"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
November 27, 2019
We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Again in Ephesians 5:20 we are told to, "Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
During the Thanksgiving season our minds often turn to the subject of giving thanks. But really, this is something that we should be doing on a daily basis. In fact, scriptures encourage us to give thanks and bless the Lord at all times. There isn't a stipulation to only do so on holidays or special occasions, but in all circumstances and for everything we are to give thanks.
This year my heart is especially full of thanksgiving. My family has a very specific reason that we are celebrating and rejoicing. Just this past week, my nephew and his wife officially finalized the adoption of their two little ones. It was a long journey, filled with many moments of tears and worry, for these sweet parents.
They received the call in July of 2018 asking if they would be interested in adopting a 4 month old boy. They had been waiting for over a year for such a call. Due to the boy being in another state, they were told that it could take a few weeks for paperwork and details to be approved. Those few weeks turned into eight long months! They were able to face-time with him twice a week during those months. It was a long wait filled with many moments of uncertainty. Finally, in March of this year they received the long-awaited phone call saying that they could go pick him up. Then due to other issues that cropped up, they had to wait an additional eight months before his adoption was finalized.
On August 3rd of last year they met their tiny baby girl for the first time; which was the third day of her life. She weighed 4 pounds and 15 ounces. My nephew and his wife spent ten days in NICU with her, before they could bring her home. Her prognosis wasn't great at that time. On her first doctor appointment, my nephew's wife was told by the doctor that she was a "lost cause"; which brought many tears afterwards. Over the next few months, they had to see many specialist. Each time they were met with better news, and her prognosis improved with every appointment. The baby girl started physical therapy at six weeks old, which still continues. The physical therapist continues to be amazed and pleased with baby girl's progress at how far she has come. At the age of six months, she had to have surgery to fix an umbilical hernia. At fifteen months old, this baby girl continues to exceed all of the expectations that the doctors had for her. She is down to two specialists, as all of the others have released her from their care. This little girl is tiny, but mighty! She is one of the most determinedly stubborn little girls I've ever seen. She has several teeth, is talking a lot, and so very close to walking alone. This little girls is indeed a miracle!!
Over and over again, I have seen God amaze people and doctors through this little girl. The label of being a "lost cause" has been proved to be completely wrong. God has done miracle after miracle in this tenacious baby girl!!
All we can say is, "Look what the Lord has done!!"
God has provided for every need that Jon and I have had. Other than some back issues that Jon has had, we have walked in health and strength. In fact, one particular night Jon had laid on the bedroom floor, then couldn't get back up due to back spasms and pain. He needed a miracle at that very moment. I laid hands on him and prayed, and the pain went away and he was able to get up and sleep restfully that night.
Every financial need has been met. Even when we've had unexpected expenses, God has been faithful to provide. He has blessed us so that we've been able to bless others.
Jon's mom moved just down the street from us this past year; which has been absolutely wonderful to have her nearby. After a couple of bumps in the road, she was able to sell the home that she had been living in. She now enjoys living in an independent senior apartment; which has been exactly what she needed and such a blessing for her.
A nephew had a logging accident a few weeks ago. He was cutting a limb and somehow it rolled so that it smashed his leg between two logs. They were sure that it was broken and he was taken to get an x-ray. The x-ray showed that the leg was perfectly fine! In fact, he was back at work the very next day.
During this past few months, two of my nephews and their wives had babies that were both preemies and had to stay in NICU. But both babies are doing great and growing and healthy!
Our families are safe and doing well! We are so incredibly blessed!!
There are so many other things that we could list that we are so grateful for. God has been so good to us and is such a good, good Father!! Our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and gratefulness!
I encourage you to take time to consider this past year and thank God for all of His blessing in your own life and in your family. But don't only let it be a once a year event, but at all times, give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever!!
There are many, many verses about giving thanks. Several say that we can enter the courts of heaven through thanksgiving. God created everything, and gave Earth to us to govern. And with all that, what he wants from us is simple gratitude and obedience.
Colossians 1:15-16 says it well (so do many other verses): "He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born over all creation, for all things in heaven and on earth were created by Him -- all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers -- all things were created through Him and for Him."
Whatever we have, it originated from God. Even if we changed it, mixed it differently, stacked it and joined it together into something new, it all came from God. And we owe our thanks to God for letting us use it for the meantime. So whatever else may be going on, and no matter what we may think we have to be bitter over, we still owe God thanks for all that we do have; for our homes, for our next meal and last meal, for a warm bed, etc. So, thank God.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
5 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes
3/4 cups Butter
1 package Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 to 3/4 cup Half-and-Half
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 to 35 minutes, until tender.
Drain the potatoes in a large colander; then put them back into the dry pot. Mash the potatoes, before add the other ingredients.
Add butter, cream cheese, and half-and-half. Mash until thoroughly mixed. Add the seasoned salt and pepper. Stir well.
Place in a medium-sized baking dish. Place a few pats of butter over the top and place dish in a 350 oven. Heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.
Note: When making this dish a day or two in advance, take it out of the fridge about 2-3 hours before serving time. Bake in 350 oven for 20-30 minutes or until warmed through.
Thanksgiving brings back many memories of family time and delicious food! But there was one year, when I was single, that Thanksgiving day was one of the loneliest, most miserable days I've ever spent. It just happened that year that my sisters all went to their respective in-laws for the day. Therefore, my step-mother's kids and their families all decided to get together at Daddy and June's home. I didn't have anywhere to go for the day. A nephew was engaged and the girl, his fiance, was unable to go home that year so he arranged for her to drive to my home and spend the day with me. I cooked all morning, preparing a meal for us to share... then waited and waited and waited.... and she never showed up. I began worrying that perhaps she had car trouble, or couldn't find my house, or something had happened. This was before cell phone days. After waiting for 2-3 hours, with the food growing cold, I called my nephew who was out of state, to see if he had heard from her. He was able to get in touch with her and found that she had decided to go to a friends' home for the day. I was so upset at the time, but we've ended up being great friends!
My point is, sometimes things don't go as planned and holidays can bring about loneliness or sadness. But we then have to choose how we react. Granted, I spent time that day feeling sorry for myself and being upset. But later, I decided to go to the home of an aunt and uncle and visit with their family. They welcomed me, and I got to eat some of their delicious leftovers.
If you know someone who may be alone during the holidays, either invite them to join you... or if it may not work with your family schedule, do something with them earlier in the day or even the evening before. If you are going to be alone, find someone who may be alone or having a difficult year, and either ask them to join you or at least spend time visiting with them a little and let them know that you care.
"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever." - 1Chronicles 16:34
We love you!
Loretta & Jon