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Monday, November 15, 2010

Month of Thanksgiving: Days 11-15

Although I haven't had time to post the past few days, I have lots from each day for which to be thankful!  God has blessed my heart so these past few days.  I'm rejoicing that...
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  James 1:17
For one thing, it has just felt like a very relaxing few days.  God has blessed me with a peace in my spirit that I can't explain.  There's been plenty to worry over; there always is, but I've not gone there with the enemy.  God has supernaturally given me that "peace that passes all understanding".

On Saturday, me and the three kiddos all went and got haircuts.  Saturday was an especially fun day for me.  Cecily (my oldest) and I seemed to connect like we haven't in a long time.  We had good conversation.  It wasn't that we were doing anything special; God just blessed in the midst of the ordinary.

And because we are going to be visiting family some over the next week or so, we went ahead and decorated the house for Christmas.  This is always a fun time with the kids.  Cecily and Bentley put the ornaments on the tree and it was sweet to see such excitement in the home.  And then on Saturday night we had family movie night.  It was just an overall fun and sweet day together as a family.

While the kids and I were getting haircuts, Mike went and helped a couple in our church who were moving.  It was such a joy to help these folks out.  They have been such a blessing to us.  I'll never forget how overcome I was with the love of our church family for us, when we made our move in May of this year.  The husband of this particular couple stood propped up against the wall in Cecily's old room taking down her loft bed (which was a chore by the way!)!  He was experiencing some sever pain and trouble with his knee at the time, but was still there to help us!  I could really almost cry thinking of his sacrificial giving to us on that day.

The daughter of this couple sent back with Mike a bag full of hand me down clothes for JennaBeth.  Her daughter had grown out of some things and she wanted to give them to our littlest one.  I am so very thankful for this sweet gift, because JennaBeth has started growing out of most of the clothes she had in her closet and really needed some things.  The sizes in the bag were exactly what she needs now!  She'll be able to use them immediately!  I was reminded that God knows our needs and knows exactly when they need to be met.  For that my heart swells with thanksgiving to Him!

Then on Sunday, the day of prayer for the persecuted church, I was very thankful to be able to set under very strong expository preaching of God's word without fear and free of persecution.  The title of the sermon was:  The Power of Thanksgiving and the text was Ephesians 5:20...
"always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
How appropriate.

At the beginning of the sermon our pastor asked us, "Are you humbly thankful or grumbly hateful"?  He then shared this quote from G.K. Chesterton:
"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
Here's the outline of the sermon with some of my notes:
I.  The Causes of an Unthankful Heart
    A.  A spirit of self-sufficiency (self-trust)
          1.  There is no place for self-congratulation in biblical thanksgiving.
          2.  Phil. 3 - We can't even worship apart from the Spirit of God helping us.
          3.  Story of the 10 lepers from Luke 17
    B.  A spirit of ignorance
          1.  Our view of God is very important:  You see the trinity in verses 18-20 of chapter 5.
    C.  A spirit of entitlement
II.  God's Call to Live Thankfully
    A.  A continuous response to understanding what it means to live by faith in God's grace.
          *  James 4:5-6 (An example would be that you would not be thankful for a diagnosis of cancer, but
              thankful to God, Who is Sovereign and can sustain you through any trial.)
    B.  A continuous focus on the sovereign love, wisdom and power of God.
         *  Romans 8:28  (Not all things are good, but that God is more than able to work everything for good.)
         *  Psalm 135:6
    C.  A continuous consideration of the gracious benefits that are ours through Jesus Christ.

Sunday afternoon the two littlest ones played outside with a big group of neighborhood kids.  It was such a delight to hear their laughter and screams of joy as they played tag and ran and had such fun in the cooler weather.  I'm thankful that we live in a neighborhood with lots of families with young children and that my little guys have been able to make friends. 

While they played outside, Mike, Cecily and I watched a movie. In between watching the movie and peaking on the littles a few times, I finished up my Christmas decorating.  I also got to find a special place for my new Yankee Candle (Mistletoe) which a sweet lady in our church blessed me with that morning.  She and I share a love for Yankee Candles and she knew that I had plans to get a Christmas scent to enjoy this season.  It was such a sweet surprise and just one of the many ways God chose to bless me this weekend.

Praying that we all will continue to have the grace to live out Ephesians 5:20,