The Thanks-Living Challenge

I love Thanksgiving.  I am grateful for President Abraham Lincoln’s leadership and unifying vision.  In 1863 during the Civil War,  set aside the fourth Thursday of November as a holiday, proclaiming “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

On this Thanksgiving Day, a new Truth from a familiar verse jumped out during my quiet time.

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying “Take and eat; this is my body.’” –Matthew 26:26.

From the first Lord’s Supper to today’s Lord’s Supper, the same sentiment is expressed in each sacrament. Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it away.

1) Jesus took and gave thanks. 2) Jesus broke it and gave it away.

1. May we give thanks for everything we are given, for every person, every circumstance in our life. May we have an attitude of gratitude. It’s hard to grumble when you’re grateful. So often I/we complain over what we don’t have instead of thanking God for the many blessings we do have. I am guilty of this. Forgive me.

2. Jesus broke the bread before He gave it away. Although Jesus could, He does not use anything or anyone unless the item or person is broken.

The bread was/is broken, not whole.

The wine came/comes from smushed, fermented grapes.

Even His own body had to be broken on the cross to save all of us from our sins.

He broke Himself in order to give Himself away. May it be so of us as we live each day giving thanks. Thanks-LIVING.

Jesus only uses us when we are broken and available to Him. Recently I have felt so weak and inadequate. His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:10). Oh friend, I am desperately dependent on Him, and it’s so liberating.

God is a promise-keeping, miracle-working God. He wants us to rely on Him as we live each day with gratitude.

Thanks and Brokenness. Jesus both focused on gratitude and brokenness in life and in the sacrament of communion.

As we celebrate our national holiday of Thanksgiving, let’s use Jesus’ example to take and give thanks.  Will you take on the challenge with me to turn this Thanksgiving into Thanks-LIVING? Not just one day of the year, but every day.

Happy Thanks-Living, dear friend.

Reflect:

  • How will you transform Thanksgiving into Thanks-Living?
  • For what, for whom are you thankful?

Renew:

  • “Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for He comes to judge the earth.” –Psalm 98:7-9.
  • “Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” –Psalm 100:4.
  • “He must become greater; I must become less.” –John 3:30
  • “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…for when I am weak, then I am strong.” –2 Corinthians 12:9a-10b.

Recharge:  

  • Let’s start a new Gratitude Journal this week and  list at least three blessings daily. It could be a warm house, your health, laughter, cozy coats and boots.
  • Please let me know of some of your many blessings.

Resource:

 

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An Attitude of Gratitude

As the summer winds down and the school year starts up, my mind and heart are grateful. Time passes so quickly. Evening comes sooner now. Have I savored the precious moments?

Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts, challenges us to write 1000 things for which we are grateful. This list could contain: a breathtaking butterfly flitting amidst colorful echanacea; a beautiful sunrise; morning dew; birds chirping; sun shining through the window across the hardwood floors; dear friends who open their lovely homes; fun co-workers; a cozy bed in which to sleep. What are you grateful for today, this summer? May each day our hearts, my heart, have an attitude of gratitude.

“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” –Philemon 4-7 NIV.

Reflect:

–For what, for whom, are you grateful? Please comment with at least one thing/person you are thankful for.

–Consider making a list of 1000 gifts today.

Renew:

–“…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” –Philippians 3:11b

–“Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.”  –Victor Hugo.

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Thank you, Mom!

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With just five days before Mother’s Day, let’s ponder our moms for a bit.  What are you planning to do to honor your Mom?

This Mother’s Day, let’s try something different. Let’s try to write at least 30 memories or characteristics you’re grateful for with your Mom. Then write or type them, cut them into slips of paper, and give to her for Mother’s Day in a little box. She can enjoy reading a month of encouragement over and over, one for each day. This year is the third Mother’s Day I have written memories and will write 30 new memories this year (shhh, please don’t tell her). This blog or a box simply cannot contain my gratitude. The following are the first 12 Mom gratitude memories:

1) Thank you, Mom, for your unconditional love and support this past year as God called me to move to North Carolina with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Your rock solid faith continues to bolster mine. You are truly a Proverbs 31 lady.

2)  Thank you for serving as a wonderful, gentle nurse for me last year after my serious six-car accident. You were there every moment, from meeting me at the Trauma Center soon after the ambulance transported me, to gently dressing my wounds, to serving every meal, driving me everywhere as I recuperated. Words cannot express my gratitude for you being there, being present.

3) Thank you for praying for me for years before I was even conceived. Since my only brother Jamie is 12 years older than me, you said you suffered a miscarriage and complications as you and Dad tried for more children after Jamie. You were about to give up when you found out you were pregnant with me.  Thanks be to God for His plan and His timing. Thank you for being my Mom.

4) Thank you for serving as a room mother in elementary school and chaperoning our field trips.

5) Thank you for dancing and for teaching me to dance. I always loved watching you and your brothers, your family shag dancing to beach music at my grandmother’s home growing up. I remember after Thanksgiving meals that the men would push aside the dinner table to create a large dance floor, perfect for dancing and making a “Soul Train”  line. We had so much fun. Watching you dance is a joy.

6) Thank you for displaying the Fruit of the Spirit each day and showing me Jesus’ unconditional love through you. “But the fruit of the Spirit IS (that means all one fruit) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and  self-control. Against such things there is no law.” –Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

7) Thank you for teaching me that if three or more cars are in line at a fast-food restaurant, it’s faster to go inside to order your food. I don’t eat fast food much, but I still abide by this.

8) Thank you for attending all my home and away basketball and volleyball games in high school.  Sometimes you and Dad were two of a few parents cheering in the stands.

9) Thank you for the example of your well-read, well-worn Bible that shows to me and to anyone how “Thy Word is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.” Psalm 119:105.  If we may be the only Bible someone may ever read, you radiate the Word. “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” John 1:14a NIV

10) Thank you for making me have a curfew, even though I didn’t appreciate it at the time. I so respect the healthy rules and boundaries you set for me growing up. You set them with love.

11) Thank you for teaching me the love of flowers and God’s majesty. I appreciate that you asked me growing up to “dead-head” our 100+ roses each day after school in our garden. I will always remember the wonderful fragrance of roses in every room of our home growing up–what a gift.

12) Thank you for giving me the grace and freedom and wide open space to fail and succeed, knowing you would love me unconditionally.  You are the best cheerleader and encourager I know.

Do you struggle with this upcoming holiday?  Some have beloved Moms who are in heaven. Some struggle with their relationship with their Mom. If either is the case, my hearts hurts as yours does. I encourage you to seek out an older lady in your life who can or currently serves as a mentor to you. Please consider honoring her for Mother’s Day. Some Moms are blood-related. Others are related by the blood of Jesus. Happy Mother’s Day, friend.

Reflect:

–How do you plan to honor your Mom for Mother’s Day? Please comment.

Renew:

–“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” –Exodus 20:12 NIV

–“Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopus), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, ‘Dear woman, here is your son.’ And he said to this disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from then on this disciple took her into his home.” –John 19-25-27 NLT

Recharge:

–Which mentor lady in your life will you show appreciation for?

“All I am I owe to my Mother.” –Abraham Lincoln

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