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Nov 24 08 7:14 AM
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Nov 24 08 7:16 AM
by Phil Ware
Wilbur was a sweet man with a serious countenance -- those who didn't know him would call him dour or crusty. But, his heart was good and generous and
kind. His young grandson, who was four or five at the time, came to stay with his grandparents for a week. On weekdays, they had the typical southern breakfast
-- eggs, bacon, toast, orange juice, and coffee. On Saturday, however, Wilbur and Willie Maude usually had cereal and coffee or juice. They sat down at the
breakfast table and Wilbur asked his young grandson to say the blessing. The little guy hesitated for a minute, and then prayed, "Dear God, we thank you
for this breakfast ... even though it's small. In Jesus' name. Amen."
Wilbur cracked up with laughter.
We do have so many things for which we can be thankful. However, if we are not careful, the challenges of our moment in time can wilt the joy right out of our
Thanksgiving. Like many of you, I've lost 1/3 of my retirement over the last year. I know folks on fixed incomes who are seriously hurting now financially.
I opened an email this morning from a friend who will have no job this week. A family that I love is deep in grief during what is supposed to be a special and
blessed time of the year.
These concerns easily give way to fear. With the negative orientation our news and gossip magazines take, our hearts can be seized with anxiety and dread. Our
prayers soon become laundry lists of things for God to fix -- listen to our words: "Give me!" "Help me!" "Heal me!" "Rescue
Certainly we are to turn to God honestly and openly about the burdens of our hearts to "receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need"
(Hebrews 4:16 TNIV). But with our cries for help, we must not forget the importance of being thankful for the incredible blessings we have in Jesus (Colossians
God isn't asking us for false or forced thanksgiving or some kind of simplistic relabeling of bad stuff. We are called back to the deep spiritual wells of
grace we have in Jesus. From prison, Paul writes:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in
Nov 24 08 7:18 AM
By Sandra Clifton, D.Min.
Years ago, when Terry and I were but "baby" Christians, we had
moved across country to take new jobs. On Thanksgiving Day, due to circumstances beyond our control, we found ourselves short on funds, with no family nearby.
The morning was cold and overcast. Adding to the gloominess, all we had to look forward to was a Thanksgiving meal of cold cereal.
That afternoon, at 3 o'clock, when in the past we had sat down to a meal of turkey, gravy and dressing with all the trimmings, I poured corn flakes into
two bowls, one for Terry and one for me.
As I brought the bowls of corn flakes to the table, I half prayed and half complained, "Lord isn't this when some stranger is supposed to knock on our
door and sweep into the room with a Thanksgiving package of wonderful foods? ... Well?"
No answer from above. No knock at the door. "OK, Lord, now what?"
Without missing a beat, I heard His still small voice: "Now is the time to give thanks."
"Whoa! Is that You, Lord?" Couldn't He see that I had too many worries? I was in no mood to thank Him. Thank Him for what, cold cereal for
Then without warning, His still small voice broke in again, "Cold cereal might be on your table, but God is still on the throne."
At that moment, I was beyond my "corn flakes for Thanksgiving" mood. Filled with new hope, I was reminded and comforted by the promises from
God's Word-that Jesus Christ is our hope of glory (see Col. 1:27, paraphrased), our very vine of life (see John 15). With Jesus, there was always hope.
I served the cereal. Now was the time to give thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. May the awesome presence of Jesus Christ offer new hope to you on this special day, and for brighter days
Nov 24 08 7:27 AM
7 Secrets To A Stress Free Thanksgiving
Before you know it Thanksgiving will be upon us. In just over a week we will sit down once again with our families (biological and/or chosen) and gorge upon a
feast until we need to unbutton our jeans and snooze on the couch. Thanksgiving officially launches what people refer to as "The Holiday Season"
which means it is the beginning of what is often the most stressful time of the year. I'm here to tell you - it doesn't have to be that way! Consider
these top tips and you can enjoy your meal without all the stress and heartburn.
Keep It in Perspective
It's just a meal. It is a chance to be with people you care about. It is not a
contest nor is it a measure of your personal worth. Lives do not hang in the balance. So, take the pressure off of yourself! If you're hosting the meal,
nothing has to be perfect. No one really cares and if someone is that filled with criticism, it is their issue, not yours; chances are nothing you do could
please them anyway.
Start now. Don't wait until the last minute when everyone with a pulse is roaming
the grocery stores like predators on a hunt. If you can buy ahead of time - do it. Even better is to buy local and from the little guy. Then you not only know
where your food is coming from but you support local farmers as well. Give yourself permission to ask for help where you need it whether it is assistance
cleaning or having guests bring a dish to share.
Mind Your Budget
While Thanksgiving is not nearly as bad as Christmas when it comes to breaking the
budget, it is still important to be mindful of your money. Now is not the time for the finest wine known to man (unless you have a family of oenophiles) and
you most definitely don't need a 30lb. turkey to feed a half dozen people. Take it from someone who once made 10lb of potatoes for 6 guests -- people can
only eat and drink so much in one day.
Focus on What Matters
The whole point behind gathering at Thanksgiving is just that -- to give thanks. Keep
an attitude of gratitude and reflection in the forefront of all you do. If you can do that, you will effortlessly flow as little petty things crop up. If I can
survive a call to Roto-Rooter (backed up sewer) the first time we ever hosted our families for Thanksgiving, you too can cruise through the bumps in the
Experience People as They Are
You're not going to change anyone. It's a fact. The same quirks and pitfalls
you've experienced from the same people year after year are not going to suddenly vanish. If you love them, enjoy them for who they are and don't let
them push your buttons. If you feel your angst rising, pretend that you are watching the day unfold as if it were a movie on a screen. It'll allow you to
be an observer and be present to the day without all the drama.
You don't need to eat like you've never seen food before. There will be
leftovers and you shall be fed. While I'm not suggesting you deny yourself or follow the strictest of diets on this day, overeating is a sure fire way to
feeling lousy physically and emotionally. Enjoy the food, the drink, and the goodies but do so consciously knowing you get to choose how you feel.
Savor the Moment
Tomorrow is promised to no one. Celebrate who you are and those around you on this day
because you never know if you'll have the opportunity to gather together next time around. This tip isn't meant to depress you or make you anxious
about the future - just the opposite. If we are fully present in the moment and share how we really feel with those we care about we get to live a life free of
regrets no matter what tomorrow brings.
If you follow these tips you can almost feel the stress melting off of you and making
room for you to enjoy the juiciness of this autumn holiday.
©Paula Gregorowicz. All rights reserved.
Nov 25 08 6:41 AM
Joel and Victoria Osteen
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of
one body you were called to peace. And be thankful" (Colossians 3:15 NIV).
As believers, we are a commanded to be thankful. I believe this is a
natural result of allowing the peace of God to rule our hearts. Did you know that you can choose to have peace? You don't have to let things upset you. You
don't have to be anxious and worried. That word peace means to set at one again. When you set your mind at one with God and His Word, you will have peace.
God also leads us by peace. If you don't have peace about a decision, wait and follow the direction of the peace in your heart. And when you have peace,
you can't help but be thankful! You will have a song in your heart and a spring in your step. Choose today to let the peace of Christ rule in your heart
and have an attitude of gratitude toward the Lord. Even if you have things that are upsetting you, take a step of faith and begin to thank God for His goodness
in your life. Thank Him for working behind the scenes on your behalf. As you do, you will walk forward into the life of blessing He has in store for
A Prayer for Today
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your peace that rules my heart. I choose
Your peace today and thank You for guiding my every step. I choose to be thankful today and bless You for Your faithfulness. In Jesus' Name.
Nov 25 08 6:43 AM
The Gospel of Thanks-living
The Rev Dr. Robert Hansel
What is the absolutely unique characteristic that separates followers of the Christian
way from all other people who look for guidance in self-help manuals, theories, philosophies, or bio feed-back techniques? Is there some distinctive element of
Christianity that is the sole intellectual property of the Christian Church? I want to suggest to you that there is such an element and it is deceptively
simple-easier to describe than to put into practice.
So many people today are driven by a self-imposed demand for self-improvement: be less fat,
learn new skills, use more effective deodorants, be more organized and efficient, or develop increased productivity. All those aims and goals may be just fine,
but none will "earn" anyone peace and happiness. You may choose to do any of those things but motive is everything. Here's what
I'm getting at: All other human efforts to infuse life with meaning and purpose start from the perspective of getting something we don't
already have, whereas Christianity starts with the understanding that we have already received all there is to have. What remains is how to
say thanks for that incredible gift. We believe that, in Christ, we have been offered forgiveness for all of our shortcomings and failures with the
assurance of everlasting life with God.
Christians who truly understand and accept God's gifts of forgiveness and eternal
life are aware that everything is changed-a new way has been initiated. Our human strivings are not aimed at getting but at giving - giving thanks
through everything we are and do. I like to think of it as Thanks-living.
The great thing about gratitude is that you can't keep it to yourself. You have to find a
way-a person-a strategy to express your thanks. Rather than seeking more for yourself, you live for others-which is exactly what God wants!
Each Sunday we gather at the altar to celebrate, together, all that God has done for us. We
offer up the "living" we have done that week as an act of thanks for God's gifts. What a difference from grimly trying to win God's
favor or to earn others' approval! Happiness, wholeness, holiness…it's all the same basic idea. We are so fortunate to be part of that Community of
Faith to whom God has initiated a new way: the Gospel of Gratitude.
How will you let God know how thankful you are? That's really your only job- every day.
Think about it. It makes all the difference in the world.
Nov 26 08 7:11 AM
Over the River and Through the Woods
by Bill Brant
"Over the river and through the woods to 'Aunt Patty's' house we go." Well, that's how it would be sung at my house. For 38 years
they ALL have come to Aunt Patty's house for Thanksgiving, not Aunt Patty and Uncle Bill's house, just Aunt Patty's house.
There have always been three generations who gather, including in-laws and out-laws. I'm not sure some of the attendees would know how to cook turkey,
prepare stuffing or get enough ice unless my wife, the aforementioned Aunt Patty, didn't do it.
Thanksgiving dinner takes place around 1 pm with the adult table and the kid's table. Then the late afternoon has football games or my nap. Leftovers are
available from 6 pm to bedtime with the evening centered around some games that most of the family participates in while coordinating the strategy for who is
to be at which store before the sun rises and the world starts to turn the next morning.
Each year the faces change, depending on whose family gets the kids for the holiday this year, but even for an old codger like me, what I enjoy most is simply
having my family close enough to hear their laughter, see their smile, feel their warmth.
I envision heaven being something like Thanksgiving at Aunt Patty's house.
All of the "relatives" gathering in one place, telling stories of the way things used to be, new faces each year, hearing the laughter, seeing the
smiles, feeling the warmth. ALL of us in the presence of God -- Almighty, His Son -- Emanuel, His Spirit -- the Comforter. But no one goes home, Thanksgiving
Yep, just like at Aunt Patty's house, because they'll all be back for Christmas!
Are you presently experiencing a new life? God's word says, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
This new life is a free gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about this life that only Jesus can give you, sign up for one of
our Bible courses. Wherever you are in life, whatever you've done, you can begin again.
(c) 2008 Herald of Truth
Nov 26 08 9:11 AM
Belief in Gratitude
Gratitude is Not Gullibility
"Deep, abiding joy can exist in one's life at the same time as desperate circumstances. When we dig down to the truth of
something, sometimes paradox is the only way to express it."
Gratitude is Not Guilt
"[Guilt] is often where we begin in our journey toward a thankful heart. We hope, however, that it isn't where we
Gratitude is Not Grandiosity
"In our privileged culture, we tend to see blessing confined to that which gets good results, producing happiness and
prosperity, favors that can be catalogued and counted. As we move toward a more profound understanding of gratitude, we must be willing to include the
wholeness of Life-both the light and the dark and the holy potential in each.… Being thankful for our blessings does not mean we are entitled to them or
Gratitude is Grounding
"Studies and statistics are piling up from sources such as quantum physics and the behavioral sciences, all of which say that
gratitude is good for us. It grounds us in something solid and sustaining and, yes, sacred. The unity and oneness spoken about in the Bible and other texts
is spoken of in science as a unified field of which we are all a part."
Gratitude is Grace
"While gratitude is sometimes a thank-you for something specific, it is most deeply realized through a process that simply
"Just like the loaves and fishes, gratitude grows. The more one says thank you, the more one sees things for which to give
thanks. A spirit of thanksgiving is contagious. Being around grateful people makes us likely to catch this delightful disease."
Belief in the life-affirming, grace-filled and grounding qualities of thankfulness is a
beginning point from which we can move toward a place of gratitude. Unfortunately, there are barriers that can make our journey tough going. The next
installment addresses how we can move beyond these barriers, and continue toward a thankful heart.
Nov 14 09 10:09 AM
Gratitude for Family
Gracious God, there are so many who live alone in this world without family to encourage them, listen to them, support them. Yet, you have blessed me by
placing me within a human family that gives depth and meaning to my life-a family that offers me love no matter what I do or do not do. Fill my heart with the
gratitude that never takes such a blessing for granted. When I am thoughtless or careless in my relationships with those you have given me, give me the grace
to ask for forgiveness. When I feel hurt, give me the grace to forgive and forget the wrong. In times of joy with my family, give me a heart of gladness. In
times of sorrow, give me a heart of compassion. May we offer each other the same love you give to us as your children. I ask this with a thankful heart for all
that you have given me. Amen.
Nov 17 09 9:02 PM
Living is Giving
is giving your best self away,
Living is helping someone every day;
Living is giving more than you get, It's treating an animal like a person, instead of a pet.
It's helping the handicapped across the street, It's smiling at the new person at work that you meet; It's respect for all nations, color and
creeds, It's sharing and caring for your neighbor's needs One of God's greatest laws you can live and believe, Is the more that you give, the more
Nov 20 09 7:02 AM
Gracious God, as our family gathers to celebrate these holy days, drench us in a spirit of openness. In
our conversations, may we hear each other's hearts; in our meals, may we be filled with the warmth of gratitude; in our celebrations, may we delight in the
joy of fellowship; and in our disagreements, may we learn something new from one another. In all our moments of communion, fill us with your love.
Gracious God, these days of special remembrance can so easily pass without my being attentive to the
reasons behind them. Open my eyes and heart to the many graces and blessings that blanket my life with joy. Help my soul awaken with the gratitude that will
make me attentive and expectant for the imprint of your hand in my world. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.
Gracious God, the days are shorter now as the shades of winter approach. There is more darkness than
light now, the air is crisper, and my soul is quieting down for a broader space of listening and reflection. Fill me with gratitude for the change in seasons
that offers me the opportunity to go deep within and find there the soft cloak of your loving presence. I ask this for the sake of your love.
Gracious God, the coming of holidays brings with it a heightened awareness of my loneliness. When the
lack of a loving family around me leaves my heart feeling shriveled and small, open my eyes to the graces you shower upon me. Show me those gifts of your love
that I often miss when I'm consumed with the absence of affection in my life. Let those graces remind me that your presence is sure and constant. Let
this lighten the darkness in my heart as surely as the sun dissolves the darkness of night. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.
Nov 22 09 10:44 AM
The Land of THANKFULNESS
I live in the Land of Thankfulness ...
I love the Land of Thankfulness where blessings overflow; I claim it as my native home, most charming land I
know; And if I've need of anything, no matter what it be, I just give thanks with confidence and see it come to me; I like to live in Thankfulness!
Would live there all my days, Would let its spirit stir my soul and fill my heart with praise; I questioned once how I had found a place of such a
kind, Knew I'd discovered it because I'd thankful thoughts in mind; Oh, come with me to Thankfulness! We ask this of you: That you be always
thankful, friend, this is all you do; And if there's anything you need, no longer doubt or fear, The thing you seek's awaiting you, it surely
© 2004 Frank B. Whitney - Unity "Daily Word"
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of
us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
~ Albert Schweitzer
Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every
pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song.
~Konrad von Gesner
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it ...is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
~ William Arthur Ward
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life ...It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It
can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a
vision for tomorrow.
What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it ...would you be likely
to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you
Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
~Gladys Berthe Stern
Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is
lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along
the spiritual road.
~John Henry Jowett
The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to
utter words, but to live by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Make it a habit to tell people thank you ...to express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return.
Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of
~ Ralph Marston
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our
Let's be grateful for those who give us happiness; they are the charming gardeners who make
our soul bloom.
Real life isn't always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring
acknowledgment of what IS working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.
~Sara Ban Breathnach
The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day
and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!
~Henry Ward Beecher
No longer forward nor behind I look in hope or fear; But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.
~ John Greenleaf Whittier
If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is, "thank you," that would
Nov 24 09 6:35 AM
A Thankful Thanksgiving
by Jim Rohn
You may be wondering why I would call this article a Thankful Thanksgiving. Aren't all Thanksgivings Thankful? Unfortunately, no.
As a person who has experienced over 75 Thanksgivings, I recognize that being thankful is something that we have to work at, even on Thanksgiving.
If your home is like most, your Thanksgiving Day will be very busy, with either traveling to where you want to go or preparing your
home to have others over for the day. Either way, that can be very hectic and emotionally trying, which doesn't lend itself to preparing your heart to be
reflective and thankful. In fact, Thanksgiving weekend is the most traveled weekend in America. Airports are full, and don't always provide much room for
contemplation of your good fortune.
This means all the more that if we want to be the kind of people who are characterized by thankfulness, then we must make sure that we
focus on it, and not just on Thanksgiving Day, but at all times during the year.
Here are a few key words as well as some thoughts that are simple and practical to apply-something you can use right away in your quest
for becoming more thankful:
Time. Set aside time regularly to be quiet, to reflect. We live in the fastest-paced time ever.
From the moment we awake to the moment we collapse into bed, we have the opportunity to go at full speed and never slow down. If we schedule time every day in
which we can be quiet and reflect, we will free our hearts and minds from the tyranny of the urgent and rushed.
Thought. Give thought to the many blessings you have. Living in a consumer culture, most of us
are fully aware of what we do not have and how we absolutely must have "it." But how often do we reflect upon that which we already have? Take some
time each day and think of one or two things that you have that you may typically take for granted, and then take a moment and give thanks for those. In fact,
I make it a part of my reflection time to review a list of things that I'm thankful for.
Generosity. Be generous toward those with less and not envious of those with more. We tend to
look at others who may be wealthier than ourselves and think, "I sure wish I had what he does." That kind of thinking breeds envy and jealousy rather
than contentment. What can we do to break that cycle? I would suggest being generous to those who are less fortunate than yourself. Go to work at a food bank.
And not just during the holidays-everybody works there then-but on a regular basis during the year. That will remind you of how good you really have
Ask. Ask a friend what they are thankful for. The next time you are at lunch with a friend, ask
him or her what they are most thankful for. You will be amazed at the answers you receive and you will create a meaningful bond with your friends as you focus
on this powerful question.
Acknowledge. Lastly, tell those you love how thankful you are for having them in your life. So
many times we neglect to take the time to craft the words to express to those closest to us what their presence in our lives means to us. Take the opportunity
of Thanksgiving Day to write them a note, or sometime during the day put your hand on their shoulder, look them in the eyes and tell them. Let them know what
they mean to you, and in return you'll begin to create the possibility of deeper, richer, more fulfilling relationships with those you
Of course, we should do what we can to make the most of the day we call Thanksgiving, but wouldn't it be a shame if the only time
we reflected on our blessings was that one Thursday in November? And the answer is, of course! So let's do our best to be aware of the many great gifts
that we have each and every day of the year. As we do so we will see our hearts soar and our minds will experience more and more peace as we regularly remember
and remain aware of our good fortune.
Nov 24 09 9:14 PM
By Karen Wright
Thanksgiving is a holiday name that says exactly what it stands for - giving thanks. Sounds easy enough.
We can be thankful for our health, our relationships, our jobs. We run down the list of things in our lives that are working and gratefully acknowledge our
But, can we also be grateful for our misfortunes? Can we give thanks for the difficult people in our
lives, for the loss of a job or a friend? Can we see the value in the hard times and the blessing in the pain? These are not so easy to appreciate.
We'd just as soon eliminate the tough times instead of being grateful. What's to be grateful for?
Gratitude is not a function of good or bad luck. Thankfulness is a choice we make regardless of our
circumstances. Thankfulness isn't about what we gain or lose...it's about what we have. Shall I be thankful that I lost my job? Perhaps I can't see
the blessing in that when I'm standing so close to it. Maybe that will come later when a new and exciting path has opened before me because of this
unwanted turn of events. But, losing my job isn't losing my self! Even jobless I can be thankful for all that I have and am.
But, the biggest barrier to feeling grateful is not forgiving. When bad things happen it's easy to
feel cheated, upset, angry, fearful. And the next stop on that train is usually blame. Someone needs to be responsible for our misfortune. And who ever it is,
even if it's ourselves, we withhold forgiveness. Many people feel that to forgive is to condone what happened. So we don't forgive because we don't
like what happened and we don't want to make it seem like it's not a big deal. We hold grudges and resentments. "How could
Is it possible to resent and be grateful at the same time? Try it, you tell me. Resenting is focusing on
what you don't have, gratitude is focusing on what you DO have. Seems to me that those would be pretty impossible to do at the same time. So, why
should we feel grateful for something that we feel is bad? Let's get some perspective....
Look back over your life. Specifically at things that, when they happened, you considered to be
misfortunes - mistakes - problems. From where you sit now, is it possible to see that the bad thing that happened actually led to a greater good? Did you learn
or grow? Were new doors opened? Can you see now that the incident was part of a bigger plan?
With our limited view of the future, it's almost impossible to judge anything as good or
bad. Good and bad are meaningless without context. And usually a good part of that context hasn't happened yet.
There is a story about a very poor old man living in an even poorer community. His pride and joy were
his son and his horse. In his community anyone with a horse was considered fortunate in deed.
One day the old man's horse ran away and the town's people came to console him at his bad
fortune. He simply said, "Good fortune, bad fortune, who knows?" The town's folk thought this reaction was very odd and they walked away
wondering about the old man's sanity.
The old man's son went looking for the horse the next day. Before dark he came riding back home on
the wayward horse's back herding four other wild stallions back to his father's house. The town's people, upon hearing the news, all came to
congratulate the old man on his good fortune. Again, he simply said, "Good fortune, bad fortune, who knows?" Again, the town's people were
perplexed at his attitude.
The next day his son corralled one of the wild horses to mount it and break it. The horse threw the boy
from his back and the son broke his foot in the fall. The town's people gathered to lament the father's bad fortune. "Good fortune, bad fortune,
who knows?" said the father once more. By this time, the neighbors were certain of the old man's senility.
A few days later, the cavalry came riding through the town enlisting all able-bodied young men to fight
in a battle. The old man's son was left behind because of his injury. Yes, the town's people came to revel in the father's good fortune. But his
only response was, "Good fortune, bad fortune, who knows!"
This story never ends. And as you can see, good or bad was relative to what was known up to that point.
The same holds true for our good and bad fortunes each and every day. Surely you've had something wonderful happen to you only to discover later that it
was the worst thing that could have befallen you.
Look over your life at this time. Be grateful for all you have. Be grateful for what you don't have.
Both play a part in the bigger story of your life. When something bad happens, look at it and forgive. Forgiveness will open your eyes to a reality beyond the
moment and to the possibility of a greater good. To resent is to close your eyes to possibility and ONLY accept what you expected.
Some of our greatest fortunes come at us from unexpected directions. Good fortune, bad fortune, who
Nov 25 09 6:37 AM
As we express our gratitude, we must never
forget that the highest appreciation is
not to utter words, but to live by them.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
I'm sure we've all had the experience of hearing someone tell us how grateful they are, even though we
could tell all along that their words were less than sincere. Or we've heard people express their gratitude only to turn around and act in a way that
doesn't reflect any sort of gratitude at all. A child can tell a parent that he or she is grateful for all that parent has done, and then turn around and
act in a way that shows no respect for that parent at all.
Actions do speak louder than words, and I know that the greatest expression of gratitude that I can show
in my life is for me to live a life that demonstrates my gratitude in all of my actions. Am I grateful for the teaching that someone has contributed to my
life? Then I can put that teaching into practice. Am I grateful for the encouragement that someone has given me? Then I can pass that encouragement on. Do
I feel gratitude for someone's financial help in my life? Then I can help others to the best of my ability in their financial matters.
It's wonderful to express our gratitude. I know that it gives me a very warm feeling when someone thanks me for something that
I've done. But is it enough to just offer some words without showing that there's been some real change in my life? Can it be enough if I'm not
willing to live by those words of gratitude? "Thank you" of course denotes gratitude, but these words also imply some sort of change in my life, and
it's up to me to demonstrate that change in all I do.
Living Life Fully
Nov 26 09 7:05 AM
Joel and Victoria Osteen
"O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever"
(I Chronicles 16:34 AMP)
Gratitude is a powerful force in the life of the believer. No matter what may be happening in the world around you, you can always find something to
thank God for. Having constant gratitude shows that you have faith in God because not only do you thank Him for what He has done in the past, you thank Him for
what He will do in the future. It's that kind of faith that pleases God and causes Him to move on your behalf.
Constant gratitude also shows humility because when we are thankful, we magnify God instead of magnifying our problems. It gives us proper
perspective and opens the door for God's grace, favor, and supernatural empowerment.
So what are you grateful for today? Are you grateful for the sun that shines and brings us a new day? Are you thankful for the gift of eternal
life?As you choose an attitude of constant gratitude, you'll experience His mercy and lovingkindness in greater ways. You'll be filled with His peace
and joy and be empowered to move forward into the abundant life He has prepared for you!
in heaven, today I declare my thanks to You for all You have done in my life. Help me see Your hand of blessing as I continually acknowledge and praise Your
name. Fill me with Your peace and joy as I keep You first place in all that I do. In Jesus' Name. Amen"
Nov 21 10 8:59 AM
You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion ... your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11 (NIV)
What an amazing verse! God makes you rich in every way so you can be generous on every occasion, which will result in thanksgiving to God.
God doesn't bless you so you can be greedy; he blesses you so you can be generous. You give away and God gives back to you so you can give more away and he can give more back to you and on and on and on. God doesn't give you things so you can pile them up. When you let go of what's in your hand, it's now empty to receive greater blessings from God.
But as I've said before, God's giving to you is based on your attitude. That's why it's so important to live with an attitude of gratitude. The Bible says, "This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God" (2 Corinthians 9:12 NIV).
When you give, you are performing a service. To serve and to give is the same thing. It's two actions of love. You can't love without serving and giving. And the best part is this: your service leads to expressions of thanksgiving to God.
Take a moment to pray and express your gratitude to God.
Nov 23 10 7:58 AM
Has Thanksgiving Been Co-opted?by Ron RosePreparationThanksgiving is just around the corner, sneaking in under the radar.Has its uniqueness been co-opted or compromised by our rush towardChristmas?The answer is: "Yes."From the beginning, this American holiday was not about food andfootball, as much as it was about reserving a day to celebrate thespirit of thankfulness. It was and still is a national reminder to begrateful.Although defined by many as an emotion, I believe thankfulness is achoice -- a life choice. Followers of Jesus choose gratitude becausethey have experienced the unexpected overflow of grace. The Biblerecords Paul's often missed revelation:All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reachingmore and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to theglory of God (2 Corinthians 4:15 NIV).In short, choose thanksgiving, whether you deserve it, or not; it's aGod thing.When grace reaches people, lives change. That personal, undeserved andunmerited gift changes everything. The overwhelming response isgratitude. So, here's the nugget of truth: If you haven't reallyaccepted God's gifts, especially the ones wrapped in our pain, then youwill have trouble really enjoying this holiday.Here's the kicker:* God blesses us with tears for moments of pain, so that we willreach out and touch the hurt. Our world gets rocked so that we willdiscover the comfort God gives and the ultimate healing HEprovides.* God blesses us with anger and rage at the craziness around us, sowe will work for justice and mercy and compassion.* God blesses us in spite of bad choices, so we grow and learn andwork miracles when others least expect it.* God gives us mystery, so we will expand our awe and enjoy thewonder and stand amazed. Grace makes our thanksgiving a celebrationof HIS fingerprints.Look beyond the marketplace. Don't reduce Thanksgiving Day to turkeyand a nap.InspirationIt happened on August 5th and in minutes the tragic news echoed aroundthe world. For 17 days we knew nothing of the fate of the Chileanminors.Then, the unexpected: the news that 33 had survived.A dramatic rescue effort was launched. Engineers crafted a never beforeattempted drilling plan. A missile-looking capsule was built; andprayers united people of all faith and nationalities.Look for the fingerprints of God in the strangest places!Meanwhile, the buried, but courageous minors, discovered strengthshidden deep inside themselves. 69 days after the collapse, one at atime, the minors climbed in that tiny capsule and began their journeyto the surface.That Wednesday morning the world experienced thanksgiving wrapped inthe simple joy of fresh air and human touch.Hugs of grace rocked our world.MotivationMuse a moment or two this week.Take a walk and thank God for his grace. Think about the gifts God hasgiven you through your failures, frustrations, mess-ups, and badchoices. That's more than enough reason for the Thanksgiving season.Thank HIM for growth and change and understanding that has come throughyour adversity.Thank God for the good you have experienced especially the good youdidn't earn or deserve.Look for the fingerprints of God in the strangest places and share thespirit of thanksgiving with at least one other person.Do something that encourages others to be grateful. It's infectious.Write an unexpected "Thank You" note, or send an email. It's youroverflowing message of grace.
Nov 24 10 6:37 AM
Difficult Times (Call for Thanks)Tom Walsh
It's been a long couple of years. Starting with being laid off from my job for being over-qualified (and thus being "overpaid" at under 40k a year--thus is the life of teachers!), and then my wife and I spending eight months living apart from each other while I worked four hours away from where my wife worked, and moving on to another state, searching for work and working our way through the little money we had left until we have literally nothing at all, we've been through some pretty rough times. In a way.For though the times are tough, we both know that there are millions of people in this world who are going through tougher times than we are. We know that there are many people who have lost much more than we have. We lost a home to foreclosure, but there really was nothing we could do about that, and once I was laid off, there really wasn't any reason to live in that town any more. Yes, our credit record was hurt, but when all is said and done, there are many things in life that are much more important than a credit record. Thirty years ago, such things didn't even exist, and we got by fine, didn't we?Of course, our income over the last two years has taken a huge hit, with the months of not working and the need to relocate, but we remind ourselves that we've never been without the essential food, shelter, and clothing. That puts us in a much better situation than a huge portion of the world's people.
All you have to do is pay attention to the current news to find reasons to keep in mind for being grateful. When I was living away from my wife, I was a four-hour drive away and we saw each other only on weekends. But I was able to have an inexpensive place to live, and we were able to see each other every weekend. We often took the chance to go special places on those weekends. While we were in that situation, I read an article about a man who was living 800 miles from his family, and they saw each other only once a month. Our kids are grown and out of the house; his children were very young. And my wife met a man who lived in Phoenix while his wife was living in Florida because those were the places where they could find work. They certainly didn't see each other every weekend.And because I teach, we also had the advantage of spending Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, and spring break together.During our time apart, we both pursued our individual interests. I had plenty of time to read and write and work on lesson plans, while my wife had time to do other things that she probably wouldn't have done had we been together. She watched movies and TV shows that she knew I wasn't so fond of. We didn't just feel miserable and spend each evening being miserable--we did our best to fill our time productively and enjoy ourselves in spite of our situation.Once our time of living apart came to an end, we had to face the fact that there was no work for me where we were living, so we were forced to take a major risk and move to another state. This time, both of us were without work, and neither of us could get unemployment compensation, so the move was a huge risk and a financial disaster waiting to happen. I was fortunate enough to find work rather quickly, but the school year didn't start until almost two months after I was hired, so we still were without any income for a very long time. And there was no part-time work available at all in the meantime. But even with this new obstacle to face, we were able to be thankful for what we did have, and to enjoy life as well as we could even as our savings disappeared and our debt mounted.My intent is not to minimize the difficulties involved in hard times. I'm not trying to say that we all should keep a smile on our faces no matter what may happen to us--my wife and I had our down times, too. But if we can keep in mind that hard times will pass, and that even in the most trying of circumstances we still can find things to be thankful for, then we can find a balance in those times, and we can still be grateful for the amazing gift of life that is ours and the wonderful things that we all have to appreciate in life. We kept reminding each other that those times would pass, and pass they did. We weren't just practicing empty optimism; we were focusing on an important fact of life. And our focus on working to be grateful even when life is difficult (and we're still facing many residual effects of the many months without work) is probably the most important thing holding us up, helping us to enjoy each day as it comes rather than spend time worrying, focused on what we don't have and what we've lost. Without our gratitude, all of our trials would have been much, much worse than they have been.So on this Thanksgiving Day, we'll be focused on what we have to be thankful for, and not for all that we've lost in the last eighteen months. Life goes on, and we go on, and our lives are much richer when we keep our minds on all that's going well--and there is much that is going well, much for which we are extremely grateful.If I could give a gift to others, something that would help them to get through life, I would like to give a grateful heart. I know from experience that such a gift could help many people make their ways through many hard times, without losing their sense of self, their peace of mind, or their hope for the future.
Nov 24 10 6:41 AM
Every Day is Thanksgiving!Jeff KellerDid anything great happen to you in the last 24 hours? I mean something monumental. . . something you're so thankful for that you felt like breaking out in song? Go ahead, review your day.Maybe you're thinking about whether you received any checks in the mail; or perhaps you're just delighted because today's mail didn't include any bills! As you consider this question, you might reach the conclusion that nothing truly spectacular occurred.But, hold on for a moment.Did you have a place to stay last night, shielded from the elements? Imagine what it might be like if you and your family didn't have a roof over your heads.Is there a bathroom, plumbing or hot water where you live? Does that make your life a little more comfortable? From the time you awoke, did you have the use of your eyesight to see the sun and the beautiful blue sky? Were you able to get out of bed, walk around and go outside? Some people won't have that luxury today.How about your hearing? Can you hear the sounds of the birds chirping or the wind rustling through the trees? At breakfast, could you smell the fresh coffee brewing or the toast after it popped up in the toaster? What would a day be like if you couldn't hear or smell. . . or if you couldn't taste your food? Yes, there ARE people who don't have the full use of these senses. And what about those things that aren't necessary to survive, but thatenhance your day-to-day existence -- items like a car, a radio, a television or a computer? Are you truly thankful for these and other gifts you regularly use?Celebrate Each Precious GiftI'm sure that you get my point. Each day, we have dozens of reasons to give thanks. Yet we generally take these things for granted and fail to see them as precious items to be cherished. Of course, when any one of them is taken from us, even temporarily, we take notice. But, day in and day out, we rarely consider our blessings.Why am I making such a big fuss about this? It's simple. When you focus on gratitude and other positive emotions, you feel better and are more relaxed, more creative and more productive. You also have a positive influence on those around you, at work and at home.Here, then, are a few things you can do to cultivate an "attitude of gratitude" in your life:1. Think about your blessings daily. The key is to develop a habit of focusing on things you are grateful for. Put a note on your bathroom mirror or carry a card in your wallet or purse with the message, "Count Your Blessings."Set aside time each day to reflect on how fortunate you are. This isn't a time-consuming chore, and you'll be amazed at the results!2. Verbalize your gratitude. During conversations at work and at home, express your appreciation for all of the wonderful things and people in your life. If you live in a country that allows you freedom of expression and the right to pursue your dreams, tell others how much you appreciate that.Express your gratitude to supportive coworkers and family members. Call your parents and let them know how much you value the sacrifices they made for you while you were growing up.3. Shift the focus away from difficulties. When problems arise and you've done all you can to remedy them, train your mind to bring your attention back to your blessings. This helps you to keep things in perspective -- e.g., recognizing that your health and basic necessities in life are more important than the fact that the office copier will be out of order for a few hours. Besides, when you are relaxed and experiencing positive emotions, you stand a far better chance of coming up with solutions to your difficulties.4. Lift others in need. One of the best ways to use your gifts (health, energy, attitude, etc.) is to share them with others who are having a rough time. Can you lend a helping hand to a co-worker, friend, relative or other person in yourcommunity?Merely spending time with someone in need, or giving a few words of encouragement can make a tremendous difference to that person, while helping you to develop a deeper sense of gratitude about how well-off you are.It costs you nothing to be grateful and appreciative, yet it has a considerable impact on the quality of your life. So, don't waste another minute. Every day, reflect on the priceless gifts you've been enjoying. Openly share your gratitude with others.And, the next time somebody asks if anything great happened to you today, you'll have plenty to say!
Nov 26 10 7:26 AM
Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be,it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate allthat we have, on every level. We need to literally “countour blessings,” give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoythem, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have.Shakti Gawain The end of November always brings Thanksgiving in the United States, possibly the most incredible secular holiday in the world. It's simply amazing that an entire nation of people will stop almost everything for an entire day simply to give thanks for all that they have. Gratitude is one of the most important keys to a happy life for all of us, and if we can learn to be truly thankful for our situations in life, we can learn to be happy, fulfilled, and content. Being thankful and having a heart full of gratitude is one of the prerequisites to happiness, for there really is no way to appreciate and enjoy what we've been given without a sense of gratitude to make every aspect of our lives brighter.It's certainly not something that just "happens." Gratitude is an active concept, and it's important that we focus on it if it's to be a major part of our lives. We can easily go through every day of our lives without focusing on all that we're thankful for if we don't make the effort to see, to realize, to appreciate.Gratitude also builds upon itself. The more we practice it, the more we see to be thankful for, and the more thankful we are. Likewise, though, the less we practice being grateful, the less we will see to be thankful for, and the less fulfilling our lives will be.We all have many blessings, and if we choose to see them as such and be thankful for them, then our gratitude will go a long way towards making our lives richer and more fulfilling, with a richness that doesn't depend on material goods or financial wealth, but on all that we already have in our lives, all that we can be truly thankful for.Living Life Fully
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