Thanksgiving

Grateful

Posted by on Nov 30, 2011 in Thanksgiving | 1 comment

Maybe it’s the holidays. Maybe it’s knowing a new year is peering around the next corner. Maybe it’s watching my girls grow. Maybe it’s simply the goodness of the Lord. Or maybe it’s the Christmas letter I’m trying to finish for my Christmas cards.

For whatever reason, my heart has been overflowing the past few days with gratitude for things the Lord has done in my life the past year. May I share some of them with you?

I’m grateful for the gospel…

Because without it, I would be lost, lonely, and miserable.

I’m grateful I need the gospel today…

Because the gospel doesn’t end with salvation. The gospel is what changes me into Christ’s likeness and gives me purpose for each day.

I’m grateful for my husband…

Because without him, life would have little laughter and even less sanity.

I’m grateful for my little home…

Because if I lived somewhere else, I wouldn’t trust in God nearly as much, nor would I understand contentment and the simpleness life can hold.

I’m grateful that God’s ways are not my ways….

Because if life were in my hands, I would not have had another little blessing 15 months after my first. And I wouldn’t have sweet Aubrey to hold. And I would miss the giggles that come from sisters who are best friends.

I’m grateful for health struggles…

Because without them, my husband and I wouldn’t be drawn so close – especially on our knees before the Lord.

I’m grateful for God’s provision…

From family, from anonymous people, from a friend with an encouraging word.

I’m grateful for kisses, hugs, and smiles in the morning…

Because I love my girls.

I’m grateful for ministry…

Because serving others grows me so much!

I’m grateful for friends…

Because life would be boring without them.

I’m grateful for struggles…

Because without them, I would forget my need for the Lord.

I’m grateful for my parents…

Because every day I realize the decisions and sacrifices they made for me to grow into a woman of character. They swam upstream even among Christians.

I’m grateful for those who’ve gone before…

Because dozens of people planted, watered, fertilized, and tended to seeds in my husband’s and my lives. This was hard at times, but I’m grateful for their diligence.

I’m grateful for you…

Because you read this blog!

 

I know my list could continue for pages. But, I only had a little time this morning to jot down a few things. Take some time today to make a list of things you’re grateful for. You’ll be amazed at how it changes your perspective on life!

Photo Credit: Here

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Think about a Thank You

Posted by on Nov 18, 2011 in Thanksgiving | 2 comments

Are you in a rush to get into the Christmas Spirit? Before we start decorating our trees, let’s not forget to take time to be thankful and celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday first. For the next week, I will be posting some ideas to help you remember to stop and take time to be grateful to God and others! This is a repost of a blog I wrote last November. I have started my Thanksgiving notes. Why don’t you take some time today or this weekend to do the same?

On a stormy June day in 2006 I sat with several hundred people at the unexpected funeral of my uncle, Bob Case. At one point during the moving service, my cousin’s husband rose to read several letters written by my cousins to their step father. Each letter shared memories and love to this incredible man. As I sat listening, I thought of my own memories of my uncle and how I never would be able to tell him “thank you” for spending time with me, for taking me fishing, for letting me drive his golf cart, and for many more happy times spent together.

At this moment I decided that I did not want to sit at another funeral for a family member or friend having refused an opportunity to tell that individual what they meant to me. And the Thanksgiving Thank You idea was born.

Each year I try to choose one or more people who have influenced my life and write them a handwritten note expressing my gratefulness.  My goal is to share specific examples of how this person encouraged me in some way. Sometimes these letters are quite lengthy as I try to express gratefulness. I usually try to choose someone that I normally might overlook during a holiday or birthday. Meaning, it’s normal for me to communicate with my grandparents to share love and thankfulness, but I rarely pick up the phone to tell my youth pastor from eighth grade how grateful I am that he taught me the Word of God without wavering.

I challenge you to do the same! Pray and ask the Lord to share with you someone who has influenced you to be the person you are today. Write them a personal note, address it, and mail it before Thanksgiving. Sit down with your kids, and ask them who they would like to color a picture for or write a letter to as well. Perhaps choose someone as a family.

Here are some ideas:

  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Pastor
  • College Professor
  • High School Teacher
  • Youth Group worker/leader
  • Childhood Sunday School Teacher
  • Friend
  • Sibling
  • Grandparent
  • Mentor you haven’t talked to in years
  • Extended Relative

Remember, our lives are influenced constantly by those around us.  Take the time to give back to someone who has molded you into the person you are today. You never know when it will be too late to say “thank you.”

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Prayers of Thankfulness

Posted by on Nov 18, 2010 in Thanksgiving | 0 comments

I bless thee that thou hast made me capable

of knowing thee, the author of all being,

of resembling thee, the perfection of all excellency,

of enjoying thee, the source of all happiness.

~ Excerpt from The Valley of Vision

I don’t know about you, but my prayers definitely lack the heart of gratefulness, humility, and praise exhibited in the above prayer.  While I know that I do spend time daily thanking God for His blessings, most of my prayer life is spent in supplication – or asking – for things. Whether it’s my desire for a house, my sick grandmother, Matt’s work, a new computer, or even Abigail’s teeth to not hurt, I tend to camp out in this section of my prayers.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. God WANTS to hear our desires. He COMMANDS us to pray for others.  This is part of His plan for our prayer life – to show that we are totally dependent on Him and to carry all of our needs and wants to Him.

But what about spending time thanking God for the things we have? In addition for me praying for another house, do I thank God for the roof currently over my head? Am I grateful I have a computer that works? Do I praise God for the godly heritage He’s given me in my grandmother as I’m praying for God to heal her? Am I rejoicing that I have a husband who works so diligently at his job when so many other men complain about their work or are unemployed? Do I step beyond the temporal things and look to Jesus, praising His name for being a God who provides salvation?

When I was in high school, my youth pastor issued a challenge to us. I don’t remember the context of his sermon, but I do remember thinking the challenge was interesting. I decided to try it. It changed my entire attitude towards life and prayer.

The challenge: Pick an amount of time (I did a week in high school), and spend that time only expressing gratefulness and thanksgiving to God during your daily prayer time. That’s right, when you’re spending time with Jesus everyday, rather than asking God for things, thank Him for something instead.

Today is Thursday. We have one week before Thanksgiving. I challenge you to spend the next week thanking God for the things He has done, given, and simply who He is. Whether you only pray thanksgivings or you simply increase this area of your prayer time, I guarantee that God will give you a more content heart and open your eyes to how blessed you truly are.

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I Thess. 5:18

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Give Thanks

Posted by on Nov 15, 2010 in Thanksgiving | 3 comments

Did you know that the phrase “give thanks” appears in the Bible 85 times? Depending on the translation, of course, you could spend days reading, meditating, memorizing, and using these Scriptures in your daily life.

Here’s a challenge: Over the next ten (yes, TEN!) days until Thanksgiving, try to look up at least eight verses per day to encourage your heart with thanks and point it towards the One to whom we are to be giving thanks!

1. If you don’t have a complete concordance in book form, try one of many websites that have concordance search engines. I like Bible Gateway. Write the phrase “give thanks” in the first field, and then you can choose which version you’d like to use. The NIV is their default, but I normally use NASB.

2. Once you find a verse, look up the passage. Read the context in which the writer is giving thanks.

3. Ask yourself questions of the passage: What are his circumstances? What other attitudes does he possess? What is he thankful for? How is he expressing this thankfulness?

4. Jot your favorite verse for the day onto a note card that can be placed on your mirror, above your sink, on your desk, or some other place you can reference often throughout the day.

5. Memorize this verse and meditate on it as your go about your daily tasks. Share it with your spouse, children, on Facebook, or with a friend. Pray it back to the Lord.

By Thanksgiving Day you should have a stack of verses that will have changed your heart and can be a blessing to others!

My verse for today:

“At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You, because of your righteous ordinances.”

Psalm 119:62

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Thanksgiving Tip o’ the Day: Think About a Thank You

Posted by on Nov 2, 2010 in Thanksgiving, Tip o' The Day | 0 comments

On a stormy June day in 2006 I sat with several hundred people at the unexpected funeral of my uncle, Bob Case. At one point during the moving service, my cousin’s husband rose to read several letters written by cousins to their step father. Each letter shared memories and love to this incredible man. As I sat listening, I thought of my own memories of my uncle and how I never would be able to tell him “thank you” for spending time with me, for taking me fishing, for letting me drive his golf cart, and for many more happy times spent together.

At this moment I decided that I did not want to sit at another funeral for a family member or friend having refused an opportunity to tell that individual what they meant to me. And the Thanksgiving Thank You idea was born.

Each year I try to choose one or more people who have influenced my life and write them a handwritten note expressing my gratefulness.  My goal is to share specific examples of how this person encouraged me in some way. Sometimes these letters are quite lengthy as I try to express gratefulness. I usually try to choose someone that I normally might overlook during a holiday or birthday. Meaning, it’s normal for me to communicate with my grandparents to share love and thankfulness, but I rarely pick up the phone to tell my youth pastor from eighth grade how grateful I am that he taught me the Word of God without wavering.

I challenge you to do the same! Pray and ask the Lord to share with you someone who has influenced you to be the person you are today. Write them a personal note, address it, and mail it before Thanksgiving. Sit down with your kids, and ask them who they would like to color a picture for or write a letter to as well. Perhaps choose someone as a family.

Here are some ideas:

  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Pastor
  • College Professor
  • High School Teacher
  • Youth Group worker/leader
  • Childhood Sunday School Teacher
  • Friend
  • Sibling
  • Grandparent
  • Mentor you haven’t talked to in years
  • Extended Relative

Remember, our lives are influenced constantly by those around us.  Take the time to give back to someone who has molded you into the person you are today. You never know when it will be to late to say “thank you.”

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Time to be Thankful

Posted by on Nov 1, 2010 in Thanksgiving | 1 comment

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.”

Psalm 95:1-6

November first? Really? My, my, how the time flies! Even though the projected high today at my house is 87, my air conditioner is running, and I’m still killing scorpions, the calendar clearly states that the second to the last month of the year has rolled around once again.

And I’m thrilled!!! The holiday season has arrived! Maybe it’s because this is the first year in nearly ten that I haven’t been stressed with studying and/or writing and grading papers and final exams. Maybe it’s because it’s my little girl’s first holiday experience. Maybe it’s because last year I was extremely pregnant, swollen, nearly bedridden, and the whole season passed in a blur. For whatever reason I have been plotting, planning, soaking up every pumpkin flavored candy, coffee, ice cream, or other ingestable deliciousness, and  yes, listening to Christmas music for the past two months.

While I could (and hopefully will!) write pages on Christmas, for this month I want to focus more on a holiday that gets passed over too often among Americans. I’m not sure what it is about Thanksgiving, but after the spookiness of Halloween garb dissipates, Christmas lights, Santa Clauses, and trees appear in every store and shop window around. It seems the most popular discussion regarding Thanksgiving comes as people anticipate the sales that will appear the day after this holiday on Black Friday.

Well, I for one do NOT want this mentality to be true in my house or within my family. Yes, Christmas remains my favorite festivity, but this in no way should belittle the holiday preceding it. As Christians especially, we should embrace a time to give thanks to God for all He has blessed us with. We should teach our children what it means to be thankful. We should have an attitude of thankfulness year-round but certainly at Thanksgiving.

Stay tuned over the next twenty five days for ideas to celebrate, understand, and embrace this holiday and the joy it holds.  Some ideas will be mine personally and others will be those I’m learning from others. If you have special Thanksgiving traditions or gratefulness ideas, please share those with me on Facebook or in an email. I’d love to use your ideas this month!

Till tomorrow ~ Be Thankful!

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