I am grateful for this time of year that automatically calls for pretty little candy dishes filled with snacks of the season – snowball cookies, chex mix, yogurt pretzels, cathedral windows, ranch oyster crackers, peanut clusters, oreo cookie balls, chocolate kiss cookies, and last but not least, Mom’s accidentally-burnt peanut brittle.
I am grateful for time spent on the couch in front of the fire, re-reading our chapter for small group tomorrow evening.
I am grateful for the privilege of giving blood this morning at church and grateful for the friendly volunteers who made the time go quickly.
I am grateful for a hand written note on a paper towel I received in the mail last night from Delores that also included a beautiful handmade bouquet of flowers:
I am grateful for a new book to read – Jefferson Bethke’s Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough. I began it this morning on the blood giving bed, and I am having a hard time wanting to be at work. I’d much rather be smack dab in the middle of this book, on the couch, snuggled in warmth. My son-in-law recommended it by sending a text several months ago that said, “This book ROCKED MY WORLD!!” and after reading the introduction and first three pages of chapter one, I am kicking myself that I took so long to start it. Uh. I do believe it is about to become a new favorite.
What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion?
What if I told you getting you to vote Republican really wasn’t His mission?
What if I told you religious right doesn’t automatically mean Christian?
And just because you call some people blind, doesn’t automatically give you vision.
If religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?
Why does it build huge churches, but fail to feed the poor?
Tell single moms God doesn’t love them, if they’ve ever had a divorce?
Yet God in the Old Testament actually calls the religious people whores. – Jefferson Bethke
I am grateful that nothing was taken from our house yesterday when the front door was left open all afternoon (except for lots of heat), and I am grateful that as far as we can tell, we do not have uninvited guests who decided the house was warm and free to inhabit.
I am grateful for the surprise when I came home from the grocery store last night of baked potatoes for dinner, an inviting fire in the fireplace, and later, the smell of Chex Mix baking in the oven.
And I am grateful that I was reminded again this morning to be still and know that He is God:
Focus your entire being on My living Presence. I am most assuredly with you, enveloping you in My Love and Peace. While you relax in My Presence, I am molding your mind and cleansing your heart. I am recreating you into the one I designed you to be.
As you move from stillness into the activities of your day, do not relinquish your attentiveness to Me. If something troubles you, talk it over with Me. If you get bored with what you are doing, fill the time with prayers and praise. When someone irritates you, don’t let your thoughts linger on that person’s faults. Gently nudge your mind back to Me. Every moment is precious if you keep your focus on Me. Any day can be a good day, because My Presence permeates all time. – Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young
The people who know the celebratory shout are truly happy!
They walk in the light of your presence, Lord!
They rejoice in your name all day long
and are uplifted by your righteousness – Common English
1 John 3:19-20
Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. – New Living Translation
To the one who is able to protect you from falling,
and to present you blameless and rejoicing before his glorious presence,
to the only God our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
belong glory, majesty, power, and authority,
before all time, now and forever. Amen.