28 Days of Thanksgiving in the Book of Psalms – Day 19

Today’s Verse: “Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He has broken the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron in two.” Psalms 107:15-16 (NKJV)

I Give Thanks For: My Home!

“A house is built of bricks and beams. . . “ I like our house. I love the way in which God provided this particular house for us. It’s our place of shelter from the blazing summer heat and the cold winter storms. It’s the four walls we come back to every night, where we relax and unwind from a busy, stressful day. It’s the address where an enormous amount of junk mail and bills arrive faithfully. It’s our house! Lately my husband and I have been reminded in several different ways just what our house is built of. A lot has been happening to the house of late. Carpet has been ripped out and new flooring installed. A fresh coat of paint applied to some of its horrendous looking walls. Manufacture repairs have unexpectedly been done to the heater. Plumbing leaks quickly plugged and meticulously repaired. All of that led my husband and I to talk about the things that we still want to do to this old house. The windows badly need an upgrade. The bedrooms and office need to be painted. The water heater needs replacing next year. Oh, and we need to have another look at the roof. Could we maybe think about remodeling the bathroom? And whatever are we gonna do with the yard? When you have a house, there’s always something that needs your attention, that needs fixing, that needs HELP! A house is a house is a house, but. . .

“A Home is made of love and dreams!” I loved the day that we moved into our house and began to make it our home. Home! I just love the sounds of that word! Our home is our little haven of refuge, of comfort, of rest. Home is where we live life and where we gather with friends and family. Home is where we can leave the bed unmade, where we can scatter our clothes all over the place if we want to, and where we can make a royal mess in the kitchen. Home is filled with all our stuff – years and years of collected stuff! Our home is where we have brought American and British cultures together and created a beautiful space. Our home is where we can safely let off steam, cry our hearts out or curl up for a nap. Our home is all about love and laughter; respect and honor; forgiveness and kindness; hugs and warm feelings; it’s about peace and blessing. Our home is where God dwells with us; where, as a three strong cord, we do this thing called life together. Our home is our home is our home. And I love it here!

Thank you God that our amazing house became a beautiful home!

28 Days of Thanksgiving in the Book of Psalms – Day 18

Today’s Verse: “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalms 107:8-9 (NKJV)

I Give Thanks For: Greeting Cards!

Now I know, that may just sound like something odd to be thankful for, but I truly am thankful for greeting cards and the ministry to the heart that they bring.

In our society of today, with all its modern ways of communicating – emails, text messaging, social media – I believe that we have lost touch with one of the most special ways of communicating. The hand written note tucked inside a greeting card. There’s just something special about receiving (and sending!) such a communication to a friend or loved one.

Someone purposefully decided to send you a card. So they go to the store and begin the search through the selection of cards available. They very carefully go through a bunch of cards, reading the various messages contained within, searching for just the right one that will say what they want to say to someone special to them. They purchase that card. They take the time to write their own little message inside the card and sign their name. They address the envelope. They pay the postage for that greeting to be on its way to you. Your greeting card is all ready to be delivered. All that took time. Time that someone invested in you.

Although you don’t know that it is coming, there comes the day when that special greeting card is delivered to your mailbox. It might be a birthday card, with greetings for your special day. Perhaps its a retirement card, honoring all your hard work over the years. It could even be a get well card, wishing you better days ahead and a speedy recovery. Perhaps it’s a thank you card, letting you know that they appreciated something you did for them. But you know what greeting card I love the most? It’s the one that wasn’t one bit expected. The one that surprises you when you find it among the bills and junk mail that gets delivered to your door. The one that, once you open it, surprises you that someone took the time to write a heartfelt message of love, of honor, of thanks to YOU! It’s the one that brings a smile to your face in the midst of a difficult day. It’s the one you keep going back to, to read its loving message over and over again. It’s the greeting card, sent from someone special, designed to bless your day.

I received a greeting card like that this past week. I was so thankful for it. It was a delight to find it waiting for me in my mailbox. And the person it came from, is a very special friend that has been a part of my life for years. The message, well, it was very personal, it was heartfelt and it blessed me to no end. I received it on a day when I needed to know that someone cared. I’ve read that card at least a dozen times now, and its still blessing me. It will be a greeting card that I cherish for a long time.

Yep, I’m thankful for greeting cards and the ministry to the heart that they can do!

28 Days of Thanksgiving in the Book of Psalms – Day 17

Today’s Verse: “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” Psalm 107:1-2 (NKJV)

I Give Thanks For: Being a Redeemed Child of God!

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” – I just love that part of today’s verse. If we are redeemed by the Lord, then we have a story to tell, and we should share that story with others.

But first, what does it mean to be redeemed? The word “redeem” means “to buy back, to free or pay a price for.” I have been redeemed! The Lord Jesus Christ paid the price to fully redeem me. What did He redeem me from? This is the exciting part of redemption. Christ redeemed me from all of my sins. He paid the price for all the wrong things that I have done and things I will continue to do. That price was paid once and for all. He freed me from the bondage of sin that Satan uses to ensnare me. Christ freed me from the grip of Satan’s hold upon my life. Free from sin. Redeemed by my Savior Jesus. How did all that happen? Jesus Christ willingly and lovingly went to the cross and there, in great pain and agony, he bore my sins, the sins of the whole world. He died on the cross for my sins! He shed his precious blood; it was the price He paid so that I could be redeemed. I stand in awe whenever I think about all that Jesus Christ did for me. And yet, with a very grateful heart, I know that I have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ!

I came to realize this truth when I was just seven years of age. My sisters and I were attending “Vacation Bible School” at our church. Going to church for our family was not unusual at all; Mom and Dad took their little family to church every week. I heard a lot of stories and teachings about Jesus. But on this one particular day, it all just seemed to make sense to my little child-like mind. I knew that Jesus loved me. I knew that Jesus died for my sins. I knew that Jesus wanted to be my Savior. But I knew, on that day, that I wanted Him to be my Savior. And so, I talked with the Pastor, he prayed with me. I remember so clearly, yet so confidently, confessing my sins to Jesus and asking Him to be my Savior. That day is when my journey with Jesus began.

Over the years, I have grown to understand so much more about Christ’s redemptive work in my life. I still stand in awe of it! He is my blessed Redeemer! I could never thank Him enough, certainly not often enough! But what I can do – – “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”

I will gladly tell my story! I will humbly teach and encourage others to join me in the journey of the redeemed. I will forever give my praise to the One who gave His life for me. Thank you, my Blessed Redeemer!!

28 Days of Thanksgiving in the Book of Psalms – Day 16

Today’s Verse: “Save us O Lord our God, and gather us from the Gentiles, to give thanks to Your holy name, to triumph in Your praise. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, ‘Amen!’ Praise the Lord!” Psalms 106:47-48 (NKJV)

I Give Thanks For: Lunch Dates!

There’s nothing better to brighten up your day, than to meet up with friends for lunch! Looking forward to that speeds up your morning work. Afterwards, it blesses the rest of your day. But the lunchtime, well, it’s precious time spent.

Gathering for lunch, friends share good food, fun stories of their day, frivolous laughter, fond memories of past lunches together, and form plans to “do it all over again!” It’s just a good time spent together.

I am grateful for those times. Mainly because I love my friends. But more than that, those lunch dates remind me just how blessed I am to have friends to hang out with and to share life together. Today I give a shout out to all of those friends. You are all the best friends ever!

Now, if you will excuse me, I’ve got a lunch date to get ready for!

28 Days of Thanksgiving in the Book of Psalms – Day 15

Today’s Verse: “Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalms 106:1 (NKJV)

I Give Thanks For: Technology!

“W H A T ????? You want me to give thanks for W H A T ?

Yes, even on days that I despise technology so deeply (like today!) I will still muster the courage within to give thanks for it.

Blame “technology malfunction” (computer glitches, hacking and virus’ left undetected – ugh!) for today’s blog posting being out so late. Oh, I just love this technology thing. Can’t live with it! Cannot live without it! But, finally I have our computer back up and running. Took me most of the day to figure out what was wrong, but God…!

I gotta tell you, I cried out to God so much this morning while fuming and laboring over my computer issue. I’m ever so glad that He hears and understands those kinds of cries. But I also had to spend some of that time chasing Satan out the door. Oh, I hate it when he shows up and interferes in things; his darts of woe are not pretty! I am ever so thankful that the frustration over my computer, the battle with Satan and the cries to God only lasted for a short spell of time. And thankful, God Won! (I knew He would!!)

What would I do without God’s help in fixing the computer problem – God’s gift of patience to me – God’s giving me wisdom along the way to figure things out – God’s winning the battle over Satan once again – Thank you God!

And, okay, okay – – yes, I will say thank you for the technology!

For now, I can get back to work!

28 Days of Thanksgiving in the Book of Psalms – Day 14

Today’s Verse: “Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!” Psalms 105:1 (NKJV)

I Give Thanks For: God’s Great Outdoor Playground!

I have always loved to hike! Out in the fresh air within God’s great outdoor playground!

My favorite place? Well, thinking about it, I’d have to say I am really partial to Arizona’s Mount Lemmon. Not that far from home, it’s a great place to enjoy God’s creation, get some good exercise and spend time with friends. It’s also a great place to spend time alone with God – whether its to pray, to read His Word, to meditate on the handiworks of our Creator, or to simply sit in quiet and awe at the surrounding views – it’s an awesome place to be, right there in God’s great outdoor playground. There’s nothing better. Here’s some of my favorite pictures from there.

View from on top of Mount Lemmon
Sitting on a rock, I find it so easy to connect with God from this vantage point
A great mix of mountain and trees – all of God’s great creation!
My favorite meditation spot, right up on top of those rocks!

So, who’s up for a hike?

28 Days of Thanksgiving in the Book of Psalms – Day 13

Today’s Verse: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations.” Psalms 100:4-5 (NKJV)

I Give Thanks For: Bible Study Groups!

Just about every week, there is a group of ladies who gather around my dining room table. The coffee pot is on, the kettle is on for tea, and the snacks are neatly arranged, ready to be devoured. As the ladies arrive, there is a buzz that comes into the room. The buzz is called “fellowship” as they begin to talk and share about things happening in life and family. Occasionally pictures are shared. The stories sometimes make you laugh, sometimes cry, but always leave you feeling good. “It’s good to share with one another,” I often hear. Once everyone has arrived, we take our seats and we bunker down to the serious stuff.

Bible Study! God’s Word is opened, its read, its prayed over, its questioned, its discussed and its often presented with a challenge to “Go and do likewise!” Oh, it is good to come together. It is even better to read and study God’s Word together. This little group of women and I have been doing this for several years now. And it blesses our hearts every time.

The friendships that have formed during this time are priceless. We were once strangers. We came together as sisters in the Lord and now we have become friends. Truly a gift from God! The prayers that have been lifted up for one another have been amazing. We pray, God listens and together we await the answer. We’ve seen God answer so many prayers! It not only encourages us, it strengthens us, it builds us up in the faith, and it inspires us to go out and share with others what we have learned. When crisis hits our little group, we are there for one another. We are there with our prayers, cards, visits, little gifts of love, and with our helping hands. Many a time I, personally have been the recipient of loving care from this little group of ladies who not only say they care, but show that they care. I am so blessed by them.

Thank you ladies, for allowing me to be your leader/teacher. Thank you for your growing desire to learn more of God. Thank you for your faithfulness to God, to one another and to our study time together. May God continue to grow us into the women of God that He wants us to be! All you ladies are my inspiration, my joy, my sisters in the Lord. You are my friends! I love you all dearly and thank God for you today!

28 Days of Thanksgiving in the Book of Psalms – Day 12

Today’s Verse: “Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of His Holy name.” Psalms 97:12 (NKJV)

I Give Thanks For: God’s Forgiveness

According to Romans 3:23, we have all sinned and we fall short of God’s glory! Every one of us. Sinners! We are born with that sinful nature that separates us from the God who created us. We all do and say things that are against God, against His Word, things that hurt and wound others, things that are sinful in nature. Whether or not we acknowledge that fact, still, we are all sinners. We need forgiveness that only God can offer us.

Today, I am thankful for the fact that God forgives me from all my sin! I can go to my loving God, at any time, in any place, and I can confess my sins to Him. He will be listening to that prayer of mine. And in confessing, I know that He will forgive me of my sins (I John 1:9). God’s forgiveness is a really good thing!

The student with whom I am doing this challenge also used “God’s Forgiveness of My Sin” as one of the things being thankful for. This student had a question for me to answer though. The question is thought provoking at best.

Why would God want to forgive me?

Great question. It’s one that I know I too have asked many times throughout my lifetime. Often we feel like we don’t deserve God’s forgiveness. We think, with this particular sin, there is no way God could ever forgive me. But, my friend, that simply isn’t true. God will forgive all our sin. Because He is a forgiving God! And for that truth I give thanks!!

I shared with my student these three things:

(1) God forgives us because He is a loving God. He loves the sinner. And at the same time, He hates our sin. Sin is what separates us from Him, from His love. And that is why, in love, God sent His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sin upon the cross. Jesus, in God’s great love, died for our sin. For my sin. For your sins. (Romans 5:8). There is no greater love than that!

(2) God forgives us because His mercy and grace are greater than our sin. Greater than any sin we could ever commit. His mercy and grace is greater still. Praise God! God’s mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve. God’s grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve. Think about those two sentences a moment. Do we deserve His wrath, His punishment for our sin? Absolutely! But God doesn’t give us what we really deserve. Are we worthy of God’s grace? Absolutely not! Yet grace is what God gives to us; grace is something that, because of our sin, we don’t deserve! God’s mercy and grace are greater than all of our sin!

(3) God forgives us because His peace and presence in our lives is important to Him. Our sin, when left unconfessed, separates us from God. Our sin robs us of our peace and joy in our life. Our sin removes us (separates us) from the very presence of God; our Holy God is not able to look upon our sin (Habakkuk 1:13). He longs to restore our peace, and renew our relationship with Him once again. That’s where His loving forgiveness comes in. He waits to forgive us of our sins! When we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just and will forgive us from all our sin, never to be remembered anymore. That, my friend, is true forgiveness!

Today, I truly am grateful that I know God’s forgiveness of all my sins! Thankful that I have God’s perfect peace within my heart! Thankful that He is ever present with me! Thankful for a relationship with my God that is awesome, all because His mercy and grace are greater than all my sin!

28 Days of Thanksgiving in the Book of Psalms – Day 11

Today’s Verse: “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods.” Psalms 95:1-3 (NKJV)

I Give Thanks For: All of Our Veterans!

Thank You to All the Veterans Who Gave Their Life For My Freedom!

I truly am thankful for all our military men and women, who faithfully and dutifully lay down their lives on the battlefield for me! For the people of America! Today I wish to give a shout out to all of you. Without your sacrifices, I would not be able to enjoy the freedom I have in this country. I admire your bravery! I salute your courage! I respect your sacrifice! I am in awe of your willingness to serve! I am one American citizen who is mighty proud of you! It is my honor to pray every day for you as you serve this great country USA!

May God bless you and keep you in His tender loving care. May He bless and watch over your families. May He guard and protect you as you guard and protect others. May He reward your service by bringing you home safely. May God be always present with you, to comfort you, strengthen you, and give you peace. May God always bless you!

May God always bless the USA!

28 Days of Thanksgiving in the Book of Psalms – Day 10

Today’s Verse: “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness every night.” Psalms 92:1-2 (NKJV)

I Give Thanks For: Comfort Food and a Comforting God

Whew! What a week!

It was a fairly normal, typical week at the O’Brien home with household duties, job responsibilities and ministry happenings. And then all the unexpected mayhem started. Plumbing troubles that prompted a frustrating search for an available plumber. The 2 year old heater decided it needed to present a manufacture’s malfunction. The financial difficulties that caught us off guard when two checks got lost or stolen in the mail system. Oh, and the sinus headache that throbbed for three straight days and nights. There were physical therapy times and doctor appointments for hubby. Two close friends were diagnosed with cancer; another began a second round of chemo treatments. A close friend lost their brother in death. Yes, it was a crazy busy week for sure!

In the midst of weeks like that, I really find myself longing for and reaching out for two things. First of all, I long for some good comfort food. I reach out for the really good stuff! And yes, for me, its a variety of things, depending on my mood and circumstances. We all have our own “go to” comfort foods, right? Please tell me I’m not the only one out here on this cliff – lol! Go on, tell me, what’s your favorite comfort food? There’s just something about that first bite of your favorite comfort food! Ah, its ever so good! It’s an honor to savor each and every bite. Truly it is! Right?

The second thing I long for, after a crazy busy week, is retreating with my comforting God. Ah, now there is some sweet relief! To humbly come into His presence and just dwell. I’ll even bring the comfort food! It is there I find rest and relaxation. I worship. I read God’s Word. I meditate on His words. I cry. I pray. I listen. I long for more of Him. I am strengthened. I am renewed. I can face another week, bring what may! That’s what I plan to do on this the Lord’s Day.

And what about the comfort food? Homemade lasagna with extra cheese! Its whats for dinner!

Chocolate brownies and ice cream for dessert!

I’ve invited God!!