A Prodigal Thanksgiving


“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” – James 1:17

There once was a great thanksgiving feast that involved two sons. One had asked for an early inheritance and then took off, spending all his money partying and having fun. The older son stayed home and worked in the family business doing all the right things.

When the irresponsible son ran out of money and was desperate, Jesus says he came to his senses. Apparently he realized how much had been provided for him and how much he missed the privilege of being under his father’s roof. He went home, a humbled man, thankful beyond measure that he was invited back into the family.

The older son, though, was miffed. He’d been faithful all this time, but it seems not having any fun at all. He had been obedient, clean-living, and hard-working. Sure, he had a home, family, and satisfaction in his work, but he was resentful and bitter. He wouldn’t even come to the thanksgiving feast his father was throwing for his brother’s homecoming.

In this parable, the father was thankful, the younger son was thankful (I’m sure other family members were, too, though Jesus didn’t mention them), but the older son was not thankful. Instead, he was angry that he was not the center of attention and celebration.

Only the truly humble are aware of the blessings poured out on us by our heavenly Father every day. A humble heart is a thankful (and happy!) heart.

So, let’s celebrate with friends and family the blessings of our Father’s generous love. It’s time for a party – happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

“Sincere gratitude flourishes only in a heart that is humble, convinced of its own poverty and thoroughly aware that it is nothing and can do nothing without continual help from God.” (from Divine Intimacy)

He’s Not Giving Up


“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” – Augustine

Sometimes I think that if I were God, I would be ready to give up on me. I just am not where I want to be in my spiritual life and I imagine He must be getting pretty tired of me coming back to Him with the same old sins to confess and the same old worries to present. Sometimes, it’s discouraging.

Then He speaks something like this to me:

“You are securely connected to Me.

• I will never change my mind about you.
• I already know who you are and how you will finish.
• I will never let you go.
• I will never stop blessing you.”

He makes no excuses for me, but He accepts me as I am. He knows I am dust and I will fall. He knows I am weak and I will stumble. But still He lets me feel His love and, when I open myself to receive it, I am ready to begin again. He always welcomes me back.

He will never give up on me. And He won’t give up on you, either. Not ever. It’s OK to be amazed at that!

“When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul.” (Psalm 94:19)


Have You Told Anyone?

  • Has God ever answered one of your prayers in a way that changed your circumstances or your heart?
  • Has the Holy Spirit ever highlighted a passage of Scripture so you saw it in an entirely new way and that insight was just what you needed that day?
  • Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a mess and then realized God had been preparing you for this situation well in advance of its coming?
"Thank God. . . Tell the whole world who he is and what he's done! . ." - from 1 Chronicles 16:8-9 (MSG)

“Thank God. . . Tell the whole world who he is and what he’s done! . .” from 1 Chronicles 16:8-9 (MSG)

If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions or others that may be similar, here’s the last question: Have you told anyone?

I am becoming convinced that our personal experience of God’s blessing is not just for us. It is meant to benefit others as well, but if we don’t tell them, they won’t know. Many times I feel cautious about sharing what God is teaching me or how He is leading or blessing me because I am afraid it will look like spiritual bragging and I don’t want to be seen as proud or overly pious.

Then I realized that keeping quiet about what He does for me is keeping Him from being glorified. And it may be keeping others from being blessed. So, let’s share with each other what God is doing in our lives. Your story may be just what someone else needs to hear today.

It is both exciting and humbling to be in relationship with the living God. It’s even better when we enjoy Him together!

“Humility means reveling in his grace, not our goodness.” – John Piper




A New Day

Israel Trip Deb (378)

“Pay attention to the moment, to all the moments and all the people and every breath you take beneath the ancient sky.” – Lonni Collins Pratt

A new day opens before me, Lord. Fill it

with your glory,
with opportunities to serve,
with new insights, understanding,
with light,
with Your watchfulness and Your smile,
with surprises!

In this day –

show me Your mercy that I may be merciful to others,
show me Your grace that I may be grace-filled in my relationships,
show me Your compassion that I may love others deeply as You have loved me.

I invite You to

delight me,
change me,
use me.

Now, Lord help me to be aware, eagerly to be looking for answers to this prayer all day long.

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” – Psalm 90:14

Glimpses of Another World

“If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” – C. S. Lewis

“The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay

There is another world intersecting with ours every day. We usually are oblivious to it, but I am learning that we don’t have to be.

Jesus is the door to that world and we often feel closest to it when we pray, or praise, or think on His Word. Another key component for me, though, has been in practicing awareness:

  • God reveals a little of Himself in the flower we hold, in the waves of the sea, or in the stars on cloudless night. Are we paying attention to His creation?
  • God’s image is in every person we meet, though they may not know it. Are we aware? Are we looking for Him in them?
  • There is a bigger purpose behind everything we do and everything that happens to us. Can we sense it?

As we become more and more attuned to the intersecting world, we realize how absolutely real it is. It makes the world we see, as C. S. Lewis also says, seem like “only shadows” of the reality that exists. What is truly amazing is that God sometimes pulls back the curtain to give our souls a glimpse of the invisible. It is then we realize that our deepest desires can be met only in the world we cannot see. A taste leaves us longing for more. Awareness, living mindfully, can help us see the unseen.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18


Just thinking . . .

Have you ever stopped to think about what you think about? What thoughts move in as soon as you’re not intentionally thinking of something else? Very likely, those thoughts are controlling your life.

"You become what you think about all day long." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You become what you think about all day long.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Haman, in the book of Esther, helps us understand this.  He had everything he could want: wealth, power, and prestige. But he didn’t appreciate or enjoy it, because all he could think about was that Mordecai the Jew would not bow to him. That thought eventually consumed him to the extent that he conspired to kill Mordecai and all the Jews in Persia. As the story unfolds, we find that he is caught in his own conspiracy and it costs him everything, including his life.

We must not let a past hurt, a present situation, or a future concern rob us of all God has given us in this present moment. We don’t want to be like Haman – getting hung up on one troublesome thing and then missing everything else God has given.

Instead, let’s choose to think about things that draw us to God – His Word, His creation, and His actions in the world. In fact, Paul gave us a good list in Philippians 4:8 when he told us to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

As we pay attention to our current thought habits and begin to develop new ones, we will notice that we become more joyful, useful, content, loving, and engaged. Everything changes when our thoughts change. Try it!

“Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. ” (Psalm 139:23-24)



“For God . . . made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 4:6

I’m cracked. Really cracked. I have lived enough years now to look back on my life and recognize the bumps along the way that have caused cracks.

Some came as a result of bad decisions I made, others because of decisions other people made that hurt me in some way. Some are there because of my own sinfulness and failures. Many cracks came just because I live in a broken, sinful world and bad stuff happens to us all.

No matter how those cracks got there, I live with them. They are part of me now. That seemed like a sad thought until I realized the cracks are the places in my life where God was able to reach me, to teach me, to remold me, and to fill me with His light.

With that understanding, being cracked is not so bad. The light has to get in before it can shine out! Cracks allow both.

“Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.” 

I have a feeling that you are cracked, too. Let’s thank God for the experiences in our lives that allow His light to come in. Our cracks make us unique light-givers in God’s gallery of broken, but usable, vessels!

“We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7

  • Quote from Leonard Cohen