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Faith's Firm Foundation: November 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hospitality Week: Hospitality How To's From a Pro

Is there any other time of the year when more entertaining takes place??  Well, with that in mind, I thought I would dedicate this week to the theme of HOSPITALITY!
So, Today is Day 1 and
Welcome To Hospitality Week!

All this week I will share with you encouragement, ideas, interviews and timely tips that will help you hop in and feel at home showing hospitality, but also remind us of the eternal value of hospitality, from a Scriptural point of view.  Some of the ideas and posts will be reminders (but who doesn't need to be reminded?) and others will be completely new to you, but this will be a fun week, so keep on coming back, you won't want to miss anything!

Today, I want to encourage you!  And, if you are a mom of many, you'll especially want to "listen up" as I interview Lynn, mom to 11!  However, everyone will learn something about hospitality, because she is a "hospitality pro."  Since the time the Lord graciously brought her into my life 16 years ago, I have been learning from her, and I look forward to introducing her to you and allowing you to glean some wisdom from her on a topic near and dear to our hearts:  hospitality.  Let's begin:

Faith's Firm Foundation:  "Are there any verses in the Bible that have guided or influenced you in showing hospitality?"
Lynn:  "Romans 12:13--"Given to hospitality."  Romans 12 was one of my first chapters that I had memorized, so I was greatly influenced by its instructions."

Romans 12:9-13--"Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. (10) Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; (11) Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; (12) Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; (13) Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality."

FFF:  "What are the most important things you would tell someone about practicing hospitality?"
Lynn:  "Showing warmth and excitement about your guests being in your home is more important than your home's cleanliness or how fancy your food is.  Learn some quick and easy meals to serve.  Work to have an "In-Home" store so you have ingredients and supplies on hand.  Clean your home for yourself--not for company, necessarily.  Work at maintaining an orderly home where there is a schedule of cleaning throughout the week.  Then your home will always be in fairly good order.  Then you can be impromptu to invite people over or if they happen to stop by you can ask them to stay.  Last of all, regarding hospitality:  "Just do it."  The more you do it the more comfortable it becomes."

FFF:  "What do you think is the purpose of hospitality--why is it important?"
Lynn:  "The purpose of hospitality is to show the love of Christ.  With that, hospitality brings many more personal rewards.  One major reward is learning to think of others.  We are all naturally self-centered.  Hospitality forces you to become focused on others, which is a discipline to learn.  'Hospitality may come easy to you, but not me' is just an excuse.  You can learn and it is a command from the Lord.  View your home, possessions, time as things to be used up for others.  The scratch on the table is a reminder of your grandchild being with you.  The worn-out rugs mean many people have walked through your doors.  I'm desirous to have my home wear out because of use, which involves people--eternal souls God has brought into my life."

FFF:  "How do you/did you do it with a big family--make it affordable--work out where to put people, etc."
Lynn:  "We have 11 children, 10 boys and 1 girl.  The oldest is 29 years old and the youngest is 10 years old.  All our children help in the kitchen.  My daughter was 5th born so our sons had to help.  Our sons know what it takes to make a meal--therefore they can really appreciate efforts of others showing hospitality towards them.  Teach your children how to greet people, to offer a guest something to drink (water, coffee, tea).  Teach them how to make coffee, how to set a table, how to carry on a conversation.  Crowded is OK.  People will feel included, so don't worry about a small home.  Use simple menus."

FFF:  "You mentioned rewards earlier, but what are other rewards and blessings of being hospitable? What would you say to encourage others?"
Lynn:  "The rewards are:  meeting so many people and they leave our home as 'friends.'  We love to hear how our guests became Christians and about their walk with the Lord.  These testimonies encourage our own children in their faith."


Aren't you encouraged to practice hospitality? I am!post signature
Edited and reprinted from an earlier post.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Prayer Quotes (Part 3)



Quotes on Prayer from Andrew Murray:


"We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth."


"Time spent in prayer will yield more than that given to work. Prayer alone gives work its worth and its success. Prayer opens the way for God Himself to do His work in us and through us. Let our chief work as God's messengers be intercession; in it we secure the presence and power of God to go with us."

"Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God."

"Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!"


Have a Wonderful Lord's Day!
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To read more thoughts about Prayer, go to Quotes on Prayer (Part 1) and Quotes on Prayer (Part 2).


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Friday, November 26, 2010

Dayspring is Having
The Sale Of The Year!!
Friday-Monday, November 26-30

Save 30% with the biggest coupon of the year! Expires Nov. 30.

Do you like to share the message of Jesus Christ in every way possible, as I do, and especially emphasize Whose birthday we're celebrating at this time of the year?!  Well, Dayspring makes that a beautiful and affordable opportunity right now with their huge sale of 30% off on your ENTIRE ORDER!
You can even get 30% off things that are already on sale!  I love it.


Buy your Christmas Cards on sale or even get ahead and buy them for next year!  I believe in sending Christmas cards with a Christian message, because I've learned that my card may be the only mention of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only witness, that some on my Christmas card list hear all year long!  My card may be the only one coming from a Christian for some of those I send a card to.  I bought my cards from them last year to send this Christmas.


I also love to decorate at this time of year.  You can buy Christmas decorations that silently speak of Jesus Christ to all your guests.  Even those who won't allow you to share Christ with them or speak of your faith in Him will be reminded of Jesus and hear some Truth just by entering your home!  I love having people over for snacks after skating, dessert or a meal after church, or offering neighbors who drop in something to drink or eat, and I especially love using seasonal plates and dishes--pretty things that make my guests feel special.  Now, if the special things have a special message, that's even better.  The "Jesus is the Gift Collection" does this so well--they have so many items, all kinds of things, that you can serve with or use as gifts.  I love the Snowflake Home Collection design and especially the swirly white on red!  Aren't they cute?  I've noticed that adding color to my home really adds warmth.  And not only can you buy  decorative Christmas items for your home (please make sure you click on the links here and see for yourself) and dishes for serving your company that reflect the real reason for the season, but you can order gifts for the special people on your list, knowing that you're saving money, too. I love buying from a company that is dedicated to the Lord and where I know the quality and service are going to be excellent, and that's Dayspring.


I hope you'll take advantage of this great sale and get a real jump on the season, and you know what you'll like best?  You can, as they say, "shop from your seat, not wear out your feet"! Yay.  Remember, your entire order from DaySpring is 30% off, so click on all the links to get in on the savings!
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Save 30% with the biggest coupon of the year!


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Thursday, November 25, 2010

More Thanksgiving Activities for Children


Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more,
~a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me, 
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be
Thy praise.
~George Herbert

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies;
but let the thankful heart sweep through the day 
and, as the magnet finds the iron,
so it will find, in every hour,
some heavenly blessings!
~Henry Ward Beecher



More Thanksgiving Activities for Children
If you will be with grandparents this Thanksgiving, perhaps your children could write a note, or draw or color a picture, to say Thank You and I Love You to them.  They would be so blessed.  Do you use placecards at your table?  Your children could make them out of card stock or construction paper!  If you have chocolate turkeys, one can be glued to one edge of each place card and the name written beside it.  Now, how about writing a short thank you to that person, or a Bible verse, on the other side!  Or use a blank notecard for each place card--put a note of gratitude on the inside and the person's name on the outside!  These are some of the ideas we have used to show gratitude and thankfulness to others, and especially to grandparents, at Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is possible only for those who take time to remember; no one can give thanks who has a short memory. 
~Author Unknown

Let's take time to remember...and be thankful.  Remember what the Lord has done for us on the cross...and be thankful.   Remember that we were able to wake to another day today, for He gave us breath...and be thankful.   Remember all the blessings we have...we all have many, if we will look for them...and remember to be thankful.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Showing Love To Widows


Thanksgiving Day approaching reminds us to express thankfulness. Did you know that showing love to others, especially those less fortunate than ourselves, helps our heart to enlarge to feel more gratitude?  Thanksgiving Day is a great time to show love and give to others by inviting them to share in your celebration.


Do you know a widow who is perhaps alone this Thanksgiving?  Perhaps her children live far away and aren't able to visit her or maybe her family's relationship is strained.  Maybe she has no one. 


God says in His Word (James 1:27) that, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."


Recently I ran across an excellent article which shares practical ways that you (and your church) can show love to widows:
Ministering to Widows  
If you're not able to invite a widow to join you for Thanksgiving Dinner, maybe you'll find another way to minister to widows by reading this helpful article.  It's always amazing to me how God blesses me more than anyone when I do something for others--which at first seems difficult--in obedience to His Word!
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Children's Book Recommendations for Thanksgiving Reading

Here are just a few of my favorite book recommendations for children (and their parents) to read at Thanksgiving time: (I found these in our multi-county public library system, and requested them online to be sent to our local library, where they arrived in just a few days.  Perhaps you can read them this week.)




...If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620
by Ann McGovern

This little Scholastic paperback book is filled with answers to questions every child wants to know about the Pilgrims, such as, "Who were the Pilgrims?"  "How many people sailed on the Mayflower?"  "What kind of ship was the Mayflower?"  "Where would you sleep?"  "Would you have had any fun on the Mayflower?" and questions about life once they landed, like "Were there special jobs for boys and girls?"  "What did the Pilgrims wear?"  and "Did children go to school?"  With the addition of color cartoon-like illustrations, the Pilgrims become very approachable, and well, people just like you and me--and history comes alive!




Eating the Plates
A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners
by Lucille Recht Penner
Very interesting facts about everyday life for a pilgrim family, before and after sailing on the Mayflower!  For instance, did you ever stop to think that the people who came over on the Mayflower had "tried to bring enough things to last a lifetime"?!


Or what about food??  "What did the Pilgrims eat during their long voyage?  Most of the food on the Mayflower was cold and dry.  There were moldy cheese and dried peas.  Salty beef and dried fish.  And there were ship's biscuits--as hard as rocks.  Hundreds of these biscuits had been carried onto the boat before it sailed.  They were stacked in huge piles."


After arriving in America, what was dinnertime like?  Well, "later, when the Pilgrims had more time--and more dishes--food was brought to the table on large round platters called chargers.  No one had his or her own plate. Instead, two people would share a trencher--a bowl carved or burned out of a block of wood...Some poor people didn't have wooden trenchers.  Instead, they used pieces of stale bread as plates.  They put the food on top.  Then, after they had eaten the food, they ate the bread plates!"


Fascinating facts like these make the Pilgrim families come alive for children and adults alike.  The language is easy and the print large and you will be tempted to read the 107-page paperback book in one sitting, but it will be more fun to spread it out--don't worry, your children will be begging for more!




Samuel Eaton's Day
A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy
by Kate Waters
Photographs by Russ Kendall
This is a charming book about a 7-year-old boy, Samuel, who lived in 1627.  "Photographed in full color at Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and based on real people of the time, here is a charming and accurate portrayal of life in seventeenth-century New England." (Description taken from the back cover.)  The story follows Samuel, "a grown boy in breeches," on his first day "aiding with the harvest" of rye beside his father and his father's friend and neighbor, Robert Bartlett.  Told from the boy's perspective, and with the large full-color photographs, and explanations of all that transpires, this is an intriguing and entertaining look into a Pilgrim boy's life.  Says Samuel, "It is my task to gather and bind the rye.  Robert Bartlett shows me how to bind."  (Photos abound.) There is a wonderful glossary in the back of the book to help you with words such as "bind," which your children will learn means "to tie."  Also, did you know that "gammy" means "clumsy"?  Samuel discovers that man's work is not as easy as he thought.  "At first I am gammy and fall behind.  To watch is easy.  To do is hard."  Be sure to look for and request the book by the same author about a day in the life of a Pilgrim girl--the companion book to Samuel Eaton's Day--entitled Sarah Morton's Day.


These are the "living books" that make Homeschooling so much fun!
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Quotes from "Social Media and Digital Discernment"




In his post dated November 10, 2010, entitled Social Media and Digital Discernment, Pastor John MacArthur addresses some issues that you will agree affect all of our lives, and he makes some suggestions for how a Christian should look at them. I strongly urge you to click on the link above and read the whole article.  Following are quotes from this thoughtful, thought-provoking, (but lengthy) article--please don't let the length deter you--this is one thing you will not regret taking time for, after you have read it. I urge you to read it and then pass it on.
"Social networking can be a useful tool when used to communicate the right things—messages that honor Christ, exalt His Word, and direct people to profitable tools for spiritual growth.

But social networking can also be abused. When it consists of nothing more than random babblings and personal monologues, it can become self-centered, unrestrained and narcissistic. When it consumes our lives, it can be addictive and controlling. Used unwisely, it is filled with potential pitfalls and temptations. For those who follow Christ, we are called to submit every area of our lives to His lordship—including how we use social media." 


"Gervase Markham, a Mozilla Foundation programmer quoted inThe Sydney Morning Herald, echoes that same concern: 'Social networking encourages people to have a greater number of much shallower friendships. I know what 15 of my friends had for breakfast, but I don’t know whether any of them is struggling with major life issues. If this trend continues, people in 2020 will have hundreds of acquaintances, but very few friends.'5"


"Moreover, it often distracts people from existing relationships. Instead of pouring themselves into the real-life friendships they currently have, people now spend hours with pseudo-friends online. This is especially seen within the family, where social networking constantly threatens to invade, bringing a barrage of cultural influence into the private world of family life. In the home, focused training in godliness is essential for the development of spiritually-healthy relationships and biblical worldviews. But instant distraction is only a text message away."


"In 1 Corinthians 10:23–24, Paul explains an important principle about Christian liberty. He writes, 'All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.' If we apply that truth to the world of social media, we can quickly separate that which is valuable from that which is merely wood, hay, and stubble. Tweeting about the inane details of life might not be sinful, but if it doesn’t build others up spiritually, it might be better left unsaid."


"As believers, the command of Ephesians 5:15–16 is just as binding upon our modern lives as it was in the non-technological world of the first century. 'Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.' Paul’s exhortation has massive implications for how we interact with social media. One day we will stand before Christ to give an account for how we used His resources (including our time and energy). With that in mind, how much of this life can be justifiably devoted to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the like? Just a few hours each day, over the course of a lifetime, adds up to years of wasted opportunity."


"Even the majority of social media users admit that self-promotion is at its core: 'A national study fresh out of SDSU is confirming that Generation Y really is Generation Me. The jaw-dropping conclusion? 57% of young people believe their generation uses social networking sites for self-promotion, narcissism and attention seeking.'22 In the words of one British journalist: 'The Me-Man is everywhere. And so is the Me-Woman. They are the millions of men and women . . . from every class, age and profession who want to talk about themselves, expose themselves, and promote themselves in glorious and often gory detail. . . . They blog and bleat and tweet and text you all the time. The medium may vary, but the message is always the same: Me. ‘Me, Me, Me!’”23"


"Mature believers reflect deeply on the things of God and the truths of His Word.  They are not a mile wide and an inch deep. Instead their lives are marked by rich devotion, focused study, prolonged prayer, and careful meditation. Cultivating those kinds of spiritual disciplines takes time and effort—traits that are rarely prized in the information age.


"God’s Word repeatedly calls us to use our minds wisely. We are to think on things that are right and true (Phil. 4:8) as we test all things carefully (1 Thess. 5:21) and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Our minds are to be renewed (Rom. 12:2) as we allow the Word of Christ to dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16). We are to be sober-minded (1 Cor. 15:34) as we set our minds on things above (Col. 3:2) and prepare them for action (1 Pet. 1:13).
Clearly, God cares how we think and what we think about. Insofar as social media websites cultivate the trivialization of profound truths, while simultaneously fostering shorter attention spans, believers would do well to proceed carefully."
"Once something is posted online it can be seen by anyone else. Once it’s cached, there is a permanent record of it. That means every status update and every tweet is part of the believer’s public testimony as a Christian."


"As Paul told the Galatians, 'I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me' (2:20). Like Paul and every other believer, my life is no longer my own. The focus must not be on me, but on Christ. When someone hears from me publicly, I want it all to point to Him."
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love and Marriage: Opposites Attract!


Poll Question:  Are you and your spouse opposites or do you have a lot in common?  Should a single person look for someone to marry who is like them or someone with strengths to balance their weaknesses? What do you think?

With Thanksgiving coming up, I've been thinking about things which I am thankful for, and thought I would post some "thankful posts" (and not only on Thankful Thursday!)  This is a re-post, but every word is just as true today, and certainly the subject of this post is one of those at the top of my list of things I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving.  Thanks for "listening"!

Today--again--I'm thankful for a solid marriage. I would *like* to take credit for having a marriage to be thankful for, but instead I give all the glory, with amazement and gratitude, to my wonderful Lord and God and thank Him for leading me ("No, not that way...no, no, *this* way...yes, that's it") with infinite patience to be where we are. Pride says to Self, "You're being hard on yourself; you did much to build, little to tear down," and sends my mind on a search of the files of my memory, to find proof. I am humbled that there has to be a search, and the proof isn't laying out in the open everywhere for all the world to see.  I did some building--I could have done much, much more.

I'm grateful, also, to my "straight arrow", consistent husband.  Many of the character qualities which my hubby possesses make it possible for us to have a strong marriage, and put me in a "recommendable" position.  We are polar opposites.  We had a pastor when we were dating, who, as a matter of course, took engaged couples through "premarital counseling" including a battery of personality tests. Everywhere the line on the graph went up for me, my fiance's went down. Every time his line went up, mine went to the same degree, down!  We were different as night and day!  One week before our wedding, our pastor gave us this "encouraging word": "You can still call it off."  The golden wisdom he left us with, truly gold, was when he dismally predicted, "The only way you're going to make it is with Jesus."  Friends, I'm so thankful I was told that's the only way we could make it!  For that's the only way *any* couple can make it! And it's the only way I would want to make it!  Praise God, it wasn't easy, but with Jesus we've "made it" this far!


When I was single, I was looking for a man with some of his qualities, but I didn't have the good sense or wisdom to be looking for other qualities the Lord lavishly threw in, which I had no idea were important! God is so good!  I "happened" to marry a man who came from a very Godly heritage: parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents who loved the Lord.  I had no idea how important that would be, when I was 20!  He is a man who is steady (I wasn't even aware I needed that), extremely hard-working, reliable, (kind of took those things for granted) and I can *count* on him.  I know that, though I am not easy to live with, and have my ups and downs, he's not going anywhere--he's totally committed to "til death do us part" and that is a very secure and wonderful "knowing" to have.  So, today, these are just some of the things that make me thankful for my marriage.  It's not "fireworks" after 32 years of marriage, but I'll take "rock solid" any day.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Activities for Children


  • Start with a pint or quart-size jar with a cover.  Every day (or more often, if you'd like) each of your children and you parents write on a slip of paper (your younger children can dictate to you) something you're thankful for.  The goal is to fill the jar before Thanksgiving.  At the evening meal or once a week, (or at Thanksgiving) have your children take turns drawing a Thankful Slip out of the jar and then read it out loud and pray, thanking God for what was written on the slip, (and anything else you would like). You can decorate the outside of the jar and the cover, put raffia around it or ribbon, if you like.  This will make you want to leave it out in plain sight, which will remind everyone to be thankful!
  • Older children, teens and young adults can do a variation on this theme, and make a list, which you all read once a week.  Our family has done this a few years, and on Sunday mornings in November we'd gather, or you can do this on Thanksgiving Day, we read our lists to one another.  This was amazingly bonding, and is eye-opening as it lets you in on what your older children and teens are thinking.
  • Write a letter of gratitude to someone.  For a number of years, all four of us have written a note of gratitude to each of our three teaching elders in our church.  Then we put them all in an envelope and give them to them on Sunday or mail them.  Writing out your thanks makes you really think about how much you have to be grateful for, and the extra effort really makes the recipient feel special--plus they can keep it and read it over and over again.
  • For small children:  1 idea, 2 ways of doing it.  Draw a tree (see above or go to A Thanksgiving Tree) with a trunk and branches, but no leaves, or a turkey with a body (basically a circle) and a head, but no feathers. Then have the children think of something daily that they're grateful for, and write it on a piece of paper in the shape of a leaf (or trace their hand in colored paper for fall leaves) or a feather, depending on your theme.  Add leaves and feathers daily, and try to have a full tree or turkey by Thanksgiving!
  • While you're busy at home or at work, stop and think of something for which to say "Thank You, Lord" once every hour of the day.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Thankful To Our Veterans For Our Freedoms



Last Thursday, November 11, was Veterans Day, as you know.  Is it possible we have not done enough to thank and honor those who have fought on our behalf, obtaining the freedoms which we take so for granted?  An event on Saturday night made me give this some serious thought.
The mayor of the small town in which our church meets expressed it best when he stood and said, "I got out of the service 41 years ago, and no one has ever done what was done here tonight for me!" and he broke down in tears as he spoke.


What was done?  Well, I can tell you our church hosted a Dinner and invited veterans in the area and a guest of their choice to be our honored guests.  I can tell you that a catered delicious dinner was served, and honor and appreciation was expressed through words and music, and genuine thankfulness.  I can tell you that about 20 young men and women, all dressed up and looking very classy in black and white, young women in dresses, young men in white shirts and ties, served the catered meal to the veterans and their guests (the young people ate later, but with church people and servers, there were about 100 people in all), seated at 9 beautiful tables, adorned with roses and candles, each set with white tablecloths.



Also, I can tell you that each table was served by one young man and one young woman, the latter having brought from home beautiful china or dishes, glassware, silverware and cloth napkins which she carefully set on her table.


Of course, I can tell you that skilled musicians--Rising Harmony, a male quartet, made up of 4 young men from our church, and the Kingery Family (also from our church)


sang and played an array of instruments--sharing a patriotic tribute, while the Knudtson Family's stringed symphony provided a classical concert before and during the meal.  Finally, I can tell you that 3 members of our church shared, straight from their hearts, words of thanks to those who had faithfully served our country. I can also tell you that a most appropriate message was given by one of our elders, who gave a little history lesson along with a little sermon, as he wove the gospel into the message and implored them to get to know God, and made the connection for them of our Constitution and freedoms and God whose precepts undergird all of that, and what they fought to defend. (Please pray that those who attended and don't know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, will follow his suggestion to open the Bible which was part of the gift each veteran received, and read it, and find out Who Christ is and how to be saved.)  I can most assuredly tell you that those who planned this event did so with the utmost attention to detail, and that fervent prayer covered the event from start to finish.




But I don't think that any ONE element of the evening,
or anything I can tell you,
would really encompass or describe what the Lord did
in answer to those prayers at this event
or would describe the spirit present or the response from those who attended.

This is why I don't think that we've done enough to thank those who have served.  We haven't communicated our gratitude well enough.  The response was amazing.  The depth of emotion, the gratefulness, the appreciation people gave to me--and I didn't really DO anything, I was only representing our church, as I went to the door to shake hands with people before they slipped out the door--amazed me.  I never expected it.  I rushed to the door, sitting at the far end of the room, not wanting any of those I saw heading towards the exit, to leave without one last "thank you."  I just wanted to
 personally say, "Thank you for serving" to the veterans who had come that evening.  As I reached out my hand, looked each guest in the eye and said, "Thank you for coming", and "Thank you for serving," to the veterans, they began to open up and tell me, and I heard it over and over, "No one's ever thanked me.  At least not like this.  Not genuine gratefulness from everyone like we had tonight."  Others shared how the young people expressing gratitude really touched them. Others mentioned the excellent music, but most of all everyone felt the genuine spirit of thankfulness.  They knew the amount of sacrifice that had been made to obtain what we enjoy daily, and just accept as normal: our freedoms.


The finale of the event expressed the patriotism and thankfulness in the heart of everyone as we stood and lifted the roof off in song,
"America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!"
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