Daily Archives: November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving by the Numbers

The Psalmist handed us the keys to the throne room when he penned the following words:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

 For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:4-5 ESV)

Since thanksgiving and praise usher us into the very presence of our creator and LORD, I thought I would begin this Thanksgiving morn by praising God by the numbers!

1–One God and King, One Savior and LORD, one grandson named George and one wife I call “Rai” because since 1980 she has been my “Raibo–like rainbow” my personal reminder of the promises of God

2–Two parents who have loved me from the first breath of my life and who continue to show me the way by the love and devotion to God and to each other, of course I cannot forget to mention my two eyes, two ears, two hands and two feet. Oh I almost forgot Philip and Jordan, my two son-in-laws who now make football on Thanksgiving day possible!

3–Three brothers who got into my stuff, messed up my room, clutter my childhood home, and who to this day hold an incredible place in my hearts, there may be a friend who sticks closer to a brother, but brothers make life fun and worth living

4–Four daughters, from Kalie’s first cry to Madison’s latest cuddle, Kalie, Lorin, Jamie and Madison have filled my life only with joy. Words are inadequate to tell the treasures possessed only by a father of beautiful young women

15– My team at First Baptist El Paso (Bob, Dan, Elvin, Edgardo, Martha, Rick, Erick, Josh, Nataly, Gayle, Julia, Juan, Nikki, Leslie, Maria) All I can say is I am humbled to serve with them

33–Thirty-three years and counting of love amazing with Robyn

55–Fifty-five years of life and learning to enjoy every breath as a gift from God

 

 

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ABC’s of Thanksgiving

Growing up I learned the classic hymn “Count Your Blessing” composed by Johnson Oatman, Jr in 1897. I can still remember the chorus by memory:

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

Every Sunday night at the North Fort Worth Baptist Church where I grew we sang this chorus and then had a time of thanksgiving where members stood and expressed their gratitude to God. I suspect now that this “attitude of gratitude” explains the sweet spirit in this great church.

Years ago, I discovered the wonderful idea of making a thanksgiving list using the alphabet. Here’s my list for this year, let me encourage you and your family to make your own.
A-apples, automobiles, angioplasty
B-Bible, books, bananas, bread, banana bread
C-chocolate—enough said!
D-dogs, donuts, deacons, Dad
E-emergency rooms, eggs, exercise, El Paso
F-food, fun, fellowship, family, football
G-God almighty, and Prince George
H-Holy Spirit, homemade anything!
I-ice cream, instant pudding, internet
J-Jesus—enough said! Jamie and Jordan
K-Kalie, Ketchup, kites, kindness,
L-Lorin, love, laughter, light, Little Debbie,
M-Madison, money, mushy movies, Mom
N-nuts, Nutella (fake chocolate), night sky
O-ovens, olives, outdoors
P-Philip, Paris, peanuts, peanut butter
Q-quiet, quiet times, quarters
R-Robyn, rest, rules (I am a first born), rain
S-spaghetti, soup, spiritual disciplines
T-Texas, tacos, tomatoes, tamales
W-West Texas, watermelon, wise counsel
X-x-rays; Xerox, X-chromosome
Y-Yams, yellow roses, Yahweh
Z-Zoo, zippers, zip codes

Try it at home this week and see how you do. It’s more fun and better for you than a New York Times Crossword Puzzle.

I have always loved Psalm 100. I appreciate that it is short, sweet, and to the point. The Psalmist wrote:

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

One of the great lessons to this hymn points out that we enter His very gates through thanksgiving. Yes, thanksgiving ushers us into the very presence of the LORD.

Dr. Robert Emmons and Dr. Michael McCullough develop what they called “Gratitude lite” which encourages people to start a gratitude journal. In the journal individuals were encourage to write down five things they were thankful for at least once a week. Remarkably after only two months those who kept the journals were much happier and optimistic than a control group who did not journal. In addition, at night they fell asleep much quicker. “If you want to sleep more soundly, count blessings, not sheep,” suggests Dr. Emmons.

I can affirm this proven reality myself. Three months ago, I began starting each day by writing down at least three things I am thankful for. This simple practice of gratitude has brought great joy to my life even in trying times. So this week let’s “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise!”

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