Category Archive: Thanksgiving

Thankfulness, Out of the Mouths of Babes

“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”  I Chronicles 16:34, NASB.

Ephesians 5:18-20 says “… let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. Then you will sing psalms, and hymns, and spiritual psalms among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”   The New Living Translation.

I volunteered to teach preschoolers during our church’s Christmas program. We helped our 3 and 4-year olds make a nativity picture with stickers of the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and wise men. The boys and girls slowly became comfortable with each other, and with us. Eric, who had a bruise on his forehead, pulled away quietly by himself. Sherry, a year or two older, was a bit bossy; there was adorable, sweet 3-year old Erin; and 4-year old twins Xavier and Justin, working hard on their pictures.

After making our crafts and reviewing our Bible verse, we walked to chapel for lesson time.

“Why do we celebrate Christmas?” asked the leader.

“It’s all about presents.”

“Well, not all … but God gave the best present when He gave us Jesus, and when we give presents we remember that best gift.”

Returning to our classroom, I handed out goldfish snacks and water. One of the boys piped up, “We didn’t pray!” Whoa, teacher!  “Right you are. Who’d like to thank God for our snack?” Several did, and then four-year Xavier began to pray.

“Thank you Lord for this wonderful food, and for Mom and Dad and for the sun and the stars and the moon–and more, and more, and more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

This precious four-year old thought goldfish were “wonderful food”, and his parents and nature worthy of praise. And he recognized that however much he could thank God for, there was always more, and more, and more!

I want to have a heart of thanksgiving like Xavier’s. How often do I stop to thank God for the many good things He puts into my life, whether large or small–from running water to sunshine to a hug from a friend or a smile from a stranger when I’m feeling low.

Lord, let my attitude be more like Xavier’s. Help me to come to you as a child, in faith, appreciation and awareness of your goodness, which is so much greater than I can possibly acknowledge in my simple language. Thank you for loving me…and for more, and more, and more.

 

 

 

 

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When it’s Hard to Give Thanks

Aargh ...Sometimes giving thanks is just tough.

It was hard for me this week. The cold I caught on Don’s and my flight home from Tennessee developed into a violent cough. Every time it hit I felt like I was tearing apart inside. I produced sticky, yucky green mucous, and lots of it! Tears streamed down my face during these coughing spells, which frightened me as well as any people around me. I was exhausted. Didn’t want to read. No energy to pray. Certainly did not feel thankful.

Oh, I knew I was thankful for the big things … God’s love, salvation, my husband and family; but I couldn’t seem to pull up any thanks in this illness that had overtaken me. This was the sickest I’d been in years.

Years ago I went through a time of pretty serious depression. I couldn’t give thanks then either. But there was a song by a wonderful male quartet that I listened to before going to bed every night for three weeks. With its chorus, I prayed:  “Keep me safe ’til the storm passes by.” I’m so worn down, Lord, I have no strength with which to hold onto you. Please hold onto me.

And He did.

And this week, after days of being worn down, exhausted, emotionally empty, I had to take my laptop in for a repair. Our friend Sam worked on it (extensively) while I waited … and charged me nothing. And it was like the Lord said “See, I’m still looking out for you. I have not forgotten you or your needs. You are my beloved.”

II Timothy 2:13 says that “…if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” And that is reason to give thanks!

Are you able to give thanks this Christmas? If not, how can I pray for you during this time?

 

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Real Prayers – Gratitude

Gratitude opens doors to relationships. That’s one of the values Pastor Rene shared with us recently. I can’t control my circumstances, but I can choose my attitude. Some benefits of gratitude are improved physical health, reduction of aggression, better sleep and self-esteem, and increased mental strength. Those are worth a lot!

"Please, Sir, help us!"

“Please, Sir, help us!”

He told the story of the ten lepers who came to Jesus, hoping to be healed. (Luke 17:11-14)

“Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” they cried.

“When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed.” The priests were the ones who could allow a cleansed leper to return to society. Interesting that Jesus told them to show themselves to the priests BEFORE they knew they were healed.  That required faith on the part of the lepers … looking down at finger stubs, missing toes, they may have thought, “Why? Nothing has changed.” But somehow they trusted Jesus enough to follow His directive, and ON THE WAY they were healed. They must have been overwhelmed with awe and joy. Being whole would allow them to return to their homes and families rather than living among the rocks and stones with other lepers.

leper-thanking-jesusBut wait. Ten asked for Jesus’ help. Ten followed his directive to go to the priests for a clean bill of health. But only one came back to thank Jesus. What about the other nine? Were they just so excited they rushed off without thinking of giving thanks to the One who healed their bodies? Rene said that people who don’t say thank you quickly often don’t say it at all.

Ten obeyed, but only one worshipped.

How often do I make a request of my Father, then not even notice when my prayer is answered? I want to be attuned to recognize His answers, to thank Him quickly, and often, for the graces He bestows on me.

“I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.” Psalm 118:21.

For what will you thank God today? 

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God’s Word – to Me!

 

Inundated by documents

  … just one more … and more … and more …

“Your loan is approved.”

“Terrific. Thanks for all your help.”

“Oh, but wait. We need a little more documentation …”

This conversation was repeated multiple times over the past several weeks. Every time we thought we had dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s, the Lender asked for something else. A few weeks ago I felt overwhelmed. Will this ever come together?

On 1/17 I wrote about the sale and purchase of a rental property, and some of the lessons God was teaching me about worry.

Then I was reminded that we are to give thanks in ALL things.  In light of the critical issues in our world, this was sorta small. BUT it was big to me, and to my hubby. Jockeying back and forth, having repeated demands for more – information, documents, signatures – pulled energy from me. I felt exhausted. But I began to thank God, telling Him, “I can’t wait to see how you’re going to work this out.” And I was more relaxed.

Our Purchase Contract gave us until 2/10 to close escrow. Tuesday morning, 2/9, we had another potential obstacle. I opened my “verse of the day” from my YouVersion Bible application, and read:

“And I command you today: Love GOD, your God. Walk in his ways. Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by GOD, your God, in the land you are about to enter and possess.”

Deuteronomy 30:16 MSG

Last one!

Last one!

While this promise was written to the nation of Israel, I felt the Holy Spirit affirm that this encouragement was for me, right now. I went through that day, February 9th, and the 10th, with the promise of God encouraging my heart as we pulled together last-minute items, signed off on closing papers, and even waited in a parking lot for an hour for our title company to call verifying they needed one more signature (which they did). And somehow, with lots of effort on multiple folks’ part, we recorded close of escrow late the afternoon of the 10th, just under the wire.

When has scripture encouraged you with a message you felt was just for you at a particular point of need?

Thanks-giving

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

Ps. 30:11-12, NLT

For what have you given thanks this week?  You may be in a difficult season. God knows that, yet wants us to praise Him. Sometimes it’s a challenge, isn’t it, finding ways to give thanks even in turmoil.

So here are some of my thanks-reasons.Thank you!

I am thankful:

  1.  For a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord. “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” John 3:16, MSG
  2. For the (sequential) love of two wonderful husbands, and the presence of God throughout joy and sorrow, recovery and renewal.
  3. For family: that my sweet mother is still with us at age 94, sound of mind although weakening in body
    • Times of laughter around a beautifully set table wafting the scent of aromatic herbs throughout the room
    • One of my grand-nieces smiling up at me, dimples creasing her chubby chipmunk cheeks, as I gaze at her in my arms
    • All our family members, with the unique gifts each brings to us all.
  4. For Friends, a true treasure.
  5. SONY DSCFor beauty: God’s creation is all around me. In the foothills above Capitola Beach (CA), I’m surrounded by pine-covered hills, by trees wearing vibrant reds, yellows and a myriad of greens, by cerulean blue sky and fire-red sunsets.
  6. For God’s faithfulness and sovereignty, and the confidence that nothing in my life, or future, will take Him by surprise.
  7. That no event, loss, pain, or fear can remove me from His love; nor is anything I do beyond the reach of His loving compassion and forgiving heart.
  8. For hope in adversity.
  9. For the many who are serving people in need at home and across the world by providing shelter, food and care to the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing persecution and death; and by sharing the Good News Jesus brings to all.???????????????????????????????
  10. For music, and the joy of singing again.
  11. For opportunities to serve others.
  12. For two sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, who give me many opportunities to love and laugh.

And there’s more … oh, there’s so much more. But that’s my start. How about yours?