The Most Important Ingredient
It’s that time of year again! You’ve chosen your favorite recipes—some handed down from your grandparents—and you’ve double-checked your shopping list to make sure you have all the needed ingredients.
You close your eyes for a moment and breathe in the delectable aroma of celery, onion, and sage simmering on the stove. You are eager to prepare the best meal possible for your family and friends.
Some guests bring their favorite dishes to share. Others bring hearty appetites, ready to indulge in the meal you have worked so hard to prepare.
But sometimes, recipes aren’t perfect, and neither are oven temperatures—or cooks. You didn’t intend for the turkey to come out dry or for the rolls to turn crispy on the edges, but it happened.
Families aren’t perfect, either. Uncle Buzz was calm until he’d had a few beers and took a swing at Rudy when he changed the football game channel. Junior didn’t watch where he was going and accidentally spilled a can of red soda all over your new tan carpeting. Then, to top it off, Aunt Itzie yelled at you because your meal wasn’t gluten-free—but she hadn’t informed you of that until now.
But no matter the kitchen glitches, behaviors of family or guests, recipes used, or dishes served, there is an ingredient that should stand out as the most important one at Thanksgiving: thankfulness.
This year, the holidays will be different for many people who cannot be together due to the pandemic. However, despite these uncertain times, we can still join our hearts in appreciation for one another and for all we have (including forgiveness for certain cooks, Uncle Buzz's, Juniors, and Aunt Itzie's of the world).
Thankfulness—it’s one thing we can keep at the top of the shopping list.
“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:11
“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” – Hebrews 13:15
Thank You x 7,117
It's a phrase we learn as when we're first learning to speak; one of the most commonly used in our language. Can you imagine the number of times you say "Thank You" every day? It would be hard to track, wouldn't it?
We are so accustomed to using these words we may not even realize when they come from our lips. It is customary to show appreciation for what others do for us. It may be a simple appreciation for having someone hold the door for us, or as elaborate as showing gratitude for an honor bestowed, or a gift of a lifetime.
There are varying degrees; however, between our use of the phrase when we use it mindfully versus when we say it out of habit. As Thanksgiving approaches, we tend to be a bit more conscientious--saying Thank You in our prayers at the Thanksgiving table or showing appreciation for family and friends.
Not every country celebrates a specific Thanksgiving holiday as we do; however, everywhere around the world, Thank You's are spoken each day. According to the "Ethnologue" database, there are "7,117 living languages" in existence. Take that number, multiply it by the population of each country, add the total of all of the countries in the world, and be sure to include the average number of times most people would use the phrase. And include an estimate of the number of Thanks You's that would be shown to God in prayer. It would certainly add up to an infinitesimal number!
As you give thanks, whether on Thanksgiving Day--or any other day--imagine the gratefulness that is expressed in all of the languages of the world--the languages that were also derived from the One above who gave us life.
Thank You and God's Blessings to you in this season of gratitude!
Psalm 106:1 - "Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever."
Psalms 92:1-2 - "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High; to delcare Your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night."
Shielded Protection and Safety
Every day throughout the pandemic, I have prayed for "shielded protection and safety" for my family, friends, church, community, nation, and world, in the hope that we might be free from--and unaffected by--the Coronavirus.
The other day, as I pondered this request for physical wellness, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to pray for spiritual health and wellness, too.
We can wear face shields and masks, use hand sanitizer, practice handwashing, maintain proper physical distancing. These act as barriers--"outisde shields" to keep us safe. But, spiritually-speaking, we need to be shielded on the "inside," too.
Perhaps you've seen the recent headlines? A percentage of Coronavirus patients develop anxiety or depression within three months after diagnosis. Not surprisingly, cases of anxiety and depression have also surged for those who do not have Covid, with all that 2020 has brought our way.
Our world is full of uncertainty right now, but one thing that remains constant and unfailing is God's Word and His love for us. The following verses taken from the Book of Psalms describe the shielded protection and safety that faith in God provides for us:
For comfort, from Psalms 28:7: "The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him."
When you seek refuge, from Psalms 91:4, "He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge, His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark."
When you seek strength, from Psalms 18:2, "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."
My hope for you this week is that you will be encouraged and uplifted through God's Word. May you awaken each morning, feeling safe and secure--through His Word and through His love for you.
Through God's Word!"
Find inner peace through Positive Thought, through Faith in God and through God's Word.