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Welcome to my 'heart' (blog)!

This is a place I'd like to share my heart with anyone interested in reading "random thoughts" on my journey called life :) I would like to offer a place of encouragement and joy and hopefully inspiration in this culture that seems so bleak... *Enjoy!

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Thanksgiving...

“Thanksgiving” has come to be more of a “holiday” or “celebrated tradition” more than a way of life for most. Sad to say, it isn’t a true reflection of our attitude in living and it isn’t usually a true expression of a genuine thankfulness, gratefulness, and appreciation to God, and others, in our “everyday life”. It doesn’t even seem to really be very important or acknowledged any other time of year, even among ‘believers’. But as you observe the history of the Pilgrims, and the “first Thanksgiving”, you will see it was their genuine thankfulness of heart in their every day living that produced the very first Thanksgiving. It was a sincere desire to express their gratitude and joy, not an attempt to establish some type of tradition or ritual to be followed.


The history of the Pilgrims is truly inspiring, for they were a people that lived a life of thanksgiving unto God…and they certainly endured much harsher conditions than anyone I personally know. Yet, they were not regretful-nor complaining. They remained truly thankful in all things, totally trusting God for their future and depending upon Him for everything. These people chose to journey to this land believing it was the will of God for them. A land where they would be free to worship Him in a way they believed in their heart was true. A land where they could raise their children to serve and honor GOD and His Word, rather than continue under the “bondage of the ‘Church of England’”, which they believed was heresy. This love for God and devotion for Him that they held in their heart produced a determination in them that held them steadfast—even under the most devastating and fatal conditions. I believe it was Yahweh (YHWH) that provided the grace they needed to produce the courage, patience, longsuffering, and endurance that was so evident in their lives. I believe God’s pure love naturally produced thankful hearts and thankful living. The First Thanksgiving During the first year that the Pilgrims lived here, they suffered many hard things. They landed in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on November 21, 1620 (they later scouted out land suitable to build a colony, which they named Plymouth). New England winters are cold and snowy, and their food supply was limited. They had to wait until spring to plant crops. Even the animals took shelter, so there was little game for the hunters that first winter. They also had to build a ‘Common House’ that would have to be a house, fort, and ‘church building’ for all 102 Pilgrims that winter. Many became sick, and at one time there were only 7 strong enough to care for the rest that were sick. By spring, half of the Pilgrims had died. Yet, when the Mayflower sailed back to England in April 1621—not one Pilgrim returned with it.

That spring, God sent some ‘Indians’ (Native Americans) to help the remaining Pilgrims learn to plant crops, fish, and hunt more effectively in the “different” land they had come to. They were also able to build some individual homes that spring. The Pilgrims were so thankful for God’s mercy during their first hard year, that on November 21, 1621, after the crops had been harvested- they set aside a special time for giving thanks to God and feasting. They had over 90 Indians join in their celebration. It lasted for 3 days! They hunted, gathered berries, cooked, played games, and the Bible was read out loud for everyone to hear (including the Indians that joined them). The Pilgrims and the Indians offered prayers and thanks unto God.

In a letter to a friend in England, Edward Winslow, one of the Pilgrims, described the first Thanksgiving:

Our corn did prove well, and, GOD be praised, wehad a good increase of Indian corn…Our harvestbeing gotten in, our governor sent four men onfowling, that so we might after a more specialmanner rejoice together after we had gathered thefruit of our labors…And although it be not alwaysso plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet, bythe goodness of GOD, we are so far from want thatwe often wish you partakers of our plenty. *Interesting Tidbits:

The first Thanksgiving, they ate deer and fish as well as turkey; and among all the corn, pumpkins, berries and nuts, they had popcorn!

The Second Thanksgiving of 1623I know this has been lengthy, but I couldn’t speak of the history of Thanksgiving without mentioning the second Thanksgiving of 1623. It really touches me to see their dependence on God and their faith that prayer would make a difference…and it DID. What a witness and testimony to the Indians, as well as to US!

Although the previous winter had been damp, the summer of 1623 was so dry that it soon seemed as if the Pilgrims’ crops would perish for lack of rain. The Pilgrims set aside a special day for prayer and fasting, and for nine hours they prayed to God for help. Some Indians, hearing that the Pilgrims were going to pray for rain, watched the sky to see what would happen. When the sky finally clouded over and a gentle rain began to fall, the Indians remarked in awe-stricken tones that the God of the white man had heard the white man’s prayers. Ten days of rain followed this day of prayer, and the crops were saved. The Pilgrims were so grateful for God’s mercy that they again set aside a special time of thanksgiving. At each plate they placed five kernels of corn, so no one would forget God’s provision during their time of great lack and need.

Thanksgiving didn’t become a national holiday until Abraham Lincoln declared it in 1863, during the War Between the States (the Civil War). Four other presidents had denied it, but a lady named Sarah Hale was very persistent in writing and petitioning each president (for 38 years!) to see that the whole nation would celebrate Thanksgiving on the same day every year. In those years, Thanksgiving had almost been abandoned altogether. Thanks to the perseverance of Sarah Hale, and the honorable heart of President Abraham Lincoln, Thanksgiving is now a national holiday.

I hope you have been as touched and inspired as I have, and hopefully your personal celebration of this holiday will be enriched as you reflect on its beginnings as well as the hearts of those who first celebrated unto Yahweh; our great God and Creator.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Joy

Sunday, November 8, 2009

CHARITY NEVER FAILETH

I have been thinking about all the things 'we' allow ourselves to become disappointed, discontented, and offended (angry and/or hurt) over... things that we should not allow to have such control over our attitude and our mind... things we should really let "roll off our back" like water on a duck (even the "hard" things). I have been thinking about how 'we' tend to be "caught off guard" or even surprised when someone "fails" us in some way... or when "offenses" come. I am really 'amazed' at -even my own- "christian" immaturity. But, let the truth fall where it may- it REMAINS TRUE.

'Our' expectations set us up for a great number of disappointments- in people and in our life's circumstances.
Have we still not grasped the basic principles of our LORD's teaching? Have we still remained so self-absorbed that we fail to "hear" the message of HIS voice? When we learn to live, give, serve, love, and just "be"- without expecting anything in return for ourselves (even the "feeling" of being appreciated, or the "feeling" of gratification for some "good thing" we have said or done, etc.) THEN maybe we can come closer to the point of understanding the concept of "laying our lives down".

EXPECT FAILURES (disappointments, offenses, hurts...)! When Paul wrote to our brothers and sisters living in Corinth at that time, he made them aware that even 'prophecies' would "fail" (1 Cor. 13:8). I would not dare add to the Scriptures, but my own thoughts along these lines could read: "Where there be men, they shall fail; where there be women, they shall fail; where there be children, they shall fail; where there be husbands, wives, sons, daughters, family members, friends, aquantances, pastors, co-workers, "church congregations", all human kind: THEY SHALL FAIL... where there be hopes and dreams, THEY SHALL FAIL.... where there be gifts, talents, abilities: THEY SHALL FAIL... where there be governments, kings, queens, rulers upon the earth: THEY SHALL FAIL... where there be mentors, teachers, "heros" of any kind: THEY SHALL FAIL... where there be "ANY 'GOOD' THING": IT SHALL FAIL. Point taken, I'm sure... All this to say: ONLY CHARITY NEVER FAILETH. ONLY YHWH (and HE being LOVE) NEVER FAILS. THAT'S IT. PERIOD. NOTHING ELSE.

We are blessed indeed to have a copy of the Scriptures, where we can read a record of some of the words and teachings of our LORD as HE walked this earth as a man teaching frail humanity the TRUTH and REALITY of what is REALLY RIGHT according to how our Father and Creator views things and feels about things. If we will take heed and listen, we will gain great insight into our Father's heart. Notice the many different times YAHSHUA (JESUS, in the English language) taught us to be selfless and expecting NOTHING from others. This is how HE lived, and taught HIS followers and disciples to live. Matthew, chapters 5-7, and Luke, chapter 6, are worthy of frequent reading and meditation. For lack of time and space, I want to draw your attention to Luke 6:35 which reads:" But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, HOPING FOR NOTHING AGAIN, and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest; for HE is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil."

When we simply love and give of ourselves, being longsuffering and merciful, forbearing one another's faults (keeping conscience our own imperfections) then we are living in HIS kingdom, in HIS heart. I'm not advising to embrace sin; but to "make room" for others in their pesonality differences, in thier faults and mistakes, and in their differences of opinions. We are told to be forgiving of those that offend us or do wrong unto us. We are told to go to our brother if we suspect that he has an offence toward us. We are told to get along with others peaceably as much as is within our power. We are to be peacemakers. We are to edify the body of Christ, to encourage, to lift up, to be kind one to another. We are to be Christ in this earth. All of this is easier when we make a conscious effort to not be easily offended and to not be quick to anger and to not provoke those things in others. The wrath of man worketh NOT the righteousness of GOD. Let us be mindful of what we "allow" ourselves to be ruled by (our flesh/emotions or the Spirit of YAHWEH).

HIS grace does NOT insure us an "easy" life! It insures us the ability to "rise above" the things that try to destroy us in our flesh. It insures us the ability (in HIM) to love and forgive others, to show mercy, to endure hardness, and to escape the world's lusts and desires THROUGH HIM. Don't live this side of eternity expecting FULL righteousness to reign in this temporal earth. Live this side of eternity expecting that ONLY CHARITY never fails!

*a JOYFUL thought: John 16:33 "These things I have spoken unto you, that IN ME ye might have PEACE. In the world ye SHALL have tribulation: but BE OF GOOD CHEER; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD." !!!  : D



  

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

When the Frost Is on the Punkin by James Whitcomb Riley

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock, 
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,

 When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
  They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here-
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock-
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

 The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries- kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermons to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below- the clover overhead!-
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!