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WHEN LIFE IS HARD…COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!: GIVING THANKS FOR THE BLESSING OF FREEDOM

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Psalm 100 (NKJV)

GIVING THANKS FOR THE BLESSING OF FREEDOM

 

“I’ll take a couple of teacher work days so you won’t have to homeschool,” Leigh said as we began to plan our time with the boys.

“But won’t that put your teaching schedule behind?” I asked. “Yes, some, but it will be easier to catch up than it will be to lug everything over there for just one night,” she shared. My mind started spinning. “What if I take them on educational field trips those days,” I queried.

2012-10-18_16-56-20_9351-300x169The deal made, I got off the phone and onto the Internet. We live in the Greensboro, NC, area, the location of the famous 1781 Revolutionary war battle for Guilford County Courthouse. The battle, though lost, was crucial in winning our independence and freedom just seven months later. With elections so close, I thought a trip to the Battleground, our Town Hall, and to the Voting Polls, and the Pumpkin Patch, was in order. History, Civics, Agricultural Science, Reading and Bible would dominate our lesson plan.

October 18th finally arrived, along with two very excited and rambunctious boys—and Sadie, one very large dog-pony. The 140 pound Great Dane loves to come to Nana’s house with the boys! She brings her own bed with her—a crib mattress for heaven’s sake!

After a breakfast of Mickey Mouse pancakes, a tradition at Nana’s house, we loaded into the car and set off on our adventure.

As Asher and Mason set their own feet on the actual battleground site where our forefathers fought and died, we read the Declaration of Independence and about the tyranny that brought it about. We saw pictures of and read stories about the men who fought for that independence.

We saw the artifacts, actual surgical tools, and documentary films. They began to feel as if they were right there with our great-great-great grandfathers, as the muskets sounded and the smoke rose and the men fell in the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and a new government of the people, by the people and for the people.

As we visited our Town Hall in Jamestown, NC, settled in 1752, 1-year-old Asher said, “Nana, we wouldn’t have the freedom to vote here if all those people hadn’t fought for us and made us a new country.” I watched their faces as their little hearts comprehended that sacrifice and what it had given to them personally.

Then Mason, only seven years old, looked up with worried eyes and said, “Nana, will we have to fight in a war to keep our freedom?”

“Yes grandson, we do have to fight to keep our freedom. We fight by praying for our country and our leaders. That is the most powerful way we can fight. We fight by voting, we fight by being involved in our governmental process.” He smiled and said, “Nana, we can do that!” We remembered our Bible lesson of the day as we remembered Jesus who died for our spiritual freedom, as our forefathers died for our physical freedom.

Thankfully, the heaviness of the day receded as we visited the pumpkin patch where we learned how different plants and veggies grow. We talked about the privilege God gives to us to grow. Just like plants, we start out as seeds with no life, but when Christ plants us in His Kingdom, and waters us with His Word, we grow a little each day to reach spiritual maturity.

“Dear Lord, thank you for the blessing of family and freedom and for your sacrifice that gives us Hope and promise for the future.”

Until tomorrow,

Your traveling Companion,

Brenda

God is Teaching Me About… Who has Control?

From giving Him my all to giving up control, join me this week as I share some things God has been teaching me lately.

 

Who has Control?

Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.”
Isaiah 46:9-10, NLT

Pilgrimage_FRIDAY-300x252One of the battles I face as I try to live in relationship with Jesus is the concept of control. As much as I want to depend on Jesus, the illusion that I’m in control sneaks back into my life. I live like the responsibility lies on my shoulders. What if I make the wrong decision? What if I go the wrong direction? What if I step outside of God’s will?

It’s exhausting to believe it’s all up to me. And it puts me in the center—instead of God.

One of my favorite devotional books is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Chambers doesn’t mince words, and his words often challenge my comfortable, Christian life. Chambers points out that God is in control of everything, and we must develop an attitude of trust and rest.

“Nothing happens in any particular unless God’s will is behind it, therefore you can rest in perfect confidence in Him.” –Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Proverbs 16:9, NIV 

It’s difficult for me to remove myself from the equation and “rest in perfect confidence” in Jesus. I want to believe that God is in control—even when I make mistakes. I must believe He is sovereign, regardless of my missteps. Otherwise, I make God too small.

God is the One in control. I can run around each day with a fretting and anxious heart trying to make the right decisions, or I can choose to rest in the confidence Scripture gives me.

He is faithful. He is big enough to redeem all things. He is worthy of my trust.

It’s about Him, not me. And even when I fail to trust Him, His sovereign plan is never in question.

Father, keep teaching us about You. Remind us that we are safe in Your capable hands. You are sovereign.

Humbly learning these lessons,

Allison

WHEN LIFE IS HARD…COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!

 
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
Psalm 100 (NKJV)
 

GIVING THANKS FOR THE BLESSING OF FAMILY

 

woman-on-phone-300x200The telephone rang. “Hello,” I answered. My daughter–in-law Leigh was on the other end of the call. “Nana, are you busy?” She always asks that question when she calls. Of course, I rarely answer her with the truth … I’m always busy. But, not too busy to talk to my girls. Girls. It took 25 years before a girl joined this testosterone, male dominated family of ours; 31 years to have a female born into it—our first granddaughter, Natalie.

But I digress…”Nana, are you busy on October 18th and 19th?” Leigh inquired. My thoughts ran wild as I tried to envision my calendar. “Whatever it is, I need to clear it,” I thought, “because I bet I’m about to be invited to keep my grandsons while Mom and Dad take an overnighter.”

Because of mission trips, writing deadlines and ministry business, I hadn’t been able to spend much time with the grandchildren for a couple of months. Lonely for them, I was afraid they were feeling like second fiddle—neglected for The Cause. That concern always brings conviction to my heart—that I’d let ministry duties get out of balance.

Mothers and Grandmothers do that sometimes. We get busy with Important Stuff. Good Stuff. Jobs, church work, ministry, volunteer causes, hobbies, walk-a-thons—whatever.  Before you know it, we’re over-committed. And tired. And cranky. And forgetful. And if we don’t stop the process, our family relationships will suffer.

Family. After our relationship with God, it’s our first priority. It’s our most important blessing. God meant family to be the foundation of our lives on earth, not a sideline thought. He created family to be the foundation—the glue of society. When we cease to put Him and Them first, our whole lives get out of whack.

So, I listened closely to Leigh to see if my suspicions were correct. Was I going to get an invitation to lay down my responsibilities in ministry to serve my family and fellowship with my precious grandsons, Asher and Mason? Ah, but wait! Serving our family and fellowshipping with them IS ministry! Our most important one!

Leigh’s voice came through the phone once more. “Can the boys stay with you that Wednesday and Thursday? Brady and I have to go out of town for his job …”

“Yes! Now, what will we do those days?” I thought.

Join us tomorrow as the planning, and the joy … begins!

Until tomorrow,

Your Traveling Companion,

Brenda