“Encouraging Words Today” November 4, 2010
by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Growing up, our ‘ticket’ to Thanksgiving Dinner was a Thankful List. My sisters and I tried to outdo one another in seeing how many things we could each write down! Mama and Daddy not only wanted us to Count our Blessings (“name them one-by-one…”) but, perhaps more importantly, they wanted us to know Whom to Thank —GOD the Provider and Giver of all good gifts.
While crunchy autumn leaves and frost-on-the-pumpkin heralds the season of Thanksgiving here in New England, the truth is we should be mindful of living in gratitude every day of the year! I call it ThanksLiving! St. Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus, “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” (Ephesians 1.16) And he told the church at Philippi, “I thank my God every time I remember you.” (Philippians 1.3)
My good friend, Carole Lewis, has taught me so much about ThanksLiving, especially after her own daughter was killed on Thanksgiving Day a few years ago. In her upcoming book “Hope 4 You”, she shares an important lesson about the healing power of a thankful heart.
“When we’re in the midst of difficult circumstances — shock at the sudden death of a loved one, for example — we often don’t realize how a close walk with the Lord prepares us to be thankful. This, to me, is the beauty of memorizing Scripture. Not only have we hidden the truth of God’s Word in our heart, but the Holy Spirit also calls it to our attention by bringing a key verse to the surface of our grieving and overwhelmed mind… At the time of my daughter Shari’s death, I never dreamed that thankfulness would be one of the resources God would use to heal the huge void left in my heart. I know that people grieve in different ways and that everyone is different, but I have come to believe that being thankful in the midst of tragic circumstances is the key to moving toward healing.”
Why not compose your own Thankful List? Perhaps it will help you get started if you gain a new perspective and world view:
You are truly blessed if you…
· Woke up this morning with more health than illness (up to a billion people around the world are more sick than well).
· Live out the week (millions around the world won’t).
· Do not live in danger of battle (people in more than 50 nations have war or conflict at their front door).
· Aren’t in prison (millions around the world are incarcerated, with estimates that at least 20% are innocent of the charges against them or are being held as political hostages).
· Have enough to eat (20 million people around the world don’t).
· Can attend church without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death (3 billion people in the world cannot).
· Have food in your cupboards or refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep (you are ahead of 75% of the world).
· Have money in the bank or your wallet, or even ‘spare change’ (you are ahead of 92% of the world).
· Can read (2 billion people around the world cannot).
· Have both parents alive and still married (most people in the United States are not as fortunate).
“It is a good Thanksgiving because we have Someone to thank who loves us, who shows Himself to us in the dark and who is in control of the mess. Some of us will have more ‘stuff’ than others. Some will be going through some rough waters and some will be sailing through the calm between the storms. Some will be facing emotional or physical pain, loss of a loved one or the prospect of great failure, while others will be sitting on top of the world. Those aren’t even the issues though. The issue is God. Run to Him. Thanksgiving will be natural.”
Under the mercy, CINDY
©2010 Lucinda Secrest McDowell