November 29

I love leftovers, and today is the day for leftovers!  Is there anything better than a turkey sandwich?  Mind you, I loved the big meal with family and good conversation.  But, there is something especially wonderful about Thanksgiving leftovers.  Some of us feel like leftovers sometimes, as though we are not the “real” thing.  Sometimes, we feel as though we aren't as good as someone else, for any number of reasons.  We may feel as though we are a bit of last Monday’s leftovers--not good enough, pushed aside, left behind.  The truth, of course, is that we are the very best, the first choice, the Thanksgiving leftovers, the most wonderful part.  We are so magnificently loved!  “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.”  1 John 3:1a

O Lord, we thank you that we are your children.  We thank you that you love us so much that you chose to create us, that you planned for each of us to exist just as we are, and that we give you joy.  Thank you for making us your wonderful family and for giving us the way to be part of your family forever.  Amen.


November 27

Invite God to sit beside you today and share a special conversation. Praying with God is as simple as asking him to take the seat next to you and start talking. Imagine having a conversation and prayer time with God where you have the opportunity to share your inner thoughts, questions, hopes, dreams. How would the conversation begin?  What would you want to discuss with God? During the conversation feel God’s presence and closeness; treasure that he is right next to you, making eye contact and actively listening.
Consider finding a pair of chairs or seat for two… take a seat and let the conversation flow and develop. During your exchange remember to give God time to respond and engage in the back and forth dialogue. 

What will you talk about?
What is on your mind? 
What does God ask? 
What are his follow up questions? 
What does he need to understand?

Pull up a chair with God....


November 25

I am getting excited.  Last week I was overwhelmed, but today, I think it will be okay!  I have my recipes and I am heading to the market.  The weather forecast has me concerned for the safety of all travelers.  The East coast of the US is supposed to receive rain or snow and ice and wind for the Thanksgiving holiday.  There's lots of talk about driving, eating, watching football, and shopping.  Some people will do a little, some will do it all.

Like I said, it's been hectic and I don't want to forget to make a point to "Give Thanks..."  
Thank you God for all the opportunities you have given me;  
Thank you God for the family I have and family I have had; 
Thank you God for friends:  for the friends who are close to me and to those I may just say hi in passing and wish them well.  Please bless them all.

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!  Give thanks to Him, bless His name!  For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations."  Psalm 100: 4-5 RSV.


November 23-24

Ephesians 3:20  Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen.
This fall, I seem to have much in common with many of the trees in my yard.  We are each in a season of letting go.

The trees are actively letting go of their leaves in preparation for the cold, dry winter ahead. Only through this process of letting go can the trees begin to grow again in their next season of sunlight and warmth. As for me, I am letting go of my children and the happy hum of day-to-day living with them in the house. They have grown up and left home to make their own ways in the world, and I am dreading the quiet days of winter ahead.

As I watch the beautiful leaf colors float to the ground, I wonder, what else does God want me to let go so that I can grow spiritually in the next season of my life?   Could it be that I need to release things that I have made more important in my life than God? 

Somehow, I think it will take more than dropping a few leaves to become the person God wants me to be. But what if I could truly commit to letting go of the things that separate me from Him?  What if I could let go of the strongholds on my thinking and behavior that keep me from receiving His abundant plan for me?  If I drop my firm grasp on my old ways and open my empty hands to Him, would He truly fill them with all the goodness He has planned for me? 

God is calling my name.  In answering, I open my heart and lift my empty hands up to Him. By His grace, I can receive the bounty God has for me as we walk together into this next season of my life.

Dear God, by your goodness, give me what I do not deserve.  Help me to open my heart and hands to the abundant life you have planned for me. I pray for the courage to be the person you created me to be. Amen.


November 21

As we enter the holiday seasons of
Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas, 
and as you thank God and praise His name
for all the gifts He has given you,
please take an extra moment
to pray for those less fortunate.

The holiday season is very hard
for many people: 
those who are homeless, 
those who are alone or lonely, 
those who have lost loved ones
during what, for most, is a most joyous season.

And when you say your prayers of Thanksgiving, 
and count your blessings,
 remind yourself 
to never take them for granted.

Pictured above:  "Freedom from Want," 1943, Norman Rockwell.


November 19

Days of Thanksgiving

Perhaps the weather is settling in at last to a more autumn-like cadence of sunny cool days and cold nights. But I am thankful that on the sunny side of buildings, some plants are still green, and some have blossoms. The colder weather is inextricably tied to the fourth Thursday of November when families gather for that festive meal, and for an opportunity to reflect on all the blessings we have received. Unfortunately, it has evolved so that the greater emphasis now seems to be on an opportunity to watch football games, and to be inundated with advertisements of the opportunities to shop until you drop. Maybe that is one thing to be thankful for—that there is this crazy time of celebration.

If your Thanksgiving Day celebration has become too frenetic and loud, may I suggest that you take a different approach. Rather than wait to give all your Thanks only on that day, take time every day this next week leading up to Thanksgiving, to think of one thing for which you are very thankful, and give thanks to God. Take a quiet time, when you do not have to worry about cooking and cleaning the house and making travel arrangements and entertaining guests, so you can concentrate on this, and glory in your relationship with a loving God.

If it works for you this week to ponder a different blessing each day, then next year you might start earlier, and do the same thing every day in the month of November, to get you in the mood for Thanksgiving.

You may have too many blessings for just the month of November—so why not carry that out for the whole year! Every time that you think of God’s blessings, you will have less time to feel stress and anger.

For the beauty of the earth,
for the beauty of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies,
Christ our Lord, to Thee we raise
this our sacrifice of praise.

"For the Beauty of the Earth"  by Folliott S. Pierpoint (1835-1917)


November 17

Proverbs 4: 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.

Walking and running were essential activities and thereby a familiar image to the Disciples and the early followers of Jesus. Running was certainly familiar to the Apostle Paul who, as a Hellenized Jew, likely had experience with the Greek ‘gymnasium’ and the concept of spirited and ‘spiritual’ competition. In fact, it was Paul, who spent most of his life after his conversion experience racing around the ancient near east building churches whilst at the same time trying to out run the Roman authorities, who has given us some of the most familiar running metaphors found in the New Testament: You were running a good race, who cut in on you and kept you from seeking the Truth? (Galatians 5:30); Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)

While running and walking were a fact of life for the early Christians, for us in the 21st century it is a choice (sadly, one that not nearly enough people chose) to pursue an active lifestyle. When we do chose an active life we should remember that our abilities, regardless of how great or small they might be, are a gift from God. A gift that we can use to better ourselves to pursue wisdom as the passage from Proverbs urges us; to find the strength we need to not let others cut us off in our pursuit of Truth; and, to provide us with the fortitude that our faith requires if we are to persevere in our race to share God’s promise with others.

Lord, thank you for the joy of running, thank you for the gifts of strong bodies and open minds that we might learn and grow strong in our faith and our commitment; help us to not “run our race in vain” but always seek to further your victory in our lives and in the world around us.  Amen.


November 15

World Trade Center Site
Rising from the Ashes

Romans 8:26
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groaning that cannot be expressed in words.”

Dearest Lord,
I need you to pray for me when I cannot find the words. Sometimes it feels like our world is falling apart. I want to be right. I want to fight back and yet I want peace. Help me find balance in the signs of your power, love and grace in the relational, physical or spiritual devastation that may be part of my life.
Help me use all my senses to let you fill me with the knowledge that you are with me in those times of need.  I know that you will pray for me if I sit quietly and let it happen.



November 13

Dear God of all seasons,

During this Season of Fall, we reflect on the many colors and the changes in our lives.  The fallen leaves on the ground make a very colorful pattern.  
What are the designs of your life? 
How are you growing and learning each day?  
What is your harvest?  
Thank you God for your patience with us as we change and grow.  Help us to follow the right pass as we believe in you and entrust our days to you.



November 11

1st Kings 19: 9-12

     As we read this passage of scripture, there are two things we might find helpful as we pray.  First, Elijah is asked not once but twice, "What are you doing here?"  Then, it is only in the still, small voice that Elijah is able to hear the Word of the Lord.  Elijah needed to listen and then do.  We need to listen in our prayers as well so that we too can do the Lord's will.
     Dear Heavenly Father, I come prepared to listen to you this day.  it is what I am doing here.  I want Your voice, your guidance in all my doings.  Help me to hear in my heart the needs around me.  Perhaps it is as simple as a family member or friend needing to hear, "I'm sorry," or "I love you."  Perhaps it is the opportunity to share some of my many blessings with those in need.  Perhaps I need to hear that still small voice telling me I am forgiven.  Lord, I find telling You my needs so much easier than quietly listening for what You have in mind for me.  I fervently pray this day that You will open my ears and my heart to Your will.  I am listening. . . .



November 9

Proverbs 3: 5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Our Heavenly Father, 
We come to you this day, full of anxiety and overwhelmed by daily troubles and challenges.  We pray for the insight and faith to trust you more with these problems and fears.  Try as we may on our own, we need your loving grace and power to sustain and deliver us.  We recognize that you alone know our hearts and have brought us this far.  We pray for patience as we trust you to illuminate the clear path to a peaceful heart.  We pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.