I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, and You have become my salvation. Psalms 118:21
This season, we give thanks to God for
1) His reaching out to us many years ago, and sustaining us in our many adventures with Him;
2) The quality friends and family that He has surrounded us with;
3) His calling on our lives that allows us to serve so many each month and with joy and job satisfaction;
4) The fun that we have in this life with our family and friends;
5) Our eternal destiny and that we can be a part of what He is doing in this world.
Thanks to so many of you who have been a part of this!
I forget who I belong to and start to act strangely outside of my purposed identity. It feels odd and ugly, but there I go. The moment by moment battle real and confronting.
I make choices that align me with right or I go ever so wrongly on my own decrepit way.
Love covers a multitude of sin. Choosing to Love, serve and give, Influences the quality of relationships we have whether near and far. Good relationships demand a daily practice.
I habitually practice certain behaviors which prep me and help me get the day off to a right start. Simple acts that add up: like make my bed, read, or hear Words of Life, my squats and arm rotations to warm up for a day of activity.
It all begins with my own grounding.
One of my dear friends inspired me to practice daily the application of HEAT as I journal.
H Honor E Examine A Adore T Thank
What new ways am I honoring God, others and self?
Our Father who art in Heaven hallowed be thy Name.
What ways in myself do I need to examine?
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is In heaven.
Examine my heart and life and let your will be done in me. Show me my wayward ways and help me to change.
I Adore and focus upon your Perfection.
Give us this day our daily bread.
You alone are our Source and strength. I thank you the Protector and Lover of my soul. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Thank you for being above all and perfectly able.
For thine is the Kingdom and the glory forever and ever.
I can trust You through all in all. You cannot fail. You are the Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end.
At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
I pray daily many times In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit …. The One true God that I personally encounter each moment I become aware of His presence.
He is there and He is not silent, but I cannot hear lest I put my ear to his heart and listen. Then I hear and can act on that heartbeat that puts me in step with His rhythm. The dance of Life takes on its meaning and syncs us up with divine purposes that one could never explain. It is moving and deeply satisfying. I can dance all day to that Beat. Thank you God for being the best DJ for our soul. Keep playing your music for our souls and we will dance! Laura
Thanksgiving in Ephesus
This month, we have a national holiday- Thanksgiving. This day has been a tradition for 400 years! It was November 1621 when the 46 Plymouth Colony settlers celebrated a week-long feast with 94 Wampanoag Native Americans who had helped them survive and thrive in their new home. Their first winter in the New World was brutally cold, and 54 of the colonist died- many women and children. It was the following spring when suddenly a native American walked out of the woods to the Englishmen and reportedly ask "Do you have any beer?"
Samoset had learned some English from the fishing boats that came from England to fish the bountiful Grand Banks of Newfoundland. A few day later he brought another Native American named Squanto, who had been taken to England years before by an English fishing boat, and had spent many years in England and Spain before returning home to discover that his clan had mysteriously disappeared. Squanto and Samoset brought other Native Americans who help the English settlers grow crops and hunt. In November of 1621, they set aside a time to give thanks to God and their new neighbors for all the help that they had received.
They understood where their help came from.
We have an opportunity to pause this month in all the currents of our present society to look to our Source and give thanks.
We need Him now more than ever.
When we were in Ephesus in September, I felt like that First Century city was a lot like many of our cities- prosperous, busy, with good food, sporting events, and entertainment. The theater is huge, seating over 20,000 people, with acoustics that allow the spectator sitting in the top rows to hear clearly what is being spoken onstage. A few years ago I was sitting in the nosebleed seats when a lady walked onto the stage, opened her violin case, and played a song that echoed throughout the theater.
Ephesus was a center of worship of a pagan goddess Artemis who was supposedly the source of their economic prosperity. Notice the First Century BC statue of Artemis which is currently located in the Ephesus museum with her many breasts– much provision!
When the Christian church was established there by the Apostle Paul and others during the years 50-60 A.D. many received the proclamation of forgiveness of sins and membership in God’s family. There was much gratitude for what God had done for them. Many turned from the Roman amoral lifestyle and experienced a true relationship with the Living God.
However, a generation later things had changed in the church in Ephesus. The busyness of the city, the attractions of the culture and the focus on correct Christian living had taken them away from their roots. Listen what Jesus said to them through the letter that the Apostle John wrote:
I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. Revelation 2:2-5
Many in the Ephesian Christian community had gotten too busy in their work, and their focus had shifted to “correct knowledge” and “survival” in the pagan culture of Ephesus. Remember Ephesus was a cultic worship center to the goddess Artemis, and the temple there was massive.
The spiritual forces there were strong, and there was much opposition to the Christian community. Amid their struggles, many had forgotten their ‘first love’.
What was that ‘first love’? It was the simplicity of the Gospel: That God loves us and has reached out to us. He has made the arrangements to pay the penalty for our sins, which He did on the Cross and He has made us adopted sons and daughters in His family.
It’s like this: When God saw us drowning in our life choices, He didn’t throw us a book on how to swim. Instead, He jumped in Himself and saved us! Those of us who realized that we were drowning, and needed a savior are mighty grateful for what He has done. Because God first demonstrated His love for me, I began grow in my love for Him. Now I realize that He is my source of achievement, joy, contentment, and peace with those around me. Yes, I still stray off the path of righteous living through my words and deeds, but He doesn’t love me any less! He is always there looking out for me.
This is the Gospel. In ancient times this word meant a “proclamation of what a king or ruler had done.” Augustus issued a gospel when he became the first Roman emperor. There was nothing for the Roman citizens to do except to read and accept what Augustus had done.
It is the same with the “Gospel of Jesus Christ.” We just accept what He has done. That’s it. Nothing more. No other requirements.
If we actually grasp what He has done for us, then we are somehow compelled to begin to live our lives for Him as well as those around us. It’s a truly transforming dynamic that often gets lost in the throes of religion. As a result, we become thankful people. That is what this season is all about.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving next week, perhaps meditating on what He has done in your life will ignite your time with your family and friends. If you are feeling a lack of thankfulness, as many of us have over the years, just take an inventory of your life, recognizing when God has intervened to save you from situations, as well as from yourself. Michael
Seek The Lamb Giving
Thanks to many of you who have helped us this year with our school project along the Coco River in Nicaragua, as well as our Hurricane Relief efforts. We are especially thankful for those of you who have helped support the missionaries who work to teach our teachers and administrate this project of 1700 students. Thank You!
Here is the link to our secure PayPal giving page. Please consider giving a gift this month. The needs are great.
Rio Coco Beans Coffee
We are offering some Thanksgiving specials (15% off) on our Ethiopia Natural Gugi coffee as well as our Colombia Dark roast.
Please type in THANKSGIVING at checkout.
Our Colombia Honey process coffee is arriving this week at our Roastery after months of unavailability.
Let's give thanks together this season and open the gates to the presence of the Lord!
Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations. Psalms 100