Feasting at Thanksgiving

By Karen

Happy Thanksgiving!

www.KarenJurgens.com

www.KarenJurgens.com

 

If you’re like me, you’ll be in the kitchen chopping, whipping, mixing, roasting and baking for your Thanksgiving feast this week. This is one of two times a year that I go all out, preparing a knock-out menu that requires several days in advance. I absolutely love it! Here is a preview of this year’s holiday table:

www.KarenJurgens.com

www.KarenJurgens.com

 

Do you like to play games? If you never cook for Thanksgiving, or if you just take one dish to a party or family gathering, this blog post is still for you. No, it’s not about menus or recipe ideas—which are lovely—but it’s about thanking God for His blessings this year. And I’m inviting you to join me in doing it.

As we’re feasting on the turkey, dressing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie, let’s also remember to take this day to feast on the Word of God.

www.KarenJurgens.com

www.KarenJurgens.com

O taste and see that the Lord is good. How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! (Psalms 34:8).

As I thought about how to choose some “delicious” scriptures, it seemed logical to pick the nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. For this game, I’ll begin by listing my favorite Bible verses, from either the Old or New Testament—one for each spiritual fruit. Here goes: (All from New American Standard Bible)

 

LOVE: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).

JOY: These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full (John 15:11).

PEACE: And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

PATIENCE: And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise (Hebrews 6:15).

KINDNESS: Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4).

GOODNESS: Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalms 23:6).

FAITHFULNESS: They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23).

GENTLENESS: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS (Matthew 11:29).

SELF-CONTROL: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).

Now it’s your turn … what are your favorite verses we can feast on today?

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Beside Quiet Waters

fountain for blog best

The summer is starting to peak in Texas, consuming all things green and flowering. Day after day, the sun stabs the still air with its fiery glare, pre-heating the morning with the wicked promise of an afternoon inferno that scorches everything within reach.

No shade-giving clouds.

No tender breezes.

No wet raindrops to cool the parched earth that holds its mouth open and begs for one drop to cool its tongue.

Nothing but heat and sun, sun and heat.

All. Day. Long.

Sometimes our spirits experience this same scenario, and we go through periods of drought. We pray for the sweet rain of the Holy Spirit to fall, but the desert road continues. We ask, “Will this heat never end?”

God gives us answers to these times.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit” ~ Jeremiah 17:7-8, NASB.

What are you struggling through today?

Health issues? Keep praying for His healing touch.

Employment or financial issues? Stretch out your hand of faith and He will lead you to cool waters.

Marriage or relationship issues? Trust Him to be your peacemaker as you walk in forgiveness and humbleness of heart.

Emotional issues such as stress or loneliness? Turn to Him and let Him be your all in all.

You can be sure of this—the Holy Spirit will come and water you with His rain. You will survive your drought, like a refreshed flower garden. Don’t give up and don’t be discouraged.

As Habakkuk pleaded for God to answer his prayers, may we also take solace in His comforting answer.

“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it, for it will certainly come, it will not delay” ~ Habakkuk 2:3, NASB.

Keep praying. Keep seeking. Keep knocking.

The Holy Spirit’s rain is on its way.

courtesy of dreamstime

courtesy of dreamstime

The Still, Small Voice

SunSaturday began as a perfect day…the balmy weather almost whispering, it’s spring! Blue skies framed the background of the bright lemon sun, toasty-warm. I shed my winter coat in exchange for the day’s warmth, so liberating after days upon days of knife-cutting cold.

Uptown, Dallas. City sidewalks teeming with sweater-clad people of every age. Moms and dads directing little girls bouncing in pink tutus and jeweled tee-shirts, their long, dancing curls glittering white in the sunlight. Couples holding hands, their strides exactly matching. Older couples with younger family, sons and daughters and grandchildren. One storefront flowed into the next, parked cars slept snugly in a row, manicured winter flower beds hugged majestic trees, bare in this winter season.

Having a late lunch in a restaurant, still full in spite of the late hour. Everyone is out to celebrate this glorious day, to revel in the wonder of a small slice of spring dealt in the middle of winter. No, it wouldn’t last long. We pretended we didn’t know or that we had forgotten. Every precious minute counted. Like Cinderella, we knew this party would end as soon as the sun set.

Walking back to the car, we stopped to take some pictures in front of a bare tree with a landscaped flowerbed. My elderly mother, almost 93, walked with my daughter and me down the sidewalk. For some reason, she walked ahead, faster. I heard the Holy Spirit whisper softly to me. Watch her…take her arm. But I was distracted, conversing with my daughter, looking in the shop windows as we lounged down the sidewalk. Looking down, I observed the pavement, cracked and uneven.

Sidewalk

“Mother, come back and walk with us.” I called ahead, counting on her to do just that. But her determination to “do it her way” prevailed.

Distracted. Go get her. Make her stop. Laughing and enjoying the conversation, almost finished. My eyes turned completely the opposite way, focused on my daughter’s face. Her eyes popped as she screamed, “Nana! Nana!”

She ran to the curb. I turned around and followed, seeing what I could never have imagined. My mother was lying on the side of the pavement, next to a car. Her shoe held wedged in a crack on that rounded curb, a curb she had not seen as she took a shortcut around a tree.

In a crisis, God always supplies help, and today it was in the form of a strong father and his teenaged son. They helped her up and into the car. Terrified that she had broken something, we rushed her to the hospital. At her age, the ease of breaking a hip, a wrist, or having a head injury is all too common. But nothing was broken—just a gently-sprained ankle. A true miracle!

Later, she revealed to us that the Holy Spirit had also spoken a warning to her. Before making the split-second decision to walk around that tree, He had whispered to her, Go straight. Don’t walk here. But the way around the tree would save a few steps, so she ignored the warning and continued, not looking down to see the jagged curb. Too late.

How often have we heard that soft whisper of warning? Do we recognize that the Holy Spirit, who lives inside us, is guiding and protecting us from harm?

I regret not responding. Next time, Lord, I will promise to listen and obey. Immediately.