Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hallelujah Chorus sung at a Food Court

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Seven Things to Do With Your Family This Thanksgiving

1. Stop and Thank God from the Bottom of Your Heart and the Depths of Your Soul
O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our 
salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful 
noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above 
all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is 
his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. 
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us
kneel before the LORD our maker. —Psalm 95:1-6
If you were to spend every waking moment of every day for the rest of your life
noting God’s goodness, you would never begin to chronicle all the things for 
which you should thank the Lord. His blessings are innumerable. But on this day, 
take time to chronicle much. Get very specific. Thank the Lord for all things: 
Thank him for your provision, and the protection He has given to you all year. 
Thank Him for the pains and sorrows that are driving you closer to Him. Thank 
Him for the problems you have, and thank Him for all the horrors from which you 
have been spared. Thank Him for your parents, your children, and your loved 
ones. Thank Him for the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun. Thank Him for those 
friends who love you and whom you love. Thank Him for the opportunities He 
has given to you. Thank Him for the mentors in your life. Thank Him for the 
sweet seasons and the beautiful memories He has given to you. Thank Him for 
His Church and His Word. But, most of all, thank Him for Jesus Christ. Because 
of Christ, you can be forgiven of sins, reconciled to the Father, and have the 
promise of eternal life.

2. Share the Greatest Stories of the Pilgrim Fathers and God's Providence
Remember the days of old, consider the years of many 
generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee;
thy elders, and they will tell thee.—Deuteronomy 32:7
Thanksgiving Day is a time for quizzes and story-telling. A great place to begin 
is by dedicating time to recount the rich historical evidence of the providence of 
God in the life of this nation through the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims. From 
their humble beginnings as a cadre of faithful friends and devoted Christians 
meeting in Scrooby, England, to their visionary leadership and perseverance in 
the New World at Plymouth Plantation, these faithful Separatists left one of the 
greatest legacies in the history of the New Testament Church. Yet most American 
Christians know little to nothing of the true story of these indefatigable men and 
women of God. This Thanksgiving, remedy the problem by telling their story. If 
you don’t have any of the many books on the Pilgrims available from Vision 
Forum, do a little online research. Visit the website of Pilgrim Hall Museum, for 
example. Share the stories of the friendship of William Bradford and William 
Brewster; of the persecution of the Scrooby Congregation; of the hardship and 
perseverance of the families on board the Mayflower; of the first Sabbath at 
Pulpit Rock;  of the importance of the Church covenant; and of the long first 
winter in America. Tell how God used a young Indian boy named Squanto to 
save the colonists, and share the story of the peace treaty between the 
Pilgrims and Chief Massasoit which lasted fifty years. Make sure to read 
the farewell letter of pastor John Robinson to his congregation. Have your 
children join in the story-telling. Make sure to emphasize the faithfulness 
and providence of the Lord.

3. Read the Fourth Chapter from Of Plymouth Plantation Aloud to Your Family
Last and not least, they cherished a great hope and inward zeal of laying good 
foundations, or at least making some ways toward it, for the propagation and 
advance of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world, 
even though they should be but stepping stones to others in the performance 
of so great a work.—William Bradford
If you only read from one book outside the Bible this Thanksgiving, make it  
Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford. And if you only have time 
for one chapter, make sure it is the fourth. It is in this chapter that we
learn about the true reasons why these home-schooling pilgrims debated over 
whether or not they should risk their lives to go to America, the ultimate reasons 
for their departure (including concern over bad peer influences with their 
children), and their tremendous confidence in God. Most importantly, it is here
that you read of Bradford’s multi-generational vision of victory. Note: From the 
approximately fifty survivors of the first winter, more than 30 million 
descendants have come.

4. Take a Pilgrimage to the Homes of the Pilgrims — From Your Living Room
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.—Proverbs 22:28
We are losing our landmarks to liberty in our nation. As I documented in my 
article,“Plymouth Crock”, we are even desecrating the landmarks to our Pilgrim 
fathers. This is one reason why I believe it is so important that we physically 
bring our children to the great Ebenezers of our freedom while they yet remain. 
Finally, after more than a decade leading families to Plymouth, home of the 
Pilgrim fathers, I was able to take 100 Americans this year on a journey to 
Scrooby, England, and the little manor house where the Pilgrim congregation 
was birthed. What a journey! Please let me share it with you by watching the 
video which I have posted on my blog. Then learn about the little 
eight-hundred-year-old manor house that changed the 
world in my article, “A Pilgrimage to Scrooby”.

5. Read George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation at the Dinner Table
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty 
God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His 
protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint 
committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day 
of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with 
grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by 
affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for 
their safety and happiness. Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign 
Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these 
States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent 
author of all the good that was, thatis, or that will be.—George Washington
The practice of setting aside days of prayer, days of fasting and humiliation 
before the Lord, and days of thanksgiving for the mercies of
Jesus Christ was practiced by our Pilgrim and Puritan fathers, promoted by our 
legislatures and Congress, and honored by our presidents. On this national day 
of Thanksgiving, let’s remember that we do not honor a “turkey day,” but the 
God of Heaven who George Washington described in his Thanksgiving 
Proclamation of 1789, as “the great Lord and Ruler of Nations.” I recommend 
that you print off the proclamation and read it before your dinner meal.

6. Tell the Story of the Providence of God in the Life of Your Family
I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have 
heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 
We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation 
to come the praises of the LORD, and his 
strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. —Psalm 78:2-4
The Lord has not only blessed this nation with a rich providential history, but you 
too have a story that needs to be told. Your children need to hear it and 
understand the mercies of God in the life of your family. So, this Thanksgiving, 
chronicle all that God has done in the history of your family. How many 
generations has your family been in America? How did they get here? When, if 
ever, did your fathers embrace the Gospel?

7. Purpose to Fight Hard and Hold Fast
History is not made by majorities, but by dedicated minorities of like-minded 
friends who have joined together in common cause. This was the Pilgrim legacy, 
and it must be ours as well. To change the world, courageous men and women 
must “fight hard and hold fast” to the things they know to be true. Most people 
will not fight hard and hold fast (which is why most people are spectators 
instead of world-changers). If you are grateful, purpose to be engaged. Purpose 
to be part of an important work for the Lord. Purpose to stand with those who 
are fighting hard and holding fast. Purpose to be a twenty-first-century pilgrim 
for Jesus Christ.

Conclusion: Happy Thanksgiving!
On behalf of Beall, Joshua, Justice, Liberty, Jubilee, Faith Evangeline, Honor, 
Providence, and Virginia, and all the families of Vision Forum, we wish you a 
truly happy, truly grateful, truly blessed Thanksgiving Day! May the Lord 
bless you and keep you, and may He cause His face to shine upon you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas: Thinking About Whose Birthday It Is

 "Strange, the way children teach men.It was dark, I do remember that. Bedtime. Smoothing back hair, kissing foreheads. One round moon hanging large outside the window, an ornament dangling off stars, decorating the night. I had gifts to wrap. So, pull up the blankets. Prayers. And then, when I’m at the door, one hand on the door frame, resting in the light of the hallway, I turn to close the door a bit on the dark and he stops me with just one question:
“What does Jesus get for His birthday?”"

Go to A Holy Experience and read Ann's entire recalling of this incident and how it has changed her families way of looking at Christmas and how they now celebrate the birthday of Jesus. 

I challenge you to rethink how you and your family approach this time of the year.


Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits:
who forgives all your iniquities,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from destruction,
who crowns you with loving kindness
and tender mercies." (Psalm 103:1-4).

What a loving, tender-hearted and compassionate God we have. Every day He crowns me with loving kindnesses. Every day He crowns you with loving kindnesses.

Do I hear you say, "When was the last time God crowned me?" Stop and think about it for a moment. God crowns you with His loving kindnesses through people around you. When your baby or your little child smiles at you, in fact when anyone smiles at you, you are crowned with God's loving kindness. Every time your husband embraces you, you receive another one of God's loving kindnesses. Every time he helps you with the dishes or baths the children, it is God's blessing to you. When someone says an encouraging word to you, it is God's loving kindness to you. He has not forgotten about you. You are graven on the palms of His hands. He has forgiven your sins. He has healed you manytimes.

When you sit down at your table and eat the bountiful food God daily provides for you, it is His loving kindness to you. When you reap the harvest from the garden you have planted, it is His loving kindness. When you look up at the clouds and are reminded of His faithfulness, you are crowned. You look at the mountains, the ocean, the undulating hills and trees and you are blessed that He has given you all these things to freely enjoy. And you don't have to pay a cent. The world is yours to enjoy, no matter how little money you have in your pocket!

Start looking for God's loving kindnesses. They are all around you. They are happening to you throughout the day. Instead of focusing on your problems and disappointments, look out for God's blessings. Learn to be aware of them. Do not forget one of His benefits. Not one! Gratefully thank the Lord for every tiny one. I am starting to do this more and more. In fact, when I read this Scripture about being crowned I was very convicted. I realized that I had been taking God's blessings for granted. Now I seek to thank the Lord for crowning me every time I receive a blessing-a hug, a smile, a word of encouragement, the blessingof children around me and the joy they give with their antics and funny things they say. The blessings of God's creation-the flowers, the birds, the butterflies and the beautiful colors of the fall which I am beholding as I look out of my window now.  It makes such a difference to your life when you become grateful for every little crowning from the Lord.

Because God is crowning me through His people (and maybe even those who are not His people), am I letting Him use me to be his vehicle through which he can crown others? This is a challenge for us, isn't it?

Recently my daughter, Serene faced a difficult trial, a little more difficult because her husband was overseas fulfilling a contract with the military. In the middle of being weighed down by the problem, her car ran out of gas in the middle of a busy lane of traffic. She had all the children in the car and the car wouldn't budge another inch! She put on her blinkers and decided to call the police, but her phone suddenly went dead! She was stuck!
She cried out to the Lord. He nudged her to try the car again. Miraculously it started and she managed, weaving through traffic, to get to the side of the road. She was still stranded, but then God showed her His loving kindness. People stopped their cars to help her. She had more help than she could use. Some were people she would normally be scared to talk to.

One big burly guy with tattoos all over him drove to a service station and bought gas for her and filled up her car. She knew God was sending His angels to her. Not only did she get gas for her car, but the loving kindness of strangers and this big, scary tattooed "angel" caused Serene to feel God's loving kindness pouring all over her. She forgot all her problems and filled the van with praises the rest of her journey.

We can be used by the Lord to crown our husband, our children and many others with the loving kindness of the Lord. Let's be on the offensive to give love-hugs, smiles, affirmation, encouragement and practical help wherever needed. What a blessing to be the instrument of God's loving kindness.

Love from NANCY CAMPBELL, of Above Rubies

"Thank you, dear Father, for constantly crowning me with your loving kindnesses. Help me to be aware of them and full of gratefulness to you. And please anoint me to be a messenger of your loving kindnesses to others around me. Amen."

I will not forget a single blessing!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christian Persecution

There are many people around the world who are being persecuted for their faith in God. Go the to Right Scoop and watch this video about two pastors who were arrested in Uzbekistan and what their families had to endure, and for one family, continue to endure. Please pray for the persecuted church

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Rainbow-A Reminder That God Keeps His Promises

by Dean Curtis News-Leader

A light rain splattered my windshield as I drove to work. As of that moment, the only good thing about the day was that it was Friday. Heavy gray clouds were rolling in from the west. Soon they would eclipse the lighter eastern sky. Yet, before they could, the sun sent one last beam through the clouds and painted a brush stroke of colors on the dreariness.

Luckily, I was downtown. Now what should I put in the photo with the rainbow? I didn't have much time.

Hammons Tower? Probably not.

The Heer's building? Certainly not.

The copper-clad steeple of St. Joseph Catholic Church came to mind. It was just a short distance away and I was fairly confident I could get a mostly unobstructed angle. It was fitting, too. Isn't a rainbow a sign of God's covenant with us that another great flood will not come?

I parked just east of the church and darted across Boonville Avenue to get just the right angle. I only shot for a minute or two before the clouds closed the window of light. The brief rainbow was gone.

I stood in the rain and realized it wasn't such a bad day after all.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

Thank a Veteran today for your freedoms.

I wish to thank my husband, son, father-in-law and father for serving our country selflessly and for helping us to keep the freedoms our founder fathers fought to give us.

Thank you to ALL Veterans and their families for serving your country honorably.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Augustus Montague Toplady

 "Today (November 4) is the birthday of Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1778), the Anglican clergyman who wrote “Rock of Ages,” one of the greatest English hymns ever."