Thanksgiving List

I’ve been posting something for which I’m thankful every day this month. Today, in honor of Thanksgiving, I offer you my list:

ThanksgivingA month of thankfulness:

Day 1 – Thankful for God’s sovereignty in the world…and in my life.
Day 2 – Thankful that God is faithful even when I am not (not proud of that last part!).
Day 3 – Thankful for Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice that redeemed my life. He did what I could not do for myself!
Day 4 – Thankful that the Lord is my shepherd, because this sheep definitely needs her shepherd!
Day 5 – Thankful for this great nation and for the privilege of voting. We may not be perfect, but whatever her problems, it’s still a blessing to live in the USA!
Day 6 – Thankful for the privilege of teaching God’s Word.
Day 7 – Thankful for encouraging words, smiles, and hugs!
Day 8 – Thankful that our salvation is not found in any political party. Regardless of who is in the White House, God is on His throne!
Day 9 – Thankful for food in the pantry, clothes in the closet, and a roof over my head. Jesus taught us to pray for our daily needs, but I have more than what I need just for today!
Day 10 – Thankful for God’s promise of the rainbow. Now we see it in part – someday we’ll see the whole glorious circle around the throne!
Day 11 – Thankful for those who fought and died to protect my liberty. Freedom is never free.
Day 12 – Thankful for the privilege of serving with women who love the Lord. Hearts with a shared purpose are hearts that bring joy!
Day 13 – Thankful for the gift of health. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Day 14 – Thankful for the gift of friendship – a gift to give and to cherish.
Day 15 – Thankful for the convenience of technology…even though it doesn’t always work and I don’t always understand it.
Day 16 – Thankful for the peace that passes all understanding in a world filled with anxiety and strife.
Day 17 – Thankful to be part of a church that preaches the gospel, encourages God’s people, and reaches out to the hurting. Also thankful for past pastors and churches who have blessed me with discipleship!
Day 18 – Thankful for the joy that comes from knowing I belong to the Lord. I can call God my heavenly Father because Jesus is my Savior.
Day 19 – Thankful for the gift of fellowship. Hearts knit together, minds of one accord, spirits united. It truly is a gift!
Day 20 – Thankful that Christmas is only five weeks away…and for the anticipation of celebrating the birth of the Savior!
Day 21 – Thankful for the freedom we have to worship the One from whom all blessings flow!
Day 22 – Thankful for my heavenly Father who knows my needs before I do and meets them with His abundant provision!
Day 23 – Thankful for the gift of forgiveness – a gift to give and receive.
Day 24 – Thankful my heavenly Father has more patience with me than I have with others. (Not proud of that one!)

Day 25 – Thankful for the power of a smile. No matter what language we speak, it’s something we all understand.
Day 26 – Thankful for my wonderful husband – whose birthday just happens to be today! God has used him in my life to demonstrate the reality of unconditional love.
Day 27 – Thankful that Christmas is only four weeks away. Four weeks to enjoy the music and decorations that commemorate the incredible Gift sent to us by the Father.
Day 28 – Thankful for the gift of sight…physical AND spiritual!
Day 29 – Thankful for the written Word…and the Living Word!
Day 30 – Thankful for grace – oceans of undeserved blessings!

Buck the Crowd – Give Thanks

We’ve all heard the advice:

Don’t buck the crowd.

Go along to get along.

Don’t rock the boat.

When I’m with a group of people, often the last thing I want to do is buck the crowd. Children are especially vulnerable to this feeling.

As a child, I was the “goody-two-shoes.” The one who always said please and thank you. The one of whom my friends’ parents would say, “You can go only if Ava goes.”

No kid wants that kind of reputation—to be the one who made everyone else look bad by comparison. Kids want to fit in, not stand out.

I wonder if that’s what the ten lepers were thinking. Remember the account in Luke 17? Ten lepers were healed by Jesus. In their joy at being healed, off they went, seemingly forgetting their Healer. But even if it weren’t a case of faulty recollections, I wonder if each of the ten was simply reluctant to break from the group.

Yet one man did buck the crowd. The most unlikely of the ten—a Samaritan—one who the Jews considered to be a pagan. This pagan returned to give thanks.Thank you 2That pagan man convicts me today. Like the other nine healed from leprosy, I am associated with the community of believers. I am a believer. I have a relationship with the living God through Jesus Christ, His Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Sadly though, also like those nine, I often ask God for things without going back to say thank you for answered prayer.

I don’t want to be like the nine. I want to be like the one. So as part of my prayer time, I added another list. A “Thank You” list. When God provides and blesses, I move that request to a “thank you” page. My goal is to thank God daily for as long as—or longer than—I was petitioning Him.

It’s time for me to leave the nine and join the one. How about you? Let’s buck the crowd…and give thanks.

The Convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah

What do Thanksgiving and Hanukkah have in common? This year, they share a day!

In a merger of traditions and celebrations, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will both occur on November 28.

But both holidays share more than a date. 

ThanksgivingThanksgiving had been celebrated in America for hundreds of years, but the date was left up to the states. It was officially proclaimed a national holiday by President Lincoln in 1863, to be celebrated annually on the last Thursday of November.

The tentacles of commercialism influenced a date change in December 1941. Thanksgiving was officially moved to the fourth Thursday of November in the hopes of benefiting the economy with an earlier celebration. 

HanukkahHanukkah commemorates the successful Maccabean revolt against the Greeks in 162 BC. When they prepared to cleanse the Temple in Jerusalem, they discovered they had only enough consecrated oil to keep the lamp lit for one day. But as the story is told, the supply of oil miraculously lasted for eight days, long enough to prepare and consecrate a new supply of oil.

Both holidays commemorate thankfulness for provision. Whether it’s the Pilgrims celebrating food and friendship offered by the Native Americans or the Jewish people celebrating God’s miraculous provision of oil, the focus is on needs that were met in unexpected ways.

For my Jewish friends, may you have a Happy Hanukkah as well as a Happy Thanksgiving. For my Christian friends, may you celebrate Thanksgiving with gratitude for God’s faithful provision for our greatest need, the need for a Savior who rescued us from sin and restored us to the Father.

In honor of this melding of traditions and celebrations, here’s a link to a recipe for Sweet Potato Latkes!

Enjoy this pleasant convergence of two wonderful celebrations next week. It won’t happen again until the year 79,811!

An Attitude of Gratitude

There’s a saying traveling the internet these days that goes something like this:

“What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”

(Was that as convicting for you as it was for me?)
In keeping with this theme of thanksgiving, I’d like to offer a few Bible verses to help us keep an attitude of gratitude, not just for one day, but throughout the year:

Psalm 95:2 – Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

Psalm 100:4 – Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

Psalm 107:1 – Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalms 118:24 – This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalms 136:1-3 – Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.

Ephesians 1:16 – I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

Ephesians 5:20 – Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:6-8 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

Colossians 3:15 – Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3:17 – And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 12:28 – Since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us be thankful…

James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Finally, especially for my friends and readers:

Philippians 1:3 – I thank my God every time I remember you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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