Thanksgiving Day.  What does that mean to you?  Does it mean, a day off work, out of school, to overeat, or watch a football game?  In the United States it is traditionally set aside to give thanks to God for His provision.  The first Thanksgiving Day in the New World was a three day feast which began on December 13, 1621.  It was a day the Pilgrim’s set aside to give thanks to God for His provision.  After a year of starvation during the harsh New England winter in which many of them had died, they planted and reaped a bountiful crop, thus ensuring their survival for the coming year.  They had hope and they were thankful.

Pilgrim Edward Winslow described the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving in these words:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling [bird hunting] so that we might, after a special manner, rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as… served the company almost a week… Many of the Indians [came] amongst us and… their greatest King, Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted; and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought… And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet BY THE GOODNESS OF GOD WE ARE… FAR FROM WANT.”

President George Washington proclaimed the first Day of Thanksgiving to God under its new constitution in 1789.  The Protestant Episcopal Church, of which he was a member, announced that the first Thursday in November would become the regular day of giving thanks “unless another day be appointed by the civil authorities.”   Nevertheless, this day was not celebrated nationally but only at the state level.

It was not until 1863 that President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national Day of Thanksgiving.  In 1941 that Congress permanently established the fourth Thursday of each November as a national holiday. [2]

It is one thing to have a national thanksgiving day and quite another to have a personal thanksgiving day.  We are to give thanks everyday.  The advantage of a national day of thanksgiving is that we are reminded that as a nation, God has provided all that we need.  This leads me to the question, for what am I thankful?

  1. Eternal life through Jesus and the Written Word of God which teaches me how to have a right relationship with Him and with my neighbors.
  2. My children
  3. Extended family and friends
  4. The fellowship of believers
  5. His provision of food, shelter and clothing
  6. His healing of my body, soul and spirit

What are you thankful for?

Be blessed

Jane Owens

© 2012


[2] All the above information taken from christiananswers.net

The following paragraphs are copied from a post written by my daughter-in-law to her son (my grandson), who served in the United States Navy and completed his service in May of this year.  I thought it proper  for Veteran’s Day.  I am very proud of my grandson and thankful that he came home safely to his family.  

To my son, (name withheld)

I am a mom! Yes, I know there was danger lurking around many corners where you were located and I’m not sure how you managed to accomplish the duty calls that were assigned. I’ve worked 12 and more hours back in my twenties and it was not necessarily easy, I don’t know how you managed to work 16 hour days and nights and on your day off have no freedoms like we enjoy daily here in America and tend to take for granted. 

You were on a ship in the middle of a huge ocean and nothing to see for miles. You were in foreign lands with strangers that knew you were military (when they should not have) and facing a foreign country and its rules along with our military rules that I’m not sure I could have withstood. Thank you son, for showing me how it is possible to set a goal and achieve it and to push yourself when needed to get to that next level. Thank you also for the many times you surprised me with a visit home! AND especially for the surprise in May when you came home for good, safe and sound. I am one blessed woman! I have so much to be thankful for and I give thanks to God, thanks to my great husband for helping so lovingly to raise both of our sons and to you Daniel for your love for our country, your dedication to defending her and for your honest heart today in wanting America to get back to the great country that she once was. I thank you and wish you a Very Happy Veterans Day!
Love, Mom

The month of October is traditionally set aside as Pastor Appreciation Month.

Some years ago I suffered through a devastating church shake-up.  Although I was heartbroken, God used the experience to test me; was I going to drop out or stay with Him?   He gave me this promise found in Jeremiah 3:15; “And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”

Since then I have attended several churches (because of moving from one area to another) and without exception, the pastors have all been after the heart of God.  God always keeps His promises.

Pastors do not have an easy life.  It is certain they are not able to please everyone. Pastors have to contend with cranky people, wanderers and those who, no matter what is suggested for the good of the congregation, are critical.  In addition, the pastor must carve out time to be alone with Jesus. The goal for them is to please God only.  If they do that, all other things should eventually fall into place.

I believe Jesus is God and I have always looked for a congregation with a pastor who believes likewise.  In fact, I believe this so strongly that I would not consider going to a ‘church’ that believes otherwise.  See John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”  and John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

Pastors are always on the front line, and this is where Satan sets his snares using various means to keep the Word of God from being proclaimed without compromise.  We must remember to earnestly pray for our pastors every day.  The reason for the church shake-up I experienced was caused in part because the people were not covering the pastor with prayer.  Our pastors are those shepherds God gives us to guide and teach about the Kingdom of God, encouraging us to stay firm in our faith.

I have attended my present congregation for 13 years. (I finally quit moving from place to place and retired.)  My pastor is awesome!   I admire his integrity and his passion for the things of God.  He loves the people and is concerned for their welfare.   But, like all of us he is human and requires the prayers of the people, praying for him, his family and his concerns.

Commit to pray for your pastor!

Be Blessed,

Jane Owens

© 2013

The other day I began thinking about my grandmothers.  I only remember three of them; my great-grandmother and grandmother on my father’s side, and my grandmother on my mother’s side. 

I don’t remember much about my great-grandmother.  My family went to see her not long before she died.  She was lying in bed with one bare foot sticking out from under the covers.  I remember going to her funeral (I was 4 or 5 years old and the first funeral I attended.)  I saw people crying, so I cried too because it seemed to be a very sad occasion. 

My two grandmothers; what a contrast!  One lived on the farm and the other lived in the city. 

The city grandmother, who was born 1888 and died in 1963, was raised in the Victorian era tradition.  Her father was a medical doctor.  Grandma W always dressed neatly.  When she left her house, she was sure to have on her hat and gloves, and depending on the weather, a suitable coat.    

She taught me how to set the dinner table making sure everything was in its proper place.  She had individual salt and pepper shakers at each setting.  And, when we congregated at the table, we all stood behind our chairs until all of us were at the table and we sat down together.     

She was the author of many poems; some published.  She loved to read and debate.  Grandma W was a stubborn woman.  My mother said she would ‘argue with a fence post’ just for the sake of arguing.  

I am grateful to Grandma W for teaching me etiquette.  Like the proper way to hold a teacup and which silverware to use in what order and waiting to eat until all had come to the table.  I am grateful that she taught me how to dress with as much elegance as possible, although there was little money for fine clothes. 

But, I don’t remember Grandma W holding my hand, or rocking me, although she probably did.  I was never close to her as I was to my other grandmother. 

The country grandmother, who was born in 1888 and died in 1984 was also raised in the Victorian era, but living on a farm left little time for ‘fanciness’.  Grandma O usually wore a house dress that sometimes needed mending.  She wore dress oxfords with her stockings rolled down around her ankles.  Her ankles and feet were swollen most of the time perhaps from arthritis. She worked hard on the dairy farm she and Grandpa owned.  

Grandma O had a good sense of humor even if the joke was on her.  She loved all her children and grandchildren.  I have fond memories of this grandmother, and she was an influence for good in my life.  I remember her holding me in her lap and carrying me in her arms, when I burnt my hands.  I don’t remember the details how they got burned, but Grandma was there to comfort.  I also remember her spanking me.  I forget what the offense was but I’m certain I deserved the discipline.  Grandma O was a praying woman, and involved in the local Methodist church.  When there was a community gathering of some sort, Grandma was usually called upon to recite a poem.  She was also a violin player.  Grandma O was an excellent cook.  In her later years, she would bake yeast rolls to sell at the local country store.  She was still driving her car when in her early 90’s.  

I could write more about both of these grandmothers, but the point to this remembering is how they both influenced my life.  

Parents and grandparents can impact and influence our lives for good or bad.  The difference is that grandparents most likely have more wisdom and more patience.  They’ve been down the ‘raising children’ road and the wisdom they acquired during those years should be passed on to the next generations.  Sadly, in this mobile and fragmented society that does not always happen.  Families move away from parents, and those people in the community who could lend aid and support during the difficult times are unknown even if in the same neighborhood.  

My own family is stretched out over several states.  We don’t get to see one another as often as I’d like.  Although my grandsons lived in a neighboring city when they were growing up, because of the busy-ness of their life, I was not around them as much as I would like.  I don’t think I influenced their lives as much as my grandmothers influenced mine.  

 So, if you have children, and your parents are close, take time to let them get to know their grandparents.  It will add enrichment to their lives and perhaps create fond memories for all.  

Final thought:  If you are estranged from your family, remember this; life is just too darn short to continue carrying a grudge.

Be Blessed

Jane Owens

© 2013

Matthew 18:19-34 

            A scribe came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”         

            Then another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Jesus answered, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

            His disciples followed him when he got into a boat.  Suddenly a great storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but Jesus was asleep.  His disciples came and awakening him said, “Lord, save us!  We are perishing!”  But he said to them, “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?”  Then he arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  The men wondered saying, “Who can this be that even the winds and the sea obey him?”

            Jesus came to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee] into the country of Gadarenes.  There he was met by two who were possessed with demons; they came out of the tombs and were very violent, so much so, that no one could pass that way.  They cried out saying, “What have we to do with you, Jesus, you Son of God?  Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 

            Some distance away there was a herd of swine.  The demons implored Jesus saying, “If you cast us out, allow us to go away into that herd of swine.”  Jesus said, “Go”.

            When they came out they went into the herd of swine.  When that happened the entire herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and there they perished in the waters.

            The swine herders then fled and went into the city telling everything that had happened and what had happened to those who had been possessed of the demons.  The entire city came out to meet Jesus.  When they saw Him they begged him to leave their coasts.  

            When we meet Jesus we are given a choice; allow Him to change our hearts or to continue doing things our way.  The teacher of the Torah (the Law) said he was willing to change his life and follow him but first he wanted to go home and bury his father. If he could do that then he would be willing to change his life.

            The Scriptures record a change in the weather.  It was stormy and Jesus speaking to the storm caused it to become calm.  The sea changed. 

            When Jesus cast out the demons from the men in the tombs they were changed.  Sadly, the people of the town where the men lived who herded the swine did not want to change.  They refused the King of Glory and told him to go somewhere else.  They wanted to keep the status quo.  They did not want any part of Jesus and refused to change.     

           The teacher (scribe) of the Torah refused to change.  In other words he was happy with the status quo and his position in the community.  The picture here is of one who is ‘religious’, doing all the right things, yet when he is challenged by the Savior, although he doesn’t out and out refuse to follow, he thinks he must first go bury his father.  The lesson here is not that the man should go bury his father, but that the man is to put God in first place in his life.  He has to be willing to change according to God’s teachings and instructions. 

           We refuse the teachings and instructions of God, dis-obeying His principles (commandments) in order to retain our position in the community, our business partners or network of business connections, because we are fearful, that if we change we will lose friends, family, community status or our business.  If you change and begin walking out God’s teachings and instructions, all of the above may happen.  But allowing God to change your heart will result in that peace that passes all understanding.          

           Here are some verses to encourage you as you allow the LORD to change your heart, and your circumstances.

 “The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11)

“But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:11)

“I will hear what God the LORD will speak, For He will speak peace To His people and to His saints; But let them not turn back to folly.” (Psalm 85:8)

“Great peace have those who love Your Law, And nothing causes them to stumble.” (Psalm 119:165)

 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

  Be blessed, 

Jane Owens

© 2013

Why did I name my blog Psalm 103:11, 12?

Psalm 103:11, 12 says:  “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.  As far as the east if from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

A long time ago, this Scripture thundered its way into my heart.  My life was a mess and I felt I had no assurance of God’s salvation.  I had been rebellious and selfish, thinking I could do everything my way, not taking into consideration that God still loved me after running from Him for years.  Even so, I picked up my Bible and began reading, looking for something, anything, that would bring comfort!  Then I read this Scripture!  It literally leaped off the page.  God was talking to me!  I could barely fathom the idea that God would actually hear my cries for help as He commenced to pour His love into my aching heart.

I pondered these words:

  • “For as the heaven is high above the earth…”  Where is the top of heaven?  Has anyone ever found it?  The answer is ‘no’.  Even though astronauts have ascended into the space above the earth, they have never found the top of heaven.
  • “So great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.”  What is God’s mercy?  The definition of mercy is; compassion, pity, forgiveness, kindness, sympathy, understanding, and benevolence.  God’s mercy encompasses every one of these definitions.  The word mercy appears 276 times in the KJV.   Forty-two times in the Scriptures we can read “His mercy endures forever”   “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:5.  “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit” Titus 3:5.  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  It is God’s mercy that caused Him to give His only begotten Son for our salvation.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16    God’s mercy is boundless.
  • “As far as the east is from the west…”  If you go east will you ever get west?    The answer to this question is ‘no’.  If you go east, you will always be going east.
  • “So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  Aha!  If God hurled my sins to the east, they are still going east. Those sins are far, far, far away from Him and from me.  You can go east all day and never get west.  It is almost too much to fathom such a promise.  Yet I believe God’s word is 100% true!  The definition of transgression is; indiscretion, offense and crime.  In God’s eyes I was guilty of all kinds of indiscretions, offenses and crimes.  Yet, when I confessed my sins, he forgave me and, He REMOVED them as far as the east is from the west.

How awesome is that?

For years I wanted to fly in a sailplane.  A sailplane is a light glider that makes use of rising air currents in order to soar.  It is flight without an engine.  In order to go up in the air, it is towed by another plane to a certain height and then released into the air currents.  If you have seen advertising banners towed in the air you have seen the tow-plane.

My children heard me voice the desire to fly on a sailplane, not once, but several times.  Christmas 1993 they gave me a box wrapped in Christmas paper and inside was a beautifully framed picture of a sailplane.  Both children were standing in front of me smiling.  My son was actually giggling and my daughter was dancing from one foot to the other!  My son said, “Mom, you have always wanted to do this, and now you can” taking out of his pocket a ticket to a sailplane ride.  Talk about excitement!!  It was a huge surprise and something I thought I’d never get to do.

The ticket was for a company that operated in Florida and other states in the south.  I decided that I would like to travel to the one in Lancaster, South Carolina, and insisted that the children come with me. We went on Memorial Day weekend.  My son lived in Tampa, my daughter and I in the Ft Lauderdale area.  We synchronized our flights to 30 minutes apart, my son arriving first in Charlotte, NC.  There we rented a car choosing Raleigh, NC as our place to stay because we also wanted to travel the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The next day we went to Lancaster for the flight.  This time, I was the one giggling and dancing from one foot to the other.  The pilot of the aircraft was “Ledell”.  He had beautiful blue eyes, and a charming southern accent.  I immediately fell in love.  Off we went, towed over rough terrain until we lifted off.   In a few short minutes we were about 5,000 feet above the ground, soaring!  The only sound to be heard was the air rushing through the aircraft.  Looking below I could see the beautiful countryside.  Ledell, did a few loops, I squealed, clapped my hands, laughed and sang a song.  We stayed aloft for some time, then Ledell caught another air current and up we went again.  It was exhilarating and wonderful!  When we went back to the hangar, the owner asked what took us so long.  I found out the flight was supposed to be about 20 minutes and we were in the air about 45.  I received a bonus!

The rest of that weekend, the three of us explored the Blue Ridge Parkway.  What a wonderful time we had together.  All of us single and loving each other.  Taking our time, we stopped at the overlooks and antique stores that dot the Parkway.  Of course we didn’t get to see everything, but that is saved for the next trip.

It was an incredibly joyful time.  I imagine that heaven is much better, but I believe this trip with my children is a close second.  It is a sweet memory.

Jane Owens

© 2013