This Thanksgiving, are you a house united or divided?

This Thanksgiving, are you a house united or divided? Is there unforgiveness and pride that need to be dealt with? Are there walls that need to be repaired? Feeling like you don’t know where to begin or how to repair it? Ask the One who helped build a nation using those Pilgrim Saints 400 years ago, who helped make a way for them where there seemed to be no way. Not in our own strength, but by His mighty strength.

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Jim and I visited Plymouth, MA this summer (pics of the current harbor and “Plymouth Rock” below). I have always loved and been inspired by the story of the first Pilgrims, the Mayflower journey and the birth of our nation.

As we stood this summer on the shoreline of what were possibly the first places that some of those Pilgrims stood and looked out, I couldn’t help but think about all the hardships and sacrifices they endured while doing what they believed God had called them to do. I wondered if I would have been able to endure all that they had (doubtful I would have even made it passed the ship – no dramamine or showers on the boat😂). I was inspired further to continue my research of my beloved story and found some new surprises as I went along!

The Mayflower’s 400th anniversary is next year. 102 Pilgrims or “Saints” (is what they were called back in their day), set sail from England to America on a mission to establish a new place to live, where they were free to live and worship the Heavenly Father the way they believed to be true.

Some of the origins of our nation were built upon these courageous seekers’ motivation for worshipping freedoms. They believed they were doing what God had instructed them to do, and trusted Him in their journey. It was never easy for any of them. There were men, women, and children on this journey that all needed to be cared for. But through it all, they remained faithful and continued to do God’s work even on their hardest days.

The First Thanksgiving Blended:

Although they arrived to America in November, they did not celebrate the first Thanksgiving that year. In fact, they spent that first winter trying to survive the harsh, bitter winter, fighting a variety of sickness, coming against some opposition from some of the Native Americans, and basic day to day struggling due to lack of food and shelter. By the time spring came, only 53 of those original 102 Pilgrim Saints had survived.

With only 53 Saints remaining of the 102, families merged and blended together as a matter of survival. It was essential from the start of their Mayflower voyage, and to those that survived that first harsh winter, to all work together for the common good and the health of their families.

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated almost a year after their arrival. They had made peace with the Native Americans, and the Native Americans had shown them how to plant productive crops and shared their resources with them. The Pilgrim Saints wanted to celebrate all that God had done for them, so they threw a “thanksgiving” feast and invited 90 of their new Native American friends. 143 people gathered together for three days for the first Thanksgiving (blended families, traditional families, widows/widowers, single people, and two distinct different cultures). They gave praise and glory to God for their new freedoms and provisions. They enjoyed fellowship and games together, while feasting on their bountiful crops that they produced, and deer, fish, and fowl.

One of the most important scriptures that the Pilgrim Saints knew to be crucial for their survival and peace in their homes and nation, was to believe and live out Matthew 12:25:

“But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself, shall be brought to naught, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” *Geneva Version

Thanksgiving Fast Forward:

Two famous presidents declared that in honor of the first Thanksgiving and going forward, that our nation and homes should come together and set aside differences, by honoring a national set day of “thanksgiving and prayer.”

*George Washington in 1789 declared a day of thanksgiving and prayer and to celebrate the unity of our new nation and our U.S. Constitution.

*In 1863, Abraham Lincoln in the middle of the Civil War, suggested a national day of thanksgiving and prayer to bring our nation peacefully back together with one heart. He wrote a Thanksgiving proclamation to our nation.

This Thanksgiving, are you a house divided? Is there unforgiveness and pride that need to be dealt with? Are there walls that need to be repaired? Feeling like you don’t know where to begin or how to repair it? Ask the One who helped build a nation using those Pilgrim Saints 400 years ago, who helped make a way for them where there seemed to be no way. Not in our own strength, but by His mighty strength.

Steadfast faith ripple effects:

With God’s design, strength and grace, and the Pilgrim Saints’ steadfast faith, a nation was built upon. Now, there are an estimated 10 million living Americans and 35 million people around the world who are descendents from the original passengers of the Mayflower. Fun facts: Some of those descendants from those Mayflower passengers include several of our American presidents such as Adams, Garfield, Grant, Coolidge, Roosevelt, and the Bushs.’ Other famous Americans such as Julia Child, Clint Eastwood, Noah Webster, Henry Longfellow, Dick VanDyke, and Katheryn Hepburn.

May your Thanksgiving this year be filled with love, peace and gratitude in your hearts.

In awe of you God and inspired by those Saints, Tanya Phillips

Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation that he wrote for a nationwide Thanksgiving:

Washington, D.C.

October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,

Secretary of State

*The Pilgrim Saints used the Geneva edition of the Bible, first published in English in 1560. The translation and footnotes of the Geneva Bible were made by early Calvinists more trustworthy to the Pilgrims than the later King James Bible (first published in 1611.)

Got the stepfamily blues?  Do you find yourself in a constant tug-o-war over whose parenting styles are right? Ready to run for the hills? Read below to discover how to stepforward and lead your family out of the struggles.

Got the stepfamily blues?  Do you find yourself in a constant tug-o-war over whose parenting styles are right? Ready to run for the hills? Read below to discover how to stepforward and lead your family out of the struggles.

Perseverance

Psalm 127:3 says Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from Him.”  However, differences in how we raise them can be a great source of contention between ourselves and our spouse in our blended family.  How do we keep the peace and sanity in our home during the child-rearing years and teenage years?  How do we keep from reenacting the Battle of Gettysburg in our own living room with the two families that we have blended together? How do we keep from running for the hills? 

Steadfast, God-sized perseverance. The thesaurus’ words for perseverance include: persistence, dedication, steadfastness, grit, stamina, endurance.  When we are ready to run, ready to put the for-sale sign in the front yard, God’s steadfast perseverance is what can keep us here to do what God has called us to do.

Hebrews 10:36 “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

So how can we obtain some God-sized perseverance? How can we be steadfast during the times of struggles?  

The answers – prayer, spending time in His word, and surrendering it all to Him.  It may seem too simple for these gritty, grueling times, but it is exactly what we need to help ourselves and our family.  Drawing strength from getting on our knees, confessing our anguish to Him, surrendering it all, asking for His guidance and strength, praying in the Spirit, opening His Word, reading scripture, and letting the power of His Words soak in and transform us.

Prayer:

Lord God, I confess to you that I am battling. Battling to stay and do all that you have called me to do in this family. This blended family journey can be a real, fall on your face struggle at times, and I confess to you I don’t always want to persevere to do what You want me to do here.  I want to run sometimes God.  

But God, I know that YOU are my ultimate anchor and your love and strength are steadfast and true. 

You never give up on me or my family.  

You are always there for us, and I thank you for that God.  

Thank you that you love us no matter what, and that you never leave us.  

Please forgive me for my unforgiving heart and where I falter.  Please change my heart and my thoughts Lord, so that they are in alignment with Yours.  Please help me have the willingness to do what you want me to do in this household. I pray for Your wisdom, strength and perseverance to do Your Will in my family, every second of every day.

 I invite your Spirit now to come and transform me so that I may be all that you would have me be, and all that you have called me to be in Your family that you have blessed me with. I submit my will to you Lord, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Thank you Lord, for the opportunity to do what you have called me to be in my family.

Tanya Phillips ~ Blended By His Grace.Com

Rewritten from Tanya’s 2015 Grace For Blended Families Devotional

#blendedfamily #blendedfamilies #stepfamily #stepfamilies #coparenting

Rags to Riches….

Rags to riches….

When we said yes to the Lord, He gave us new garments to wear. Garments whose labels read I AM A CHILD OF THE MOST HIGH KING.

So why do we continue putting on old ones?

Friends, God has beautiful garments for ALL of us to wear. Beautiful, glorious Kingdom garments that he stitched together and designed specifically for each of us.

God is waiting to clothe us in those garments today. We only need ask.

So today, let us lay down those old tattered rags, and ask God to clothe us in His Kingdom wardrobe that He intended for each of us.

Jesus says in Luke 5:36 “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.”

Humbled by you Jesus, Thank you.

~Tanya Phillips

This miracle…..

This miracle……

I was reading about one of God’s miracles this morning in 2 Kings 2:22. The miracle of transforming a barren, lifeless waterbed in to living, flowing water springs that would effect a whole town, not just for that moment, but generations to come.

This miracle’s story: One of the water sources in the oldest city in the world, Jericho, was once considered “bad and not productive” for the land and vegetation growth for the people that lived there. When the people explained this to God’s prophet Elisha at that time, Elisha gave this statement: “Bring me a new bowl and put salt in it.” Then he went out the spring and threw the salt into it saying “This is what the Lords says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’

Today, these perennial spring waters still produce fresh water each year, providing Jericho with a water source and small waterways that are redirected to fields for irrigation.

God took water that was once the source of sickness and not producing fruit for the land, and in one instance, changed it’s whole entire molecular make-up, to perfect health! Perfect health that would yield fruit for generations to come and a promise “never again will it cause death.”

Friends, our God is a miracle working, city changing, way maker, now, today, yesterday, and in our future! If He can do this to a city’s water source which can have a ripple effect on generations to come, just think of what He can do in US and the ripple effects that will have on our family, work place, and city, for generations to come!

Blessings in your rippling effects my friends! ~ Tanya Phillips

*Photo is of the current Elisha Spring Fountain, Jericho, West Bank

His Grace is Sufficient

Feelings of defeat can surface as blended family members navigate the roller coaster ride that can occur from some uniques challenges and complexities that arise in blended family living.

When we’re feeling low on victories, we can turn to the One who can give us the power and wisdom we need to help regain our strength, during the lows.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ‘“But the Lord said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”