Good morning. Today is Thursday, November 22, 2012. Today is Thanksgiving Day. I wish everyone who reads this a very happy Thanksgiving. I pray that you all have at least one thing to be thankful for today. I recently read a quote by Max Lucado that made me ponder my thankfulness (or lack thereof). He said, “What if you woke up this morning and had only the things you thanked God for yesterday?” Obviously, if we took the time to thank God for everything in our lives every day, we would never get anything else done. But it is still something to think about, that attitude of thankfulness. This is something that I’m working on each day. I watched a lot of people begin their yearly daily thanksgiving posts, beginning on November 1. While I won’t deny that it’s a good thing to be thankful, I can’t help but wonder where those posts are the rest of the year. What’s so magical about November, that we can only publicly proclaim our thanks during this one month? For this reason, I purposefully did not start such a list. I want to be thankful every day, and every day, I try to remember to give thanks to God for something in my life, if nothing more than for something as basic as the fact that I am breathing this morning. Yesterday, I remember thanking God for the colors in a tree on my street as I started my journey to work. Today, I am most thankful that my family is together. Rachel and Justin are here, and in a few hours, the five of us will all be in Mineral Wells, having our Thanksgiving meal with my parents.
On a lighter note, today is also, apparently, designated as “National Start Your Own Country Day.” Hmmm…”Bickleyvania.” I kind of like the sound of that…
On this date in 1718, British pirate Edward Teach (aka “Blackbeard”) was killed in a battle of the coast of North Carolina.
On this date in 1869, the clipper Cutty Sark was launched. It was one of the last clippers ever built and survives to this day.
On this date in 1916, Jack London died of kidney disease, at the age of 40.
Ravel’s Bolero premiered on this date in 1928, in Paris. If he had only known…
The U.S. Humane Society was founded on this date in 1954.
On this date in 1963, in Dallas, Texas…(caution…not for the squeamish)
On this date in 1995, Toy Story was released. It was the first feature-length film completely made by CGI (Computer Generated Imagery).
Today’s birthdays include Robert Cavelier de La Salle (French Explorer), 1643, George Eliot (author), 1819, Charles de Gaulle, 1890, Hoagy Carmichael, 1899, Benjamin Britten (British composer), 1913, Rodney Dangerfield, 1921, Geraldine Page (actress), 1924, Gunther Schuller (composer), 1925, Lew Burdette (baseball player), 1926, Robert Vaughn (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), 1932, Terry Gilliam (the only American member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus), 1940, Jesse Colin Young (musician), 1941, Billie Jean King, 1943, Steven Van Zandt (musician), 1950, Jamie Lee Curtis, 1958, Mariel Hemingway, 1961, Mark Ruffalo and Boris Becker, 1967, Joe Nathan (baseball player), 1974, Karen O (lead singer of the “Yeah Yeah Yeahs”), 1978, Scarlett Johansson, 1984.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)
Father, I pray that you show me something of yourself this morning, my rock, my refuge, my shield, and my salvation.
I was moved by a reading from In Touch magazine yesterday. Beginning with Psalm 105:1-5, the writer proceeded to expound on some of the benefits of gratitude.
1 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!
3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
4 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered.
Gratitude, the act of giving thanks can
Refocus our attention… Our lives are filled with distractions. Perhaps if we began our day with gratitude, we would not get up with the weight of the world on our shoulders.
Relieve anxiety… Most of us know Philippians 4:6-7. … do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Thanksgiving shoves aside anxiety and replaces it with peace, not just any peace, but the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding!”
Refresh our relationship… When I’m showing gratitude, it keeps me from thinking that it’s all about me and my needs. I’m focused on God instead of me. That one’s a little tricky, because I’m giving thanks for things that are important to me. Still, I’m giving glory to God for those things.
Reinforce our faith… Remembering God’s past faithfulness boosts confidence in his present and future grace.
Rejoice our spirit… “Thanksgiving is the best way to dig ourselves out of the doldrums of discouragement.”
I thought this was a good list and decided to share it today. It’s not always easy to give thanks. Six years ago today, my best friend from high school and his family buried his niece, who was killed by a drunk driver. They haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving together since. It doesn’t mean that they can’t find something to be thankful for. But sometimes it’s very, very tough.
Today, I’m reading Isaiah 2:6-11.
6 For you have rejected your people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of things from the east and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with the children of foreigners.
7 Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots.
8 Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made.
9 So man is humbled, and each one is brought low— do not forgive them!
10 Enter into the rock and hide in the dust from before the terror of the LORD, and from the splendor of his majesty.
11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.
What a terrible passage for Thanksgiving, right? Not so fast…maybe not. Perhaps it can make us stop and think about what we allow into our lives. God had rejected his people because they had allowed the idolatrous practices of other lands to permeate their culture. They became attached to their gold, silver, and other treasures. If we are honest, I think we have to admit that, when we get attached to and dependent upon our treasures, we cease being thankful to God for things, because we don’t recognize his provision in our lives. This is a basic definition of idolatry, allowing things to replace God. Eventually, “the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.” “That day?” What day? That is described in the next passage, which I will read tomorrow.
Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest is called “Shallow and Profound.” I like that title, it grabs my interest. The scripture reference is 1 Corinthians 10:31. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Haha…that’s an appropriate verse for today, don’t you think?
“Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow concerns of life are not ordained of God; they are as much of God as the profound.” We like to fancy ourselves as not ever being shallow. This is nothing more than an effort to impress people with the fact that we are what Chambers calls a “spiritual prig.” We run the risk of becoming a “walking rebuke to other people because they are more shallow” than we are. Chambers says, “Beware of posing as a profound person; God became a Baby.” BAM! Listen, I’ve caught myself falling into this trap before. God has slapped me up side the head, too, when I begin to develop this attitude of pride, thinking that I’m more profound than others. Lately, he’s been keeping me humble, and I’m cool with that.
The appearance of shallowness does not mean that one is wicked, neither does it mean that there is no depth. Remember, “the ocean has a shore,” and is quite shallow for a good distance. All of these so-called “shallow” things, these amenities of life, “eating and drinking, walking and talking, area ll ordained by God.” Jesus participated in these things and did everything to the glory of his Father.
“Our safeguard is in the shallow things.” It is in these things that we anchor ourselves in God. It is in these things where we live. When those deeper things come, they will be given to us “apart from the shallow concerns.” We get so serious…”so desperately interested in our own characters,” that we forget to act like Christians in the shallow areas.
“Determinedly take no one seriously but God, and the first person you find you have to leave severely alone as being the greatest fraud you have ever known, is yourself.”
Father, I give you thanks this morning, and pray that you will remind me to give you thanks every morning, and all day, every day. I thank you for my family, and that we are together this morning. I thank you for providing the jobs that we have that enable us to have the meal that is being prepared while I type these words. I thank you for the transportation that we have that enables us to travel to my parents’ house to share this meal with them. I am thankful for godly parents, who taught me to love you and follow you at an early age. I am thankful that you kept me on that path that they showed me, and that it stretches out before me from her to the end of my days and even beyond. You are good, Lord. You are good. May we eat and drink to your glory today.
I thank you that, somewhere down the line, you taught me not to take myself so seriously. I thank you that you showed me the value of being “shallow,” of living in the common-place areas of life with the life that Christ lives in me. I cannot rise above your life. I will not pose as one who is more profound than he really is. Oh, sure, I want to think of myself is intelligent and a “deep thinker.” In reality, I’m just a man who occasionally has a thought. 🙂 I pray that you would inspire me by your Spirit, daily, to lift up those shallow moments to you, walking in them as Jesus did, in the character of Jesus, as he lives in me. Let me glorify you in the mundane, Father, and you will lift me to the divine, sometimes. I pray that I am not, nor ever will be, a fraud.
I pray for this day. May the rest of the preparations go smoothly, and grant us safe travel to Mineral Wells in a little while. I pray for a good time of family fellowship this afternoon, and, most of all, I pray for peace.
“All praises to the one who made it all, who made it all;
All praises to the one who made it all, and finds it beautiful!”
Grace and peace, friends.