Thankful Words

Recently I was at the conference of our denomination (the Association of Free Lutheran Churches) and we sang this hymn. The words and tune are simple, but express a profound truth. Here is a bit about the story of how it came to be composed by evangelists Bessie and Seth Sykes, Jr. It’s taken from ‘A Great Little Man, A Biography of Evangelist Seth Sykes’ which was written in 1958.

“Thank you, Lord was born [in 1940] in a railway carriage between Edinburgh and Glasgow and has been wonderfully used of God. It has been translated into more than 70 different languages including French, German, Arabic and Chinese, and is sung both on radio and Television throughout the globe. Many touching stories have been told of how it has brought comfort and cheer to those nearing the end of Life’s weary way. One dear man heard it sung over a Canadian broadcasting network. He had come from Scotland to Canada, and somehow had lost touch with Christ. He determined to renew the covenant. Seeking the origin of the chorus, he was put in touch with Mr. and Mrs. Sykes and memories of an old friendship were revived.”

Sing these lyrics this morning and then add your own thankful words of prayer!

Some thank the Lord for friends and home
For mercies sure and sweet
But I would praise Him for his grace
In prayer I would repeat

Refrain:
Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free

Some thank Him for the flow’rs that grow
Some for the stars that shine
My heart is filled with joy and praise
Because I know He’s mine

I trust in Him from day to day
I prove His saving grace
I’ll sing this song of praise to Him
Until I see His face

For more posts about being thankful see:

Practicing Thankfulness by Sam Crabtree–Book Review

Thankful for Stress!!

Thankful for Spiritual Blessings

He Makes Me Glad

I don’t know why, but this song has been rolling around in my mind lately.  I couldn’t find much background on it, but it seems to be based on Psalm 100:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

It reminds me to be glad, even in the midst of death, disease, disappointment, anxiety and chaos.  The presence of God is always with us and He makes me glad.  Listen and rejoice.

He Has Made Me Glad – YouTube

Happy Thanksgiving!

Or is it?  Most of us in the US will be getting up early to cook a turkey and pull together the meal of the year.  Family may be coming over and this is a test to see how well you can handle the stress.  There are some of us that love this kind of thing, doing all the work, watching family enjoy the meal, seeing some of the family that you haven’t seen in a while.  And then there are the rest of us….

Yes, I’m one that hates the stress and bother of having a ton of people at my house.  Let me give you some background on this:  My mother was one of the above described people.  She loved nothing more than fixing a ton of food and seeing 20 to 50 or more people descend on our home and enjoy themselves.  She actually catered my wedding reception for over 200 people without blinking an eye.  I grew up underneath this shadow.  Of course, while growing up I helped my mom do all this.  Thanksgivings, Christmas, she even had an open house on New Year’s Day every year.

Thankful HeartsFast forward about 15 years.  My mom is in a nursing home; suffering from multiple strokes and seizures.  It’s November and my dad calls to ask what I’m going to do for Thanksgiving.  Well, gee.  I’m backed into a corner and tell him I guess I’ll fix up a dinner.  Then it’s the transportation issue for my mom.  She’s in a wheelchair and unable to walk.  Lucky me that I’m working for an agency that transports handicapped individuals and have access and training to get my mom and transport her to my house (with permission, of course).  My brother abstains from driving an hour to come, so it’s just my parents and my family.

I wanted the day to go perfectly because this was probably my mom’s last Thanksgiving (it was).  Coordinating cooking with transport wasn’t easy.  Taking care of mom’s needs and handling it all was harder.  So, in the middle of all this…  I drop the turkey!  ON THE FLOOR.  I almost had a nervous breakdown.

The day didn’t get better after that; in fact, it went downhill.  Dinner was delayed while we cleaned up the mess (have you ever cleaned up the mess a dropped turkey makes?  Yuck!)  Mom started having seizures and didn’t stop.  I had to abandon it all to take her back to the nursing home.  The day, in my eyes, was a complete failure.

I let that day color the rest of the time I had with my mom.  I didn’t do everything with the grace and poise that she always had.  I didn’t meet the standards that she had set when I was younger.  I wasn’t good enough.

Since then, with God’s grace, I have a different outlook on the whole Thanksgiving holiday.  Looking back, I would have rather spent time with my mom and dad and family and maybe fixed a simple dinner.  I’ve learned since that time that you don’t have to have turkey.  We’ve had spaghetti, lasagna and mac and cheese in these past years.  We’ve invited people to join us at our simple family meals so they won’t be alone.  Yes, we still have turkey on occasion, but only if we feel like doing the whole deal.  Otherwise, it’s just dinner.

Be thankful and cherish what you have right now because you may not have it tomorrow.  Relax and love your family around you; they won’t be here forever.  Try not to get wrapped  up in the preparations of the meal.  If problems come up, and you know they will, take it “with a grain of salt” and continue on.  The world won’t come to an end. And remember to Thank the Lord always for this day and the other 365 days after it.

 

Spend Time Being Positive

A while back Leslie posted about how we should spend some time remembering our past, in order to learn from it, but we should be careful not to dwell on the past–especially past pain, slights and hurts.  Dwelling on negative experiences can cause anger, depression, shame, anxiety and other unhealthy emotions.  In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul tells us what we should dwell on:

“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Have you heard the expression, “garbage in, garbage out”?  The original meaning is if we put inaccurate data into our computer, or equation, the answer we get will be equally wrong.  In the same way, if we spend time feeding our minds with regret over our own past mistakes, annoyance with the bad behavior of others, and anger about the things we don’t have that we deserve, what we get out of life will be equally unpleasant.  Nobody will enjoy being around us, and we’ll be unable to recognize the gifts that we have. On the other hand, if we focus on the positive aspects of our own personality, if we build others up instead of tearing them down, and are thankful for the many blessings we receive daily, we’ll soon develop an “attitude of gratitude.” We’ll appreciate ourselves and others and be thankful to God. Wouldn’t you rather focus on the positive?

 

New Month/New Theme

Can you believe it’s November already? This is my husband’s favorite time of the year.  The air is turning crisp and cool (he likes cool, I like warm).  The fall decorations have been brought out at church — pumpkins, gourds, apples, and other symbols of a successful harvest surround the altar area. The scenery is beautiful as the leaves change colors. We’re looking forward to our annual November trip to South Carolina to visit our daughter, Kate and her husband.

Most of all, November is a time for giving thanks.  As the end of the year approaches, it’s a good time to stop and reflect.  Am I thankful?  (I should be).  Why am I thankful? (God has given me many good gifts, starting with His son, Jesus).  How do I show my thanks? (do I worship and praise Him?  Do I pass His love on?)

All of these questions are food for thought, and I know the Lutheran Ladies will be discussing these ideas and more this month.  So spend some quality time giving thanks, read our posts, and tell us how giving thanks makes a difference in your life and the lives of those around you.

God loves you and so do we!

!