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Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category

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Thanksgiving isn’t a one dish meal. It’s a feast – with lots of dishes – each one part of the Thanksgiving Story.

Yet most of us treat the history of it like a one dish meal. One dish treatment risks turning Thanksgiving into a regular every day until one day, stores remain open. Maybe it is treated as a play-day off. Who needs all. Some will treat it as a play day off.  Who needs all that turkey, anyway?

There is a reason it is a feast day, a day when all the stores should be closed – a holy reason.  Thanksgiving is sort of like our country’s Passover. Instead of remembering what God took us away from, we remember what God brought us to. Some say you cannot talk about religion and politics at the celebration table. Thanksgiving, though, makes religion and history honored guests at the table.

We sit down to handed-down recipes, plates and silverware – and the thankfuls for the past year – but the thankfuls need to reach further back – back to the beginning – in our dinner table talk.

Blue water glasses are filled – and bread set on the table

In prayer we link hands around the table, thank Him for the blessings – not only of today but to a day long ago when 40 charismatic Christians climbed aboard the Mayflower. Instead of walking through a parted Dead Sea, they sailed across wave tops to settle at Plymouth Rock.

A group of Christians, who were persecuted for owning copies of the New Testament, – who had fled England into Holland – where religious persecution still existed. Where families were boarded up in houses and burned for owning New Testaments. Why would a government do this? Because there was power in coming between a man and his Creator.

Mama’s Orange Dream Salad is then served on grandmother’s half-moon crystal plates

These 40 Christians were followed by boat-loads of immigrants. Even today, they come to be able to speak God’s name in the town square in the court house, on the public streets, in the school houses – to live and voice their belief without fear of persecution.

Aunt Joyce’s savory beans with marjoram and summer savory are spooned onto Muddy’s plates with tiny pink roses.

They arrived with a document, the Mayflower Compact. Each had signed it. It sounded good – they would all share the work of their hands, growing together a Utopian society. It failed. The Mayflower Compact was replaced by free capitalism.

Elizabeth’s Cranberry Salad – so fitting to see the sweet next to the savory

These early Plymouth settlers discovered the rationing of socialism and the plenty of capitalism through the work of their own hands – not their neighbors. They broke the glass ceiling of class restriction – like the cranberries we eat on Thanksgiving that float to the top in the harvest when water rushes through the cranberry fields, so does hard work, effort, talent – all based on individual gumption – not religion, not class, not government.

The Oyster Dressing – a heap please!

Let’s invite Tom up to the table – Thomas Payne with his book-load of  Common Sense. Listen to what he has to say – and maybe fan the  flame of independence he lit in 1776 – its flames rising at the dinner table.

Do you doubt that Christian faith was the foundation of our nation? Many do.

Read Payne’s short Pamphlet – how can anyone deny the Christian root of our nation?

Payne cites Gideon and the prophet Samuel declaring God did not want to make any man equally created to be king over another. Yet the people cried, “We want to be like the other countries. They have a king – we want one.”

The people learned the hard way, about equally created men set in power over another.

“One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise, she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass for a lion” (Payne).

Sherry’s Sweet Potato Casserole in double helpings

Payne knew the success of our revolution hinged on honest men – and the continuance of a free country could not exist without honest men.

“of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that very lived.”(Payne)

Carve out a little Common Sense along with the Turkey

Say again? You want to argue about the importance of God to the Pilgrims, the Founding Fathers, the news media of the time (Payne) – and the soldiers, the families, the immigrants coming?

Thomas Payne asks: “Who is the King of America?

Who?

‘I’ll tell you Friend,” Payne says. “He reigns above. . .’”
Oh, let that sit for a moment, friend. Just savor it, the flavor, the feeling, the truth of it.

Payne tells us, “Independence is the only BOND that can tye and keep us together.”

 My Normandy pie with a cup of coffee or cider

Many presidents have encouraged days of prayer, thanks and fasting: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington.

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:” read more here (http://www.creativeyouthideas.com/resources/teaching-illustrations/george-washingtons-1789-thanksgiving-proclamation/#ixzz2lFL5TrMF )

The Father admonished Israel to commemorate the Passover, to not forget:

“Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come” (Exodus 12:17).

Our Thanksgiving needs to be a remembrance like that, to not forget what He brought us to – in order that we may keep it and our children’s children live it.

I don’t know about you. Thanksgiving is about a lot of dishes – and a rich history. After a feast like that, sitting around a table with those I love, meaty ideas shared – I am stuffed, totally blessed and filled up by what brought us to this moment and where it will take us.

You can also find this post over at The M.O.M. Initiative  where I was an guest writer. The M.O.M. Initiative is an acrostic for Mothers on a Mission to Mentor Other Mothers. It exists as a group of moms and a package of resources to equip, enable and support women as they experience Titus 2 in real life. They are a beautiful group of women, supporting each other in so many ways! Please come by.

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I’m not sure how to say this – and say it well. But it is something that I want to say to the marrow of my heart.

God has blessed me by sending people throughout my life to mentor, encourage, pray, bless, to open my eyes to what it means to be the daughter of the King. I hope that I have passed those blessings forward – tagged someone with the same generosity of spirit with which I was tagged.

Yet, it is the generosity of spirit of those who have Jesus Loved my sons that, well, make my heart feel like bursting.  Words like thankful and gratitude fail to express my heart thoughts.

God’s People ( and you know if anyone has People, God does) who mentor as a brother in Christ, or a Spiritual Mother or Father, a laborer God sends with a message, people brave enough to hold to accountability, Jesus Loving without merit – when they touch my son’s lives – well – my heart grows and grows, kind of like the Grinch’s heart in the book – until I have learned that my heart has the capacity to love as many people as much as I possibly can – and more than I can imagine.

I find myself saying, “I wish you were a part of my family” –  and then I realize – well, they are – that what I am feeling is what being a part of God’s family feels like. Talk about Power Families – God’s Family is The Power Family of the Universe!

And that generosity of spirit that touched my sons’  lives and mine – well, the greatest gift I can give that giver is to Pass It Forward.

That message really hit home in early September. Our college minister who had been at our church when my oldest son was in college suddenly died. Thirty-one years old with wife and month old baby girl – well, he left us behind – beat us to the finish line.

He was not a laborer who said things like, “When someone approaches me, I automatically wonder what they want from me.”

Nor did he say, “There are people with bigger problems. I don’t have time for yours.”

No watching the clock with an “I-gotta-go-mentality.”

My son gave me a great compliment one day a few years ago: “I just discovered that talking with you is like talking with Jonate. There’s never a 5 minute conversation. You just have to settle in for awhile.” He said it in a way that made me feel pretty awesome.

Someone who wants to sit down with you, give the Holy Spirit time to bubble up in dialogue – that’s what Jesus Love is all about.  Not because you’re somebody important in the community, but because God whispered, “All my children need to come home to me – the ones easy to bring and the ones determined to stray – I want them all.”

This young man mentored my son with a generosityof-spirit mentality that reached out, “God placed you on my path today. I want to help you before that problem gets any bigger. God has plans for you – big plans and little plans.” And he would start by listening and end by praying.

Laborers like that look in likely and unlikely places – to love God’s kids, teens and young adults enough – to always be on the look-out, on the watch, heart open, ready to reach. Just seed planting moments.  Or seed watering moments. Encouragement and accountability moments. True friendship moments. Not necessarily Evangelist moments, but moments that lead there.

My other sons need mentors like that. I want my sons to become mentors like that, too! (of course, if they could sing and praise God like that – I would be blessed speechless!)

At Jonate’s memorial, the college ministry building was standing-room only. It was a room full of touched lives – and, as I looked, I thought that, yeah, we were left behind – but he left us each something to pass forward – seeds invested directly and indirectly.

Hundreds of college students Jesus Loving others, like Jonate Jesus loved them. Hundreds of students Passing it Forward to Hundreds of others. That would be the most awesome thank you of all!

Has someone touched your life? Blessed you? Don’t just hold it in a sweet memory. Look into someone’s heart. Maybe a stranger, someone who annoys, someone easy to love, someone difficult to love – and spend that time – and Jesus Love them – like this amazing young man.

Pass it Forward!

Please view the video (it’s a first for bluecottonmemory – I’ve so been wanting to share this with you since September). Jonate is leading praise and worship. I used to tell college students about the college ministry and the praise and worship leader who sounded like the lead singer from Hootie and the Blowfish. Whether he led worship on campus or the main church, the amazing, mighty presence of God just enveloped. If you’ve ever wondered how to handle the “bad things happening to good people,” this will mean even more to you.

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