Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Count Your Blessings

A devotion I shared at our Nov. Ladies Meeting:

Erma Bombeck was quoted as saying, “Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times (in football games) take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.” With Thanksgiving coming up twice for us (once at church and once with our family), I thought that pretty much summed it up. :)

I know for me, when I’m having a particularly “down” day, if I start praising God and thanking Him for the people in my life, the good things that are going on and quit focusing on the bad things, I feel so much better. The Bible tells us we’re to be thankful for everything, and at all times. I know this is hard, believe me. Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”

“Thanks” occurs 73 times in the KJV”— Thanksgiving” occurs 28 times
“Praise” occurs 248 times—“Praises” occurs 29 times.

A few things we need to be thankful for:

1. Our family and friends-
Time spent with them-we never know how much time we have with someone. Anyone could have a car accident or a sudden move, and we might not see them again or maybe not very often, so we need to treasure each day/time we have with them. We personally have lost several family members over the last few years so we are well aware of just how time seems so short with people you love.

2. Little things like clothing, food; shelter-
(a) Laundry (clothing)-
When was the last time you started a load of laundry and said “thank you, God for these clothes to wash, and this washer and dryer that work”. We had a fire in our mobile home the 1st day of January 1988, 6 months after we were married. Thankfully noone was injured or lost during the fire (Well, sadly we lost our two little parakeets, but no people were hurt and our dog was safe) We lost so much though, including clothes, bedding, etc. I was only 19 at the time, and going to church shortly after without my makeup, clothes, etc. was hard for me, especially when someone younger than I was, mentioned I looked so different. But I was thankful because we received so many bags of clothing, blankets, etc. that at the time, I ended up with more clothes than I started with! How great is our Lord! So when I get frustrated about the mounds of laundry that face me each week, I have to stop and thank God we have clothes to wash and that my washer and dryer work so I don’t have to go out and do laundry like we did when we first got married. With our kids growing up and leaving home, you’d think I’d be happy about not having that person’s laundry to do (they all know how to do laundry but I just do it most of the time), but I’m not. I stop and think about it, and realize that person is not in my home anymore. So, while I have their laundry to do, I am thankful.

(b) Food-
I don’t like to do daily cooking that much but, I love to bake though. But even though I get tired and wish some days that I didn’t have to cook, I have to see the big picture and be thankful (1)that I have a family to feed, and (2)that we have food to make. (not that I don’t love pizza and stuff like that!) We may not always have what we want at home to make, but if you have beans, or lunch meat, be thankful! There was a time in my life when I was little, and my mom was working two jobs to make ends meet, and food was hard for her to buy. So we ate alot of spaghetti and cheap things like that. And yes, you do get tired of it, but you also praise God because you have food to eat.

(c) Shelter-
How often do we thank God for our home? I know some of us have things that need fixing in our homes, or we don’t like the neighborhood or don’t like certain things about our house, but we need to stop and be grateful that we have a home to live in. So many people don’t have one. I personally lived with my mom, in our church for a few weeks, when I was little, as we were between apartments. Not a real pleasant experience although we were thankful for the place to stay. Visit a homeless mission just once, too, as I did, and you’ll be so thankful for your home. So the next time you’re cleaning or doing dishes for what seems like the billionth time, smile and praise God you have a home to keep clean!

3. Our salvation-
This one seems so obvious to us, we know if we’re saved, that we’re going to Heaven someday. But on a day-to-day basis, with all the other “stuff” going on in our lives, how often do we stop to think that God is real and we have Him there for us all the time, unlike those that don’t yet know Him. I can’t imagine going through some of our trials without Him.

I don’t know what kind of traditions you have for Thanksgiving at your house, but one we still hold to, is one that Brian’s Grandpa Pielstick started years ago (it may go back farther than that)-we all have to have a verse about thanksgiving, praise, etc. to either read or have memorized and share with the family before we pray and eat.

A Thanksgiving Poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson
For each new morning with its light
For rest and shelter of the night
For health and food, for love and friends
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Give thanks…


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