Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. We have so much for which to be grateful. Betty and I are spending the next few days with our son, Randy; his wife, Debbie; and their four children. Our daughters, Robin and Rhonda, are joining together with their families in Oklahoma. We will likely be all together for Christmas. I hope you are enjoying time with those you love.
When I consider all the things for which to give God praise and thanksgiving, the list is endless. Let me share just a few:
First, I am grateful for a personal relationship with God as Father, through faith in Jesus Christ.I joyfully share that I do not merely have a religious association or affiliation. I enjoy a meaningful, personal relationship with a living God. I can honestly say that in the past few years, I have been able to identify more fully with the heart of our heavenly Father. If you wonder what I perceive to be on God’s heart, let me state very clearly: You are. God loves you more than anyone could adequately communicate. That love was certainly expressed in the gift of His son—not only through the miraculous birth, but through the sacrificial, painful death on the cross. He died for us. He is alive to express His love through each one who will yield to His will.
I am grateful for your friendship. The fact that you would even read my commentaries and perhaps pass them on, blesses me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I am grateful for those who help us meet the needs of others.We have joined hearts and hands to offer help and hope to the hurting. We have been able to lift people out of despair and point them in a meaningful direction because of God’s love and the partnership we enjoy with others. Thank you for helping make this possible. Whether we give food to the hungry, a cup of water to the thirsty or a water well to a village, we are doing it because of the overflowing gratitude of our hearts for what God has freely given
I have faced many challenges in my own personal life, but God in His grace has lifted me up and out of every pit of defeat and discouragement, while helping focus my eyes on the needs of others. I have found indescribable joy in sharing what He entrusts to our watch care.
Recently, as I was praising God during a time of meditation, I asked, “God, why have you blessed me and my family? We have seen miracles in every area of our lives. Please tell me so I can share it with others. I want everyone to be blessed beyond measure.” God certainly does. In answer to my request, He brought to my mind Romans 12:15. The verse exploded in my mind. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”
God made clear to me, “I bless those who do this.” He reminded me how I’ve been able to rejoice with everyone who has reason to rejoice…or has reasons that they should rejoice. I am overwhelmed with joy at the blessings that come to others. I have also been able to weep with those who weep with a God-given concern and compassion. I deeply care. There is no way I can possibly understand all the pain or difficulties some people go through. No one can. We have seen friends lose loved ones in the past few weeks. We have close friends who are in serious battles with cancer and other diseases. With these losses and challenges, every one of them could clearly say to us, “No one can understand,” and the fact is, it is impossible to adequately understand the pain others often experience. We can, however, care deeply and let it be known that we would do anything to lift the load.
As I was praying and meditating on the importance of the truth God had pressed on my heart, it was revealed to me that if you can’t rejoice with others and truly care about their sorrow, you will likely find yourself stuck in your own sorrow. We don’t have to live “stuck.” Everyone should ask God to help them understand the importance of rejoicing over other people’s good fortune. We must also become aware of the importance of entering God’s presence—His courts—with thanksgiving. Giving thanks in all things and living with a grateful heart is more liberating than I can clearly communicate in a single article. I really feel that what God shared with me concerning thanksgiving and praise in behalf of others enables us to experience a freedom beyond comprehension but available to everyone.
I don’t know where you are in your life’s journey, but I want you to know that if I could take you by the hand in your most difficult hour and just let you know I care, I would do it. So believe this: God cares, and I care enough in my own heart that I’m spending extended periods of time praying for all who have communicated with us concerning a challenge or sorrow. I am lifting them up before the throne of God with thanksgiving for the privilege of bearing their burden through intercession.
If you are experiencing some of the most blessed times in your life, I rejoice with you. There is no envy or covetousness in my heart, and I can’t tell you how liberating it is to be able to say that. I pray God reveals how important this principle is to a person’s spiritual well-being.
I’m grateful we have a national holiday appropriately encouraging everyone to express thanksgiving to God, family and friends. During this time, when we rightfully remind people of the importance of being grateful, I am thankful that we can relate not only to one another, but to God our Father and the concerns of His heart.
May God not only bless you but continually bless others through you. This is my prayer in your behalf. Happy Thanksgiving!