Through New Eyes

Matthew 2:9

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.

Stared at, that’s what seen meant here. Can you imagine the thoughts that went through the minds of these men, as they stared at their future? They weren’t only stargazing. Oh they saw the star, but looked beyond the sign, to the reality of Who it pointed too.

Whether you believe they received this prophecy from Daniel, passed down to generations. Or from another source, you can appreciate the knowledge that their lives would never be the same. The source of their Hope meant that they would no longer have to look to the Heavens for God’s thoughts. Now they could listen for The Walking Star who spoke Heaven’s words from earthly lips.  You see, I can’t prove it, but I believe this wasn’t their last trip. 

How could anyone who had met The Master, even as a baby, not return for a second look? Can you pass any baby without looking twice? If you see a smiling child, don’t you look again to smile back?  How much more when you see the eyes of God smiling through a baby’s grin?

Are you tired? Has the year made you weary? Are you dreading the season? If so, I would encourage you to take a second look today, and stare at the star. Don’t just smile, don’t just repeat a phrase about Jesus and the season, stare for a moment. Look, not just at the Infant in the manger, but The God who made the journey, smiling through new eyes. 

Thanksgiving, And Lamb?

Today, I wanted to say something that was deeply rooted in the history of America, particularly about the history of Thanksgiving. The first of these, of course, are praises to a God of rich love, and deep mercy. The second phrase may just surprise you, it did me.

It turns out, one of the most Thanksgiving phrases that can be spoken is, Mary Had A Little Lamb. Most people know how President Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, but many do not know of Sarah Josepha Hale. This author, whose works include the famous nursery rhyme, also include a forty year campaign to make Thanksgiving a legal holiday, and the completion of the Bunker Hill Memorial.

The same year Thomas Edison spoke her poem into the first phonograph recordings, she retired at the age of 89. She had been the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book for forty years. 

Originally titled, the Ladies Magazine, one of the first women magazine editors in our country’s history. The founder of the magazine, Reverend John Blake, personally asked her to be it’s editor. 

She insisted on working from Boston, rather than relocate, as her youngest child was in college there. She became one of the strongest voices for American taste for decades. The magazine even published plans for houses, which builders copied. 

God has given us so many things to be thankful for, including the people in our lives. From great influences, like Sarah Hale and Abraham Lincoln, to the loved one, either beside us, or in our heart. On Thanksgiving, let us allow this spirit of Thanksgiving to lead us, and like little lambs, may we follow it everywhere it leads!

The Colors Of Thanksgiving

The colors of Thanksgiving, orange, red, yellow, and shades of brown. Have you ever thought about them? Why these colors, and what do they reflect?

Yes, it’s the colors of fall leaves, but it’s also the color of turkey, sweet potatoes, corn, and cranberries. Artists would explain these are all warm colors. Thanksgiving is a time of warmth, when we are, hopefully wrapped up in being thankful for the blessings we’ve received.

Thanksgiving is far more than the colors we wear, or the food we eat. It’s a time when, like the color yellow, we should reflect the brightness of God’s light in our lives, through the many shades of what we’ve experienced. Like brown, they won’t all be radiant, but just as a tree trunk, they are all rooted in Someone, and something greater than our troubles.

Orange, a mixture of red and yellow on the palette, occurs naturally in creation, showing what man cannot do, God does daily. Red should remind us, first of His sacrifice, and then of the sacrifices of those who have made an impact in our life’s.

My Thanksgiving Prayer for you this month is this. No matter which shade is currently touching your life, that you experience all the colors of Thanksgiving this year. From the warmth of God’s Love, to the joy of those who care about you, and the fresh growth of new opportunities.

Veteran’s Day: Raymond Weeks

Vet·er·an (noun) noun: veteran; plural noun: veterans, a person who has had long experience in a particular field., a person who has served in the military.

His name was Raymond Weeks, and he’s called the father of Veteran’s Day. You may know that it was originally called Armistice Day, and created to honor those who had fought in World War I. In 1945, a soldier returning home to Birmingham Alabama wanted to honor all veterans.

In 1946, he stood before Army Chief Of Staff, General Dwight Eisenhower, to deliver his petition. 1947, Weeks orchestrated the first Veterans Day celebration. General Eisenhower backed him completely, sending General Omar Bradley to be the keynote speaker.

In 1954, the day was officially recognized by Congress as Veterans Day for all soldiers. Weeks couldn’t have known that this act of patriotism would return home to his doorstep, but it did. On November 11, 1982, President Ronald Reagan awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal to Raymond Weeks.

He served his country, both in and out of uniform. The way he conducted himself inspired us to honor all those who have ever worn a uniform. Today, remember, not only all those who served, but those who were inspired by them to serve on the homefront.

The act of service, of any kind, is a noble one. Giving yourself to others selflessly isn’t only the American way, it’s the way of The Master. Christ, the greatest soldier of all, the General and Chief of Heaven’s armies, washed the feet of His Disciples. Today we honor all warriors who have sacrificed, including The One who gave the greatest sacrifice of all!

His Steps

So thankful for God’s protection this morning! Some how my left foot missed the top step on our stairs, and when it did, my right knee and leg went backwards jammed. 

With God’s help, because I don’t know how otherwise, my foot caught on the third step, and I didn’t tumble down the rest. I’m not describing it well, but the way it happened, I would have ended up with at least one broken leg, if not worse. Thank God His steps are sure, even when ours are not!

Thirty Years Later

Thirty years ago, I received the Gift of The Holy Ghost. Lucian Linkous posted a wonderful post yesterday, because there was just a few hours difference between our experiences. Bishop Spencer K Mccool Sr. was preaching the Revival at our Church.

Thirty years later, we are all still together, at #pointofmercy #madisontn, doing what we can, to help Pastor Denny Livingston and Pastor Jason Potter reach souls. I could not imagine that night, not only what God had planned, but how the people there that night, would tie in with our future.

God knows where you are, and what you’re facing. Trust Him, and it will turn out better than you could ever imagine!!!

Keep Going

Keep Going, sometimes it’s just that simple. This week we’ve faced sickness, exhaustion, and a few questions, but we knew we had to keep going. That doesn’t mean you don’t take time to recover. It means you adjust your steps, and you take the next step, even when it’s hard.

My wife had strep, and was out of work some this week. She had to rest, but even in resting, she rested with a purpose. Rest isn’t stopping, it’s recharging. 

Keeping going isn’t charging ahead regardless of the cost, it’s adjusting your sails for the situation, and continuing on the course. If you’re sick, weary, or wounded, seek the help, rest, and strength you need. Ask for reinforcements, that’s part of keeping going. 

Don’t allow your circumstances to overwhelm you, don’t let them tell you there isn’t hope. Where there is Life, there is Hope! It may be difficult, it may be confusing, but it is winnable. No matter what you face, there is a pathway to victory. As long as we don’t quit on the road.

Churchill faced the black horde of Nazi Germany, and won. He needed help, he faced sickness, and he had to rest, but he won. Reach out for backup, recharge, and re-fortify yourself for what you face today. 

Don’t worry about tomorrow. All you have to do today, is face today. Take the steps you need today. Rest, recharge, and then face a tomorrow that is one day closer to your victory. You can do this, we can do this, we can Keep Going!

The Teamwork Of Prayer

Prayer is more than spending time with God, it is a partnership. First of course, The Creator Of The Universe, wants to communicate with His children, but it goes beyond that. He wants to engage with us in the battles of the kingdom.

God could do all Himself, without taxing Himself, if He had wanted too. Instead He wanted to have a relationship with His children, involving us in His work. As someone truly remarked, “Prayer is so much more than a conversation.”

It starts there, but it becomes something deeper, especially in intercession for others. God sees it as Him working with the prayer warrior to act in the lives of those in need. Your are asking for the help of others, sometimes when they cannot ask for themselves. 

In Romans 8:26, He says The Spirit guides us in what we should pray for, in those times when we don’t know. It is a team effort. We are holding up to God those who may be tired, weary, or in trouble. 

When we pray, we are entering the Celestial Throne Room Of God, a God who has also walked on the dust of Earth. He is ready to answer, and to impact, not only the person that’s being prayed for, but the person praying also. Moses face shined, because He was in God’s Presence for Israel, and he was changed in the process. You can’t spend time with God, without being changed for the better, especially when interceding for someone else. 

A Fighting Frog And A Burnt Bridge

This morning, I thought of a card Sis Livingston gave me when I was younger. That image helped me through so many battles. I don’t know if she knows how important it was to me.

It was of a pelican, who was trying to swallow a frog, but the frog had two hands sticking out, holding on the the pelican’s neck. The message, never give up, and keep fighting. I also thought of a statement my Mother said. “If you’re tempted to turn back, burn the bridge behind you in your mind, so giving up isn’t an option.”

They were so much more than words and pictures. They were an encouragement through a lot of trials. They also let me know, someone was looking out for me. It wasn’t only the message, but the method. 

The way you encourage someone is just as important, sometimes more so, than the words said. A beat up car and a limousine will both take you somewhere, but one is a whole lot more comfortable than the other. Those two things, and so many others helped carry me through things, that I never thought I would make it through.

Another reason it helped me so, is I knew the people who gave it to me. These two kind, and extremely strong ladies, knew how difficult things can get, but they kept going. Today, I’m where I am, in so many ways, because of them, and their encouragement.

I hope if you’re down today, you’ll think of the frog, and the burnt bridge, and keep going. If you’re not down, find a way today, not to give advice, but encouragement. It will help someone else battle their own bird of prey, burn your doubts, and keep going forward.