The heart of thankfulness is about remembering. So this season for my annual gratitude list, I will share a few things that I never want to forget.
11/1 Ps. 105:5 says to remember the wonderful works God has done. There is no way I could list them all, but today I am grateful for the 2 beautiful people he allowed me to parent.
11/2 PS 107:1 says to give thanks to the Lord for He is good. Today I am cheerfully remembering how good life is because God IS
11/3 Ps. 106:1 says to praise the Lord for His steadfast love endures forever. God’s love shows up over and over often through people. I am grateful for the many people who have shown me undeserving love and kindness.
11/4 Remember to hold on to hope. It is a good thing, maybe the best of things. Phil. 1:6 reminds me to never forget that God will finish what He started in my life.
11/5 Thanksgiving is found in remembering. Today I gratefully yet sadly remember the day Jim breathed in heaven for the first time. Prov. 10:7a says that the memory of the righteous is a blessing. And remembering Jim is definitely that! It is a severe mercy that Jesus came to restore us and bring our suffering to a permanent end. I am fixed on the finished work of Christ, where his divine love merged severity and mercy.
11/6 The heart of thankfulness remembers. Today I am thankfully remembering those who have poured into my life, especially my pastors, teachers and mentors. I am so grateful for the person I have become because of your impact. “Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.” (Heb. 13:7)
11/7 Gratitude comes in remembering. Today I am remembering that God is enough. Actually He is more than enough. Phil. 4: 19 says He will supply every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. I can let go of what I cannot control (which is everything). As long as I lean in to His grace I will be satisfied and content. I can wake up every morning grateful for everything in it, including my losses and hardships. I am overwhelmed with peace and joy because God is more than enough.
11//8 It is important to remember to laugh. Prov. 15:15 says that a merry heart has a continual feast. Those that know me, know how important this is to me – enough to start a business with Tibby called Jest in Time over 30 years ago. Honor the Lord with a joyful heart! When Jim passed away we decided to make his birthday Corny Joke Day in honor of one who joyfully laughed and played and spread joy everywhere in magical ways! (Happy 64th Birthday Jim – your 9th in heaven!)
11/9 Gratitude grows with remembering. Today I give pause to consider the relationships in my life, specifically the treasures I call friends. The girl scout song says that friends are to be compared to silver and gold. My friends, the ones I enjoyed for a season and the ones who have stood the test of time are my golden rays of sunshine in the best of times and my silver linings through the worst. They are strong, kind, generous, funny and brave. They have shaped my life with their wisdom, faith, honesty, loyalty, integrity and compassion. They have strength of character and some are just characters! I am the richest person because of the blessing of these people. Today I gratefully polish these relationships so they will continue to shine and sparkle as silver and gold.
11/10 Gratitude grows as we count our blessings. Ps. 103:2 reminds us not to forget His benefits and Ps. 116:12 is a reminder that we are to give back to the Lord because of His goodness to us. The thrill of hope comes when I see the glass as half full or even when I am just happy to have a glass! Remembering the blessings I receive everyday changes my focus so that I can befriend the stars when life is dark. I think I have more blessings than there are stars in the sky actually
11/11 Today I remember and thank those have fought for my freedom both as an American and as a person. I am so humbled by the true freedom I have because of what Christ did on my behalf. My response? I choose to
“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.” 1 Peter 2:16,17
11/12 When I remember to give thanks in the middle of my story, a grateful heart grows because I am reminded that God is the author of my life. Every story is a biography of wisdom and grace written by another. Every twist of the plot is for the best. Every new character or unexpected event is a tool of his grace. Each new chapter advances his purpose. Lam 3:23 says, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
11/13 Remember that perspective changes everything and joy is a choice! May I always remember that thanksgiving and gratitude have power! Being grateful overpowers negativity and tells it that it’s not in charge. Small emotional space is like a tight parking place. Choosing to be grateful for finding a place is the key. When I choose gratitude then the tight space is enough; in fact the circumstance is made more spacious by thanksgiving. Giving thanks is always a choice. 1 Thess. 5:18 says, “Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.”
11/14 Remember to flush and wash your hands. Remember to brush your teeth, turn out the lights, and put away your things. While we all know to do those things after years of training and practice, I am reminded that it is the little, ordinary habits that are important to growing a grateful heart. I am working hard to remember to take things for gratitude instead of for granted. I am thankful for running water and indoor plumbing, electricity, all the things I have to put away, doctors and dentists. What a glad privilege it is to see, hear, walk, talk, hug and hold….I am overflowing with thankfulness (Col. 2:7)
11/15 It is important to remember that the world is not a level playing field and not everyone has the same advantages. Many people have a lot less and just as many people have struggles that I cannot ever imagine. I believe that remembering those who are suffering (for Christ’s sake) is part of living a grateful life. I do not mean to imply that I am thankful for suffering. I don’t mean merely to be thankful that I am relatively unscathed by comparison, but thinking consciously to be compassionate and prayerful for those who have no voice and to gladly take an active stand. “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Heb. 13:3.
11/16 Remembering is the heart of thankfulness so today I remember that every day is a gift and I am owed nothing! When I remember what I actually deserve and that there are no guarantees ever, I find myself more thankful for the many blessings that come my way. Rather than feeling entitled, I cherish the times and the people who come into the day with joy, knowing that God chooses to bless me because that is His character. The relentless love of God is mind-blowing!
11/17 One of the most important things I have learned in life is to REMEMBER to hold my tongue. Complaining and whining focuses on what I don’t have instead of be grateful for what I do have. Additionally, a cheerful heart blesses others around; grumbling only makes life more difficult. Col. 4:6 reminds me to make sure my words are always seasoned with grace and truth so I know how to answer each person. In other words, Holding one’s tongue leads to thankfulness!
11/18 Since remembering is the way to gratitude it is good to remember that work is a gift. Some days it does not feel like a gift and I often wish I didn’t have to but the reality is that meaningful work is a blessing. There are people who cannot work as well as those who have no opportunity. I am grateful for this gift. Col. 3:23 says to give it 100% and what a privilege it is to partner with the Almighty.
11/19 Serving others is a way to gratitude. Additionally, it is a privilege to partner with God in raising kids and helping them, even when we are tired and would rather be waited on or tending to our own needs. I remember fondly the chances I was given to minister to my family. It is such a short window of time – be grateful for chance to practice kindness. Serving friends is another joy and privilege. I am grateful for those who have and continue to “carry my stretcher” and “water my camels” as well as the opportunity to do the same for them. I am so thankful when I can help and serve!
11/20 Remembering grows gratitude and we are a very forgetful people! We are also a very busy people; while work is a gift to be grateful for it is a terrible “god”. It is even more important, as a result, to remember to take time to slow down and rest. Ex. 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy is a very disruptive command. It represents time set aside to worship God and for the restoration of our soul. And restoration doesn’t simply mean “rest,” as in, take a nap. It was for re-alignment. It was a day set aside to worship and think about life – it is a gift that changes perspective as life gets bigger. Rest is designed to reorder life and time and it builds gratitude when practiced.
11/21 I am remembering that trials are another chance for God to show up and develop character in me and produce endurance. Remembering to count it all joy when I face trials means evaluating the difficulties in life with eyes of faith and seeing them in light of God’s good purpose (James 1:2-4) I am grateful for a God who sees, and loves and never lets me go. I am beyond grateful for all the struggles I have made it through – to God be the glory.
11/22 Since the heart of gratitude grows with reminders, I want to remind myself of the truths that I already know! It is “misbelief” when I forget what it cost God to save me and when I forget the pit from which I was rescued. There really is no cure for “misbelief” except replacing falsehood with the truth. “Therefore I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you 2 Peter 1:12”
11/23 Remembering to say thank you out loud is the exclamation on a happy heart . Why is it that we often think thankful thoughts, but don’t express them with words? If only we had the habit of speaking encouraging, thankful words much more freely than saying critical words. Words can bring life and refreshment to a weary soul. Likely we all could stand to grow in recognizing all the reasons we have to be thankful — they are all around us. But simply becoming more grateful in our hearts is just the beginning. If gratefulness rises up in our hearts, but never spills out of our mouths, we are only experiencing the beginnings of joy. Gratitude is only fully enjoyed when we share it with others. As C.S. Lewis said, “We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment! I am humbled by friends who drop what they are doing to spend time with me, who generously share their time and resources, who treat me to vacations and pay for meals. I have others who sacrificially and creatively serve in quiet and diligent ways (I notice and need to tell you out loud). I am grateful to pastors/shepherds who diligently prepare and preach the word every week. Practicing appreciation brings fresh wind and spurs us on to keep on keeping on. So Thank you!!!! – you know what you did!(Heb 10:24-25)
11/24 Gratitude grows when we remember. The most amazing gift ever is that innocent blood was sacrificed so that the guilty could go free. And when he (Jesus) had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 1 cor. 11:24 . The Lord’s Supper/communion is repeated over and over continually to reinforce the saving work of Christ and our need to be sustained by Him.
11/25 Remembering is the heart of gratitude and Psalms says (Ps. 105:8) that God remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations. God is faithful and remembers me always! Not only that he chooses to not remember my sins! So God is God. He is omniscient. He knows everything past, present, and future. But the “not remember-ing” (intentional forgetting – Is. 38:17, Micah 7:18)) is a not calling to mind for my destruction and a not calling to mind for anything except what’s good for me. May I remember God’s faithfulness and remembering me! Further, If God chooses not to remember my past sins, I can choose to set them aside as well and embrace the future He promises to those who love Him (Heb. 8:12, Rom. 8:28)
11/26 Sharing what ! remember grows gratitude in the next generation. A central aspect of bringing up kids and pouring into students in ministry is simply to share with them my gratitude for the goodness and the many blessings of the Lord in my life. As I verbally pour out my admiration and gratitude of our great God, “my” children will catch a vision of the magnificent Lord I worship. My enthusiasm and love for Jesus will hopefully be evident through my words and life. Psalm 145 tells us to commend our works to the next generation. Sharing how God answered a prayer, provided a necessary resource, or replaced my sorrow with joy encourages others to find their hope and satisfaction in God. Gratitude can be as contagious as complaining. Jim was clear on this point when he got cancer – that the God he had served, taught about and loved was worthy for all His faithful goodness even in the tough times! “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— Deut. 4:9 “It only takes a spark…”
11/27 Today I gratefully remember that NOTHING can separate me from God. What a happy thought- what an amazing reality! I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. (8:38-39)
11/28 It is easy to take for granted that I have more than enough and expect it! But remembering that I have food everyday and a choice even in that makes me grateful. Michael Benzing used to say that it is important to not eat like no one else is hungry. Ps 111:5 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever
11/29 The heart of thankfulness is about remembering. I am gratefully remembering to pray knowing that God answers prayers. 62 years ago today my parents married; God answered my dad’s prayer affirmatively to “give him” my mom! Today, Jonni & Kelly become husband and wife and again God answered the prayers of their parents. Keep praying. Keep thanking for the answers. Remember His good answers are for our best interest and His greatest glory! (Phil. 4:6,7)
11/30 Today I am remembering to keep God’s Word hidden in my heart and I am grateful for how it guides me and keeps me walking obediently and joyfully all the way home. (Ps. 119:11)