Monday, November 21, 2016

Give Thanks


 This Thursday will be Thanksgiving. It's hard to believe that it's that time of year again already. I was listening to several Christian broadcasts on Sunday, and of course the theme was on giving thanks, which is always appropriate, but seems to take center stage during the week of Thanksgiving. I believe it was Dr. Charles Stanley who mentioned that when we thank God in every situation, even when we don't really feel thankful, just the act of thanking God can bring about a change in our attitude, and sometimes even in our circumstances. For the past few weeks I've had gratitude on my mind. I'm a fairly negative person by nature. I can find the worst in just about any situation. If I catch a lot of fish I can start feeling unhappy because I have to clean them all. If I should make a good bit of money on my catch, then I have to pay more in taxes. With that kind of attitude, it's hard to win at all in anything. However, as I mentioned, I've been thinking about gratitude, and asking God to give me a grateful heart. I think it starts when we acknowledge that we have been blessed with multitudes of blessings, especially here in America. Aside from the every day things that I enjoy, the air that I breathe, the ability to walk around, being surrounded by an uncommon amount of beauty, we've been blessed with things. I have money in the bank, our pantry is full, the fuel tank is filled up, our house is paid for as well as my boat and my truck. Granted, we don't own anything fancy, but what we have gets the job done. It's a tremendous blessing. Last weekend Jan had a little sort of yard sale. We went around and gathered up some things that we've had sitting on shelves and in closets and the attic. There was a ton of it. Things we haven't used and didn't need and things we want to get rid of before we decide to make a move. We were just scratching the surface. We aren't wealthy by any means, but we had STUFF! I remember my friend Buffalo Bob speaking about losing everything in a cabin fire up around the Delta area of Alaska. He said that within a year he had as much stuff and more than before the fire. Americans have access to so many things. When you get to my age, you struggle to find something that you need so that friends or family members can get you a gift for Christmas.  What a contrast to the rest of the world. I received a catalog from Samaritan's Purse, the Christian organization that was started by Billy Graham's son Franklin. They go around the world supplying the needs of people who have been left without the necessary things to support life, whether because of war or natural disaster. For several years now we've received their catalog and it's filled with gifts that you can purchase to help out people who have real needs. For example, for $7.00 you can feed a  child a hot meal for a week.  For $25.00 you can provide warm clothes, a coat and shoes for refugees. I don't know what it's like where you are, but it's darn cold here. I can't imagine going outside without the necessary clothing to keep warm, and yet for countless people, that is their reality. $60.00 will buy an emergency shelter for a family who has lost their home due to natural disasters in places like Nepal, Haiti or the Philippines. A mere $8.00 will buy soccer balls and other sports equipment, blankets can be purchased for $6.00 baby chicks to provide eggs and food for a poor family, only $14.00. Right here in America there are a number of military families who are struggling to stay together after our heroes have been wounded in combat and are suffering mentally and physically. Operation Heal Our Patriots brings the husband and wife together for a week for counseling and fishing and building relationships at a lodge run by Samaritans Purse in Alaska. Around the world we can help by purchasing fruit trees and livestock, farm and garden projects, fresh water wells and equipment to clean otherwise undrinkable water. When you look around at the great need that is in the world and then take a look at what we have, not being grateful just isn't an option. One way to express our gratitude to God for all that He's done for us, is to help to meet the needs of those who have so little. I can promise you, you won't out give God. I hope that you have a blessed Thanksgiving, that you are safe if you are traveling and enjoy a wonderful day with family and friends. God bless us all.

4 comments:

  1. Very insightful and timely blog post, Tom. I agree, we are all so blessed in this country. Thank you for reminding us about the various ways we can share with others, too. BTW, Do you get Dr. Stanley's monthly devotional? It's excellent.

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    1. HI Jill,
      Yes I do. I started listening to him about six or eight months ago and I was so impressed I felt the need to support his ministry. He has years of insight and a direct and easy message to understand. He's a real asset to the world.

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  2. Great blog dad. Happy Thanksgiving. I love you,
    Camille

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  3. HI Camille- thanks. Enjoy your day. Love you too.

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