Feasting with Strife

Proverbs 17:1

“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.”

I have always loved Proverbs 17:1 as a theme verse for Thanksgiving Day! I shared this with a staff member yesterday and we both laughed out loud. I have an image in my mind of the writer taking the left-over heel from the loaf of bread that was used for the stuffing and climbing up the exterior staircase to the roof of the house to eat it alone in peace and quiet. Houses in Israel often had roof accesses so that people could sit up there in the cool of the evening after the sun set. You may recall the story of the four friends who carried their paralytic friend up to the roof in order to lower him down in front of Jesus, who was sitting inside the crowded house. That story helps us appreciate the importance of an exterior staircase. It provided the writer of Proverbs 17 a quiet escape from his bickering family below.

This passage is a reminder to us that when families gather, feasting with peace and quiet (not strife!) is the goal.

It is a reminder to keep politics, past grievances, and old grudges off the table, and look around you and be grateful for what you have.

Last night I looked out a third-floor window of my house and saw the beautiful reflection of the moon on the canal, making a silver path across the water. I remembered times when my mother and I would be talking on the phone and describing to each other the reflection of the moon from our windows: me in Colington, her in Manteo. Mom passed away in 2014 so she looks at the moon from a different perspective now. I am sorely missing her, my dad, and my incredible mother-in-law this Thanksgiving.

If you have family around you for Thanksgiving, cherish them. If bickering begins to break out, take your dry crust and quietly walk away for a minute. And if you don’t have them with you tomorrow, call them!

Life is too short for family strife.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Quiet Reflections by Michelle Robertson

Be The 10%

Can you remember being told by your parents to say “please” and “thank you?” These two phrases are the beginning of learning manners and should stick with us throughout our lives. Unfortunately, they don’t. It can be frustrating and hurtful to do something special for someone and not receive a word of thanks for your effort.

Today is Thanksgiving in America, a time normally spent around tables laden with food made from family recipes that have been handed down for generations. This year, however, many are not gathering together due to the pandemic. Some of us are struggling with feeling any gratitude this year.

Jesus can relate.

Luke 17 (Contemporary English Version)

11 On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus went along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men with leprosy came toward him. They stood at a distance 13 and shouted, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 Jesus looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”

On their way they were healed. 15 When one of them discovered that he was healed, he came back, shouting praises to God. 16 He bowed down at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was from the country of Samaria.

17 Jesus asked, “Weren’t ten men healed? Where are the other nine? 18 Why was this foreigner the only one who came back to thank God?” 19 Then Jesus told the man, “You may get up and go. Your faith has made you well.”

Only one thought to return with a word of thanks. Who knows what was in the minds of the others? Were they just so joyful to be healed that they couldn’t help themselves? Did they rush off to be reunited with their families? Remember that lepers lived in complete isolation. Imagine how life-changing this was for them. Thanks to the pandemic, I think we can relate a little to what isolation feels like.

But Jesus deserved their thanks. And he deserves ours.

There are other things we can create from family recipes. We can share memories by letter or by phone. We can show off our tables by ZOOM and Facebook. We can encourage one another that next year will be different. We can leave food at a neighbor’s house who is struggling financially or dealing with COVID 19. We can flood the food pantries with financial donations.

We can give thanks to our Maker that we are alive to grumble and complain about everything!

I know it is cliche to “go around the table and say what you are thankful for,” but do it anyway.

I am thankful everyday for YOU. When you read, comment, and especially when you share these devotionals, you are helping God’s word spread throughout the world, which is the only reason I do this.

When it’s my turn around the table today, I will be thanking God for his Word and for all of you who turn to it every day.

Thank you!

Let Us Give Thanks by Karen Warlitner

A Love/Hate Thing

I hate running. But I love the way running makes me feel when it’s over.

I hated practicing my bassoon. But I loved being able to play all the right notes in a concert.

I hate math. OK, that’s where it breaks down. I still hate math.

I think Paul may have had a bit of a love/hate relationship with his church in Corinth. He desperately loved them, but he hated their sin. When they were sinful, he acted like a betrayed father who has just discovered contraband in his favorite son’s bedroom. Disappointment abounds when someone or something you love lets you down. The people in that church often let Paul down.

But he never stopped giving thanks for their faith, their ministry, and their testimony.

1 Corinthians 1:3-9 (Common English Bible)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving for the Corinthians

I thank my God always for you, because of God’s grace that was given to you in Christ Jesus. That is, you were made rich through him in everything: in all your communication and every kind of knowledge, in the same way that the testimony about Christ was confirmed with you. 

The result is that you aren’t missing any spiritual gift while you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also confirm your testimony about Christ until the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and you were called by him to partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Think about your own love/hate relationships. Maybe you hate cleaning but love a clean house. Perhaps you hate cooking but love to sit down to a well-prepared meal. Do you hate the way your in-laws voted, but love the way they feel about your kids? Do you hate your adult child’s reckless behavior in the midst of a pandemic, but love him with all your heart?

Do you hate the sin, but love the sinner?

Give thanks for it all. Give thanks in spite of the things you don’t like. Focus on the good and be grateful. God is faithful to us in spite of our many failings. May we be that faithful to one another, and may love and thanksgiving abound as we gather around the table or the ZOOM call tomorrow.

I thank my God always for you.

Thankful by Michelle Robertson

The Sound of Freedom

Yesterday I sat in my favorite chair by the corner windows overlooking the harbor and I was startled by the sudden sound of jet noise. I looked up and saw Navy F-18s flying low in a tight formation. NAS Oceana is just over an hour away, and it is not uncommon for us to see Navy planes flying training hops over our beautiful island.

For the first eight years of my marriage, I was a Navy Pilot Wife. I am accustomed to the sound of freedom flying overhead. We lived close to Naval Air Stations where jet noise was a constant reminder of what freedom costs our young men and women as they serve in the skies.

And then there was that horrible time when no planes flew for days. After 9/11, air traffic was grounded for two days. I lived just south of the Atlanta airport at the time, and it was Twilight-Zone-eerie to walk the dog and not hear a single airplane overhead. That was unheard of; the Atlanta airport handles over 2,700 arrivals and departures a day. There was ALWAYS airplane noise…until there wasn’t.

On Thanksgiving, we remember the hazardous journey of intrepid immigrants looking to settle in a new land where they could have religious freedom. The first Thanksgiving was a meal that celebrated a late autumn harvest and their successful founding of a colony on a new continent. They gathered to thank God for his provision and their freedom.

Psalm 107 New International Version (NIV)

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

    his love endures forever.

2 Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—

    those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,

3 those he gathered from the lands,

    from east and west, from north and south.

4 Some wandered in desert wastelands,

    finding no way to a city where they could settle.

5 They were hungry and thirsty,

    and their lives ebbed away.

6 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,

    and he delivered them from their distress.

7 He led them by a straight way

    to a city where they could settle.

8 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love

    and his wonderful deeds for mankind,

9 for he satisfies the thirsty

    and fills the hungry with good things.

I am thankful for everything God provides; for the beasts of the field, the creatures in the sea, the sunrise over the ocean, and the moonrise over the canal. I am thankful for my family, friends, and a congregation who loves me. I am thankful for all those who serve our country and protect our freedom. I am thankful for my home and my dog, and for everything God has given me that brings so much happiness into my life.

What are you thankful for today?

This morning, I am especially thankful for all of you who want to be in God’s word every day. You make At Water’s Edge possible. Bless you, and THANK YOU for reading, and especially for sharing!

We give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind today. God satisfies the thirsty when we turn to him, and fills the hungry with good things. It happens every time we open the word or sit at the table. Have a wonderful feast today!

Flying High by Jamie Mathis