Free the Prisoner!

prison photo

Do you check the news headlines as you drink your morning coffee?  Or do you avoid it and head straight to social media and friendly faces?  I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to start the day with distressing news from around the world.  Besides the ongoing war in Ukraine, people are in the streets risking their lives by protesting the government in China (unheard of just a few years ago!) and in Iran.  In Haiti and El Salvador, gangs rule the streets and people are afraid to leave their homes.  Even when they stay at home, they risk being attacked and raped or murdered.  In some countries in South and Central America, crime is rampant. These are just a few of the hotspots in our troubled world.

People all over this world, people everywhere, are becoming frustrated and weary of being imprisoned, either by Covid restrictions, by government regulations, by crime or by too much materialism.  Here in the USA, we are mostly blind to our situation, but many are prisoners, some are prisoners to possessions, jobs,  image, social media or technology while others have become prisoners of drugs, violent video games, or computer porn. We are all in many ways prisoners.  The hardest prisons to see are the ones hiding in our thoughts and feelings, but they are the ones that keep us behind the strongest bars, the bars of fear, worry, anger, covetousness, etc.

May those prison doors be loosed!  God says that He hears the groaning of the prisoners.  He hears our cries for help.  He told us that thousands of years ago, but we have failed to believe it.  Thousands of years ago, King David was in real trouble.  In his aching distress, he cried out to the Lord and wrote Psalm 102.  His plea for help so many years ago sounds just like the cries of people nowadays who are tired of being controlled by one thing or another.  Then in verse 19 of the same psalm, Almighty God calls down from His spectacular heaven and answers the plea. “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.”  Years after King David laid bare his soul’s cry, Isaiah prophesied of a future time of freedom.  Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,”  More years passed and a man named Jesus said, This is that day!  He went to the local synagogue and opened the Scriptures to the very roll where Isaiah had prophesied.  Luke 4:18, 19 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”  He quietly put the book down and simply said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  The people in attendance that day were stunned.  What?!  How can this be?!  He was just the guy they knew as Jesus.  Yes, just Jesus, beautiful, pure, true, holy Jesus.

Maybe we are still stunned by that statement, but Jesus was once a man just like us.  He understands us.  He can relate to us.  Jesus has the key to our prisons.  He knows what is holding us in them and preventing us from being free.  He is the key. He can free us from the deepest hell.  He is the most beautiful being, stunning beyond words, and yet he gets us. If we read his story and do our best to live out his truth, we will be free indeed. Know the truth and the truth will make you free.  Jesus is the truth. 

“I am the way and the truth and the life.”

Be free!

prison with keys

God speaks to our soul, individually and forever kindly

This morning I was looking into the author of the book, Banhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.  His name is Eric Metaxas and I found this amazing video of his testimony.  It’s only 3:19 minutes long and is well worth a watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2p2EhwbVyg

Eric talks about a dream that God gave him and how that dream led him to believe in Jesus.  The main point that he wanted to make in publishing his testimony is that God speaks to each one of us in a way that only we can understand and relate to.  That has huge meaning to each one of us because that means that this enormous God, the God of every man, woman and child who has ever lived, knows each one of us individually, completely and intimately.  He knows what we like and don’t like.  He knows how we think, and He’s not disturbed by it.  He wants to help us to change the way we think (and act) and in order to do so, He is willing to relate to us in a way that we will understand Him, in the deepest language of our heart and soul.  He knows what will touch us.  He loves each one of us uniquely.

I have to tell a story about my life here as well.  I was studying in another country during my junior year abroad in college.  One morning I was sitting on a bench in the hallway at the university before class.  As a teenager, I was a shy person and had a lot of self pity, but I was feeling lonely on that day being so far from home.  Down the hallway, there were some girls that were arriving for class.  They had all traveled to that country as a group from a university in Florida, whereas I just went there by myself.  That morning, they were all greeting each other and smiling and chatting.  In my mind I was envying them and yet at the same time thinking I was better than them.  At that very moment, a very loud voice in my head said to me, “If you want to have friends, you have to smile!”  I looked around wondering if anyone else had heard that as well since it was so loud, but no one flinched or moved a muscle.  It truly shook me.  I couldn’t deny what I heard or what He had said.  How could anyone know me so completely and know exactly what I had been thinking and feeling?!  The voice did not speak to me angrily in spite of my envy and arrogance, but it was just very matter of fact and completely accurate.  The accuracy absolutely blew me away, but it also caused me to see myself the way others might see me.  Who wants to start up a chat with someone who always has such a sad face?  A revelation about my attitude and behavior was born.  Slowly but surely, that voice changed my life.  I had just met God my Savior.  He saved me from myself, brought me up out of a deep pit and set me up on His mountaintop.

Our Father is such a loving and kind father to each one of us.  He only wants us to search for Him and find Him.  The instant we do, He pours out His love and leads us ever close to Him, not at all as He leads others, but in a way that is unique to us, so that each one of us can know Him and come to love Him.  It is not always an easy path.  Nowadays when I sometimes find myself slipping back into a moment of self pity, in His kindness, He brings me out of it and reminds me of His infinite love.  He shows me that He can only allow something to happen if it will somehow help me, even if it’s just in some small way, to know Him better.  I grew up thinking that He was a very angry God.  He may sometimes have to speak difficult truths to us, but there is no anger in Him ever.  

He does that for each and every one of us.  Every day.  He is just amazing.  The best.  The only.  Our one true constantly loving Father.

Jeremish 31:3  The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Fret not yourself because of evildoers. Ps 37:1

 

I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.  Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

Psalm 37:35, 36

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won.  There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall.  Think of it – always.  Mahatma Gandhi

 

Ukranian flag

Perfect peace?

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee.

Because I do not yet have grandchildren, I love to spend a little time with my grand nieces and nephew.  Taking them to their bus on Friday mornings is a great way to see them each week.  They go to two different magnet schools that are about a twenty minute drive away from our town (if traffic is good).  Last Friday, I did not have time to read a Scripture before leaving my house at 6:50 to get them to the bus stop on time, so my husband read one to me.  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee.”  One of my favorite ones!  Okay, Lord!  Yes! 

Several minutes later, after picking them up, we headed towards the high school parking lot where the busses would take them to their schools.  On the way up a hill, a large flatbed truck pulled up and began to back into a building with a very small door for such a large truck, blocking the road in both directions.  He backed up and pulled forward, backed up and pulled forward again.  On and on it went.  A worker in a yellow vest was making sure that all traffic was stopped.  Very quickly, I lost my cool.  I opened the window.  “I have to get these children to the bus stop!  They can’t be late for their bus!”  I knew that if they were late for their bus, I was in for a long drive and a big inconvenience to my busy day.  Inside, I was frantic.  Help!  Such a roadblock was not in my plans.  One driver somewhere in line behind me pulled around me and zoomed past both the traffic guy and the truck.  In order to do so, he even had to drive over the sidewalk.  He was clearly angry.  I tried to calm down and told the children that we would pray, but actually, I had already lost it.  In the end, after what seemed like an eternity, the truck finally pulled to the side of the road and let us go by.  Shortly afterwards, we arrived at the parking lot and …. the bus was late.

After the children got on their busses, I had plenty of time to reflect about my attitude and actions.  Wow, it had not taken me long at all to throw everything out the window and basically freak out.  God was clearly showing me something that I need to work on.  It’s really true that I hate to be late, but keeping my mind stayed on God means that I trust Him whether it turns out positive or negative.  If I have to drive them to their schools, isn’t God big enough to arrange my day so that it works out?  There have been other times when I was somehow able to keep my mind on him and, as a result, felt that rare kind of peace that passes understanding.  That special variety of peace doesn’t make sense to our natural minds because it is in such complete opposition to the situation in which we find ourselves.  We cannot find that kind of peace in difficult circumstances on our own unless we truly are connected to Him.

When we dedicate our day to the Lord and tell Him that we love him, we can’t know ahead of time if a big truck (or some other obstacle) is going to interfere with our plans during that day, but we CAN pray for patience, wisdom and insight into what is happening to us.  We can make an effort to recognize the kinds of situations that give us the most trouble.  We can learn to count to ten, recite a Scripture, or do whatever it takes to maintain our calm and keep our mind on Him.  That’s how we know that we trust in Him.  We can make that connection with Him each morning and strive to maintain it so that He’s with us throughout the day.   That’s where such peace comes from – Him.

There really is a peace that passes understanding.  It doesn’t make sense to our natural mind because of the crazy situation that we may be in.  It’s a peace that comes from God our Father.  It’s His peace, and He will give it to us if we show that, no matter what the outcome of the situation, we trust in Him.

 

Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Philippians 4:7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 66:12 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream

We all need a rest!

 

P1010252

This morning, the radio talk shows were all about the current issues with the corona virus.  Most of us have felt the impact of this national crisis this week, perhaps in many ways.  Elementary school classes are being cancelled for several weeks.  Universities are moving their classes to an online platform.  Most events are being cancelled, even professional sports games and championships.  Grocery stores are maxed out on certain apparently necessary items.  I was out doing my weekly (plus a little extra) grocery shopping this morning.  The stores were mobbed, but every single person was kind and polite.  No one was rushing around frantically taking cuts in lines or grabbing things off the shelves before others could get it.  It was very orderly and almost peaceful.  It was actually a nice kind of experience in simple human camaraderie.  We are all in this together.

On the way home, the local talk radio host remarked that when we were young, everything shut down on Sundays.  That brought me back to those days when banks, stores, gas stations, and just about every other kind of establishment except perhaps restaurants were closed on Sundays.  Only churches remained open and they were filled.  Sundays were mostly spent with family.  Our family dinner was always around 3:00 pm on Sundays and took several hours to prepare, after which we all enjoyed sitting down together and eating it at our leisure.  There was always conversation and many times laughter, but never a need to rush through it.

The talk show guy’s comments reminded me of a few Scriptures about the relationship between God and Israel.  God Himself was the first one to rest.  Genesis 2:2 tells us that after God finished his work of creating the earth and everything in it, He rested on the seventh day.  Then in Exodus 20:8 – 11, God included a day of rest in the Ten Commandments.  In Leviticus 25:1 – 4, the Lord laid out his requirements concerning sabbath days:

And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.  Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.

In Leviticus 26:33 – 35, God explained what would happen if His people did not keep the sabbaths, and finally in 2 Chronicles 36:21, the Scriptures record that, in fact, God forced a sabbath of seventy years on the land of Israel by letting the people go into captivity and therefore leaving the land desolate for those seventy years.

Our modern life is so busy.  We are always doing something.  Whatever day we take for a sabbath no longer keeps us from working, shopping, doing business or doing anything we please.  Even the old “blue laws” have been voted out and you can buy alcohol any day of the week.  With smart phones and globalization, people can do business 24 hours a day, seven days a week … but is it good for us?  Most people are running ragged on just a few hours of sleep.  They have no time for meditative activities and no time for leisurely Sunday dinners with family.  Human beings require rest.  The land requires rest.  Even our machines require rest.

Have we once again forced God’s hand?  Is He forcing us to sit things out for a while and take a Sabbath?  Let’s make this a true sabbath.  Sit down, connect with God, our loving Father, and enjoy a pleasant Sabbath.  Happy Sabbath to you!  I hope that you are well and that you stay that way.  We can do this.  We can stop for a few weeks and let this thing pass over.  I wish you all the best as we rest and ride this out.

 

Rippling Effects

Most of us think that as long as our actions don’t bother anyone else, we can do whatever we want.  I hear people saying that.  “It doesn’t hurt anyone.”  Hmmm.  Or does it?!

We have a huge example staring the world in the face right now.  Although it’s not certain as to how the novel 19 coronavirus got started, some believe it jumped to humans when someone or some people ate a certain type of unclean creature.  You know what, God is waaaayy smarter than us, and He told us not to eat certain creatures.  I guess He had a terrific reason for saying that.  In any case, once that happened, that disease has affected the entire world in one way or another.  Businesses, schools, hospitals, travel disruptions, events cancelled, governments, mounting hysteria and a growing number of deaths.  The ripples just spread further and further out.

There are so many more examples.  One person discards a cigarette in a dry forest.  One person decides to clear all the trees off of his/her property.  Another person, too lazy to follow correct disposal protocol, pours his bottle of chemicals in a local stream.  It all ripples out.  Our actions, large and small, some even apparently insignificant, do affect others.  We are all one family with common DNA.  We are all affected.

Consider something so small as a smile.  One person smiles at another.  That person leaves feeling a little better and smiles at someone else and that person goes to work humming, which in turn affects the whole atmosphere of the workplace.  Because of the warm welcome a visiting businessman receives, the company gets a new contract with a company in India and then more people in that country are smiling because they have jobs.  It all ripples out.

If my actions are going to affect people that I have never even heard of in a far distant place, wouldn’t it behoove me to mediate my behavior to make sure that I am benefiting my distant brothers and sisters?  We are all responsible for our actions.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Just think of how that will ripple out through our world!

Take heart in 2020

Daniel was a much beloved man of God.  In the book that bears his name, the mighty king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, had a strange dream.  In it he saw a large statue with a head of gold, the upper torso of silver, the lower torso of bronze, its legs of iron and its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.  What potter would try to make a statue with feet of iron and clay?  How can those two materials adhere to one another?  As Nebuchadnezzar watched, a stone was cut out of a mountain without any hand doing it and it began to roll down the hill, gaining speed as it went.  It reached those feet and smashed them into pieces.  This brought down the whole statue and it was all completely broken in pieces.  It says that the pieces of it were like the chaff of a summer threshing floor and it all blew away in the wind so that no trace of it could be found.  However, that stone grew and became a great mountain and filled up the entire earth.

We can clearly see that the Scriptures show that this supernatural stone will begin rolling during a time when there is a kingdom in power that does not adhere to itself.  It is one part this and one part that, a divided kingdom, partly strong, partly brittle.  We know from the gospels that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.  The kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision will be blown away so completely that there will be no traces left of it.  You can imagine the stone gathering momentum as it rolls down the mountain until it smashes into the divided kingdom and destroys every single aspect of it.  It is also not hard to see that there is so much turbulence in our world today.  We see it everyday in the news.  No one can agree about anything.  Politics has become very personal with each side calling the other “haters.”  Around the world, political opponents are not getting anything done because they are completely divided; they cannot agree on even the smallest detail.

Those of us who love the Lord need to take heart.  If we are already living in the time of the iron and clay feet, then we should know that the stone is also either being cut out of the mountain or it is already rolling down the hill, ready to smash into those toes and destroy them.  Despite this vision of complete destruction, it is not a vision to create despair.  Nebuchadnezzar’s dream does not end in despair, does it.  In the end, Daniel describes the kingdom of the stone that grew as a kingdom set up by God Himself that will never be destroyed nor will it be left to another people.  If we love God, we’re going to love His kingdom.  It’s beautiful.  People get along in it.  They love one another and never want to see their brothers or sisters hurt.

God’s kingdom is coming.  Is today the day?  We don’t know the answer to the question of when our physical world will change.  It is not given to a man to know the times and seasons.  Only God knows that.  However, every single day that stone is crashing into my kingdom.  It’s destroying what I thought was gold, but is in reality just dross.  God’s kingdom is destroying all of the idols that I once held dear.  It is smashing all of the pieces of my life that don’t adhere with God’s life.  Just like in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision, there will be no trace found of those former parts of my life.  His Spirit will blow them all away.  I have not really lost anything because in the place of those things, that living stone, Jesus, is creating within me a kingdom that is pure and ready to be filled with love for all that belongs to God.  Each one of us has to allow that process to happen to us.  God is kind and doesn’t smash everything at once.  He leads us one step at a time to tear down the old life, remove the sins and build up his life.  Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is within and when we allow Him to create His kingdom within us, we are getting ready to live with Him in that beautiful kingdom that will never be destroyed.  What we need to do as this process churns in our lives is to maintain our love, faith and trust in the one, true, living God.  He is above all and yet in all.

I wish you a very happy new year and may you grow in God this year and may His Kingdom grow to be strong in your lives, a strength that will never be destroyed or given to another.

Life is full of purpose

This morning’s reading in a daily Bible podcast was from Ecclesiastes.  In chapters four through six, Solomon repeats many times that everything is just vanity.  He seems to say that there is no purpose to life on earth.  Solomon was for most of his life a very wise man.  In fact, in the same chapters there are many very wise sayings, but he was a naturally minded man.  He did not have the faith of his father, David.  It would be easy to find fault with Solomon and dismiss much of the book of Ecclesiastes, but perhaps the greatest lesson in this book is its warning to me.  How many times do I say, “What’s the use?”  “What’s the point of continuing in this job?”  Or, “why bother?”  When I think like that, I am thinking like Solomon, a naturally minded human being.

The second reading this morning came from 2 Corinthians 6.  It says that we should separate ourselves from unbelievers because we are the temple of God Almighty and He will live in us, walk in us and be our God and we will be His people.  Connecting that idea to the lessons in Ecclesiastes, if I’m a naturally minded person, I will stay home and separate myself from anyone who doesn’t believe the same as me.  However, the most important separation needs to be inside of me.  We should all separate out of us whatever thinks as Solomon did and banish those thoughts that believe that there is no point.  Is there no purpose in our lives?  Are we just natural human beings?  Or does God direct us and have a purpose in every person we meet, in every situation we encounter every single day?

Let’s remember, think on these things and have faith that we are the temple of the living God and that all the things that happen to us in our daily lives are working together for good because we do love God and are called according to his purpose in our lives.  (Romans 8:28)  He is constantly directing our paths and doing His best to bring us into a higher light.  Life is very full of purpose.  If we can’t see it, we have only to ask Him.

Strong families – a crucial need in troubled times

parenthood

 

Violence wracks our nation.  Each time we collectively experience another mass shooting, we all grieve the loss of life, of innocence and of liberty.  We search for answers.  The newspapers search for motives.  The police search the shooter’s home, computer and affiliations.  Where and how did he/she get the gun?  Was he/she bullied?  We blame guns, mental illness, video games or the ease of finding extremist ideas on the internet.

Perhaps there is not just one answer, but we can all do something.  Whether we believe in gun control or greater protection, we can still change something in our lives to create a better society.  Parenthood.  Many of us have lost the art of parenthood.  While our lives have gotten busier, we have willingly handed over the authority over our children to “the experts.”  Who are these experts?  Teachers?  Counselors?  Therapists?  Teachers are responsible for teaching children. Parents are responsible for raising their children.

We need TRUCES!  Children who are the beneficiaries of these following qualities do not go out and shoot up strangers at a mall or a public event.

Time – If a family is to become a true family, it requires time together on a daily basis – breakfasts, dinners, conversation, true communication on what’s happening in each person’s life.  Put down the cell phones.  Remove the earbuds.  Turn off the TV.  Talk!  Smile at one another.  Forget the stresses of the outside world and enjoy each other’s company.  Most importantly, we have to give them our time persistently, especially when they negotiate the turbulent teenage years.

Respect – We should never call our children by derogatory names (I have heard parents call their children snot face, butt head, dumb bell, etc), but we should honor the life of God in them.  Respect what is good in them.  Observe your children and discover what they are good at.  Commend them for those things and if necessary, help them develop the gifts and abilities that you  see.

Unconditional Love – We must always love them with a feelable love, even when they’ve done something to test our patience.  Unconditional love wants the best for each child but it does not give them everything they want.  It makes decisions based on the best interests of the child.  Unconditional love is forever, even when children become teens and test everything that we stand for.

Consistency – We need to give them the rules, rules that will guide them in life, and let them know what will happen when they break those rules.  Then we need to maintain our integrity by applying the appropriate discipline.  When we’re consistent with discipline in whatever form we choose, they get the message.  Children who have a certain discipline in their lives (without an overabundance of rigidity) are happy and more secure.  They can hang on when the emotional teenage years bombard them with unhealthy and even dangerous choices.  Consistency is dauntless and yet not entirely without compassion.

Energy – We must find a way to renew our strength and energy either daily or at least weekly – either with prayer, meditation or time to reflect on what’s happening in our lives.  If we are frayed at all of our edges, we cannot keep up with the pace and responsibilities of parenthood.

Sacrifice – We have to be willing to give up a lot for the benefit of our children.  Sometimes it means the sacrifice of what we wanted to do with our time.  It could be giving up something financially so that we can offer our children extra lessons in piano, sports, art or ballet.  It most often personally means that I have to give up what I want to do at this moment because my child has a need that must be met.  I have to put down my phone and listen or, more important yet, I have to start the conversation with my child by asking a few focused questions.  Sacrifice is always important, but it may become more compelling as lives get busier and the children get older.

We need to understand that all parents make mistakes.  When it happens, we should own up to it and be ready and willing to change our behavior.

We as a nation need a re-education, a re-involvement and a renewed respect of parenthood.  Parents have lost the tools with which they used to raise responsible children.  Maybe some of those old tools were flawed.  Okay, but let’s not throw everything overboard.  Let’s create new tools within the new framework.  Do new parents need an app to show them how to deal with discipline, tantrums and responsibility?  Then let someone with gifts in creating apps create something together with someone who understands the needs of children.  Do parents need a new awareness of their own responsibilities?  Then let’s have a national program (or many local ones!) or an outreach to raise such awareness – never to usurp parents’ authority, but to enhance it and protect it.

It may take a village, but most of all, it takes parents who are there and who are engaged in this lifelong process called parenthood.

 

 

An Encouraging Springtime Thought

Isaiah 61-11

Creator: Thomas_A_Clark
Copyright: TAC. Photography
No copyright infringement is intended

This morning I was looking for encouraging scriptures for a daughter who is having a rough time right now.  I found this beautiful photo with Isaiah 61:11 in it.  This Scripture encourages me so much.

Every year, I make a little garden.  I plant the seeds, add compost or composted manure and water them faithfully.  Sometimes it seems as if they will never come up.  I wait.  Sometimes, I water more and wait some more.  Then suddenly, one day, perhaps even when all hope for my little seeds was nearly lost, up pops a tiny shoot.  That tiny shoot, the fulfillment of my hope, reaches for the sun and soaks up all the nutrients it needs to become a mature plant.

Is there a year when spring fails to come?  When the buds fail to come out of their winter hiding place?  When leaves don’t unfurl themselves at the appointed time?  Spring is our hope come alive.  It arrives every year without fail, whether at the time we had wished for or a bit later.  I think that we don’t appreciate spring’s reliability enough.  We anticipate it and love it when it comes, but how thankful are we for the dependableness of spring?  In all of my years, there has never been a spring that did not arrive.  That is amazing!  Thank God!

Well, as assuredly as the little plant bursts out of its seed cocoon, as assuredly as spring arrives each year, so will a time come when all creation will praise God, when God will cause righteousness and praise to bloom before every nation.  It will happen!  Let’s pray for that.  Let’s thank God for that day as much as we thank Him for the beautiful spring days that we enjoy.  We have so much to look forward to and to be thankful for!

Isaiah 61:11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.