The Thanksgiving Feast

photo(59)I’ve been rolling a Thanksgiving post around in my mind the past few days, and I happened upon one I wrote for Credenda in 2009. So why start over? Here it is.

Thanksgiving is a mysterious American feast day, buried in the month of November, on a Thursday, of all things. It requires several simple things of its celebrants: a turkey, some trimmings (called side dishes), and several kinds of pie, preferably using pumpkin, pecans, or apples. (And don’t forget the cranberries.)
At a certain moment in the late fall each year, the grocery store workers dutifully lay out the ingredients for the pies and the side dishes, and the butchers offer turkeys, fresh or frozen. Other shopkeepers provide tools for preparing the required dishes: meat thermometers, basting bulbs, measuring cups, and gravy ladles. Some sell dishes and platters decorated with turkeys, pumpkins, or leaves, all for the splendor of the Thanksgiving table.
The American citizens file in to the vast grocery stores, searching for the required elements for the feast, and they transport these ingredients home in paper or plastic bags, to be stored until the day of many preparations.
Some of the side dishes, like cornbread stuffing or marshmallow topped sweet potatoes, are only prepared and eaten once a year, at the Thanksgiving Feast. But each holds a treasured spot on the Thanksgiving table, and some even have their own serving dish just for the annual occasion. (Don’t forget Grandma’s silver gravy boat.) Continue reading ‘The Thanksgiving Feast’

Funner, Part 4, Mess Investments

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Our children are in the middle of what is well and truthfully known as the “formative years.” This is the time in their lives when it is still hard to tell the difference between nature and nurture. They are learning all the important lessons about God, love,  family, life, purpose, joy , and sacrifice right now – and they will carry these things with them for life. We know this to be true! How many of us spend years trying to unlearn things that were taught to us incidentally when we were children?

Even though we know this, we think that our children will hear what we say and learn from that – and never think through what kind of belief system we are acting out for them. They learn far more from our behavior than they do from our words – and ideally those two things act as one. Continue reading ‘Funner, Part 4, Mess Investments’

Let Us Do That For You

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If being a stay-at-home mom to raise your own children is such a demeaning, unfulfilling, and unimportant job, then why is our government so eager to take it over for us? I will tell you why.

Because the sooner they can get their hands on your children’s minds and hearts, the sooner they can shape their thinking and mess with their faith. Everyone knows (whether they admit it or not) that the mother has the most important job in the world: bringing up the children God has given her. The hireling does not care for the sheep the way the shepherd does. The shepherd lays down his life for the sheep just like a mother will lay down her life for her children all day long. The hireling does not and cannot love the sheep the way the shepherd does (John 10:11-13).

Apparently K-12 is just not enough time for the government to indoctrinate the kids, so the push is to get a hold of them sooner. It sounds so thoughtful: let us take care of the little ones while you go Continue reading ‘Let Us Do That For You’

Marriage Troubles

In the big world of marriage troubles, God’s Word provides the only real solution. Divorce is always an easy answer, but God hates divorce, and it ought to be a last resort reserved for cases of infidelity or other sins of similar magnitude.

But living in a state of long-term misery is no solution either. So let’s just consider a few principles that might produce some measure of improvement. At least it will be moving you in the right direction. It’s always easy to make things worse, so let’s think about how we can make things better. Even if you can’t change your husband, you can change your own heart and attitude. So let’s start there.

1. Think about what you could improve rather than only focusing on what your husband could do better. Confess your own sins rather than his.

2. Consider his perspective. What is it like for him to be married to you?

3. Do not harbor resentments. Love covers a multitude of sins. Ask God for that kind of love.

4. Once you’ve forgiven something, don’t bring it up again. God doesn’t do that to you. Continue reading ‘Marriage Troubles’

All His Works

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We all are taken up with our own work, as we should be. But think about what makes our work meaningful: God Himself has prepared our own specific work just for us. It has His autograph on it. Work is good. God invented it. In fact, He works harder than all of us.

Consider these few verses in Psalm 111 that refer to God’s works. But before we look at them, look at the opening to this psalm: “Praise the Lord! I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.” And the psalm ends with more praise: “His praise endures forever.” So what is sandwiched in between that praise? In this particular psalm, it’s a whole lot about God’s work.

Verse 2: The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them.

Verse 3: His work is honorable and glorious, and his righteousness endures forever. Continue reading ‘All His Works’

Life on the Altar

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I’d like to look at the content of the familiar text of Romans 12:1. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

First we must see that Paul is pleading with us, begging us to do something. He is very earnest about this, and he bases his appeal on the mercies of God.

What are these mercies of God? They are His tender mercies. He loves us in Christ, He has adopted us as His own children, He has extended forgiveness to us in Christ, and He has transferred us into the Kingdom of His Son. Not only that, but He has plans for us, plans that are good and acceptable and perfect.

Based on these mercies, what is it Paul is urging us to do? He wants us to give our bodies to God as a sacrifice. Not as a sacrifice to be slaughtered, but as a living sacrifice. He wants us to live on the altar of God. And when we give Him our body, our mind and spirit come along with it. Continue reading ‘Life on the Altar’