“The heavens declare the Glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork .” Psalm 19:1
The Sheer Extravagance of God
Going through a month’s snaps to find images which represent our lives for the last month, I always have to include some close ups of plants I have noticed and delighted in.
The thought, ‘the sheer extravagance of God’, came to me as I picked one of the blooms from a Floss Silk Tree which flower here in November. The trees become huge masses of pink flowers before their leaves form. Their trunks have large thorns like medieval armor.
God is extravagant not only in the beauty of what he has created but also in the huge variety. My mind is astounded and gives thanks this Thanksgiving for how God provides for us so well.
One of the stories this month was of a woman in my bible study class deciding that she wanted to give back a turkey to the homeless. She had as a child received a Thanksgiving turkey because her family was poor and she wanted to give back, now in her seventies, and she could afford it. She asked if I would help her get the turkey and deliver it when the time came. Well she talked to friends about what she was doing and slowly more people came alongside her donating for turkeys.
Well, the outcome was we bought 565lbs of turkeys and delivered them for Thanksgiving to a charity called Turning Points in Bradenton. It was God’s extravagance, each time we thought we had fulfilled the money collected, there was still more left over and we returned to the freezer to pick out some more turkeys!
Christine completed a commission of our Lady of Knock, a five by three foot painting for a school library, which was shipped out this month. The story of a vision appearing to a group of people in the Irish town of Knock, is reported by the Roman Catholic Saints website, as:
‘The apparition in County Mayo in Ireland of Our Lady of Knock is reported to have occurred on the evening of August 21, 1879, the vigil of the octave of the feast of the Assumption. Those who witnessed the miracle ranged in age from five years old to seventy-five.
The apparition was described as follows: “Our Lady was wearing a large, brilliant crown and clothed in white garments. On her right was Saint Joseph, his head inclined toward her and on her left Saint John the Evangelist. To the left of Saint John was an altar on which stood a cross and a lamb.” Standing only a few feet off the ground, the Blessed Virgin wore a white cloak and was described by witnesses as being incredibly beautiful. She wore a bright golden crown, and appeared to be praying with her eyes looking toward heaven with her arms bend in front of her with her palms facing inward.’
For Christine, this commission has been yet another wonderful opportunity to learn more about the different ways God has interacted with His church. The different streams of the church have such a rich history of how God has chosen to make himself known. It is different for all of us and we cannot judge another’s experience, only give thanks again that God cares enough to find different avenues to connect to us, His whole church. I am sure that everyone who reads this blog could give an example of how God has made himself known to them. Perhaps through a vision, or a healing, maybe through the audible word of God, or just that quiet thought which suddenly appears in our minds which we KNOW we have to listen to and act on.
In November one of the big events is Veterans day. Michael had the role of leading the service which was really well attended. So many people had served America in one of the five services and each one had a photograph of them dressed in their appropriate uniforms many years ago. For Michael it was a lesson to not look at the elderly as they appear today, but remember how active, dynamic and handsome they were when they were younger. We owe a huge debt to those who have gone before us and spent some of their best years fighting for the values that made America great. Now many are truly disheartened by what is happening in this country today and feel helpless as to what to do.
The only answer I can offer is for there to be an outpouring of prayer for healing in this nation and righteous leadership.
Jesus prayed that the church would not be divided. In many ways the church has been divided and the country is divided and it is ripe for a fall, as Jesus warned in Mathew 12:25.
Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.’
PRAYERS FOR OUR NATION
Let us pray for this nation, without calling on the ‘spirit of politics’, which continues to be an idol against the Holy Spirit. “Make thy face to shine upon thine servant; save me for thy mercies sake.” Psalm 31:16 May God ‘s face shine upon our country and save us for His mercy’s sake.
As Christians we are called to be active Christians, not waiving that assignment to politicians. The spirit of politics may cover itself with the talk of righteousness but not the walk, as is being revealed now. ” Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24
Sending you all our love and prayers,
Michael and Christine Hales