Thanksgiving Branch

Thursday, November 15, 2012

On Thanksgiving Day millions of Americans will gather with loved ones to celebrate our blessings. This year I created a Thanksgiving branch arrangement as a reminder of the blessings of friends and family. When guests come to my home during the season, I ask them to write a blessing or two on a card and then I hang it on a branch in the arrangement. It’s been a great addition to my holiday traditions and I enjoy reading what my friends and family hold dear. Most people list their relationships and their faith. We could all fill a Thanksgiving blessing branch to overflowing with our own list of blessings. My blessings seem to fall into these categories: faith, family, friends, favor, and focus.
  • Faith in a God that is good – always good.
  • Family that makes me laugh and loves me in spite of myself.
  • Friends who loyal and loving and funny and kind. 
  • Favor given by God who calls each of us his “favorite.” 
  • Focus on my life’s purpose.
"Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his faithful love endures forever!" Psalm 107

Another Thanksgiving idea…. provides a great idea to remind us of our nation’s blessings. The snack mix favor called Thanksgiving Blessing Mix includes a Thanksgiving Blessing to share with family and friends during the holiday.
 2 cups Bugles brand corn snacks
 2 cups small pretzels
 1 cup candy corn
 1 cup dried fruit bits or raisins
 1 cup peanuts or sunflower seeds
 1 cup M&Ms-brand chocolate candy
 16 Hershey's-brand chocolate kisses
 In a large bowl, gently mix all ingredients except Hershey's Kisses.
 Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup Thanksgiving Blessing Mix in small cellophane treat bags. Add one Hershey's Kiss to each bag. Close bag with chenille stem or twist-tie.
Makes 16 Blessing Mix gift bags.
Thanksgiving Blessing
Bugles: Shaped like a cornucopia or Horn of Plenty, a symbol of our nation's abundance.
 Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.
Candy corn: Sacrifices of the Pilgrims' first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on just a few kernels of corn a day.
 Nuts or seeds: Promise of a a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.
 Dried fruits: Harvest gifts of our bountiful land.
 M&Ms: Memories of those who came before us to guide us to a blessed future.
 Hershey's Kiss: The love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.

Troubled Waters

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Do you remember a day you waited for with great anticipation and excitement? It may have been a birthday, a holiday, a wedding, a graduation, or a special event. You probably thought about it often, maybe you dreamed about it, and you probably talked about it frequently to your friends and family. Depending on your personality, you may have had some anxiety because of the challenges involved in the occasion.

Imagine the anticipation and excitement the Israelites faced as they stood before the Jordan River the evening before they were to cross over into the Promised Land. They knew that on the other side of the river they would find the life they had dreamed of.

The Israelites had been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. They had the Promised Land in sight but there was one problem: the Jordan River lay in their path. It was flooding season, and the waters were deep and turbulent. They most certainly felt anxious as they looked out over the swollen river and also considered the fortified cities that surrounded them. The Israelites had a spiritual mountain to overcome; they needed to pass through troubled waters. Even as we approach a momentous occasion, we are often faced with troubled waters.

Joshua gave the Israelites an encouraging word from God.

Then Joshua addressed the people: “Sanctify yourselves. Tomorrow God will work miracle-wonders among you.” Joshua 3:5

God did not make the rivers subside, but he gave Joshua a set of orders that he passed on to the rest of the camp.
1. Camp officers were to order the people to keep an eye on the Ark of the Covenant. As soon as they see the priests carrying it, they were to fall in behind.
2. The whole group was to expect something amazing to happen.
3. The priests were to pick up the ark and then go stand in the river.
This last command took courage. They had not experienced the parting of the Red Sea like the previous generation. They had wondered the desert, so the priests didn’t even know how to swim. But…the priests had faith that as soon as their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. The priests stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan River while the Israelites passed on to dry land. God stopped the river from flowing AFTER the priests put their feet in the water.
The Israelites shifted their focus from their mountain to God and God performed miracles. Their mountain became a miracle. They stepped out in faith right into the middle of troubled waters and God led them to the other side.
What mountains have your focus?
  • A financial problem
  • A troubled marriage
  • A struggling child
  • Poor self-esteem
  • A bad habit
  • A physical habit
  • A bad attitude
  • Family problems
Maybe we need to shift the focus of our prayer. Let’s quit focusing on the mountain. God knows our mountains. How does it look and sound when we focus on the mountain? We dwell on the problem. We try to work out the solution when what God wants is for us to step out in faith right in the middle of our mountain so that he can lead us to the other side.
Let’s focus our attention on the one who can move mountains.
Let’s spend time adoring him, confessing to him, thanking him, asking him to show us his presence. Let’s pray in faith. Let’s have the courage to step out in faith. God will work miracle wonders among you.

Leading Forward - by Templates para novo blogger