“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2
We’ll pause tomorrow to give thanks for the multitude of blessings God has bestowed on us throughout the year. No matter what our trials, we can always find the blessings. We’re thankful for family, jobs, health, and (more…)
The American culture wants us to believe joy comes from how much we can buy or how much money we can earn. Sure, it is fun to buy nice things. I will be the first to admit I love my gadgets and gizmos, or a new purse! However, true joy comes from being grateful for the simple things in life. Listening to children play outside brings back fond memories of my own childhood. Joy comes when someone you love does something simply to make you happy. My husband will sometimes bring me a chocolate (more…)
Fall comes slowly here in the South, but that never stopped me from wanting happy little pansies to begin taking root as soon as September came around. There is something wonderful about cultivating the soil in anticipation of growing something beautiful. Except I don’t have a green thumb and my visions of gardening have always been overcome by my reality of forgetting to water and tend to the flowers I plant. Nevertheless, I had spent time planting my favorite colors in the flower bed just outside our front door one day while the boys were at school.
Evergreen Street was a kid-filled street and our house seemed to be in the middle of all of the activity. Bicycles, balls, and boys go together like peanut butter and jelly and we had both on overflow most days. I have always loved being a mom to three boys and my heart is as happy as the pansies I planted that day when I remember all the crazy moments spent sorting socks, shoes, and sand from their pockets.
One specific afternoon comes to mind when I think back to our days living at 119 Evergreen; it was warm, sunny and the yard was filled with the voices of laughter, talk, and noise of little boys. I was making dinner or something inside while listening through the open door to the boys play outside. The doorbell rang and rang and rang. I knew who it was. Our youngest loved to ring the doorbell to let me know he was “home” and I would have spoken to him for ringing the door for the hundredth time in an afternoon, except this time was different.
Looking out the glass door as I approached, I could tell something was different; he had that look in his eye and I knew he was up to something. He was holding something behind him. I hoped it was not some kind of critter from the woods out back. But as I approached and opened the door, his hand presented to me in the most elegant fashion a fistful of happy pansies! With a smile as big as the sky and sunshine flushing his chubby cheeks, he announced, “I picked you purdy flowers!” He was so pleased to give me a gift. “I know you like flowers, Mommy!” And I do! But in that moment, I loved him more!
It didn’t matter that the entire root system and ball of potting soil was still attached to his gift. He was absolutely delighted to give his gift! It didn’t matter that I had bought the flowers, they belonged to me, I had planted them where I wanted them; he had seen them and thought of me and wanted to delight me with a gift. His heart was in the gift and I received it, dirt and all, with love, delight, and joy.
He helped me trim off the roots and dirt and we filled a clear vase with water to display these little beauties for as long as they would last. Then he skipped off to play with his brothers and friends and my heart was tender before the Lord as I considered what giving means.
These little pansies that were given back to me that day are what I envision when I think of the joy of giving. When giving our gifts to God, He is delighted when we do so with a cheerful heart.
When we stop to notice something beautiful, to acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes to us from God the Father, when we give back to Him what is already His and we do it with gladness, He takes great delight in us! Even when our gifts are messy and dirty or in need of work before being placed on display before others, He delights in our giving not because the gift itself is special, but because we are special to Him.
Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose]
just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly
or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver
[and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift].
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 AMP
When you consider giving to God a gift of praise, thanksgiving, your time, talent or tithe, how do you feel?
Do you feel excited, joyful, and blessed, or do you feel resentment?
Please feel free to share in the comments below. We want to hear your stories of giving and thankfulness!
Just released by DeAnna Morris:
Simply Life; Live in Faith Every Day
By Ann Cooke
Every year as Thanksgiving approaches I, along with most people, tend to start listing mentally or physically the things I am thankful for. Even those on social media are encouraging friends to join in this Thanksgiving spirit.
And that is a good thing. We are called to be thankful in Ephesians 5:20.
There are many obvious things for which to be thankful; life, jobs, family, salvation, health, etc. But this year and hopefully for many years to come, God has called me to remember some little and seldom thought of things that cannot be left off the list. (more…)
Today, we would like to introduce you to our friend Emily Gehman. She has written a powerful and thought provoking guest post today! Tell her what you think and share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Want Freedom From Want? Thank God Today
by Emily Gehman
A few years ago, my brother gifted our parents with a painting by Norman Rockwell called “Freedom From Want.” It depicts a family sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner: Dad stands as Mom presents the perfectly golden turkey; brothers and sisters laugh; aunts and uncles chatter across the table while one family member glances back toward the viewer contentedly.
“Freedom From Want” hangs on our wall now, reminding us we truly have no real wants.
But I find it interesting, ironic perhaps, and a little sickening at how quickly we forget our true freedom from want. Sometimes I wonder if we are not entirely free from it but in bondage to it.