Encouragement for Today - November 23, 2011


Rachel Olsen

November 23, 2011

My Thanksgiving
Rachel Olsen

"Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. For His lovingkindness is everlasting." 1 Chronicles 16:34 (NASB)

This Thanksgiving morning I will wake up thankful. Not because my life is perfect and I have everything I could want or need, but because I've decided to take the time to count my blessings and give thanks to God.

• I'll be thankful my husband and I are off work today, and that we have work to return to.

• I'll be thankful my children are able to enjoy a day of play at home, and thankful they have days of learning ahead that will help shape them into who God intends them to be.

I'll go downstairs. As I pass my desk on my way to the kitchen, I'll select one of several Bibles on my shelf.

• I'll be thankful for the Word of God I am able to freely read, distribute and teach in this country.

Mostly likely, I'll do as I did last year and put on a CD of hymns sung by one of my friends.

• I'll be thankful for the various friends in my life — both far and near — who enrich me, challenge me, lend me their ear, pray for me and make me laugh. And I'll be especially grateful for the friendship of God.

• I'll also be thankful for the blessing of music and its ability to lift my mood, touch my heart, energize my body and connect my soul to an eternal God.

I'll turn the lights of my Christmas tree on — I like to have my tree up by Thanksgiving Day. The lights and ornaments will twinkle amidst the backdrop of an evergreen tree.

• I'll thank God for giving us some trees that stay green all year long despite the cold weather.

• I will thank Him for giving us the day and the night, and the stars that twinkle in the sky. I will also be grateful for the Light of the World and the eternal life that He brings, represented by the evergreens in our holiday decorations.

Soon it will be time to start cooking the Thanksgiving meal. In my home that will be turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green beans, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy. Oh, and deviled eggs.

• I'll be thankful for God's provision of food — including being thankful for the farmers and ranchers, truckers and grocers, and for the kind family member who gives us a turkey and a box of sweet potatoes every year.

• I'll remember contributing to a local church's Thanksgiving ministry for those less fortunate, and I'll be thankful for the people who act as the hands and feet of Christ in ministry — they inspire me.

As I cook, I'll set aside any cans, plastic bags and cardboard boxes to put into our recycling bin.

• I'll be thankful for this beautiful planet teeming with life and flowing with water that God entrusted to humankind to steward. And I'll look forward to the day when I, like the writer of the book of Revelation, see a new earth recreated by God, free of Satan's influence.

More family members will join us and we will gather around my kitchen table to eat. We are no Norman Rockwell painting — our family has its struggles and issues just like the next family. But on this evening, we will set aside any differences as we laugh together, talk together, pray together and eat together.

• I'll be thankful for the bond of family — that there are people who know me fully, and love me anyway. And I'll be grateful for the family of God to which I am bonded through Christ.

After dinner we'll play cards or board games, or perhaps watch a movie. Then I'll say goodbye to our guests, tuck my children in bed, sit and reflect on the day. I will ask God to show me any blessings I missed or failed to count, because I'm convinced each one of us has more to be thankful for than we ever notice. Today, let's purpose to notice, and to be grateful.

Dear Lord, thank You for the blessings You have bestowed — help me notice them. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Rachel at her blog today and share with her something you are grateful for.

From My Heart to Your Throne: An Intimate Worship Collection (CD) by Melissa Milbourn

The Most Powerful Two-Word Prayer (DVD) by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
Pause to count your blessings today. A grateful heart can usher you into God's presence.

Stop by my blog and share something you are grateful for today. The ability to connect with others via the internet is one of the blessings on my list!

Perhaps I don't have family at home with me today, or much food to prepare, or a Christmas tree to gather by. But I have a godly purpose to fulfill in this earth, a world of beauty outside my door, and most importantly, I have eternal life and the friendship of God available. Do I Know Him?

Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 9:15, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (NASB)

© 2011 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Originally published Wednesday, 23 November 2011.