On Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. However you spend today, I pray the day is a joyful time full of thanks and gratitude for God’s bountiful rich blessings.

Amid all the joy of celebration, this day can sometimes be a challenge. Especially if there is an empty seat at our table. Or health issues restrict our ability to spend the day as we would like. Or others are unable to join us for whatever reason. Or unresolved problems threaten to steal our joy and thankfulness.

As we spend the day with those we love and enjoy, there might also be those with whom we disagree. Sandpaper people who irritate us and rub us the wrong way.

But you know what? They may feel the same way about us.

In Romans 12:18 the apostle Paul said, “As much as is possible, live peaceably with all men.”

Do you think Paul meant for us to live peaceably even during holiday get togethers when stress is at an all time high?

Probably.

Maybe Paul meant for us to live peaceably with others, as much as it depends on us, especially during holiday get togethers.

In preparation for Thanksgiving get togethers, one thing we might do is ask God to clothe us with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and self-control. We might ask for his power to help us bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances we have against one another. Forgive as we’ve been forgiven. Love as we are loved.

May not just today, but everyday, be filled with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, forgiveness, patience and self-control.

How do you like to spend Thanksgiving?

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Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Guest Post – I Am Adam

Today’s guest post, I Am Adam, written by Dave Peever first appeared on Live 4 Him.

I Am Adam

For those who are getting a little worried about what appears to be a continuous identity crisis, please remain calm. I understand that some of my posts could lead people to believe that I suffer from some sort of multiple personality disorder after all I have said that I am Mary, Thomas, Samuel and Peter. Do not be alarmed, I am Dave, I always have been Dave and I always will be Dave. That being said, I am Adam.

God’s creation was perfect until sin entered the world.

I must admit that based on my 52 year old body, I am not the “pre sin entering the world” Adam. Actually, based on the processed food, sugar based, fatty fast food diet that North Americans including myself indulge in and the sedentary TV/computer lifestyle we live, I must assume I was never physically like the pre or post sin entering the world Adam. Still, I am Adam.

I have planted a garden.

I have never had God plant a garden for me nor have I been forced out of that garden and told, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return…” Genesis 3:19 (NIV) but I have got a little dirt under my fingernails trying to grow food in my backyard. Still, I am Adam.

I have a beautiful wife and helpmate.

My wife has offered me various fruit from both trees and plants and although this fruit has never got me in trouble with God, it has got me in trouble with my weight. Okay I need to be honest, not all of the fruit I eat… let me correct that, very little of the fruit I eat is without additional flavour enhancers. This is a nice way of saying pie crust, shortcake, sugar, ice cream and many more complementary ingredients are why I eat fruit. I am sure that these additional flavour enhancers, these complementary ingredients that I consider the only way to eat fruit, were not part of the temptation that Adam faced when offered a piece of the forbidden fruit by Eve. Still, I am Adam.

I have blamed others for temptations I have given into.

I hate to admit it but I have blamed my wife for my bad behaviours. It isn’t that she is always free of blame but rather that I am ultimately responsible for my reactions. I am in control of myself and whether my wife has done something to provoke me that she should not have done or I am having a bad day and anything she does provokes me, I need to show restraint, self-control and not allow myself to respond in a regrettable way.

If a friend offers me an opportunity to do something attractive but wrong and I join them, notice I used friend not my wife because she would never lead me down this path, I can blame them all I want but it does not remove my guilt. I am responsible for me no matter how much I am tempted by someone else. And yet I have been known to blame the other person. I am Adam.

“…she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12b (NIV)

I have blamed God for being involved in the temptations I have given into.

I’m not sure I have been as blatant in my blaming as I have been with others but still I have suggested that God played a role in my failings. “You put me here God, what do you expect me to do?” “You allowed me to experience this problem, how did you expect me to respond?” “You know the future so you knew this was going to happen, why didn’t you take me on a different course?”

I understand that God desires me to live a life that is holy, that He is not out to trip me up. I know that He is perfect and wants nothing to do with evil. I understand that His desire for me made evident by His willingness to sacrifice His son is to have relationship not separation. Still, I am Adam.

The man [Adam] said, “The woman you [God] put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  Genesis 3:12 (NIV)

I am Adam, I blame God and others for my current situation when I should take responsibility for my actions regardless of what is going on.

Who is Dave Peever? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. My specific call is to creatively present various aspects of life as a Christ follower and as a member of a collective of Christ followers I use my background as an actor, director and playwright/writer as well as my music, preaching and leadership skills to assist churches in transition (between pastors) with their desire to be more effective. I have been married for 31 years. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren all who currently reside in central Ontario Canada. I have been in ministry for 22 years.

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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Stay Where God Puts Us

It’s been my experience that sometimes we are reluctant to stay where God puts us.

We believe we could be of more use some place else. Our talents and skills could serve a better purpose in other arenas. That kind of thinking removes God’s sovereignty from the equation. It says we know better than the One who spoke the world into being. The One who created us for such a time as this.

God knows where, when, and how we can best serve him throughout each stage of our lives. When we look back, we usually see that. Until the next time God tells us to stay where he puts us, and it is a place or time we aren’t so sure we agree with, that is.

Right now I’m going through an in-depth study of Gideon from the Book of Judges. One thing I read today, which I’d like to share with you, is that God uses our weaknesses to exhibit his strength. Especially when we stay where God puts us.

The following poem taken from Streams in the Desert speaks to this.

I’ll stay where You’ve put me; I will, dear Lord,

Though I wanted so badly to go;
I was eager to march with the “rank and file,”
Yes, I wanted to lead them, You know.
I planned to keep step to the music loud,
To cheer when the banner unfurled,
To stand in the midst of the fight straight and proud,
But I’ll stay where You’ve put me.
 
I’ll stay where You’ve put me; I’ll work, dear Lord,
Though the field be narrow and small,
And the ground be neglected, and stones lie thick,
And there seems to be no life at all.
The field is Your own, only give me the seed,
I’ll sow it with never a fear;
I’ll till the dry soil while I wait for the rain,
And rejoice when the green blades appear;
I’ll work where You’ve put me.
 
I’ll stay where You’ve put me; I will, dear Lord;
I’ll bear the day’s burden and heat,
Always trusting You fully; when sunset has come
I’ll lay stalks of grain at Your feet.
And then, when my earth work is ended and done,
In the light of eternity’s glow,
Life’s record all closed, I surely will find
It was better to stay than go;
I’ll stay where You’ve put me.
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After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” Matthew 2:13 (NLT)
I wish you well.

Sandy

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You Alone Know

In a valley full of old, dry bones scattered everywhere across the ground God asked the prophet Ezekiel if the bones could become people again. Quite an impossibility to human thinking, is it not? But the wise prophet knew who asked the question. He replied, “You alone know.”

Ezekiel was a prophet to Israel during their time of exile in Babylon. One of the things he prophesied was the Israelites would return to their homeland strengthened. That seemed as impossible to a people in captivity as a valley full of dry bones coming to life. Still. We know the prophesy came true when the first wave of captives began to return fifty years later.

Ezekiel’s vision of being in a deep valley of despair matched the feelings of the Israelites at the time. When the prophet said, “You alone know,” he didn’t say yes the bones could be restored to former glory and come to life again. Nor did he say no they couldn’t come to life again.

He didn’t state a case for either scenario. Ezekiel knew God could do anything he wanted to do. Even when doing so seemed impossible. Ezekiel understood God’s ability was limitless. He didn’t try to put parameters around God. He simply left the decision up to God to do as he saw best.

In the vision God raised those dead, dry bones to life. He restored them just as he would later restore the nation of Israel. He restored life to a despondent people who lost hope in their future.

In our times of despair or loss we might feel as dry as the bones in Ezekiel’s vision. Submitting our plans, will, and circumstances to God tells him we believe you alone know what’s best for us. You alone know how best to solve our dilemma. You alone know what will bring life.

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The power of the Lord was upon me and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley full of old, dry bones that were scattered everywhere across the ground. He led me around among them, and then he said to me:

“Son of dust, can these bones become people again?”

I replied, “Lord, you alone know the answer to that.” Ezekiel 37:1-3 (NLT)

 

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Fifteen Ways to Survive the Holidays with Chronic Illness

courtesy pixabayAs a person with multiple chronic illnesses, the approaching holidays, and all the busyness that usually accompanies them, are a time for me to re-access and re-adjust which activities occupy my time.

Although I would love to involve myself with all the things I enjoy, it is not going to happen. Not with the limitations these illnesses impose. So, I have a choice. I can listen to my body and slow down when I need to, or not listen, plow ahead at full speed, and suffer the consequences. I try to listen.

Notice I said, try.

Two big triggers for my flares are stress and not enough deep, restorative, sleep.

Both seem to be a given for even those without health limitations when major holidays roll around. They are magnified for those with chronic illnesses.

In days gone by I decorated for every holiday. Right down to the shamrock candy dish with pale green mints. Not so any more. Just getting Christmas cards mailed and decorations on the Christmas tree have been major accomplishments some years.

With that in mind, here are fifteen tips which might help deal with holidays and chronic illness.

  • Make spending time alone with God number one on your daily to do list.
  • Do what’s most important first. Prioritize.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Stop when you get tired whether you complete what you set out to do or not.
  • Fatigue is real. It’s not all in your mind.
  • Give yourself permission to skip some activities.
  • Every meal does not need to be an elaborate occasion.
  • Ask for help when necessary.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Soaking in a warm tub of Epsom salts is not being selfish.
  • Quit beating yourself up for not having a perfectly clean home.
  • It’s okay to admit you can’t do everything you used to do.
  • As much as possible, avoid people and situations that increase your stress.
  • Understand what is essential and what is not.
  • Don’t cave into others’ expectations of what you should do.

Each person is different. What works for me may not work for you and vice-versa. If you have any other tips on how to lessen the impact of holiday stress, I’d love to hear your ideas.

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Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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