I want to thank you for your prayers as we have been working to clean Mom’s home. It was a couple of months of adventure that were full of tears, laughter, good memories, sad memories and so much favor of the Lord. As we sorted through box after box we opened up mom’s life. We saw who she was and what she loved and collected for 85+ years. We see who she is today and who she was every year in between. She loved to collect. She collected teacups and saucers, carousel horses, humming birds, roses, pretty dishes, old books, antiques, plus her 300+ paintings she poured her heart into over the years. By the time we were done anyone that even walked through her underground home at the estate sales “knew” her. She has filled her 93 years with lovely things, and she shared love d the Lord with everyone.
Now we are done traveling for a season and ready to stay home and celebrate this next season. I have gotten so far behind on things and thought I need to get a list going. This week the Lord spoke to me about “The List”. This time of year, it’s easy to have a list or two going. There’s the Christmas List – Thanksgiving dinner list – Christmas card list – Decoration List – Party list, gift list and the list goes on:) One day I was making a mental list of everything that is on my plate at this time. I knew I needed to get to writing down all I was thinking, or I would forget it. I want and feel we need a special Christmas time. I want to do fun things, enjoy the lights and decorations. Mom needs this distraction right now too. She loves all the pretty things. How easy it would be to get caught up in the stuff and miss the intimacy of the Christmas season. The list can go on and on in my head and in my heart. Then He said, “Look at how much space these things take up in your mind and heart!” They are real life issues, but they will just fall into place as I keep my heart and mind on Him. I will think on what is His Life!!
There’s no way to avoid life – situations – responsibilities. But He gives us His answer to all this that we all have heard, “ Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” Philippians 4:8 The last few months the Lord has been speaking to my heart in ways I can’t explain. He is working so deep that there is no way I can even try to do any of it myself and I don’t want to.
Life is sometimes difficult to understand. I don’t truly comprehend all He is doing right now but I do know I am where I am supposed to be. I don’t think my attitude sometimes is as willing to be content, but His grace, faith and mercy are in me, around me, all over me and I feel it. Sometimes I have carried that attitude of the Little Engine that Could. It’s a truth that we can make it through anything with Him as our Savior and Lord but it is not a truth that we have to carry the burdens. Life has burdens. Burdens come from life and sometimes we cause our burdens and other times we just get bombarded with stuff from this life. The Truth is He says to cast the burdens on Him. “casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].” 1 Peter 5:7 One of the greatest ways to be able to cast our burdens and leave them there is to have a heart full of joy and thanksgiving. This doesn’t just happen; we make a choice to go to Him and His Word daily. In Him is where we find all our answers and since we are in Him, and His Word is in us joy and thanksgiving can flow effortlessly. It’s all a decision of our heart. I must guard my heart from the pressures and concerns of life. I guard it through the Word, keeping His Word before my eyes and ear
Verses to keep before our eyes:
“Play the guitar as you lift your praises loaded with thanksgiving. Sing and make joyous music with all you’ve got inside”. Psalm 33:2
“Lift up a great shout of joy to Yahweh! Go ahead and do it—everyone, everywhere! You can pass through his open gates with the password of praise. Come right into his presence with thanksgiving. Come bring your thank offering to him and affectionately bless his beautiful name!” Psalm 100:1,4
“Sing out with songs of thanksgiving to the Lord! Let’s sing our praises with melodies overflowing!” Psalm 147:7
“Singing: “Amen! Praise and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might belong to our God forever and ever! Amen!”” Revelation 7:12
“And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“My heart and soul explode with joy—full of glory! Even my body will rest confident and secure. Because of you, I know the path of life, as I taste the fullness of joy in your presence. At your right side I experience divine pleasures forevermore!”
Psalm 16:9, 11
“Lord! I’m bursting with joy over what you’ve done for me! My lips are full of perpetual praise.” Psalm 34:1
Have a wonderful week of thanksgiving. Take time to really soak in His presence and love.
We all have so much to be thankful for. No matter the circumstances and challenges life has thrown at us, we walk through those valleys because of the love of our Father and Jesus. He loves us with an everlasting love and His mercies are new every morning. Each day as I watch the sun rise, the display of His glory for this new day is just breath taking. How can we not believe in Him and His love?
We’ve been pastoring for over 30 years. The heart of a pastor cares so much for the people. We can’t even explain our love and thankfulness for each of you. The Lord called us to share His love with you and we can sincerely say our hearts have always been to love people, no matter what, and show them that love through Him. We thank the Lord for bringing you to this church family. We take our calling seriously, with deep commitment, thankfulness and honor. Thank you for loving us. We are so blessed. How could we ever thank God enough for all the wonderful joy that we feel before our God because of you? 1 Thessalonians 3:9
We always have to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, for you are dearly loved by the Lord. He proved it by choosing you from the beginning for salvation through the Spirit, who set you apart for holiness, and through your belief in the truth. To this end he handpicked you for salvation through the gospel so that you would have the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, dear family, stand firm with a masterful grip of the teachings we gave you, either by word of mouth or by our letter. Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in his wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in his eyes. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17