Fall in Texas
Fall in Texas
We’re actually having a fall in north Texas this year. Sometimes it seems fall is here for a week or two and then bingo, it’s winter chill! My trees are bursting with color! Well, not the post oak, blackjack and bur oaks so much, but the Chinese pistache and the sweetgum are yellow, red and orange gorgeous. When I lived and worked in Southern California all those years, as much as I enjoyed the pleasant winters, I did miss the seasons. What was interesting, in spite of no frost, the trees there turned into their fall colors anyway. Nature will have its way.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by a desire to stop whatever you’re doing and praise and thank God? That happened to me one morning last week while I was getting dressed for the day. I wasn’t thinking about praying. It wasn’t premeditated or planned; it just happened. If that sounds eerie, it wasn’t. A warm and compelling desire to express joyous praise and thankfulness to our Father came over me. I believe that was the Jesus in me. I can explain the experience no other way. The Holy Spirit and our Savior are always expressing love to the Father and to each other. Sometimes we get to share in their divine love in a special way. Thank you, Jesus!
As I’ve mentioned before, I make homemade egg noodles for Thanksgiving, the old-fashioned recipe from scratch. That means eggs and flour mixed, kneaded, rolled out, dried enough to cut into strips and cooked in chicken broth. It’s a tradition passed down from my mother and her mother before. Noodles aren’t the most healthy food choice, but my family loves those noodles. The family cooks also contribute homemade pies, rolls, candied yams, cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce and many other sides to accent the main entree—roasted and smoked turkey. This abundance shared with family and friends is in appreciation of all God’s blessings throughout the year. And, one of his greatest blessings is having family and friends to share those blessings with. Wishing you and yours a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
The full moon hung like a shining, golden medallion over the horizon. I could hardly take my eyes off it as I carried my recycling to the end of the driveway for next morning’s pickup. As I stopped to admire its beauty, I heard my neighbor’s voice from down the road, “Do you see the moon?” Yes, I said. It’s beautiful! Fascinated by what I was seeing I hadn’t noticed one of my neighbors was also taking out his recycling. Have you ever felt sharing an experience with someone else made it even more special? That’s how I felt when I heard my neighbor’s voice. No more was said; no more needed to be said. It was just a moment—two people appreciating the beauty of God’s handiwork.
What a joyful season this is, one holiday after another! A couple of my neighbors had their Christmas lights put up right after Halloween. One neighbor already lights them up at night. The stores, of course, have been competing for our attention with Christmas promotions for weeks. It seems Christmas comes earlier every year, but let’s not forget Thanksgiving. I drove past a house this week that had Christmas lights up and a big fake turkey displayed on their front door. I guess that about covers it. As we anticipate the celebration of the birth of our Savior, let’s not forget Thanksgiving. It’s more than food and football. It’s a reminder we have a whole lot to be thankful for.
Who likes correction! I don’t, even though most of the time it’s warranted. It’s not that correction is not appreciated—eventually. I just don’t like to be corrected. It hurts. But, God is not like the parents who allow their unruly, disrespectful children free rein as they create havoc wherever they go. God is a loving father who cares about his children and warns and corrects them when they stray. He loves us and doesn’t want us to suffer the consequences of sin. Correction can come from Scripture or sermons but also through unexpected ways. Another person who may be totally unaware may say something that stings. But, we, as the guilty parties, recognize immediately God is talking directly to us. No fun! Thank you, Lord, for your merciful, if uncomfortable, correction.
Rejoice in the Lord is mentioned many times in the Scriptures. I can do that. I’m feeling good, well-fed and comfy, warm and dry in my house while a cold rain falls outside. Why shouldn’t I rejoice! But the Scriptures also encourage us to rejoice when life isn’t going so well for us. What about that? As humans we have a proclivity to put a physical take on what the biblical writers intended as spiritual edification. An abundant life is promised, but true abundance is spiritual not physical. Not that a material gift isn’t appreciated, but far more valuable is the spiritual blessing of growing closer in our relationship with Lord Jesus. The spiritual gifts come to us, no matter our physical circumstances. God is good! Always!
Jesus never doubted his Father’s involvement in his life. He went about calming storms, healing the sick and even turning water into wine without ever questioning whether or not his Father would respond to his requests. Total faith in his Father was a way of life for Jesus. Even when his attempt to open a blind man’s eyes didn’t completely happen at first, Jesus didn’t falter (Mark 8:24). He didn’t think, Oh no, the man still can’t see! God has quit answering my prayers! He knew everything the Father does is for a reason. What about us?
Last Sunday evening, I learned a lot about the parents in our community. It was Halloween and I was happily surprised at the politeness of the cute kids who came to my door. Most were taught to take only one piece of candy and to say thank-you. One child took two and his older sister told him to put one back. He couldn’t bring himself to do it, so she did it for him! Last Monday was All Saints’ Day, but, of course, most today celebrate Halloween the night before, not All Saints’ Day. This observance of the faithful Christians of our past has been basically forgotten in lieu of treat or treating. Among all the kids who came to my door few probably knew the beginning of All Hallows’ Eve. Lots of princesses and witches costumes, and Baby Yoda, Harry Potter, Iron Man and Wonder Woman were represented, but nothing signifying what the day originally meant. Yes, I had candy for them. How many times do you have the opportunity to show love to so many kids.