Tag Archives: thanksgiving

The Flip Side

Norman Rockwell never painted a Thanksgiving like the one I had this year.  I spent the day in bed with a bad case of bronchitis, missing my wife, who died six months ago.  I also mostly missed my shots to the wastebasket and scattered snotty tissues on the floor.  But, Ironically, during this less than perfect Thanksgiving day, I had a new insight about the importance of being thankful.

It was from the flip side of this familiar verse:

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  (Romans 1:21)

I have always read that verse as an explanation for how people become twisted and darkened in their thinking.  But if failing to honor and give thanks to God results in a darkened heart and mind, the converse, the flip side, must also be true.  In circumstances that seem crummy and depressing, there is a way to brighten our outlook, a way to wash the mud off our spiritual windshield.  Spend some time and mental energy in those circumstances reflecting on how amazing and holy God is, how perfect, loving, patient, gracious, all-knowing, all-powerful and eternal.  And then in those same circumstances, focus on what He has done and given for which you are thankful.

I will be honest: it took some effort to overcome feeling sorry for myself.  And when I began to get the hang of it, I was not magically transported into a Norman Rockwell version of Thanksgiving.  No satisfying blobs of turkey stuffing, drenched in gravy.  No candlelit, happy faces sharing a toast.  But something better, more long lasting happened.  My thinking became clear and my heart enlightened.  My spirits were lifted and filled with joy.  And I watched some guilt-free football.

When you are struggling, remember the flip side.  If failing to honor God and give Him thanks leads to a futile, darkened heart and mind, the reverse is also true.  It was good to discover and practice that lesson for. 

Now if I can work on my Kleenex bank shot…

Happy + Thanks + Giving Part 2

What do many rich guys have in common with toddlers?  You can find out in this continuation of the Thanksgiving message posted last time (See Happy + Thanks + Giving).

Have a great Thanksgiving Day tomorrow.  I’ll post the conclusion to this message on Friday.

Happy + Thanks + Giving – Part 1

One of the candidates for president implied he would make a good president because he has made a lot of money.  Is that really true?  Rich guys might be shrewd, but are they wise?  Not always.  God thinks some of them are fools.  Why?  Jesus explained it in His parable about a rich fool.  Here is a Thanksgiving message about that parable.

  • Couple of Notes:
    This audio message is split into three parts, which I’ll post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • The parable is found in Luke 12, beginning in verse 13.
  • When you hear me say “Remember this guy?” I’m referring to a picture I originally projected.  The picture showed a man who, as a result of persecution, was living with his family, out in the desert wilderness, with  only a few meager possessions.

Here’s the first part:

Attitude of Gratitude

Thank you for reading this.  Really, I am grateful.  I know, I know, most people will glance at the first  two words and keep skimming down through Facebook.  But not you; you are still reading.  Thanks.  I’ve been amazed (and also grateful) about how many different countries are represented among the people who read this.  Not all of you observe Thanksgiving, a time for reflecting on why we are thankful.  But when I’m thinking about that, one of the reasons I am thankful is you.

It’s curious to me how seldom we read in the Gospels about people thanking Jesus for healing them.  Of ten lepers He healed one time, only one returned to say thanks.  Another woman wept at His feet, expressing her thankfulness.  But of the 20 occurrences of the word, “thanks,” in the Gospels, almost all of them are of Jesus giving thanks to The Father.  Sometimes before the simplest of meals. Consider this:

“Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks.” (John 6:23)

It must have been that Jesus’ thankfulness was so moving, that John couldn’t speak of the meal without also including that last phrase.  Perhaps, if we could see as clearly as Jesus, our thanks would be expressed in a much more frequent and heartfelt manner.

Quote: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.