Being Thankful In all Things

Thanksgiving is here. Our lives are full of things we can be thankful for whether it be small acts of kindness and generosity, words of hope and encouragement, gifts of love and caring. All we have to do is look around us and start counting! I am thankful for the best husband I could ever want or need. As I’ve been recovering from my knee replacement, he has been patient, loving, and attentive to my every need. He’s set his phone clock more times in the past couple of weeks than he has all year just to give me my pain pills, hook me up to my CPM machine, or get me my ice pack. I’m thankful for our children, our grandchildren, our parents, family and friends. Our church friends that have brought us dinners and just given us their time of fellowship since I got home has been an example of how God has taken a difficult circumstance and turned it into a blessing.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name. PSALM 100:4
Perhaps you stopped somewhere for lunch and when you got to the drive-up window, you were told that the person before you had paid for your lunch! Or your spouse gave you an extra long embrace before leaving the house. It could even be that your Grandchild cried for you when he was told that the Dr. was taking out your staples. Yes, Benjamin did that! We need to recognize God’s presence and the part God plays in every detail of our life.
There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and saw that she had only three hairs on her head. “Great,” she said. “I think I’ll braid my hair today.” So she did, and had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. “Hmm,” she said, “I guess I’ll part my hair down the middle.” So she did, and had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only one hair left in her head. “Wow,” she said. “Today I get to wear my hair in a ponytail!” So she did, and had a wonderful, wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that there wasn’t a single hair left on her head.
“Thank God,” she exclaimed. “I was running out of things to do with my hair!”

When we make a conscious effort to see God working even in the difficult circumstances turning them into positive ones, we nurture an attitude of gratitude, which is everything! Let’s be grateful for the things God has given us and ask Him for one more thing. A thankful heart, which takes time to notice those small precious gifts. If you are thankful for even the little things that come your way, let God know.

Patti S.

Stress or Rest? A Choice For The Holidays

Sandwiched between 2 big holidays is a Thursday holiday that is slowly becoming more minuscule in the minds of the American public. Thanksgiving’s definition in the dictionary says it is the expression of gratitude especially to God. As we learned in school the first Thanksgiving was in 1692, the Pilgrims celebrated a successful harvest. It wasn’t until 1789, George Washington named Thursday Nov. 26 to be “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer”. Still it wasn’t an annual celebration. President Lincoln after the civil war proclaimed the last Thursday in November to be a day of thanks and praise to bring hope & belief in bringing the nation back together. In 1939 President Roosevelt was influenced by complaints of retailers that they only had 24 shopping days to Christmas and begged him to push it one week earlier! So Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving to November 23rd .Somehow our perception of Thanksgiving has gone askew. We’ve forgotten the reason for celebration, GRATITUDE. ….. In 1961 the day after Thanksgiving , Black Friday was named as the beginning of Christmas shopping at 6am.In the late 2000’s, it crept to 5 and 4 am. In 2011 several stores opened Thurs@ midnight. 2012 retailers announced they would open 8pm. on Thanksgiving! This year again even earlier, stores are opening at 5 and 6pm Thanksgiving.
The whole meaning of the holiday has been lost. Unbelievable reports of violence occur between shoppers who have camped for days to be first in the store. What are the holidays to you? In asking people, some have said Thanksgiving means football; others say no work and eating a lot. Have we totally forgotten the real meaning of the holidays? It reminds me of the story in Luke 17:12-19 the healing of 10 lepers. Only 1 of them who was a Samaritan came back and fell down on his face at Jesus’ feet and gave thanks. Jesus then said, “ Were there not 10 cleansed, where are the 9?” I’m afraid to say we all have been more like the 9 at some time or another. Perhaps you’d like to redirect your family towards gratitude this year? My extended family, after being through many changes this past year , have agreed we have a lot to give thanks for. We have said this year, a table setting, elaborate menu, or fancy dish ware doesn’t matter. What’s important is we are going to be together to eat, give thanks, pray and fellowship. We are choosing to keep focus on what’s most important. I usually stress out with all the preparations. Thanksgiving can be the beginning of a roller coaster of stress. It’s the time of setting up the tree, unexpected guest, cooking, traditions, decorating, baking, shopping , parties, sending cards and on and on. Matt 11:38 says “Come to ME all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Using the old insurance commercial slogan,” I can’t take that ride”, choose not to get on that roller coaster! Rest in the Lord and don’t stress. Does that mean relax and do nothing? No, but reflect on why we celebrate, give thanks for what Our Savior has done., and lastly give to others. May the Lord Bless you as you experience the holidays in an attitude of gratitude, choosing to focus , resting in Him.
Rev. 7:12 “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever Amen”

Zelda D.

Making Choices

I have always enjoyed studying David, the first God-appointed King of Israel. Although God referred to him as a man after His own heart, David was also a deeply flawed individual. Behaviorally speaking, he was capable of the highest highs and the lowest lows. Yet, whether in good times or bad, victory or failure, confidence or fear; David always turned to God. David understood his own frailty and where his strength came from. He had a relationship with the living God developed in his boyhood when he spent many lonely nights out in the field watching the sheep. His understanding and trust in who God is allowed him to stand before Goliath and say, “You come to me with sword, spear and javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel.” David’s courage and strength in that situation came from a conscious and determined CHOICE to rely on his God.

The Bible gives us insight into the many times when David’s choices were not so courageous or God-honoring. In a flash of anger over Nabal’s insults, David was going to wipe out an entire village; while looking for safety from Saul (apparently forgetting that God was his protector), David allied with the Philistines, Israel’s archenemies; and after becoming complacent in his relationship with the Lord, David committed adultery and murder. Like us, David responded to life’s circumstances by making choices.

In Psalms 101:2 David says, “I will behave wisely in a perfect way. Oh, when will You come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” David is making a determined choice as he proclaims that he WILL behave wisely in a perfect way and WILL walk within his house with a perfect heart, but how does a flawed man actually do this? Right in the middle of David’s two “I will” declarations we can see a familiar battle playing out. David tries to change his conduct, but quickly recognizes he must have God’s help. He cries out to God “Oh, when will You come to me?” I sense urgency in this request as David struggles to live out his commitment. As much as he desires perfect conduct and a perfect heart, David knows that he is unable to sustain this behavior in any meaningful way. In his own strength he will repeatedly try and fail.

Like David, we can experience a desire for a victorious and transformed life; however it is important to note that a mere desire is not enough. We must make a determined choice to pursue it by turning to God for His guiding and equipping. David asked God, “Oh, when will You come to me?” We still need to cry out to God for His help, but unlike David, we have access to the Holy of Holies and we have been assured that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:13).

Jacque B.

Seasoned with Encouragement and Comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. Who comforts us in all our tribulations that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Have you ever stopped to consider how powerful a spoken word inspired by the Holy Spirit is to those who need to be encouraged and comforted?

Scripture records a special interaction between two relatives in Luke 1:39-47, that gives us an example of a word that brings encouragement. Let’s consider what scripture reveals.

Mary didn’t waste time after receiving a message from the Angel of the Lord. She quickly left for the hills of Judah, to visit her cousin Elizabeth.

Do you ever stop to consider what this young mother was thinking about on her journey. I wonder if she was lonely and afraid. I know the Angel of the Lord told her not to be afraid, but she was entering uncharted waters. Although scripture doesn’t answer those questions it does record a confirmation of what the Angel of the Lord told Mary earlier and I’m certain that was both encouraging and comforting.

Mary stepped into Zechariah and Elizabeth’s home and greeted Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s baby jumped inside the womb and she was immediately filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth proclaimed “Blessed are you among woman and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” In addition, scripture records Elizabeth exclaiming, “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.

Elizabeth’s Spirit filled words prompted Mary to proclaim in Luke 1:46-47 “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. In this wonderful outburst of praise and worship inspired by the Holy Spirit, Mary joyously lifted her voice to the skies and rejoiced with a her strength.

I pray that you are a woman empowered by the Holy Spirit and that the Word of God is on your lips, so that your able to encourage and comfort others.

Micah E.