As part of our daily routine, Piper and I always take our seventy-five pound Aussie out back in the late afternoon for some exercise… for him as well as for me! When we stepped out for this activity yesterday and I was guiding Piper’s chair over the threshold of the back door from the garage and onto the step and extension platform that I had built in order to accommodate an easy and safe in and out for her chair, I noticed a very unusual critter perched at one end of the step.
Once I had Piper set in the sun on the back patio, I went back to the step to take a closer look. At first I couldn’t tell if it was a big spider or a flying insect. After a few moments of closer inspection I deduced that it was in fact a flying insect, black in color with large wings and six legs. I would have loved to study it a little more but Fiver was anxious for my attention and was running around the yard in search of one of the balls we play catch and retrieve with and I needed to pull Piper’s hood down a little more snug over her ears. So, I helped the little critter off the step and into the dirt next to it so that I wouldn’t step on him when we went back in the house… but you know, I still have no idea what it was as I had never seen one of those in our yard before! Hopefully he’ll return so I can get a picture of him and do a little research.
That weird looking, fairly large flying insect got me to thinking about all the different creatures, insects, bugs, birds, rabbits, deer, and yes, even snakes that inhabit the forest surrounding two sides of our property. Our property line goes back an additional ten feet beyond our fence line, but I am pretty certain that I’ll most likely never venture back there without a good pair of tall boots and my new CO2 pellet pistol for the trees, bushes, vines and ground cover is very thick!
Then my thoughts ventured off beyond the confines of our property and I began to get overwhelmed thinking about all the things that our heavenly Father has created throughout our universe. These musings were increased last night as I stepped outback with Fiver around ten to let him do his thing before bedtime and took a few moments to look up toward the heavens.
Another perk of country living is not having the bright lights of the city. While we do have a street light across the road from the front of our house, the back is pretty dark at night. That darkness makes for a pretty incredible sight when you look up! The stars are so bright and seem to go on forever! I long for the time when Piper can accompany us outside at night for the star show as she loved the night sky and always enjoyed pointing out all the different constellations! (By the way, we do have motion detection lights that cover the whole house and yard around our property, and I also keep the porch and deck lights on throughout the night!)
With the onset of the holidays and in particular Thanksgiving here in America, the thoughts and sights of God’s creation just makes me want to raise my arms in thanksgiving unto Him for all the marvelous things that He has made for you and me to enjoy in this life. The beginning of Psalm 136 instructs us to “Give thanks to the LORD because he is good (pleasant, agreeable, excellent, valuable, appropriate, becoming, understanding, glad and happy*), because his mercy (his kindness, favor, goodness, faithfulness, compassion and goodwill*) endures forever.”
I mentioned in our last post of how I love to think about and thank Papa God for all that He has done for Piper and I over the years, but sometimes I believe that it is also important to just thank God for who He is and for all that He has done throughout all generations. According to Dake’s Study Notes, Psalm 136 is a great place for us to start in thanking God for who He is. Dake explains that there are 26 admonitions to give thanks to the Lord in this psalm of thanksgiving and also 28 facts about God in those admonitions that all conclude with the truth that “His mercy endures forever.” (See the multiple definitions of ‘mercy’ above*)
I took the time to recite the verses of this Psalm at the breakfast table this morning so that Piper could join in with the act of Thanksgiving. While speaking out the 26 admonitions and 28 facts about our heavenly Father, I could not help but to raise my hands as I became emotionally involved in the moment of worship unto Him.
The word translated ‘thanksgiving’ actually comes with the connotation of physically raising our hands in reverence and praise to the Lord. Now that I know that, I can understand why I am usually moved to raise my hands and arms whenever I begin to praise the Lord whether at church, at home and even in the car! (Did I ever tell you about the time that I was the ONLY one who raised their hands during the singing of the ending hymn at the end of a New Year’s Watchnight service at the very traditional Baptist church we attended in the late seventies? Got a lot of strange looks… but I couldn’t help myself! I didn’t do it on purpose… my hands just sort of popped up!)
Tomorrow as you gather to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends, I challenge you to read Psalm 136 together and then take a moment to go around the room and give everyone present the opportunity to thank God for who He is, and for all He has done. I guarantee that it will be a Thanksgiving gathering like you’ve never had before! (Let me know how many hands go up during this time!)
Piper and I wish each of you a very blessed, happy and meaningful Thanksgiving this year. And as you are about to bite into that turkey drumstick, ask yourself… “What am I expecting to THANK GOD FOR today, and tomorrow?”
*Definitions from the original Hebrew and Greek translations as defined by Strong’s, Thayer’s and Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions)