Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

 

Thanksgiving

 

For your consideration …

“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.” – 1 Chronicles 16:34

“To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might.” ~Daniel 2:23

“I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” ~Psalm 7:17

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” ~Psalm 9:1

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” ~Psalm 28:7

“O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever!” ~Psalm 30:12

“In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever.” ~Psalm 44:8

“I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.” ~Psalm 57:9

“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.” ~Psalm 69:30

“We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.” ~Psalm 75:1

“But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.” ~Psalm 79:13

“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.” ~Psalm 86:12

“Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!” ~Psalm 97:12

“Sing a new song to the Lord, for He has done wonderful deeds.” ~Psalm 98:1

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” ~Psalm 100:4

“Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” ~Psalm 106:1

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” ~Psalm 118:1

“You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.” ~Psalm 118:28

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” ~Psalm 126:3

“Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever.” ~Psalm 136:3

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~1 Corinthians 15:57

“Thank God for His gift that is too wonderful for words!” ~ 2 Corinthians 9:15

“Give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” ~Ephesians 5:20

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” ~Colossians 3:17

“Let us be thankful and please God by worshipping Him.” ~Hebrews 12:28

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

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Are you thankful for the Word of God and all the reminders of how much we have to be grateful for?

What a Day of ThanksLIVING Looks Like

What a Day of ThanksLIVING Looks Like

 

What a Day of ThanksLIVING Looks Like

 

My friend, Sue Bohlin, posted a blog last week that I knew I needed to share with you so here it is. You will react, I’m just not sure how. You may be humbled. I’ll be shocked if you’re not. Inspired? Yes. Convicted? Possibly. I definitely was.

Perhaps you read in one of my earlier blogs that “thankfulness” comes from an old Anglo Saxon word, “thinkfulness.” From the day I learned that, I’ve approached gratitude differently.

Sue writes about “thanksliving.” Thinking about living with thanks is always challenging. It was extra challenging to read Sue’s words because she is a survivor of childhood polio and rides a scooter to get around. Yet, she’s thankful. She’s so thankful she leads a life of “thanksliving.” I want to be more like Sue.

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Guest post by Sue Bohlin

“Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father . . .” (Ephesians 5:20). That’s a pretty tall order: all the time? for all things? Seriously?

When I was first challenged to obey this scripture, some 44 years ago, I thought that surely it wasn’t translated properly. Or maybe there was a footnote. Or an asterisk. Surely some kind of loophole, right?

Nope. It means just what it says. We can continually give thanks for all things because if God is truly in control, then everything He allows us to experience comes with His permission-and thus He has a plan. For everything He allows. Even if we can’t see it.

It became a way of life for me, and has been a habit for over four decades. With the celebration of Thanksgiving looming, I paid attention to what that long-standing habit sounds like in the course of a day.

[Upon waking] “Oh, it’s morning. Thank You, Lord, that my radio came on at the right time. That means we had uninterrupted electricity all night.” Alternatively, “Oh, it’s morning. Thank You so much for the blessing of being able to sleep till I woke up, with no alarm! What a blessing!”

[Upon turning over in bed] “Lord, thank You so, so much that I can shift position without pain now! Thank you again for the stem cell treatment that made it possible!”

[Upon getting out of bed into my mobility scooter] “Lord, {ouch ouch ouch} I thank You that the pain of moving from the bed to my scooter will dissipate quickly. And thank You again that I have a scooter for getting around.”

[Standing up to transfer from the scooter to the commode] “Owwwwww! But Lord, I thank You for the grab bars to lean on, and thank You for the new tall handicap toilet. It is so much easier to use this than the regular ones everywhere else.”

[Riding to the kitchen] “Lord, thank You for speed and painlessness! I love being the fastest one in the house!”

[Making coffee] “Lord! Bless You for creating coffee! Thank You for caffeine! Thank You for my coffee maker, and half and half, and sweetener. Thank You for mugs. Thank You for Central Market and the wonderful flavored coffees I can get there. Thank You for blessing [our son] Kevin in the coffee world—Lord, order his steps today in Nepal while he’s investigating becoming coffee partners with farmers there, and use him to help fight sex trafficking through coffee instead.”

Sue’s Thanksliving Continues

[Moving to the couch] “Oh Lord, owwwww—thank You that the pain will subside quickly, and thank You for our couch and the table to hold my coffee while I read Your word. Thank You for a Bible in English and the ability to read. Thank You for the Holy Spirit to illumine its meaning to me. Thank You for an online Bible reading program from my church that allows me to join with thousands of people worldwide in reading the same passage and then reading a devotional from one of our members. Thank You for the technology that allows me to affirm the devo writer and share my take on today’s reading.”

[Preparing to take a shower] “Thank You again, Lord, for this magnificent roll—in shower You gave us in the recent renovation to make our house handicap-friendly. Thank You for the grab bars and for the bench seat that lets me sit down. Thank You for the hand-held shower. And for hot water. And for clean hot water! And for 24/7 clean hot water! Thank You for the blessing of being able to take it for granted, but Lord, I don’t want to take it for granted.”

Sue Leaves Her Home

[Getting in the car] “Thank You, Lord, for [our son who lives with us] Curt’s availability to help me get in and out of the car and take care of the scooter. Thank You that the barometric pressure is stable today so my pain level is lower. Thank You that no rain is forecast. Oh, there’s our trash bin at the edge of the driveway; thank You for helping Ray remember to get it out before the garbage truck came by. And thank You for garbage pick-up, Lord! Thank You for people willing to take care of that for us!”

[Driving] “Thank You for paved roads, Lord. And for traffic lights. And for the engineers who set all that up. Thank You that everybody drives on the same side of the street. And thank You for everybody honoring that red lights mean stop and green lights mean go. Thank You that I can read all the road signs and street sights because they’re in English. I remember sounding out the Cyrillic letters in Belarus like a kindergartner, and thank You for helping me do that when I was able to go, but today I’m thankful to be surrounded by English!”

[Arriving at church for Bible study] “Thank You, Lord, for the growing number of friends in ‘Sue’s Scooter Army’ who are trained to help me by getting the scooter out of the car and bringing it to me at the driver’s seat. Thank You for their sweet joy in genuinely being glad to help. Thank You for making my love language acts of service, so it makes me feel so loved!”

[Riding into the church] “Lord, thank You for electricity, and comfort because of the heating and air conditioning. Thank You there’s nobody threatening to arrest or persecute us for coming to church. Thank You for the freedom to study Your word publicly . . . and Lord, today I am so very very grateful for the privilege of teaching Your word to precious women who are so teachable and so appreciative. Thank You for the ramp that allows me to ride my scooter onto the stage. Thank You for the face mic that lets me keep my hands free. Thank You for the lights, and the padded chairs, and the audio system, and for Powerpoint that’s working so everybody can see the slides I prepared. Thank You for the other leaders who helped me do my run through the other day so I could make my lecture even better. Thank You, Lord, for your Holy Spirit to empower me to speak Your truth in Your strength, to Your glory.”

And that takes me to 10:30. That’s what thanksLIVING looks like.

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What Do You Think? What Will You Do?

I’m going to pay more attention to the elements of my day and my attitude toward each. Will you join me? Let’s be brave!

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Sue Bohlin is a speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries, a Christian organization that helps people to think biblically. She loves teaching women and laughing, and if those two can be combined, all the better. She also loves speaking for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women’s Clubs) on the topic How to Handle the Things You Hate But Can’t Change, based on her lifelong experience as a polio survivor.

She has a freelance calligraphy business in her home studio; hand lettering was her “Proverbs 31 job” while her children were young. Sue also serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered organization that helps people struggling with unwanted homosexuality and the family members of those with same-sex attractions.

Sue never met a cruise ship she didn’t like, especially now that God has provided a travel scooter for getting around any ship! She is happily married to Dr. Ray Bohlin, writer and speaker on faith and science with Probe Ministries, and they have two grown sons. You can follow Sue on Twitter @suebohlin.

Sue first guest-posted for me back in May. You can read that blog about helping teens continue strong in their faith here. She blogs regularly at Bible.org/Engage. You may enjoy following her there.

What Do You Truly Value?

What Do You Truly Value?

What Do You Truly Value?

 

What you value matters. Greatly. And your values are – or should be – related to gratitude. Let’s continue our series about having a thankfulness month and not just a thanksgiving day.

What do you value? How do you think your children would answer that question?

Notice, I didn’t ask you what you say you value. I asked what you do value. These are two different questions.

Keep these questions in mind if you do the “thinkfulness exercise” I recommended on Monday.  Do your true values show up or will you discover, by what you say you’re thankful for, that you may have different values? This is worth thinking about. Be thinkful.

For example, in the samples I included in Monday’s blog, I mention Jesus, my brother, and our country. They’re high values of mine.

If you say…

If you say you value creativity, how might that show up when you think about being grateful? Are you grateful for your ability to choose colors that go well together when decorating? Are you thankful your daughter enjoys shopping because she creatively puts clothes together to make unique outfits? Or did nothing representing creativity make your list? Then maybe it’s not as high of a value as you think it is.

Do you say you value teamwork? How might that show up when you talk about people and things you’re grateful for? Maybe you remember your character quality of humility, specifically that you don’t always need to be recognized for your part in a group’s success. Maybe you list your son’s support from the bench for the starting members of his basketball team. Or, if there is nothing on your list representing teamwork, is it actually a high value?

And, how about this: I can’t imagine you don’t value people more than things. Is there evidence on your lists? This is worth thinking about. Remember, thankfulness comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning thinkfulness. If you’re not happy with your lists, slow down and spend some time thinking. Then, make some changes.

Because values influence everything – our use of time, talents, resources, and our relationships – they’re worth thinking about. I hope this short blog has helped you.

Thankfulness Comes From Thinkfulness

Thankfulness Comes From Thinkfulness

Thankfulness Comes From Thinkfulness

 

Last Wednesday, on November 1, I suggested that November could be a month of thankfulness rather than be a month with one thanksgiving day. Does that appeal to you?

We would be better off if we become grateful people and not just say we’re thankful. We need to recognize what and who we can be and even should be grateful for. Some people make a list. Some keep a gratitude journal. I think doing something has value. It makes gratitude more concrete and real. This may be especially true for children of all ages.

Thankfulness comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word, “thinkfulness.” As I wrote about it in Screens and Teens, Thinking leads to thanking. I’m not talking about teens who say “thank you” because their dads glare at them. I’m talking about grateful being who we are, not just what we do and say. Gratitude can be a built-in part of our identities. This is what allows us to be thankful “in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). (page 79)

Let’s get our kids thinking about thankfulness. Maybe it would help focus their thoughts if we gave them categories to think about. They could make lists or just process ideas internally and then talk with you. Young children can dictate their answers to you or older siblings. I picture some of you collecting, posting, and talking about many lists! (If you do, I’d love to see pictures.)

Let’s Get Practical

Try these categories. Let me know what you think of to add. Maybe you could put each set of words on a piece of paper, assign each family member a color of pen or pencil, and start writing. If you leave the papers out somewhere, hopefully each of you will stop by often as you think of things to add. Remember to discuss why you’re grateful on the nights when you make time to go through the lists.

You might want to list a few things first on each paper to provide examples. After a few days, help your children who haven’t listed much think more. Discern why they’re hesitant. What don’t they understand about gratitude?

One more comment before I give you the categories. This exercise is very self-focusing. That’s fine because the only people who will be grateful are those who know what they can be grateful for. But, we don’t want this to encourage self-centeredness or pride. You can expand the idea to be more family-centered if you’d like. For instance, you could put each person’s name on a piece of paper and have others list things about that person they’re grateful for. If they’ve already used the categories when thinking about themselves, it should be easier to think of things from the categories for you and their siblings without even listing the categories on the family pieces of paper.

Thinkfulness Categories for Thankfulness

  • attitudes, actions, beliefs
    • For example, among other things, I’m grateful for my positive outlook, actions I’ve taken so I will lose weight, and my belief in Christ.
  • people, things
    • For example, among other things, I’m grateful for my brother because of his constant support and for a new shelf a friend built for me that is allowing me to have easy access to some of my favorite books. (Look not only at what your children list, but the order in which they list everything. Are many things listed before any people? Or, are the only people they list family members? Have a conversation.)
  • strengths, challenges, interests
    • For example, among other things, I’m grateful for my problem-solving abilities. Your children may be surprised to find  “challenges” as a category. It’s so worth thinking about these things with the big picture of life in mind. For instance, I’m grateful for each of my three knee surgeries because God used them to show me I couldn’t do everything myself. I learned to ask for help and to allow people to serve me. People were blessed and I’m a better person. I’m grateful I’m interested in our government, our country’s Christian heritage, and our future as a nation.
  • spiritual self, emotional self, social self, intellectual self, physical self, character self
    • For example, among other things, I’m grateful:
      • Spiritual: the examples of Nehemiah and Esther from God’s Holy Word inspire me.
      • Emotional: it’s been a long time since I was surprised by my quick temper.
      • Social: I love introducing people to others and watching their friendships flourish.
      • Intellectual: I enjoy putting ideas together in new ways.
      • Physical: my back is much better.
      • Character: I’ve become more teachable, especially in regards to what I need to do to lose weight.
  • past, present, future
    • For example, among other things, in my past, I’m grateful that my parents encouraged my brother and me to pursue our musical interests because we still enjoy music today. In the present, I’m grateful for an excellent chiropractor who is staying knowledgeable through many training opportunities. For the future, I’m grateful for opportunities coming up that will allow me (and all of Celebrate Kids) to influence more people. (And, I can’t wait until I can fill everyone in!)

Don’t wait

If you read something that makes sense, don’t wait to implement your ideas. Thanksgiving is a day 17 days away, but we can have a month full of thanksgiving. And starting now will make the day more meaningful than typical. We can celebrate thankfulness this month!

A Month Of Thanksgiving

A Month of Thanksgiving

A Month Of Thanksgiving

 

Picture your ideal Thanksgiving. Did you think of the food? Or did you think first of the people you’d be with? I wouldn’t be surprised if both of these came to mind. Maybe you pictured yourself gathered with others on the couch to watch the big parade. Or football. Or both.

What if we thought more about the conversations we’d like to have? If we think about them now, maybe we can plan for them to happen.

What would we sound like and look like in 22 days – on Thanksgiving – if we thought about being thankful every day this month? Or, what if instead of celebrating Thanksgiving day we celebrated Thanksgiving month?

What would have to be true for us to be able to celebrate thankfulness?

  • Think more about what we have than about what we don’t have.
  • Believe all we are and all we have are gifts.
  • Believe nothing is guaranteed.
  • Know we deserve nothing.
  • Believe something is better than nothing.
  • Believe “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23)

Beliefs cause behaviors. Absolutely.

Therefore, it makes sense to understand that we’ll influence children’s behaviors the most when we work to change their beliefs. Of course, the same is true for you and me. What do we talk about? What don’t we talk about? How much of our talk could be classified as complaining? Which of our beliefs need to change?

What would you add to the above list of beliefs? Think about negative behaviors related to thankfulness that you’d like to change in your life or the life of your kids. Maybe, entitlement attitudes? Being demanding? Complaining? Selfishness? Confusing wants with needs? Something else? What beliefs are their foundation?

Therefore, if we want giving thanks to be automatic on Thanksgiving day, we need to start thinking about, talking about, and praying about corresponding beliefs now. We can help children be truly thankful and not just say they are because the date on the calendar requires it. We can change, too.

So we’ll have to work at it, be aware of what we are and are not modeling, and have some deep conversations. Are you willing? Is it worth it to you?