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Being Thankful…

For
all we eat, For all we wear,
For
all we have everywhere,
We
thank you, Father, Amen.
That prayer, repeated by
my brothers and me at every meal was the beginning of ‘thankfulness’
and taught to our four children. The words, “For all”, over time
became one word – “Forall”. It became a ritual, not a prayer.
When
I was little, my Dad, Herman Siemens, said this prayer –
“Komm,
Herr Jesu, sei unser Gast, und segne alles, was du uns aus Gnade
bescheret hast.” The translation is: “
Come,
Lord Jesus, be our guest and bless all that you through your grace
have bestowed on us.

(
http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/articles/newspapers/news/tobin4.html)
I loved hearing him say, ‘besheret’. Then I would wait for the
‘Amen’, knowing it was time to eat.
It is
one thing to grow up in a ‘thankful’ household – but it is another
to learn to be thankful. In today’s world I have seen thankfulness
become an ‘in’ thing to say and to write. Facebook is the place to
share the ‘I am thankfuls’ from the heart. I have read each one –
and written my own. Each one expresses a color that paints the
canvas of life with vibrancy of light and love.
And how
can it be? When the news all around the world is chaotic,
threatening our very existence. Why is that? We do not have far to
look. We simply examine our own hearts to see if we have the
elements that make our world a place to live, to love and to enjoy in
peace. When anger and criticism is our every-day language, we have
fallen off the thankful meter into the abyss of misery. Tears
express frustration. Our eyesight observes the eyesores of our
world, no matter how brilliantly God paints the sunrises. We cannot
see God’s work when we are blinded by greed, corruption or anger.
So, how
do we leave the ‘downers of life’ in the dust? How do we change
direction and see the glory of God at work? That is the question.
Google,
one of my ‘acquaintances’ is filled with rules and steps that
instruct us in becoming thankful. No matter how many steps –
following the well-meaning ‘how-to’s’ – does not accomplish the
desired goal of thankfulness. It must come from the depths of the
heart. Last Sunday I heard the heart described as the Worship Center
and the Operating System of our lives (OS). How apt! For the heart
provides the why and how we choose live.
During
Bible Study last week we studied about Mary and Martha, when Lazarus
was raised from the dead. Immediately I wondered what Lazarus would
say for his “I am thankful….” when he came from the tomb. The
ramifications of re-entering the world – business as usual – must
have been difficult.
My
Grandmother Suderman (Anna Loewen Suderman) wrote about the death of
four little ones: “Soon little bundles from heaven came to us.
How sweet they were, we loved them dearly. But sickness and even
death did not bypass us. But we were together, sharing joys and
sorrows. It hurt very deeply to give up our loved little ones, but
God kept us and gave us comfort so that we could bear it
.”
She
continues, “The first 20 years of our married life we enjoyed
good health, but then for a number of years I’ve been sick very
often. Sometimes we thought my stay would not be long anymore. But
God always heard our prayers and graciously helped us. He very
definitely answered our prayers. The last years Gerhard has not been
in good health, but we get along, and are thankful that we can be
together and help each other.”
To
my Grandmother Suderman, thanksgiving comes from the heart and shines
through the bad times and the times when we think we will not endure.
If it were just us – we would not endure. Down through the years
our ancestors have battled through storms of various kinds –
illness, death, financial distress, immigration, drought, famine,
flooding, separation from family and outside dangers. Yet their
faith strengthened – why? Why not just give up? Why not become
bitter and disillusioned with life?
One
that article caught my eye – described thankfulness in an acrostic
for F-A-I-T-H, by Trevor Lund.
F
–Focus
– look at what God is doing, not at what threatens
to occur. Matt. 6:23-26
A
–Attention
– Keep focused on the right thoughts.
Philippians 4:8-9
I
– Intention
– Make plans and follow through to change
your thinking. Romans 12:2
T
–Thinking God’s Thoughts
– Matthew 11:28-30
H
–Holy Spirit Help
– I John 2:27
Yes,
this is the week to express thanksgiving for our blessings…a day
set aside to remember to be thankful. Just one day?
Two
verses of scripture say –
Let
the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body
you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15
Devote
yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians
4:2
Thankfulness
in these verses are coupled with the words – peace, prayer and
being watchful. So it is that being thankful doesn’t create a life
of chaos, anger and criticism. The first attributes – peace,
prayer and watchfulness call us to life. Without being thankful our
spirits become death for ourselves and others.
My
Mother’s praise always surprised me. Without warning, in the midst
of canning, sewing, cleaning, gardening or cooking, I would hear
Mom’s voice burst out – Praise
God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him, all creatures here
below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost…A-men!

I
didn’t comprehend the depth of her spirit of thankfulness. Her
legacy to me (and to all who knew her) is a mantle of thankfulness –
praise – and love for “Father,
Son and Holy Ghost
”.
So
this Thanksgiving I give God praise for His blessed Love and leave
you with the words Mom wrote long ago….
Lord,
today I bring you offering as a sacrifice of praise.
Let
my life proclaim thanksgiving…Honor Him in all my ways.
All
my heart should live thanksgiving, Pleasing God in everything.
He’s
my Savior, Christ Redeemer, He’s my Master, Lord and King. ADS

Comments? eacombs@att.net

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