The Amazing Blessings of Living a Spiritually Rich Life

Monday morning ushers in the beginning of another work week. With a full week of activity ahead, Sweet T and I are looking forward to celebrating my Mom’s 80th birthday this coming weekend. In the decade since my Dad passed, we’ve watched my Mom grow deeper in her spiritual walk and grow closer to God. This has been a true blessing to us and all the people who know her. My Mom is a social butterfly; always kind, always generous. She’s deeply loved by her friends, many of whom she’s know for decades. She’s never met a stranger and she’s always willing to help someone.  Mom is a great example of what it means to live the Bible you read. She does that every day in the way she treats other people and goes about her daily routines. She’s got an incredibly bubbly spirit despite not always having the easiest of lives. Mom often reminds me of the popular pericope “The Widow’s Mite” found in the Synoptic Gospels of Mark and Luke.

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The Widow’s Mite (Gospel of Mark)

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.

Mark 12:41-44 (ESV)

My Monday Morning Cup

The Widow’s Mite (Gospel of Luke)

1 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 He said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For they all offered their gifts out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had to live on.”

Luke 21:1-4 (NET)

The story is a lesson in poverty and prosperity based on the weights and measures of God’s economic scale. The widow, while physically poor, was rich spiritually. In contrast, the scribes, dressed in their long robes of pride, were rich physically but stood before the widow spiritually bankrupt. They had everything and gave only that which cost them nothing. She had nothing yet gave God her all.

There is more to walking the walking then simply talking the talk. Actions have always spoken louder than words. James, the half-brother of Jesus, makes it clear that our belief is expressed through our deeds. What we do, in other words, reflects what comes to our mind when we think of God.

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14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:14-17 (ESV)

Me and MomSweet T and MomIMG_3236

My Mom will readily tell you that she doesn’t understand all the things of God. She has often said she doesn’t know her Bible as well as she would like. Yet, her actions show how deeply God’s truth is engrained in her. Her faith is self-evident in how she greets each day and every person she meets. Sweet T and I are thankful that the Lord has blessed us with her and grateful that she continues to be a blessing to others.

One of Mom’s gifts that she readily shares with others is her art. As long as I can remember, my Mom has always done artwork, particularly molding and sculpting original pieces from clay. This has provided her with the opportunity to spend quiet time with God and to share her love of art with others through the pieces she produces. Her artists circle consists of an eclectic blend of friends, each with their own unique talents.

Original Clay Pieces made by Mom © Karin I. Bantau

Mom models living a spiritually rich life. When we put God first, good things happen.

How about you? Do you feel spiritually rich today? I pray you do.

P.S. If you see Mom this week be sure to give her a birthday hug. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them. Better yet, do something that shows them how much they mean to you. None of us are promised tomorrow. Amen.

God is good all the time. All the time God is good!

Be Blessed and be a blessing.

#Spiritual Growth #More of Him Less of Me #Blessings

A Brief History of National Turkey Day

Ok, maybe it’s not all about the turkey and shopping. Maybe you had fajitas, like I did. However you celebrated Thanksgiving, I’m sure, like me, you’re curious about how this holiday of feasting came to be. If that’s the case, I hope you’ll follow along as we explore the history of Thanksgiving.

The First Thanksgiving

Many of us spent time with family and friends the past several days commemorating Thanksgiving Day, gobbling down gobs of food and feasting on seemingly endless supplies of smorgasbords of turkey and dressing, sweet corn, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pies of every kind. After stuffing our faces and filling our bellies, we plopped down to watch the big game on TV.

How did our modern day celebration of thanksgiving come about? That’s a good question that I hope to devote some time to exploring in my series on Thanksgiving Day.

First, let’s look at the defintion of the word “thanksgiving” itself.

What does “thanksgiving” mean?

Dictionary.com provides the following definitions for the noun thanksgiving:

  1. The act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.
  2. An expression of thanks, especially to God.
  3. A public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.
  4. A day set apart for giving thanks to God.
  5. Thanksgiving Day

How did Thanksgiving begin?

As seems to be to the case with so many things in our day, some confusion exists about the history of Thanksgiving Day and how we came to celebrate it here in America. Hopefully, through this series, I will help clarify our understanding about how this great holiday came to be, as well as defining more clearly it’s purpose throughout our nation’s history.

So, obviously, Thanksgiving Day is a time set aside for giving thanks, acknowledging favor and kindness that we have experienced over the course of the year, particularly those bestowed upon us by divine means. In the midst of our hectic lives and ruts of routine, Thanksgiving Day gives us time to pause and reflect on the goodness and kindness that we experience in our lives. Sometimes, in the drudgery of the day, we lose sight of what is right in our lives because our human nature tends to get caught up with what we’re missing or what we are lacking. Being thankful ushers in feelings of positivity that replace the negative energy clouding our spirit and darkening our soul. It allows us to look back at the obstacles we faced and celebrate overcoming them, usually not on our own but through the aid of others and of course, by God’s supernatural intervention.

Many of us are familiar with the story of the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians gathering together to celebrate an autumn harvest feast in 1621. After the harsh Winter of 1620 killed virtually half of their people, the early colonists formed a relationship with their neighbors, the Wampanoag tribe. The Wampanoag taught the colonists about hunting, fishing and planting in the New World. With the Indians help, by the Fall of 1621, the colonists had harvested ample provisions to sustain them through the coming Winter. In order to celebrate their abundant blessings, the colonists and Indians gathered together for a three day feast. While the menu probably didn’t include turkey, it is believed to have featured ample amounts of deer, roasted goose, corn, codfish and lobster. This event marked what we today traditionally know to be the First Thanksgiving, though it would not officially become a national holiday for another two hundred years.

There is little evidence to indicate that the Fall feast immediately became a recurring tradition practiced annually from that First Thanksgiving onward. However, we do know that the Plymouth colonists would go on to celebrate Thanksgving several more times in their history as a means of celebrating boutiful harvests, overcoming hardships, and the ending of extended periods of drought.

Next time we’ll look at what happened in the generations that followed the first colonists Thanksgiving celebration leading to the holiday we celebrate today.