Thursday, November 24, 2011

Time to Give Thanks

Today's passage:  Nehemiah 12:8
     Nehemiah records the ceremony and dedication when the Jerusalem wall was finally rebuilt.  I thought the following verse was interesting:  "Moreover the Levites:  Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah and Mattaniah, which was over the thanksgiving, he and his brethren."  I guess I was amused that they actually assigned people to make sure the people were thankful.  I'm wondering how much thanks we would give if we didn't have this holiday?  Would we take time to count our blessings?  Would we set aside time each day to tell God thanks for all He has done in our lives?  I'm thankful for a day when we are encouraged to remember all the blessings in our lives.  I have so many, but here are a few on my thankful list for this year.

  • My salvation.  I can't imagine living life here without having peace about my next life.  I'm so thankful for how God found me and saved my worthless soul.  I had a childhood of knowing about God, but not really knowing Him, and I'm grateful that as a teenager, God brought me to a place where I could hear the simple plan of salvation and accept Christ's payment for my sins.
  • God's Word.  I'm thankful that God gave me a Book to know exactly what He wanted me to know about Him.  I'm glad God didn't leave me in this Christian life as a clueless wanderer, wondering where to go or what to do next.  He gave me a manual to tell me how to live.
  • Prayer.  I have a power on earth greater than any sorcerer.  When I kneel before Him, giving Him praise for who He is, getting my heart right from convicting sin, thanking Him for all He has done and is doing, asking Him to help me and others in all aspects of life, I can see miracles happen.  Sometimes I'm envious of all that the disciples were able to witness when Christ was here on earth, but I have that same privilege every time I go to God, and see Him answer.
  • My husband.  God knew the exact partner that would need my strengths and complement my weaknesses.  He knew the exact man who would tolerate all my flaws and foibles.  He gave me a man of God who is devoted to me and devoted to his children.  My husband is a hard worker who always puts our needs before his own.  He has a teachable spirit, willing to ask for help when he is unsure.  He enjoys simple pleasures and a simple life.
  • My children.  The three boys God has given me to raise have such diverse personalities.  I see a little of God in each one of them.  My oldest has an intelligence beyond his years.  His charisma and enthusiasm allow him to be a natural leader.  He wants to live for God, and is already encouraging his younger brothers to do so.  He is a wonderful big brother.  My middle son has the energy of ten boys.  He already asks me to tell him Bible stories, I think his day of salvation is near.  He is my Jacob, helping me with anything around the house.  Then there is my baby, my youngest.  He has such a sweet temper.  He is easily led, with a big heart for his family and animals.  He enjoys being outdoors, already expressing wonder at God's creations.
  • My extended family.  I never realized how strained relationships could be between parents and children, in-laws and parents, brothers and sisters.  I never knew it because God has blessed me with a family that gets along.  That is a great credit to my parents.  When we lived overseas, it was often only us, and we did things together as a famly that have kept us close even today.  I am thankful for marrying into a family who has embraced me.  I cherish the holidays I get to spend with each side of the family.
  • A home.  In this economy, I don't count this as a light thing.  God gave us a house 10 years ago that has not been a money pit.  How thankful I am for that.  We have made improvements, there have been repairs, but God has kept us afloat when the mortgage seemed higher than we could pay.  Somehow, the money is always there, even on a one-person income and we have not fallen into any kind of foreclosure danger.
  • My husband's job.  Again, when jobs are hard to find, this is a big blessing.  He has been able to be employed in the same place for seventeen years.  His job is difficult.  It is stressful.  He needs wisdom every day on how to handle situations, because any one of them could result in complaints or accusations of misconduct.  I'm thankful that God has given him an even temper, not prone to vengeance so that he can handle people in the most appropriate fashion.  This whole last year he was able to be on the day shift.  For the first time in our marriage, we were able to eat dinner together every night, put the kids to bed, and have alone time.  It has been very nice.  And we just found out that he will be on days for this next year as well.  Thank you God!
  • My health.  More than ever, I understand the saying, "Well, you still have your health."  I have not suffered from any illnesses or diseases.  Neither has any of my family.  
  • My church.  I'm so happy to be in a place of worship that is concerned about the whole world.  I never worry about not getting truth. The people I worship with are my family.  They are my brothers and sisters and when they hurt, I hurt.  When they rejoice, I rejoice.  It is a joy to worship in a place that is a picture of Heaven, believers united from many different countries.  
  • The United States of America.  I could have been born in a third world country. God could have placed me in the slums of India or Communist China.  But he didn't.  He allowed me to be born in a country of freedom.  Because of that, I have been able to learn about Him.  I am able to celebrate as the Pilgrims did that I can freely worship Him.  

     Obviously, I could go on and on.  God has given me so much for which to be thankful.  I didn't even touch on His protection, His provision, and His graciousness.  He is gracious to me because when I am ignorant of what I am doing wrong in my life, He gives me time to grow and learn and change.  When so many others are rushing on to the next holiday, I'm glad we have a time set aside to remember to be thankful.  Aren't you?  Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

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