Chapel Thanksgivings: Sanctify

shared by Hilary Gibson:

 

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Chapel Thanksgivings: I Shall Not Want

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by Harry Rodenberger (photo and story)

 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Psalm 23

 

My first exposure to this Psalm came probably about 68-69 years ago when I attended a summer bible school at the Presbyterian church in the village of Eastsound on Orcas island.  One of the components of our age class was to memorize Psalms 23.

I’ve always been especially fond of this psalm because it has given me peace in my heart during times of tribulations, stress and personal trials.

This afternoon (Thursday 11/9)  I am having surgery on a stubborn skin cancer and infection inside my ear canal.  I wasn’t prepared to have to go “under the knife” this week but my doctor says it is time to take care of it so I must.  I’ve had a rough year with my health – a bad pneumonia, and this continuing painful ear infection and ongoing struggles with my heart so I am feeling rather fragile about this surgery.    I am asking you all for prayers and the Lord’s protection as the doctor does his work.

I’ve crossed the line between life and death many times, and the Lord has tossed me back over the line, telling me it isn’t my time yet and I still have more to do here.  I listen to whatever He says.

As many of you may or may not know I have a pacer/defibrillator (let’s call it my “unit” from now on, shall we?)  in my chest. My first unit was installed in 2008 and was recently replaced. My first unit resuscitated me six times. My current unit will last from 12 to 15 years and is pacing my heart 64% of the time.

All this being said, with reference to Psalm 23 I have “…Walked in the Valley of the Shadow of Death…” More than once Terry was called to the hospital in the middle of the night because they thought I was going to die. These words of Psalm 23 were with me. They were in my heart, in my head. They gave me peace. I recognize that people world-wide were praying for me and what a powerful impact that had.

I am grateful for everyday! When I pray I ALWAYS thank the Lord for the privilege he has given me…another day.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever

~Harry Rodenberger

Chapel Thanksgivings: Contentment

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by Brian Vander Haak, Taiwan

Grateful
/ˈɡreɪtfʊl,ˈɡreɪtf(ə)l/ adjective
1) feeling or showing an appreciation for something done or received
Contentment
/kənˈtɛntm(ə)nt/ noun
1) in a state of peaceful happiness
2) a state of satisfaction
I have long felt my personal state of “thankfulness” was flawed. I am sincerely grateful, to the point of amazement, at the blessings I have received throughout my life. Gratitude comes easily to me and flows naturally from me. But after a lifetime of conditioning I have intertwined my state of gratefulness with my level of contentment into a measuring tape of how thankful I am.
I have so many examples among our friends and family, including members of the Chapel, who have married gratitude and contentment into something wonderful, and I admire them. But my own tendency to not be content left me feeling like my thankfulness was flawed.
It is only recently I have come to peace with measuring my contentment and gratefulness separately. To consider grateful and thankful as synonyms and contentment as a possible, but not automatic byproduct. This does not mean I am content with my discontent. I am grateful my discontent is not connected with material things by and large, though I continue to fantasize about owning a shiny new Harley Davidson some day, but it is driven by my desire to constantly do more, do it better, and with more evident results.
My glass half empty personality and intensity has driven me to get a lot of things done under some very stressful circumstances, but it has also taken its toll in many ways. Yet I am truly grateful for my life, scars and all. And as long as I can hold what I believe to be an unhealthy level of contentment in one hand and my soaring level of gratefulness in the other, I can say I am a very thankful individual.
Thank you Lord!

Chapel Thanksgivings: Embraced

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by Lance Crumley

In the desert of my soul
It’s a wasteland;
A void;
Empty Space;
Existence struggles:
Locked in place;
Life hangs by a thread…

Then it comes:
The rain,
The Word;

Beauty and fragrance abounds!
It fills and envelops!

What once was
Is no longer;
My soul is embraced;
I give thanks!

The glory is God’s
and God’s alone;
Rain down,
Rain down!

Sharing Abundantly

2 Corinthians 1:5–For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

To follow Jesus does not mean an end to suffering but it means we willingly and joyfully choose to share the overwhelming burden He has borne in payment for our sin.

God sending His Son to walk among us
did not end sin on earth
but showed mankind how
to choose mercy rather than tyranny,
to offer forgiveness rather than blame,
to express gratitude rather than resentment,
to share what little we have rather than covet all that we desire.

By seeking truth, by following Jesus,  the comfort found in Him will far outweigh our suffering.

He was born for this.  And so were we.

E. Gibson