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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…

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    Giving Thanks for Everything

    Today, some of us will gather around festive tables, eating our fill of roasted turkey, whipped potatoes, and pumpkin pie. It’s Thanksgiving in the United States, and so we pause today to celebrate —to give thanks—for a year filled with beautiful and hard things. But it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Perhaps there’s a chair at our table sitting empty this year. There’s a longing within us that a smile can’t dull. Maybe there’s financial stress that the holidays only highlight. A festive tablescape and full stomach may make us feel good for a moment, but they cannot fix the hurts and heartaches that we often carry with us…

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    A Prayer of Thanksgiving

                        Lord today we stop to come before you—to remember the reason why we give thanks. We live in such fragile times and if we are not careful this day will pass us by. The jingling of bells, the sparkle of lights, and the Black Friday sales already have captured our attention. Lord, keep our eyes only on you. May we get rid of any distractions today that will eclipse the glory of thankful worship.   Lord help us as we prepare to serve our family, friends, and guests. We ask you to get our hearts ready to serve wholeheartedly, unconditionally,…

  • Impact

    Thanksgiving 2017

    It’s Thanksgiving. But let’s suppose you can’t be very thankful this year.   Let’s suppose you have spent more than five years pouring yourself into a group of people who are not thankful for you at all. You have given them everything you have. You have not charged them anything for your sacrifice. While you have not complained to them or asserted yourself over them, you have been faithful to them and truthful with them. You have given them all you can possibly offer them, and they have freely taken what they wanted and rejected the rest. No one has given as much to them as you have, and no…

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    What a Day of ThanksLIVING Looks Like

    “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 is 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.…