Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
The question for us is, “Have you said thank you today?” Being grateful is the best expression of our blessings. The songwriter says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” If you take a moment to count your blessings you will truly be filled with a deep sense of gratitude.
I don’t know about you but as for me I always give thanks for all that God has done for me. Thanksgiving is an old that did not originate with the Pilgrims. It is an idea that has its roots in the Bible. The Feast of Tabernacles is a feast of thanksgiving. Also in the Old Testament the Israelites were encouraged to give an “Offering of Thanksgiving.”
If you will be true to yourself you will all acknowledge that most of us are blessed with a lot and we all owe God a thanksgiving offering.
So as Thanksgiving approaches once again we should not only look at the celebration with friends and family and the social aspect of the celebration. We should look at it from a spiritual point as well.
My wife Sarah and I attended East Stroudsburg University and since we arrived in the States we have loved the four seasons here in the Poconos.
The autumn season is upon us with crackling leaves and cooler nights and the return of high school football. School is in session and NFL football is in the air.
Last month I wrote an article about how back to school connects us to back to Church. We all pitched in to give our kids back-to-school supplies. I myself went to some stores to see a lot of back to school items on the shelves. I stopped by these same stores just recently and found that all the back to school items have been moved to obscure locations that cannot be easily seen. The items displayed prominently in the front and center aisles were autumn home décor, particularly Halloween items. In addition to these decorations there were a lot of Halloween candies on the shelves. It occurred to me I should be stocking up on some candies. But the message was quite clear: Back-to-School is over and fall is here.
“Back to School and Back to Church”
The words “Back to School” still ring a bell in our ears. Even though some of us are grown we all have fond memories about “back to school.” We are all affected by children going off to school at the beginning of the school year.
Sometimes we have mixed feelings when we have to go back to school. We have to change the summer activities we became used to but then we are also happy because we get bored at home and going back to school gives us an opportunity to change the routine.
We also anticipate meeting new and old friends and excited about what the new school year has to offer. Back to School Shopping is always a highlight, getting some new clothes, uniforms, in our case in Ghana. We all remember the joy of getting new pencils, erasers, the feel of a new exercise book with black and white labels. The smell of brand new crayons and all the vibrant colors we see when we see when we open a new Crayola box. On this note I want to thank all those who bought school supplies for our Back Pack Blessings for the young ones going back to school.
July and August for me is the feel-good time of the year. My wife Sarah and I got married in July. It was a wonderful time for us and the friends and family who joined us for the wedding ceremony. This is the time of year that everything buzzes with life. When we observe nature we see the bees buzzing, the humming birds humming, the butterflies gliding, plants and vegetables and, of course, weeds blossom before our eyes.
It is Summertime and there’s love and joy in the air.
Taking time for some “R and R” is in order after a very harsh winter. For those of us who live here in the Poconos, the changing of the seasons is wonderful to enjoy. However, we would rather forget the harsh winters we have had in the past two years. As a result, we could not wait for spring to appear, which seem to take forever.
As human beings one of the constant complaints we have is about the weather and interestingly enough that is one thing we have no control over. In our winter months we hear folks say, “I am fed up with the cold and the snow,” and when summer fills the air we have folks say, “It’s too hot.”
Happy Spring! We Christians are still in the season of Easter. It is the season of the resurrection bringing things back to life. We see it all around us in the spring flowers and feel it in the warm breeze even though some of us were surprised to see some snow flurries in April. But whatever the case God is still creating new things.
Easter Our Hope for Living
Easter is April 5th this year. Unlike Christmas, Easter changes every year. Sometimes it comes very early in March or late in April. These changes happen because of the very complicated formula having to do with full moons and the spring Equinox. Easter is always after the Spring Equinox, which is around March 21. The next full moon after March 21 is the Equinox. Hopefully, you can do a little research on that.
The month of March is when we march forward in the year. Throughout the rest of the year we can continue to get involved in all that is happening at Mt. Pocono UMC. I invite you to be fully engaged this month and jump in to participate in the worship, study, fellowship, and service opportunities that will be available. This will be a great time to get to know others in the MPUMC family and grow in your faith through a variety of ways.
And it’s especially appropriate in March for you to seek to grow in your faith because throughout most of March we will be celebrating the season of Lent. Lent is a 40-day period beginning on Ash Wednesday and leading up to Easter.