Sunday, November 26, 2006



As Thanksgiving approached, I mulled options for a traditional meal. Luby's, I decided. They provide a great turkey dinner. Instantly I was aware of a feeling inside that said, "Is that all? Is that to be our "Thanksgiving Event"? Good food, yes, but just food - no family or friends?

We've enjoyed many Thanksgivings in the past surrounded by family and friends. For example, this photo is from Thanksgiving 2005 when we had a wonderful visit with our son and his family in L.A. and were also reunited with a special friend from our past. (Our daughter-in-law, the photographer, is missing from the photo.)

This year I had expected my sister and her husband to be in town but their plans changed. And I certainly didn't feel neglected by my immediate family because we had recently hosted not one but two gatherings of our children and grandchildren, all of whom trekked here from afar. All six of the grandboys, 6 and under, had been together for the first time and had a grand time feeding the swans and fishing in our backyard. (Click here for more on this!)


Years back I would have ignored my let-down feeling and just stuffed it inside. Or later, when I first became a Christian, I might have let my mind reprimand my feelings with religious peptalk about how I didn't deserve to feel let down since I had been given so much. But after years of experiencing the mercies and love of God, that's not what I chose to do. I took what I felt to my Father and released it to Him, something like this: Father, I thank you for the wonderful family you have given us and for the fellowship with them we had in October. Your favor was abundant and I am grateful. I lift to you my desire for something more for Thanksgiving Day than Luby's. Will you please provide something special? Thank you for whatever you arrange.


And here's my testimony to God's goodness. Last weekend, after church one of my favorite ladies asked if we had plans for Thanksgiving. "No," I said. I tried to come up with something cheerful or positive to add but nothing presented itself. "Why don't you join us?" she said. Now, this lady and her husband are the most gracious hosts I know. And she is a great cook. So, you can bet I said, "Yes."

A drive through the Texas Hill Country is always delightful but this one was to be unusually so. As we topped over a hill, I spied a decorated Christmas tree on the shoulder of the highway. My husband's first impression was that someone had left one there but when we saw the next one a mile later, it was obvious what that some inspired drive-by decorator had festively adorned live native trees, topping them off with a star. Neat! Would there be one at the next mile marker, too?

My eyes were straining to see if that could be so. And you know what I saw? Not a third decorated tree but a zebra! And then I saw another one. Two zebras feeding in a field. Real live zebras! No kidding.

It was time to exit the highway so I can't say if other adorned trees waited ahead. To increase my credibility about the zebras, I should say that here in the Texas Hill Country we are seeing more and more exotic animals on ranches, alongside our native deer.


We arrived at our destination with a story to tell and in time for tasty hors d oeuvres, fellowship, and bocce ball outside on a perfect day: sunny and dry, cool and crisp but not cold. Peter, our host, showed us the rose garden and took us with him to feed the goats. Then it was time for a five-star meal and dinner conversation, followed by several "to-die-for" desserts. And I came home with generous portions to feast on again later. Somewhere in this mix, I learned from Mary, my friend and hostess, and her sister, Rose, how to fashion and hand stitch a beautiful jacket from a sweatshirt.

AND THEN . . .

My cup had already run over with blessing upon blessing on this Day of Thanks. But guess what? It wasn't over. Later that evening my neighbor Sarah and I walked just as night was falling, checking on the wildlife in and around the small lake in our community, as we often do. Yes, there are the seven swans. Where are the five resident mallards? How many wild ducks do you think we have now? As we crossed the dam, a flight of about a dozen took off. A second smaller group followed minutes later. They made quite a clatter as they rose above the water and angled just above our heads. They were as loud as Santa on the roof!

The stars were very bright on this clear dark night and the moon was just a sliver. A perfect night for stargazing!

Sarah's specialty is counting shooting stars. She's very good at that. But tonight I out-spied her. I saw three bright streaks and two brief flashes, some of which she uncharacteristically missed.


With all these happy experiences, Thanksgiving 2006 was uniquely delightful and special with many opportunities to give thanks. And so I prayed: Thank you, Lord, that it pleased you to honor my child-like request for "something more" with a cornucopia overflowing with blessing upon blessing. Amen.

2nd photo by bad sector @flickerCC

3rd photo by hol @flickerCC
4th photo by Steven2005 @flickerCC
5th photo by odoyle81 @fickerCC

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

And now, may the God of peace,
who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
equip you with all you need for doing his will.

May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ,
all that is pleasing to him.

Jesus is the great Shepherd of the sheep
by an everlasting covenant, signed with his blood.

To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 13:20-21 NLT

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Filename: j0402278.jpg Keywords: clouds, Japan, Japanese ... File Size: 398 KB
The Everlasting Covenant was made before the creation of man and the entrance of sin into the human race. Kevin Conner and Ken Malmin in their book The Covenants tell us that it is the heavenly spiritual foundation from which other covenants proceed. It was made in eternity before time began and was between the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. It does not include man, although it does involve man. The New Covenant, which promises eternal life, brings redeemed mankind into the Everlasting Covenant.

The Bible teaches that before time began, God had an eternal purpose and that he declares his purpose through covenant. The Everlasting Covenant is the basis for all other covenants made in earth since time began. See Heb 13:20-21.


The Everlasting Covenant is grounded in the essential nature of God.
  1. He is eternal. He is above and outside of time. He created time. He therefore inhabits eternity and all he does is eternal. Isa 57:15, Gen 21:33, Deut 33:27, Psa 41:13, 90:2, 93:2
  2. He is omniscient: that is, he is all knowing. Although he gave man free will, he knew creation would fall and he made provision for redemption. Acts 15:18
  3. He is omnipotent. He is all-powerful and sovereign over creation and creatures. Dan 7:17
  4. God is omnipresent. He is everywhere present at all times. Psa 139:7-12
  5. He is immutable. He is unchanging in his nature, being, character and covenant purposes. Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8
  6. God is self-existent. He exists in and of Himself and is independent of time, space and all creatures. He gives life to all creatures because he is the life-source. John 1:1-4, 3:16
In addition, God chose to make covenant available because of his moral attributes:
  1. God is absolute holiness. Lev 19:2, 11:44,45, 1Pet 1:16
  2. He is righteous, that is, perfectly just. Psa 119:142, Deut 32:4, Rom 1:17
  3. God is love. He manifests perfect love, grace, mercy and kindness. 1 John 4:8-16, John 3:16, 14:23, Gal 2:20
  4. He is faithful. He does what he says he will do. Psa 119:144, Heb 6:12-20, 2 Tim 2:13, 1 Pet 4:19

Because it is not a covenant between God and man, but a covenant between the persons of the eternal Godhead, we can call this covenant, which was made before time began, the Eternal (or Everlasting) Covenant. According to Kevin Conner and Ken Malmin, this covenant defined the role each of the three persons of the triune God would play in regard to creation and redemption:
  1. The Father orginates all covenants. He makes the promises and gives the words and the terms of the contracts.
  2. The Son is the sacrifice and the mediator of the covenant. He functions as both offering and offerer: sacrifice and priest.
  3. The Holy Spirit is the seal, the sign and the token. He executes the covenant and sees that it is carried out in full.
See Rom 16:26, Psa 106:48, 112:6, Hab 1:12, Heb 13:20.