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“Sacrifice thank offerings to God . . . and call on me in the day of trouble;

    I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:14-15).

Heels bouncing. Arms upraised. Palms waving. I did the happy dance today. Full-on, Snoopy-style. A long wait sweetens good news, and I had waited over a year for an acceptance letter. Could’ve sworn I tasted chocolate while reading.

I love champagne truffles as much as any girl, but I’m more thankful for achievements. Success and answered prayers fire up my worship to a near-charismatic levels. Hand-raising tends to linger outside my comfort zone. When gratitude for provision and healing bubbles up from my soul like a wellspring, I can hardly help myself.

Christ receives my best praise when things go well. Do I offer the same level of gratitude during tough times? I pour out passionate prayers, declaring the power and perfect nature of God. I cry out, reach out, and plead. But days of trouble don’t bring out my Snoopy-style, charismatic thankful dance.

Eternal, indefatigable blessings remain with me at all times, bright or dark. The Holy Spirit promises never to leave me. Christ redeemed my soul and declares me an heir to heaven. The All-Powerful Creator adores me as a Father. Whether I see circumstances working out in my current moment or not, the Lord assures me of His presence. God promises to work out the big picture for my good, and I can trust Him with the immediate details. His goodness never fluctuates. Christ’s most significant blessing remains with me always. Jesus deserves my happy dance every day.

In Psalm 50:14-15, the Lord promises two bonuses if we offer thanks when we’re in trouble. He first assures our deliverance, a cherished gift of His grace. A grateful attitude provides additional perks. Praise shifts our mindset toward hope. Faith grows and strengthens. We secure our footing in the awareness of God’s presence. Thankful prayer offerings sustain and support us through trying circumstances. The privilege of new status gleams on our souls like a crown, for He lifts us up as those who honor Him.

I’m a fan of pleasing my Lord, so I set a new prayer objective. Every day, rejections and life-worries notwithstanding, I plan to fire up some thankful Snoopy waving. I’m working on my “Woot!” Will you join me?

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving: (Psalm 69:30).

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:1-3).

Half the carrot harvest tumbled in the broth around chunks of their only lamb. Rich herb aromas billowed from the stew and pressed smiles into the sisters’ faces.

Mary patted Martha’s back. “You did a beautiful job, as always.”

“What better use of the food? I’d give Him all of it, if only we had more room at the table.” She stepped back from the kettle and peered into the next room. Eyes brimming, she laid a hand on her chest. “My heart leaps like a gazelle at the sight of Lazarus laughing alongside Him out there.”

Mary put an arm around her sister’s shoulders and gave her a quick squeeze. “Yes, we know how well the Lord cares for us. God will provide another lamb for Passover.”

As they ladled the extravagant meal into a pot, a refreshing cascade of peace washed over Mary. She felt joy and calm as if a divine breeze cooled her perspiration-drenched skin.

Steam filled Mary’s head covering, infusing her hair with rosemary fragrance as she carried the pot toward the reclining circle of men. Her brother’s charming smile warmed her heart. The familiar faces surrounding him included curious neighbors and cousins. The Teacher’s closest followers dominated the conversation with animated gestures and challenging remarks.

Mary’s gaze secured on one pair of callused feet. Extended from the table, the rough heels bore cracks from miles of travel. Bruises and insect stings framed the sides and toes. The battered, lovely feet of her Master and Teacher. She rested the pot on the table and glanced at His marvelous eyes. In their infinite depths, they seemed to bear a wistful gleam of both joy and care at once. Her Lord.

“Tell Martha she outdid herself,” Lazarus said.

Mary fled the table without responding. She sprinted, not to the kitchen, but to the sleeping quarters she shared with her sister. She grabbed a stick from the table and dropped to her knees at the room’s corner. Five hand-breadths from the wall, she hacked the earthen floor broke open. Mary reached into the cool hollow and wrapped her fingers around the chilled alabaster vessel inside. A treasure meant to seal her in marriage.

She clutched the vessel to her chest and stood, recalling how she once considered this the only thing of value she possessed. Tears careened over the rising apples of her cheeks as she raced into the main room. There they were. The priceless feet of her Lord.

Mary knelt. The conversation buzzed on as the men gave little notice to the one so often drawn to the Master’s feet. The vessel trembled in her grip. Fingers slippery with tears, she broke its neck. The crack of alabaster silenced the room. Her chest burned as she poured her heart out with its contents. Mary drenched every beautiful, bruised inch of those feet with the rich oil. The overflow soaked the tattered hem of His garment. Her eyes blurred as she kissed the blisters on his toes.

More. Her core ached with adoration.

She tore the covering from her head. Untethering her locks, she wrapped them around his soles. Pressing, patting her hair against the magnificent feet of her Savior.

Not everyone enjoyed the overpowering rush of nard at dinnertime. The scent’s strength qualified it to perfume the dead. Most of the guests waited for Jesus’ reaction. Except the one most offended by heartfelt praise. Judas dwelt outside the capacity to appreciate sacrifice, to give or accept divine love, or to understand the fragrance of true discipleship.

As Easter approaches, the opportunity to pour our heart’s treasures onto the Lord’s feet dawns before us. Our worship will be unique in nature. However it looks for each of us, all genuine adoration flows with abandon. Nothing we could hold back compares in value to the One Who offers Himself so fully to us.

The fragrance of our love and commitment for Christ will fill the air around us. The impact lingers and spreads. No one can deny such a compelling effect, for it seems to cover the stench of death so common in the rest of the world. Not everyone will enjoy or understand it. Some will find our aroma offensive.

When others shame or ridicule our extravagant love for the Lord, we can assure ourselves that we’re in good company. They found Jesus offensive, too.

Let’s pray for tho who remain outside to grow appreciative of sacrifice, to accept divine love in order to pay it forward, and to comprehend at last the divine fragrance of true discipleship. And through all, keep that strong fragrance pouring forth.

I’ve made pie crust from scratch. Grandma’s sour cream recipe complimented our fresh-picked cherry pie with divine bliss. I savor the memory of that incomparable pie.

But since that yesteryear day of baking, I’ve come to prefer another. I don’t craft an heirloom pastry when baking pies. My go-to crust shall ever be the frozen shell. How can you beat a ready-made crust in its own tin? Less mess on the front end. No dish to wash afterward. No one complains.

At Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special feasts sprinkled across the calendar between them, our gatherings culminate in a representative dessert. Pie unites at the center, yet offers equal joy to all who share it. Whether pumpkin, chocolate cream, or pecan, the flavors sweeten our expressions and satisfy to the wriggling of toes. 

The doughy matter on the outer edges makes no impression compared to the luscious filling. Circumstances hemming the world blur outside the windows as baby giggles and hugs warm the home’s inner spaces. Laughter, encouragement, love. God baked sweet fillings into our middles, with the intention we would share our best with one another. 

Frozen shell tins do not come with storage covers. Leftovers cannot be microwaved in a tin. I bake according to the Creator’s recipe–no sweet thing should be discarded. I look forward to empty pie tins after Thanksgiving, and pray my life will offer a similar celebration. May I share all the Maker’s filling. With no sweet morsel left over that has not been enjoyed by those He loves, let my life be an empty pie tin. 

 

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving, and share all your pie!

 

“I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” Philippians 2:17

“Azariah the chief priest, from the family of Zadok, answered, ‘Since the people began to bring their contributions to the temple of the Lord, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare, because the Lord has blessed his people, and this great amount is left over'” (2 Chronicles 3:10).

Gleaning, cleaning, cooking, and gathering brought us to tables with thanks. As we noshed on traditional fare, we gorged ourselves on savory conversation and released loved ones at the end of the day with sweet embraces. Our stores continue to brim after the day of sharing, so now we must decide what to do with all the leftovers.

Creativity spares the food from the trash can, adding a little something each day to craft delightful meals from our overflow. Discovering new uses for the extras might be the most fun part of Thanksgiving cuisine. I look forward to turkey casserole before the holiday begins, planning for it as I take home a bigger bird than we’ll eat in one sitting.

I’ve decided to make a lifestyle of anticipating overflow–not with regard to food or other tangibles, however. Like the verse from 2 Chronicles above, abundance refers to spiritual perspective more than food. An open heart shares all it is and loves with all it has. It occurs to me I can spread a more nourishing feast for others if I plan to gather an abundant store of Christlove. I’ll take extra grace, hope, and peace from my prayer and scripture reading time. I always make sure to have leftovers for loved ones, clients, and strangers. Sometimes it takes a little creativity to apply them to the needs, but I have an infinite resource of inspiration walking with me in those moments.

Consider the blessings of faith and eternal promise God has provided you this year, this season, and today. What will you do with your leftovers?

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