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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.…

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    Thanksgiving: Thanks and Reconciliation

    While we associate Thanksgiving with Pilgrims and Native Americans, it was Abraham Lincoln who made Thanksgiving a national holiday in the midst of the Civil War. Our country was fractured, yet in his October 3, 1863 proclamation, Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving. Not only that, he asked for prayers for “the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.” Our recent election has aggravated and exposed many divisions that have been simmering below the surface in the United States. Like it or not,…

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    Thanks Be To God – For What?

    Thanks Be To God – For What? Thanksgiving is one of the most precious times of the year because we have so much to be thankful for: our nation, family, life, health, opportunity, the list never ends.   But what if you’re in a season of uncertainty, if you’re asking what God is doing in our nation or your family is struggling or your health is questionable or you’re unemployed? What if you’re living in confusion and fear and don’t know how to respond to what is happening to you? How can you be thankful?   The apostle Paul faced that exact situation. He had written a letter of rebuke…

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    Feast on God’s Goodness

    I recently read post-election family feuds continue due to tensions and discord after the divisive and challenging campaigns that occurred here in our nation. Add a dash of protesting, a side of expectations, and the one sibling who won’t let you graduate from your fifteen-year-old self and voila! You now have a feast of dread! Happy Thanksgiving?   How should we approach this day of giving thanks? Gratitude seldom comes easy when hurt feelings, stress, and exhaustion demand our focus. The sleepless nights of uncertainty and hopelessness don’t help either. What about “the renewing of our minds?” Okay sure, but how?   Stay diligent and strive to continue to pray against…

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    Dealing with Disappointment

    There seemed to be a gigantic collective gasp at the 2016 Rio Olympics when American gymnast Simone Biles bobbled on the balance beam and had to steady herself with her hands. Instantly, the girl expected to win five gold medals lost the gold, even before finishing her otherwise excellent routine. She still won a bronze, but Simone (and the entire media machine) knew she was capable of a gold. How disappointing!  Simone handled her letdown with grace and realism, limiting her disappointment to the one missed skill rather than globalizing—as we so often do—by saying things like, “I am such an idiot! I can’t believe I did that!” Then, quickly…

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    Struggling to Feel Thankful in This Circumstance

    “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances.” That’s what I read in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. I’ve taught this principle of thankfulness to others for many years. I know it’s how I am supposed to respond to daily life, including hard situations. Yet, I am struggling to feel thankful today (ironically, the day after Thanksgiving). While attending a women’s conference in Colorado Springs last weekend that was supposed to encourage me in my own ministry to women, my dear husband broke his ankle in two places. Yep. Ambulance ride, ER, crutches, pain, very little sleep at night. It’s been a very hard week. He’s having surgery on…

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    Give Thanks for a Little

    "Give thanks for a little, and you will find a lot." — West African Proverb I tore those simple words out of a health and wellness magazine a year or two ago and hung them on the fridge. After a while they started to blend in, feeling ordinary just like the other papers and cards and magnets cluttered around them. I'd glance at them occasionally, but their poignancy seldom stuck with me.  The page hung that way for weeks, and even months, until I started reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts Devotional. The book’s challenge to count my blessings and daily write them down—until I reach one thousand of them in…

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    Thanksgiving: Let’s Actually Give Thanks

    A number of countries set aside one day every year for their people to gather and give thanks. I live in the USA, where we will celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday. But no matter where we live, we are called in everything to give thanks (1 Thess. 5:18). So let's actually take time to do what the day is set aside to encourage—give thanks. That may seem like a no-brainer, but often we're so caught up in turkey and gravy and pumpkin pie and football and family togetherness and Macy's parade-watching that we actually forget to give thanks beyond the table blessing. Here are some prompts to get us started. Even…

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    Gratitude Challenge

      Each year in October the social media community challenges itself to post, share and declare one gratitude per day for 40 days. From what I understand, the effort started eight years ago by Tisha Poncia, who blogs at On the Wings of Gratitude.    Usually, I shrug away from social media challenges. However, the more I thought about this one, the more I realized, I needed to do this. Although I didn’t post it anywhere, I thought I’d share my first seven days with you.   Day 1: Toilets. I’m thankful for toilets—indoor plumbing, I should say. The first five years of my life, we had an outhouse. Words…

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    How to Have the Best Moments with Your Family During the Holidays

    Sometimes the best moments in our lives happen to us out of the blue. We don’t plan them or seek them out. We go in without any expectations and we don’t try to force anything to happen. These special moments just show up—unexpectedly. So how can we have more of these moments with our families during the most stressful time of the year?   I love the holidays. I find great joy in gathering around a table with my loved ones, reminiscing about God’s faithfulness throughout the year. I get excited about all the holiday season stuff, especially the food! I don’t like the drama that comes with it all.…