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

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.

 

Truly Blessed

There is an elderly lady in our congregation named Bea.  Her health is not good and she lives in a nursing home.  My husband, her Pastor, loves his visits to Bea because she is always cheerful, positive and thankful. According to Bea, the caregivers are so kind to her;  her children and grandchildren visit often;  she has a prayer partner in another state whom she has never met who calls her, sends cards and prays faithfully;  she has a loving church family.  Bea says she has so many reasons to thank God.

Did Bea have an easy life?  Not especially.  She didn’t finish school because she married very young.  She raised a large family.  Her first husband died fairly young.  Her second husband also predeceased her.  Yet Bea tells my husband she is thankful to have had two good men in her life.  She has been in and out of the hospital due to pneumonia, but when asked how she feels, she believes that each day she is getting a little better.

Bea is not blessed in the eyes of the world.  She is old and ill;  she had no high powered career;  she is not rich or famous.  Yet of all the people I know, she is one of those I consider truly blessed.  She loves God and like the apostle Paul, has learned to be content in all circumstances.  I struggle every day to become more like Bea.

“Now there is great gain in godliness and contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of the world.  But if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”  1 Timothy 6:6-8

Thankful for Faith -Hebrews Chapter 11

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Read this chapter.  I mean it, if you haven’t been reading along with Michele in Hebrews yet, start now.  Chapter 11 speaks about the greatest gift we receive from God, faith.

Through faith, our sacrifices become acceptable, and we are reconciled with God.  Through faith we have the promise of eternal life.  Through faith we can do things that seem impossible.  Through faith we continue as witnesses even after our death.   Our very belief and knowledge of God comes only through faith.

“And what more shall I say?  For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets –who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.”  Hebrews 11:32-34

This gift was so precious to the righteous men and women of Bible times, that they were willing to do just about anything to preserve it and pass it on.

“Some were tortured ….Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they were killed with the sword.  They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated …” Hebrews 11:36-38

So, don’t take your faith for granted.  It cost something.  For Jesus it cost everything.

 

Blessings

This post has some good practical ideas about how to love those who need us the most.

goodnewsforabadworld

As my wife and I sat looking out at the heavy snow this past weekend I thought what great blessings God had made in my life. At that moment the blessings I counted very dear were those of shelter and the necessities of life–food, water, clothing, etc.  But then the Lord brought me another thought–what are the blessings He was giving to the least and the last in our society? How was He blessing those who were living in tents or taking a day or two in the cold weather shelter?  If I’m so blessed, what are their blessings?

And then the answer came to me (no doubt from Him).  We are their blessings.  God is blessing those who are the weakest in our society with people who can care for them in the midst of their poverty, illness and trials.  God has blessed the poor with people who…

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