’s business is not just conducted in church. It takes place in daily life. When we follow what we know is true and good, when we go against the crowd, when we “do the right thing,” the angels are present. In moments of consolation over the loss of a loved one, when healing happens, when truth is told, the angels have played their part. On the larger landscape, when our nation is saved from some foolish action by our leaders, when it does do “the right thing” instead of following a cowardly course, God is at work. But so are the angels! When a victim on a Jericho road is ministered to, when oppression is resisted and a deed of justice is done, the angel with the flaming sword has been at work.

You have all probably heard stories of missionaries who have been protected by angels.    You may have experienced yourself a time when you knew angels were looking out for you.

For those who take this leap of faith into the biblical world, life does begin to look different. If the hosts of angels do surround us, why should we get up in the morning so worried about this or that? Who is afraid of the terrorists? Of tyrants? Of sickness? Of death? O, yes, they can do a lot of damage. But can they do us in? Can they finally defeat God? Overcome Christ? No, the hosts of the angels of the Lord will not allow it! They shall overcome. We shall overcome!

While we thank God for that angelic host we must never worship them or give them a place that is due only to God.  We should never seek for an encounter with an angel.  If your experience of Christ and the Holy Spirit is so rich and full, there is no need for the angels to make themselves known. We don’t have to have angel sightings to make it through life. We have enough in our communion with Christ to last for a lifetime.

Are We Grateful?

I can’t take credit for this story.  I heard it somewhere along the way, but I don’t know who or where.  So – if anyone knows, please let me know.  But the story is so good as I think about how we fail so often to be grateful for our “every day” blessings.

coffee shop

One afternoon a shopper at the local mall felt the need for a coffee break.  She bought herself a little bag of cookies and put them in her shopping bag.  She then got in line for coffee, found a place to sit at one of the crowded tables, and then taking the lid off her coffee and taking out a magazine she began to sip her coffee and read.  Across the table from her a man sat reading a newspaper.   After a minute or two she reached out and took a cookie.   As she did, the man seated across the table reached out and took one too.  This put her off, but she did not say anything.

A few moments later she took another cookie.  Once again the man did so too.  Now she was getting a bit upset, but still she did not say anything.  After having a couple of sips of coffee she once again took another cookie.  So did the man.  She was really upset by this – especially since now only one cookie was left.  Apparently the man also realized that only one cookie was left.  Before she could say anything he took it, broke it in half, offered half to her, and proceeded to eat the other half himself.  Then he smiled at her and, putting the paper under his arm, rose and walked off.

Was she steamed!  Her coffee break ruined, already thinking ahead of how she would tell this offense to her family, she folded her magazine, opened her shopping bag, and there discovered her own unopened bag of cookies.

Recently my husband had a major surgery.  In recovering from that surgery he was reduced to having me do a lot of things for him that he would normally do.  That first week home I brought him medicine, put on his socks for him, basically waited on him “hand and foot.”

As he slowly regained his strength and began taking care of his own needs, we both thought about how we take for granted so much each day, how grateful we should be for the “little things.”

  • being able to get out of bed without anyone’s help
  • being able to put on our own socks and shoes
  • being able to walk outside and see the beautiful flowers
  • being able to get in the tub and have a relaxing bath

The list could go on and on, but we realize we need to be grateful for what we have instead of ungrateful for what we do not have.

“I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm. 9:1

“O Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” Psalm 95:1-3

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”       Psalm 103:1-5

“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Ephesus 5:20

Thank you Lord for waking me up this morning.  Thank you that I was able to fix my own breakfast, dress myself and enjoy another day of life.  Thank you that my husband is here with me to enjoy that cup of coffee.  Thank you that I can see the beautiful flowers starting to bloom.  Thank you for being able to speak to my children on the phone or share pictures with them on Facebook.  Most of all, thank you for your mercy and love to me.

What are you grateful for today?