Much to be Thankful For (And Maxey Memory #6)

What a wonderful time we had this Thanksgiving weekend!

Memory #6 was our first Thanksgiving in Florida.  It’s also a record for the Maxey family.  It was the largest gathering we’ve had coming in at 22 people at the dinner table.  That number included 15 family members, 3 neighbors, Aaron’s girlfriend and her parents, and Maggie’s mom from Iowa. It was the largest number of guests outside of family that we’ve ever had.  What a feast it was! We talked to our neighbor yesterday and he said he is still telling people about what a great Thanksgiving we all had together.

And the best part is that God was in charge of the inviting. The only guest we knew was coming  before Wednesday was Maggie’s mom. The others were invited by Andrew at the prompting of God in the moment.  What a great way to throw a party!  In the morning we went to the beach. We looked for shells and saw a pod of dolphins playing in the waves. In the afternoon we prepared enough food for an army. Later we had a great dinner with lots of hands to help and lots of fun conversation with new friends. We even had live entertainment since the neighbor boy is a very talented musician and blessed us with an impromptu piano concert.

This past year has given us so many things to be thankful for.  I am so glad I have continued my thankfulness book. With over 1500 entries over the past 2 years, it’s  a meaningful testimony of the goodness of God every day. It’s just a tiny little book but full of so many blessings. It’s helped me to have a grateful heart all year round and not just on Thanksgiving.

On Friday we ignored the shop-til-you-drop crowd and stayed home all day baking cookies. This is a tradition that has been part of our family since the late 70s.  Many years of memories have taken place on Cookie Friday  in our home, first in Ohio, then Iowa and now Florida. Everyone has their favorite cookie requests and we try to make them all!  We won’t break the record which stands at nearly 120 dozen in one year but we will have lots to give away.

On Saturday we went to get the Christmas tree.  75 degrees, sunny…not at all what we are used to. Hats, gloves and scarves were replaced by shorts, sandals and sunglasses.  We still ended up getting a pine from up north. The Florida trees just don’t smell the same!  And our traditional hot chocolate treat after finding the perfect tree had to change too. This year it was an ice cream treat instead. Sunday evening was the tree trimming party. We had a great time eating snacks, decorating the house and tree, and watching old Christmas movies.

None of this is anything spectacular. Not a lot of bells and whistles for us. But it means the world to us. With the frenzy that seems to be growing every year around the Christmas holiday season, there might be a temptation to try to out do what we did in previous years but we don’t need any of that. We are content to do as we were encouraged to do in our Sunday sermon yesterday. We make every effort to seize each opportunity we can, to cherish the relationships God has given us, and to trust God for the future.

This has been a very full year and in some ways a very difficult year. We’ve had many adjustments and challenges. We’ve had conflict and sickness and financial setbacks and we have been changed. Hopefully we are stronger and wiser and closer as a family because of it.

And for all of it we are so very thankful!

1 Thessalonians 5:18  Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

 

 

The Door Won’t Always Be Open

On election day my son Aaron was the last to vote in our precinct. He was the only person in the voting booths as he completed his ballot. After they scanned his ballot they turned off the machine. It was done.

His girlfriend, who was outside waiting for him, observed a woman come up to the door and be told that it was 7:01. The polls were closed and by law they could not allow her to vote. She was too late. The opportunity to cast her vote had come and gone and she’d missed it.

It reminded me of the parable Jesus told in Luke 13 about the head of the house closing the door and while those who remained outside knocked and pleaded to enter, the door would not be opened again.

Perhaps not getting to vote isn’t the end of the world. But if you miss the opportunity to enter the door that Jesus is offering it most certainly will be.

Do you know someone who is still standing outside that door? Tell them what they need to know. Encourage them to make the decision to enter today. The day is drawing near when the Master will close the door.

Luke 13:23-25  And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’

 

Your Attitude is Yours to Keep…or Change

A couple of weeks ago I walked into church on a Sunday morning wrestling with a bad attitude. Some things had occurred earlier that I was stewing about.  When the worship portion of the service began I was struggling to let go of my thoughts and focus on worship.

Ironically, I had just spent the past week working on a lesson I was to teach a women’s Bible study about attitude.  And at the moment, mine stunk.  I wanted to allow God to change my attitude. Trouble was, HE was more interested in ME making the choice to change it myself.

Suddenly a phrase came to mind…”this is a test of the emergency broadcast system…”

THIS was a test of the “attitude adjustment system.”  God was giving me an opportunity to practice what I was planning to teach the following Wednesday evening. I had a choice to take action and change my attitude or continue to nurse my less than Godly thoughts.

I am happy to report that I took the challenge and made the decision to surrender my attitude.  I can’t tell you how much better things went from that point on!  God met me right where I was and lovingly encouraged me to move forward to a better place.

Is this always easy? Of course not. But is it worth it? Absolutely.

Isaiah 50:7 But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.

 

God’s Plans For You Are Bigger Than The Answer To One Prayer

So you’ve prayed. You’ve believed God would answer. But now the time for the needed answer has passed. Didn’t God hear you?  Did He say no and you missed it?

Perhaps you expected God’s answer to go one way  and now the opposite thing has happened. The thing you most dreaded has actually taken place. It’s unbelievable. How could God so totally miss what you needed?

So here’s my question.

Is today His only day to work?

Habakkuk 2:3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.