This time of the year always takes me back to when I was a child. Although we had a small family, Mom always made our Thanksgiving meal with ”all the fixins.” She designated me as the official taste tester for her dressing, (which I always viewed as the centerpiece of the meal). For some reason unknown to me, Mom trusted my palate, and would modify her dressing based on my recommendations. I loved that job, I always felt like I contributed something to the meal, even though I never really cooked anything.
Back then I saw Thanksgiving through the tunnel vision eyes of a child. It was all about the meal, even though Mom made us say what we were thankful for before we could eat. As I grew older, my view of Thanksgiving began to change. Little by little the emphasis on the food began to fade, and shifted towards those who were less fortunate, and didn’t have the opportunity to sit down with family and friends and celebrate this holiday that I call the “4F holiday” (food, family, friends, and football).
That brings me to this year, and the joy I now have of celebrating this holiday not with a table jam-packed with food, but joined arm-in-arm with a wonderful group of people; who with hearts of Jesus, seek out the less fortunate and ensure that on this day, they (like everyone else) get to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. I am proud of our Port Huron CoC family, for although we are relatively small in number, we still manage to ”go beyond” what is expected and reach out (and into) the community on this wonderful holiday. May our heavenly Father continue to guide our hearts into being selfless servants of his, who are willing to do whatever he places on our hearts, to bring glory to HIS name.
May God bless you in a bountiful way, my Port Huron family, for your kindness, generosity, and hearts that you are eager to use to show this city how much God loves them.
Blessings to you all.
In this season of giving and sharing, the air is filled with hearts that reach to those in need. Also, in reciprocation the recipients respond with gratitude (most of the time). It always warms the heart to extend the gift of kindness and blessing and receiving back in return- gratitude; because that is a natural response. Gratitude is much like the pain we feel when we lose a loved one. I have found there seems to be a direct correlation between the pain we feel, and the love we had for the person. Without question, the greater the love- the greater the pain; and according to God, so shall it be with gratitude. Great blessings deserve great gratitude. A blessing the magnitude of Calvary, demands and deserves a life of gratitude in thanksgiving back to God. But how? How can we demonstrate this gratitude we feel in our hearts for the gift of salvation we have received? The answer is simple in words, but challenging in practice. We live it!! Everyday as we go about our day, gratitude demands that we show the love of Jesus in all we do. The fruit of the spirit should be evident in our speech, our actions, our footsteps, our communication and our heart. That is how our gratitude looks to God. Jesus put it this way, if you love me you will keep my commands. Paul reminds us in Philippians that we are to have the mind of Christ. He also told us in Romans 12, that we are to RENEW our mind. Gratitude this season is much more than sitting around a table stuffed with food of every kind, reciting what we are thankful for. It’s more. It’s a dedicated life to Christ, that sings his praises for saving us. Let us strive to live a life of great gratitude.
This month our focus is on being thankful for the many blessings God has rained into our lives. As you read the words from this simple poem, it is easy to see just how blessed we are. Today is Veterans Day, share your blessings by doing something kind for a Veteran. Kindness doesn’t boast or make loud noises, it speaks gently and quietly from the heart.
by Max Lucado
This wasn't the first night that Peter had spent on the Sea of Galilee. After all, he was a fisherman. He, like the others, worked at night. He knew the fish would feed near the surface during the cool of the night and return to the deep during the day. No, this wasn't the first night Peter had spent on the Sea of Galilee. Nor was it the first night he had caught nothing. There was that time years before …
Most mornings Peter and his partners would sell their fish, repair their nets, and head home to rest with a bag of money and a feeling of satisfaction. This particular morning there was no money. There was no satisfaction. They had worked all through the night but had nothing to show for it except weary backs and worn nets.
And, what's worse, everyone knew it. Every morning the shore would become a market as the villagers came to buy their fish, but that day there were no fish.
Jesus was there that morning, teaching. As the people pressed there was little room for him to stand, so he asked Peter if his boat could be a platform. Peter agreed, maybe thinking the boat might as well be put to some good use.
Peter listens as Jesus teaches. It's good to hear something other than the slapping of waves. When Jesus finishes with the crowd, he turns to Peter. He has another request. He wants to go fishing. "Take the boat into deep water, and put your nets in the water to catch some fish" (Luke 5:4).
Peter groans. The last thing he wants to do is fish. The boat is clean. The nets are ready to dry. The sun is up and he is tired. It's time to go home. Besides, everyone is watching. They've already seen him come back empty-handed once. And, what's more, what does Jesus know about fishing?
So Peter speaks, "Master, we worked hard all night trying to catch fish" (v. 5). Mark the weariness in the words. "We worked hard." Scraping the hull. Carrying the nets. Pulling the oars. Throwing the nets high into the moonlit sky. Listening as they slap on the surface of the water. "All night." The sky had gone from burnt orange to midnight black to morning gold. The hours had passed as slowly as the fleets of clouds before the moon. The fishermen's conversation had stilled and their shoulders ached. While the village slept, the men worked. All … night … long. “Trying to catch fish." The night's events had been rhythmic: net swung and tossed high till it spread itself against the sky. Then wait. Let it sink. Pull it in. Do it again. Throw. Pull. Throw. Pull. Throw. Pull. Every toss had been a prayer. But every drag of the empty net had come back unanswered. Even the net sighed as the men pulled it out and prepared to throw it again.
(Continued next week)