Thankful. Thank-full. Full of Thanks.
I forget sometimes to be thankful. It’s easy to get caught up in looking at what I don’t have and forget to intentionally see what I do have. God sends reminders my way at times. Like when I see pictures of families in the Compassion International Magazine living in homes that aren’t as nice as my lawn mower shed. Or a picture of a mom with four children rummaging through the garbage dump looking for anything she can sell to feed her family. True stories of real people.
Then I see my blessings more clearly, and how I often throw away things other people look for in the trash. I take for granted the clean water I pour from the tap, forgetting others carry heavy jugs for miles to bring water home to their families. The very smallest of my things are big things to them.
We can be overwhelmed seeing the world’s needs, up close or far away. It’s more than we can fix. But we can do something, even if it seems small. It’s in remembering what we have that brings about the desire to share it with others. When we forget, when I forget, my focus is clouded by my own reflection as I see myself looking back in the mirror of self-centeredness. It’s when I look out, past myself, that I not only see the needs of others, but I see the blessings in my own life- I see abundance.
This past Sunday a group of people got together to pack shoeboxes with Christmas gifts for children in poverty. Many of the things packed were things we all have in our bathroom drawers or medicine cabinets- tooth brushes, combs, soap, washcloths. Pencil bags were also packed, filled with various school supplies. Things we and our own children often take for granted. If enough room was left in the boxes, they added a small toy, stuffed animal, or ball. Such simple gifts, yet treasured beyond what we can imagine, when received by a child who has nothing.
As Thanksgiving approaches, my mind is drawn to what it means to truly be thankful. Do I see my blessings? I want to be full of thanks. Thank-full. When we are full of thanks, it overflows to others. Maybe we can’t fix the world’s problem of poverty, but we can do something, even if it’s small, or fits in a shoebox.
What blessings do you see when you look at your life? Enough to be thank-full?
Let’s overflow with thanks, into a world in need- in Jesus’ name.
Thankful for you,
Thank you for the many blessings you pour out in our lives from your riches in glory, in Christ Jesus. Help us see, acknowledge, and share- with a thank-full heart. Amen.
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In this Thanksgiving month the 3 on Thursday team is fittingly writing about gratitude…
“If we’re going to move out of L.A. we might as well go where we already have family.” When I said those words to my husband in late 2004, little did I know that by Spring of 2006 we would be moving to Placerville!
After much prayer, I took a “leap of faith” and agreed to move. I knew this could be good in many ways, but questioned how I would find ministry fulfillment. I gave up much to move to Placerville - one was ministry with my parents (I was a leader in the church my dad pastored). The quality of ministry life I lived in Southern California was a gift. I didn’t expect God to replicate it.
I admit the first 6 months here were challenging. But God’s faithfulness is everlasting, his mercies are new every morning! He met me each day with his powerful presence, reminding me that home is wherever he is, not something determined by earthly situations. We found Cold Springs Church within a month. Yet I felt God nudge me to remain quiet about my call to ministry. So for months we simply attended and fell in love with the people of Cold Springs and Placerville itself.
Long story short, on March 27, 2007, I was invited on staff at Cold Springs. I cannot say enough that I have consistently felt in my “sweet spot” here. Pastor David is not simply a phenomenal preacher and pastor, he is an exceptional leader who brings out the best in those around him. My dad was a tough act to follow. God knew this. God knew the kind of leader I would need before I even thought to go into ministry.
I am so grateful that God knows us better than we know ourselves! If it were solely up to me, I would have never been bold enough to jump into the unknown. We are called to do the things we cannot do without Jesus. That is the only reason I took the leap.
I love the people who call Cold Springs Church their family. I love that. Calling a church your “faith family.” That’s what we are. And I wasn’t sure I would find that with the same depth again. My “leap of faith” wasn’t that big of a leap after all. Because what I forgot was that my little faith was all based upon God’s great faithfulness, not my own! And isn’t that a great relief?!
With much love,
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1, NLT)
When I think of harvest season my mind is flooded with memories of pumpkin farms and little boys hunting for the perfect pumpkin. Each of them having a different idea of what perfection looked like. They didn’t seem to notice the things I saw, like a flat side, a missing stem, or a hole in the bottom where seeds spilled out. They saw something else, as they looked with childlike wonder.
They would carry back their finds dressed in pumpkin patch dust from head to toe and smiles from ear to ear. I can still hear the sound of fallen leaves crunching beneath their little feet, and see the colors of autumn surrounding them, like a picture frame in my mind. Thinking back, I can almost join them and be a child again- in spirit. I could feel the wonder of it all and ignore the imperfections. My heart fills with gratitude for these memories, but also for this present moment.
I only need look out my window today to see the season’s changes taking place in real time. The last of the apples hanging on the tree, reminding me of God’s bountiful provisions, and for me to get picking! I think many of us are happy to see the dry, hot summer make way for fall. I imagine the trees looking forward to dropping their parched leaves in exchange for cooler weather.
It seems God may want us to be familiar with change. Perhaps that’s why He gave us rotating seasons, and children that grow up. There’s no harvest without seasons of growth. Change is good when it comes from Him, but even good change can be hard. Unlike seasons, we don’t always know what’s next. We can be focused on our own ideas of what should happen and miss the wonder of what God is doing. We might walk past people who are broken or messy, like I walked past those pumpkins at the pumpkin farm.
The wrong perspective can miss what God is doing around us, and through us, because we forget to look at our lives with the eyes of a child of God. He placed us here to tend His garden, produce spiritual fruit, and harvest souls into His Kingdom. In Matthew 9:36-37 when Jesus looked around Him and saw all the people, imperfect lost sheep in need of a shepherd, He said-
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.”
We can pray that prayer and we can also be the answer to that prayer!
As the winds of change come with the changing season, I pray we let any dry, parched expectations give way to a bit of childlike wonder. May we see the people around us with fresh eyes and extend to them the love and grace of our Heavenly Father. For His kingdom and His glory.
Are you ready? It’s harvest time!
We’re barely out of September and the Christmas decorations are on display in the stores. There’s no denying it: the holidays are coming! Before I find myself knee deep in wrapping paper, shopping and baking, I thought it might be a good idea to stop and consider some tactics for the potentially overwhelming holiday season.
I know many people who find October to be a challenging month. Spiritual battle seems to ramp up more than usual. I heard a great quote recently that said, “Prayer is a war time walkie talkie!” We are in a battle and we need tactics against the enemy. Prayer is an invaluable weapon - it is our direct line to the One who will lead us into victory. Does that mean we won’t experience suffering? It does not. However, our suffering can be a powerful platform to share Jesus - it can actually affirm our faith and cause others reflect on what got us through that challenge. In doing so they’ll discover it was Jesus.
Prayer prepares and softens our hearts as we spend time with challenging family members over the holidays. Prayer change my heart attitude. Jesus gives me the gift of seeing others with compassion and empathy rather than irritability and judgement. A supernatural work for sure!
“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:10-18, NLT
***Please be in prayer for the guys who are at the Cold Springs Guys retreat this weekend.
***And don't forget about the Break Free Run this Saturday.
The time of harvest is here! My mother-in-law has been supporting the Salesian Missions Publications for years. They send her cute little books that contain simple poems of God’s goodness. She has passed some of these along to me. When I am in need of a little inspiration and a pretty picture, I pick them up. Here are three poems from these books about The Harvest. I hope that you enjoy them as I have.
The Master’s Miracle
In the Autumn morning’s sunlight
When the air is crystal clear,
Not one “Old Masters” painting
With its beauty could compare.
Each tree is splashed with color
Made not by human brush,
For who of us could capture
The beauty or the hush?
The pale, blue sky’s the background,
My window is the frame…
It’s called “The Master’s Miracle”
Of turning leaves to flame.
Country land and sheltered glen,
Mountain road or town,
With every puff of whistling wind,
The leaves come drifting down.
Rustling through the sunlit wood,
Whirling on the highway,
Rising with a billowy breeze,
Chasing down a byway.
Dressed in amber or in jade,
Crimson, brown or gold,
Leaves are Autumn’s treasure-trove,
God’s shimmering jewels to behold.
Elizabeth Weaver Winstead
The Basket of Harvest
The basket of harvest
Is long and it’s wide;
It’s woven with birdsong
And bright butterflies.
The basket of harvest
Is fragrantly filled
With scent of wildflowers
God planted at will.
The basket of harvest
Is laden with fruit,
With grain and lush berries
For me and for you.
I thank God for giving
This gift of great worth…
The basket of harvest –
The fields of the earth.
Loise Pinkerton Fritz
May God bless the harvest of our lives. If you would like to talk or share a Fall treat with coffee or tea, please give me a call or email.
Sincerely & With Love,
A Story, A Verse, and The Gospel…
I came home yesterday to find a bag filled with pears on my front porch. The bag was so full that a handle was broken…it must have been Rosa.
My friend Rosa and her husband Bill have lived next door to us for 10 years now. We have had many conversations over our shared fence while watering our yards and hanging clothes on the clothes line. We have hosted BBQ’s in our back yards and played lawn games and board games at each other’s homes. We have shared recipes and holidays. (Rosa is from Spain and introduced us to Epiphany – 3 Kings Day on January 6th and the tradition of stuffing as many grapes in your mouth on New Year’s Eve 😊) Our kids have built forts together in the woods, obstacle courses over streams, and trebuchets to launch the many black walnuts that fall in our yards.
I was recently asked when the last time was that I shared the gospel message. I was taken aback – I thought of the formal teaching and the steps to leading someone to Christ and I had to admit, I couldn’t remember the last time. I confessed this to a group of women in Regeneration class, and this is what Sylvia said to me: (paraphrased) The gospel isn’t a list or a set of rules. The gospel is being “with” someone. It is listening, and sharing. It is a kind word or a loving embrace. It is sitting with them in their times of joy and sorrow.
I believe this sums up what Sylvia so simply put:
Psalm 133 rewritten for CSC Ladies Team
By Dana Bringolf 9/12/21
It is excellent and lovely when Sisters
in Christ dwell together in harmony,
Seeking one another’s best to the Glory of God.
It’s as attractive as the springtime
Blossoms that nourish the honeybee
As it drinks in the sweet nectar.
It’s like the fragrance of the air after a
Rainstorm, fresh and clean
It’s the quiet beauty of snowfall on a cold winter day.
For there the Lord God Almighty pours
Out His blessing of abundant grace and
Strength to keep marching on to victory!
I came home to a bag of pears on my front porch…
Let’s share the gospel with every moment – shall we?
With Much Love & Deep Respect,