Thankfulness is more than an attitude…

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Giant pumpkins in Nova Scotia bring beautiful smiles. © 2017 Bruce Kraus. All rights reserved.

This morning I actually slept in until 8:00 AM. My wife was already up, nursing a hot cup of coffee and reading something on her iPad. The sun was literally beaming through the blinds of our living room windows, almost too bright for my preference in the morning. Fall is upon us, the morning sun is rather low on the eastern horizon, the cold air outside signalling that winter is just around the corner.

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. I have so much to be thankful for over the last year. As I read the posts of both family and friends on FaceBook, I was visibly reminded that life can be mixed-bag for all of us. Some were posting pictures of their new babies (such a joy), others posted pictures of their travels around the world, and some were posting their viewpoints over current political and social agendas, and so forth.

It suddenly occurred to me that much of that does not really matter in light of knowing God. Regardless of how people celebrate Thanksgiving today, I am reminded of who we are truly expressing our thankfulness towards – Jesus Christ.

If you are having considerable difficulty coming up with ANY reason to be thankful today, may I suggest the following:

  1. Take out a sheet of paper and write out who you THINK you are. It does not have be a long drawn out affair – just go with your instinct or gut-feelings on this one.
  2. On the other side of the paper write out how you THINK God sees you.
  3. Somewhere in this process, you will discover something to be thankful for – I suspect that the second half of this exercise will provide the insight you may be looking for.

Have a great day ūüôā

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A Chip Off the Old Block?

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©2017 Bruce Kraus. All rights reserved.

As a father and grandfather, it brings me great joy to see the good things in life being replicated in my children and grandchildren. There were times, especially during the teenage years, where I just wanted to sit down and cry, pulling out the ever increasing grey hairs on my head. Raising children is NOT easy, being a grandfather is a delight!

It makes me happy to witness my adult children, and now my grandchildren, take up the recreational activities that we did with them when they were young. I cannot overstate how important it is for parents to introduce their children to our natural world and the various means of transportation (cycling, running, walking, swimming, etc.) that will get us there.

A chip off the old block? Maybe, but pursuing healthy recreational activities in life builds character and a sense of belonging to something so much greater than ourselves.

Enjoy life – we are only on this great blue marble for a short time ūüôā

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Learning to Listen…

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The Prairie Crocus. A promise of Spring, a fresh new start.

Early this morning, as I was making a cup of coffee, I looked out my kitchen window and noticed a murder of America crows congregating amongst the trees. Even from across the street, I could see them tilt their heads towards the sky and their beaks begin to flap. Although I could not hear them from within the relatively soundproof isolation of our cosy kitchen,  I knew they must be making an awful racket, and probably have awakened some of my neighbours who often sleep with their bedroom windows slightly opened.

It was the kind of sound the majority of us do not want to hear, especially as the morning light was barely over the horizon. Yet, it was the harkening of Spring, the promise of warmth and sunshine. The foreshadowing of summer shirts, shorts, and sandals. The delightful sound of children playing in the streets of our Queen city. The hustle and bustle of the downtown streets, the beautiful women in their colourful spring dresses scurrying off somewhere. The handsome young men casually walking down the wide corridors of Scarth street, laughing and joking amongst each other, their sport coats  slung casually on their shoulders, as they slowly made their way down the street.

Magnificent are the sights and sounds of Spring, like an orchestra from the heavens playing the most beautiful and rare of classical music. Old Man Winter has vacated the premises, and life begins anew for another season, to bring fresh new beauty and joy to our hearts. Please come sit down on this little red park bench with me and let us listen together.

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Walking Amongst Kings

GeorgeTown, Grand Cayman
Like a ship passing along the horizon of an almost infinite sea – so is life on this great blue marble. We are present here for a short time, only to disappear from sight.

There is an OLD TESTAMENT story of how God gave Daniel and his companions favour in the eyes of King Nebuchadnezzar. These four young men had an unusual ability to understand every aspect of literature and wisdom. Daniel possessed the unique gift(s) from God for interpreting the meanings of visions and dreams.

God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams. When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom. Daniel 1:17-20 NLT

This is a story, not so much about Daniel and his friends, but about my own unique experiences of walking amongst kings. From the time I accepted Christ into my life in my early twenties, I have been so blessed (literally happy) by the gifts that God has placed into my life and the GREAT people he has surrounded me with. I have walked amongst kings from all walks in life Рpeople who have the knowledge, authority, wealth, and power to change the very lives of ordinary people, for the better or worse. To befriend and influence those in authority in this life, is to seek to benefit all of humanity Рone person at a time.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, my life took a turn for the worse when my parents separated and divorced. The subsequent teenage years were ones of relative poverty, anger, disrespect for authority (including a few brushes with law enforcement), and general mayhem and rebellion. When I got alone in a quiet place, often surrounded with the beauty of nature, I felt a lot of guilt and remorse. Deep down I knew that I was not the person I was created to be – it was just so hard to see anything else.

I knew and understood the presence of God as a child and learned early on that I was a little different than my peers around me. Different is not better or worse than others, but a simple recognition that God had His hand upon me concerning¬†the direction and purpose of my life. My times were in His hands, whether I recognized or even acknowledged that reality. In hindsight, I understand what it means to be sought after by God and to experience the Hounds of Heaven when my lifestyle was wayward and crooked, almost opposite to God’s best for my life. I also comprehend what it means to be God’s chosen people, the elect of Christ. This is not something we deserve, but rather because of the love, kindness, and mercy of God.

I think all of the aforementioned was what led me to study for many years and to pursue working in Christian ministry as a pastor, a chaplain, and a leader. I know today that was merely the beginning, and that, eventually, I had to step outside that closed world and enter into the marketplace of humanity. I have lived the greater part of my life only to finally recognize that my calling was to stand in the gap between the Church (of which I did not really fit in, and was often mistreated and persecuted), and greater society (of which I also did not fit in, and was often mistreated and persecuted).

To be called to be a MEDIATOR between two very different and opposing subcultures is NOT an easy existence. Even the wife of my youth, who instinctively knows and understands me, struggles with the cost of being associated with me and my particular walk with God. I know that I am not alone, for God is with me. I am also aware that there are others, even amongst my WordPress friends and followers, that have a similar calling and gifting(s). Whether you comprehend any of this right now – you eventually will. Even if just one person hears and understands what I am saying – it will be worth it.

The road has always been rocky and treacherous, but there have been many rewards, the best is yet to come Рto spend an eternity in the presence of God Almighty. I look forward to that day with all my heart. I sense that time is short, whether that be for my own life, or  for the spectacular and cataclysmic events yet to occur on this planet.

For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Mark 4: 22, 23 NLT

#LoveLife

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Life Cannot Be Measured in Years

“I guess what I’m trying to say is, I don’t think you can measure life in terms of years. I think longevity doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with happiness. I mean happiness comes from facing challenges and going out on a limb and taking risks. If you’re not willing to take a risk for something you really care about, you might as well be dead.”

(Diane Frolov)