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    The Thanks Giving Key

    A few years ago I was invited to go on an overseas mission trip. This journey was to a country on the other side of the world with a foreign culture and language, and would take almost 24 hours to get there. No doubt many of you readers have done the same, and know the planning, anticipation and excitement of such a trip. Still, it’s not unusual to have a little nagging insecurity regarding the unknowns, and that was how I was feeling. I would be traveling alone on a long leg of the trip, navigating an unfamiliar airport with a tight connection and felt a little uneasy about it.…

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    Running the Race of Life

    As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us are gearing up for our favorite running day of the year. Even non-runners love the annual Turkey Trot where young and old alike jog in anticipation of the great feast ahead. Then you can eat all the turkey dinner you want AND have a second helping of dessert guilt-free. Okay, maybe that last part is just my tradition. Unfortunately, I can’t run this year due to a back injury. Doctor’s orders. As I’ve lamented and longed to run again, a new picture has emerged: Life as a race with hurdles and PR’s (personal records). Scripture says: “Since we are surrounded by such a great…

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    Give Thanks In…

    At the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln formally scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November. He implored all U.S. Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation” (History of Thanksgiving). With Thanksgiving just 17 days away, families and friends are making preparations for food, festivities, and football. We excel at making external preparations. But are we preparing internally for Thanksgiving? Are our hearts ready to give thanks? With the political intensity of the last several months, it’s easy to forget that…

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    Keeping Grace at the Holiday Table

    When my husband and I would visit my parents, we liked to take bets about how long it would before my Dad would bring up the subject of the driverless car. After all, he was a transportation engineer for more than 3 decades, so he couldn’t help himself. It was fun for us to exchange knowing glances when the conversation really picked up steam, and Dad never disappointed.  Time with family can be so fun.  It’s often predictable.  I have highlighted a pleasant, recurring theme in my family, but I definitely have some recurring behavior that I unleash when I’m with my family that isn’t so sweet or benign.  So…

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    Practicing Gratitude—A Challenge

    A recent leadership conference I attended focused on gratitude. The Chief Executive Officer of the company thought correction in how some members were running their businesses was needed, and therefore spent at least twenty to thirty minutes discussing: How to get gratitude, How to practice it, and How to extend it.  When a CEO of a multi-million dollar company spends that amount of time on any subject, it’s evident that it’s important and is an issue in today’s world, or in that company at least. As it turns out, expressing gratitude (i.e. giving thanks) was an issue in the ancient world, too. The Psalmist and the Apostle Paul spent considerable…

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    Thankfulness and God’s Sovereignty

    Whoa! Started my day with a little conviction today–ouch. God laid it on me that I have not had a thankful, grateful heart lately! So I spent some time in the Word today looking at thankfulness. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 summed up a lot of what God desires in me: “Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NET) The last part of that brief verse is at least as important as the first part. When I give thanks, I embrace what God wants for my life. I recognize He places in my life both the people I naturally love and the ones…

  • Heartprints

    The Importance of Thanksgiving

          I love Thanksgiving.   Actually, I don’t just love it, I need it.   I need a day that forces me to focus on being  thankful—taking pause to remember the good  things, the blessings God has provided—the  happy and the not so happy.    It’s easy in this Holiday season, with Christmas  fast approaching and Black Friday shopping  impending, to skip over Thanksgiving all  together.     We’ve already started making our lists and  maybe even decorated (not that there is anything wrong with that).  And, if you’re like me, the hustle and bustle of the season makes me start dreading Christmas all-together and I too soon start…

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    Heartprints

    A Thankful Heart is a Healthy Heart

    Did you know that in the Net Bible there are 77 verses that have the words “give thanks?”  The first is found in 2 Samuel 22:50, “So I will give you thanks, O Lord, before the nations! I will sing praises to you.” The last is found in Revelation 11:17 “with these words: ‘We give you thanks, Lord God, the All-Powerful, the one who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and begun to reign…’”  1 Chronicles 16:8“Give thanks to the Lord! Call on his name! Make known his accomplishments among the nations!” Over and over in verse after verse we are commanded to “give thanks.”…

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    Thanksgiving: How the Practice of Gratitude leads to the Presence of Contentment

    “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content…I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Eph 4:11-12). I used to read those verses and think, “Good for you, Paul…I wish.” Contentment and I have a troubled history. Many reasons: chronic illness, physical limitations, and especially the propensity to live in the future ( I think I will be content when I get married…have a baby…accomplish this career or ministry vision…) As a future oriented person who has always lived with chronic, holy frustration, reading Ann Voskamp's book, 1000 Gifts seven years ago changed me. Her close-to-the-heart chronicle of her journey into thanksgiving and…

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    Heartprints

    A Holy Harvest

    Fall is finally here and with it the harvest.  There are many kinds of harvests. One of them happens, not in the fall, but because of the fall, the fall of man into sin. Words are like seeds. Once spoken they are planted in the hearts of the hearer. They too produce a harvest. Words can be a harvest of blessing but unloving words produce a harvest of hurt.  I remember running to my mom crying, just a little girl hurting inside, crying because of ugly words. I was broken hearted by caustic remarks. My mother, taught me a little rhyme that she had used as a child: “Sticks and…