Expressions of Gratitude

As I start this post, I hearken to my childhood when we would go around the Thanksgiving table and give a short list of the things we were grateful for. With 10-14 family members and friends, this could take a while but it was always a good exercise.

Funny thing, though. Since our walk with the Lord had not begun in earnest at that point in our lives, to whom were we being thankful? We would say, “God” and meant it but we had very little Scripture guiding our lives at that time and the idea of loving God was more of an abstract concept than a close walk in relationship with Him.

When I really got serious about walking with the Lord about five years ago, my priorities in life started to change, more and more radically, with each passing day. Who I am today is not who I was five years ago. This would not have been possible in my own strength, of which I have little on my own. This is the first thing I am truly thankful for-the realization that without Him, Jesus Christ, I can do nothing, am nothing and have an eternal goal to achieve that can only be reached by obedience to Him.

First and foremost among my priorities, I am a child of the Living God and by Him do I derive innumerable and immeasurably deep blessings in this brief, human existence. This is the Shadow of Almighty God, whose wings guard me, guide me and give me and my family abundant joy, peace, and salvation. This safeguards all of the other relationships and priorities in my life.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!” Psalm 91:1-2

Because of this, I am wonderfully blessed by a loyal, loving, hard-working wife who honors me in every way. I honor her, too. Our relationship has always been blessed from the time we first met in church on Resurrection Day, 1989 to this morning.  We have been guided, blessed, and led from danger by the power of the H0ly Spirit.

Perfect lives, you may be thinking? Far from it! But our lives are guarded and blessed despite our mistakes, laziness of spirit and discipline to consistently follow Him as He wants us to.

My relationship with Tim, my nearly 18 year old son, has been a blessing from the start. That has been entirely in God’s hands and mainly because of the blessings the Lord provided me through my wife, a truly wise woman. Tim loves us dearly, shows it, and brings honor to us by his behavior. He knows that our love for him will never change and that we are proud of him. Not because of our strength as parents, but because of His faithfulness in using us.

Then there’s the job. If you have read anything I’ve written the last 11 months, my work has been turned over to my loving God, who manages my career far better than I ever could and prevents me from making my work my idol, as it once was. There are still negative influences all around there but my strength lies in my Lord Jesus and He promises:

A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes, and see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made the Lord, my refuge, even the Most High your dwelling place. Psalm 91:7-9

For these blessings, procured to me by a loving, living, holy God I am most grateful. And now I know with certainty from whence I have been and always will be blessed, protected, and loved.

As we arrive at the time of year where the natural world celebrates its feast of consumerism and debt, I welcome the celebration of the birth of The One through whom all blessings truly flow: Jesus Christ. This is the debt that I will gladly carry until I see Him face to face. Amen.


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