Showing posts with label Thanksgiving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thanksgiving. Show all posts

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving! - Purity 275: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Purity 275 11/26/2020 

 Happy Thanksgiving!

Today’s photo was taken by me while I was working out on Sullivan Rd in Esperance NY yesterday.  It may not be terribly stunning but at the moment I was taken by the way the sun’s brilliance made itself known even through the clouds over the pines and the way the road stretched into the distance. 

I share it today because it’s the most recent picture that I have taken and for better or worse it reflects a part of my life in the here and now.  On Thanksgiving we can fondly remember this day in years past, but we can also be brought into depression if we are looking back and hoping to recreate days gone by that are impossible to replicate.  So while I’m pretty sure that we can say that we have all had better Thanksgivings before, especially this year, I want to focus on the fact that we still have much to be thankful for today. 

Ironically, 2020 has actually been one of the best years in my life as I have been led by the Spirit to new accomplishments and a new home, all in the midst of the chaos of Covid-19.  I kept hoping, praying, and living in the Spirit during this pandemic and the Lord has been with me every step of the way, bringing me from glory to glory.  While there have been moments of struggle, I kept looking forward and doing what I had to do, and the Lord has blessed me beyond measure. 

Part of the secret to successfully living in the Spirit is to continually stay in His presence through prayer and trying to follow the Lord’s will for your life, or as I have simplified it as: talking and walking with God. 

I would also suggest adopting an attitude of gratitude as a daily spiritual practice.

So, if 2020 hasn’t been so great for you, here are some things everyone can be thankful for:

We are thankful that we are alive and have the ability to live the life we choose.  

Although not in perfect health, we have the health we have and the abilities to do the things we can today.  It may be less than what we’ve had in the past, and it may be less tomorrow as we age, but it is what it is and we should appreciate where we are here and now.  We are thankful for our health.    

We may have lost loved ones, but we have the memories of their love and the things they have taught us. We are thankful for the lost.

We have friends and family that are alive. They may not be spending the day with us, but they are still with us and prayerfully we will see them again. We are thankful for our friends and family.

We have a place to live. Although some of my friends have been homeless at times, none of them are homeless this year.  We pray for those who are.  We are thankful for our homes.

We have work or benefit from those who do.  Some have the ability to work, some are retired, some are out of work, some are disabled, some have a job, and others are working today.  We are thankful for what work, that of ourselves or others, has provided for us. 

We can rest. Many have the day off, some don’t, but all of us have times where we can rest and enjoy our lives. We are thankful for rest!

We have a God above it all.  Whether you believe in Him or not, He has created the universe we live in and shaped the history of this planet and continues to be sovereign over it all. He provides the weather and causes the world to produce air to breathe, water to drink, and the conditions for food to grow. He does this for all.  He sent Christ to die for our sins and offers freedom over sin and death to all who place their faith in Him. This is His invitation to all.   I am thankful to God for all that He is and all that He does.  It is my hope that today, we are thankful for God. 

There is much more to be thankful for, from the mundane to the profound, we experience a better life when we focus on all that we have rather than the things we don’t have.  We experience a life of peace, hope, love, and joy when we welcome God into our lives and remain in His presence. It is my prayer that all who read this have a Happy Thanksgiving and discover the life that God has for you.   

 (There is More at the restricted blog). Follow me on Twitter, MeWe, or Parler for easy access.  Blog M T 4 Christ dot org – This is where the Facebook post ends.)

This morning’s meditation verse was:

Psalm 118:5 (NLT): In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. 

If there was a verse that describes my walk with God, I would say that this one certainly could be it.  I have literally cried out to the Lord, prayed for His deliverance and He has set me free in ways that I had never thought were possible.

This Thanksgiving, I am experiencing more freedom than I have in my entire life and it is only because God revealed the truth of Jesus Christ, brought me into His kingdom, and somehow I have endeavored to follow Him into the new life He made for me. .  Every day I look out my kitchen window or step on my front porch and look out at the Hudson River, I am overcome with joy because I know what He has brought me through and that He has brought me here.  

If you are not living a life of freedom, peace, joy, and love, commit yourself to Jesus as your Lord and Savior and Follow Him.    

Today we continue to share from Anderson & Baumchen’s Finding Hope Again, where the authors discuss taking every thought captive and detecting “viruses”.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work:

Taking Every Thought Captive

The most damaging thoughts we entertain are lies about ourselves and God. That is the subject of the next two chapters, but we should note here that the apostle Paul makes a critical connection between thoughts we have toward God and the potential spiritual battle going on for our minds.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-5, NIV).

Computer programmers coined the term "GIGO," which means garbage in, garbage out. If we put garbage into our minds we will probably live a life that looks and smells a little bit like garbage. Jesus said, "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart" (Luke 6:45).

We have to be very careful what we put into our minds; hence the urgency of taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. It doesn't make any difference whether the renegade thought originated from the television set, the radio, a book, a speaker, from your own memory bank or from deceiving spirits. Even if it is an original thought of our own, we must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

If what you are thinking is not true according to God's Word, then don't pay attention to it. Instead, do what the apostle Paul says to do:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things (Phil. 4:8).

You don't get rid of negative thoughts by trying not to think of them. You overcome them by choosing the truth and continuing to choose it until the negative thoughts are drowned out or completely replaced by the truth. If you want to experience the freedom that Christ purchased for you and the peace of mind that passes all understanding, then choose to think only those thoughts that perfectly align with the Word of God.

Detecting Viruses

Computer owners have all been warned about the potential for their computers contracting a "virus." A virus can cause severe damage to existing programs already loaded into the computer. Computer viruses are often not accidental, but intentional. They may come from store-wrapped software that gets contaminated by disgruntled employees. In addition, some devious people have purposefully created programs that are designed to introduce a killer virus into any system that accesses them. Therefore, most computer systems have programs that scan for viruses. Similarly, we need to have the capability to stand against the deceiver.

It is not always easy to detect a virus in our own belief system, because the major strategy of the enemy is deception. Every Christian is subject to tempting, accusing and deceiving thoughts. That is why we are to put on the armor of God. That is why we are to stand against the fiery darts Satan aims at our minds by taking up the shield of faith.

The most devious of Satan's schemes is deception. If you were tempted or accused, you would know it. But when you are deceived you don't know it. That is why Jesus prays for those who would follow Him, "'I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one....Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth'" (John 17:15, 17).

From the very beginning Eve was deceived, and she believed a lie. So Paul writes, "But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3). Commenting about the later days of the church age, Paul also wrote, "But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1).

We have seen evidence of this around the world—people struggle with their thoughts, have difficulty concentrating and even hear "voices." These voices or negative thoughts are usually self-condemning, suicidal, delusional and phobic. They result in feelings of guilt, hopelessness, sadness and deep despair.

These symptoms are what therapists typically associate with severely depressed people, both bipolar and unipolar. Of course, it's depressing to think those kind of thoughts! If a depressed person shared those symptoms with a secular therapist or doctor he would assume that a chemical imbalance is the cause and would likely place the client on some kind of antipsychotic medication and/or antidepressant. The consensus of opinion in the secular world is that severe depression needs to be treated with medication and milder depression requires therapy.

Again, we have to be careful that we don't rule out that possibility all together; but serious questions need to be asked. How can a chemical change a personality? How can our neurotransmitters randomly fire in such a way as to produce a thought that one is opposed to thinking? That is hard to believe. It should be much easier for the Christian to believe that those negative thoughts were patterns of the flesh learned from living in a fallen world, or the fiery darts from Satan that Scripture has clearly warned us about. A therapist with a secular worldview would not even consider such a possibility.

In our experience, the symptoms described reveal a battle for the mind more times than not. Instead of medication, or in addition to medication if they are already under a physician's care, we help these people resolve their personal and spiritual conflicts by submitting to God and resisting the devil (see James 4:7). The intervention we use is the Steps to Freedom in Christ (see appendix).

The apostle Paul spoke of "the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension," that is able to "guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7). Potentially, every born-again Christian should be able to experience that peace. Although most Christians apparently are not experiencing that freedom in Christ, we believe that they could, and that God desires it for all His children.

Finding Hope Again: Overcoming Depression.

------------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

God bless you all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving! A Year of Blessings to be Thankful for

It's Thanksgiving eve, and once again I will be going out for dinner with my brothers and their wives (And fiancĂ©,  Tommy still is yet to close the deal as the last holdout but like tomorrow's Turkey his goose is cooked!)  We're going for Mexican and a few laughs.  I won't be drinking.  I'm happy to report I've been sober sine 03/22/15 and I ain't going back! I am truly blessed because God has freed me from the prison I created for myself. Alcohol's lies have been exposed and I will remain vigilant to steer clear of the drink that consumes you.  Hey man to each their own I just know how I am and I am happier to leave it behind forever.  

Sobriety is enough to be Thankful for all by itself every single day of my life but God has given me so much more.  

The year in review of thanks! 

January, I was happy and thankful that a transition to a new foreman in the Schenectady line crew went off without any problems.  After some doubt and last minute changes, I ended up in a situation I was content with.

This January had virtually zero snow and I was extremely thankful for that because I work outside and I pay to have my driveway plowed.  I don't ski or snowmobile so I'll take all the snowless winters I can get! 

February- I went on a mission trip to Zimbabwe and Zambia. I also went on a safari in Botswana and saw Victoria Falls.  I honestly felt I was my ideal self on Mission, all my thoughts and actions were directed to the service of my Lord and Savior. 

As fate would have it while I was away. My wife Michele suffered a recurrence of a kidney infection/ stones. She was in a great deal of pain and terrible health.  I am thankful for the doctors and my parents for helping her  in my absence.  And I thank God that she has been healed. 

March - I was thankful that my eldest brother Matthew finally got married at 47 years old!  Kat Flynn is a wonderful person for taking this burden upon herself, welcome to the party Kat! 

April- I'm thankful for Easter where we celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive!  It's no zombie movie,  Jesus was risen to show that He is the Son of God and that through His work on the cross all who put their faith in Him will be forgiven of their sins and live forever with Him in paradise! 

May - Verizon went on strike, so I am thankful for my Union brothers and sisters that took a stand for the middle class by sacrificing income to insure we there could be good jobs in this country.   In the face of corporate greed who make billions in profit there is no reason they can't pay a wage where their employees can prosper.  I pray for other workers to band together to insure good jobs and dignity for all Americans.  

June - Verizon and the union came to an agreement.  It was back to work and I thank God Almighty because I was able to work again and to grab enough overtime to meet all my financial needs after being out of work for six weeks. At times I didn't think I would make it but God was with me.  

When I say that I really mean it.  One Sunday one of the women at my church that I did not even know was led by the Holy Spirit to give me a financial donation at a time when every penny counted.  I hadn't told anybody that I was in need and I didn't know this woman.  She told me that during her morning prayers the Lord directed her to give to me.  The money was appreciated but the thought that God moved this women to give to me, that God was thinking about me, and sending help is a blessing that I will always be thankful for.  He is real. He is alive. Salvation is through Christ alone. Please believe me and put your faith in Him! 

July - I took my family on a vacation to Niagara Falls Canada.  It was fun, even with the two angsty teens although it may be their last trip! Lol.   So In retrospect in 2016, I beheld the glory of God's creation by seeing 2 of the most magnificent waterfalls on the planet, Victoria & Niagara Falls! God is awesome. 

August- Michele and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary by going to the Rhode Island ocean and had all you can eat lobster at the world famous Nordic Lodge. The weather was sunny but not too hot. It was a nice weekend away. Recalling this I am reminded that through all my insanity and the wrong I've done, life's tragedies, the good times and the bad, Michele has continued to love me.  We've lived together since 96, so I am truly thankful for the 20 years of Michele's love and life that she has given me. She hosting my family for Thanksgiving so that proves she loves me! 

September - This was the month my Son Brennan,who had been a slacker for the past two years by not doing his homework and getting in trouble at school, decided to change his life.  He decided that a life of irresponsibility and the chaos that came with it wasn't the way he wanted to live anymore.  He started doing his work unprompted and has a real desire to succeed.  

My daughter, Haley, who had made that decision a few years ago after being a slacker, continues to do her work.  

So both my kids are staying out of trouble, they do their school work, they don't fight one another and they do whatever is asked of them.  They may be a little obsessed with video games and watching you tube but they haven't bugged me for cellphones...yet.  They talk to me and we are endlessly joking around. I am so proud and thankful because I honestly couldn't be happier with them. 

October - Autumn in upstate New York is a sight to behold.  Fall Foliage!  Also I got assigned to the double wood crew in Albany,  right where I wanted to be at the beginning of the year. It's a shorter commute and it's just in time before winter starts roaring.  

The kids both decided to sign up for drama, both getting small parts in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.   Like I said before, very proud.   

The kids had a Halloween party with their at the house to end the month! 

November- The election happened and the world didn't end.  I don't comment on politics, other than to declare that Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

I took the kids to see Julius Caesar in Chatham and it was really good. The kids of course sat with there theater friends but I'm cool like that.  
A day later I had the pleasure of seeing my kids in Romeo and Juliet. They were great and I think they really found what they are good at.  I wonder how they became so dramatic? 

The same weekend, Michele and I had the pleasure of attending Matt & Kats Wendy reception, 8 months later? It was a great venue and it was good time for all (even with Matt's tribute to all things Heavy Metal).  

And tomorrow is the big feast! 

All through the year I have had the honor of attending rock solid church, I am so thankful Pastors Jaron Halsted, Chris Romano, Mike Lambert, and Ethan Thomlinson, who has taken the reigns  as youth pastor this year.  I am thankful for the worship team and all those who serve and attend.  

I am thankful for Celebrate Freedom, my sponsor and mentor Bob Costello and the opportunity to teach. I am thankful for Paula williams, Cheryl Manchuck for leading the women's group. I also extremely thankful to Chris Manchuck for picking up leading worship.  Guitar hero I am not! 

I am thankful for Pastor Bob Engelhardt's preaching that has inspired me to write a book about Spirit-filled Christianity.  It's his work that will be the basis of the book and I pray my efforts will bring more people to the Lord.  The work is rewarding and challenging and I hope to have it completed soon.  That's why there's been no blog entries for months.  I've been working almost ever morning since the strike.  

I am so thankful for all of this and of course God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit who are responsible for it all!  

To all my friends and family, trust in Jesus and Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

It really is a wonderful life! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Do you believe in magic?

Want to change your life magically? I'm not  sure how to do that but my Sponsor Bob shared with me a D. James Kennedy devotion, that if the imperatives (highlighted in Red) are followed, can work wonders in your life.   I hope you find this simple lesson to be a profound help in your life. - Marc

  The Christian’s “Magic Wand”
“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving” – Psalm 95:2

Have you ever wished for a magic wand that could change all the unpleasantness of life into something good? Wouldn’t you love a way to instantly sweep away all the trivial things that accumulate until they drag you down?

  I believe the Lord has offered us something similar to a magic wand. It can change our outlook on the circumstances surrounding us. What is it? Gratitude. When we feel grateful, our perspectives toward things change. We see our circumstances in a new, more positive light.  And when we have grateful hearts, we want to express our gratitude outwardly through thanksgiving. This can work in reverse, too. If we give thanks even when we don’t feel very grateful, we often feel our attitudes change in a more grateful direction, just as if we passed a magic wand over ourselves.

  Thanksgiving transforms the secular or commonplace into the sacred. When we give thanks to God, suddenly we see God everywhere! We find ourselves living in an enchanted land, a land in the presence of our great Creator and Redeemer. With our spiritual eyes open, we can see that it is God who gives us everything, from our daily bread to the money we need. Our faith grows stronger as we express gratitude. All things become suffused with the divine presence.

  And as we recognize God’s blessings, our thankfulness gives us victory over temptation and sin. How can we commit adultery when we are grateful for ours pouses? How can we steal when we are grateful for and content with what we have? How can we envy others’ talents and abilities when we feel thankful for the way God has made us? How can we grumble or complain when we’re thankful for God’s blessings?

  We should thank God, and we should also show gratitude for the ways others have blessed our lives. Everyone needs the kind of lift that gratitude brings.

  What are you grateful for today? Thank God for all the blessings He has given you, and see how it changes your perspective on life. And don’t forget to express thanks to someone who has enhanced your life. I hope that in your thanksgiving you’ll experience joy. 

“When you drink from the stream remember the spring.” – Chinese proverb

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Black Friday – Out of the Darkness into the Light

No, I did not get up early to stand in line to fight my fellow man for huge discounts on Christmas gifts.  Not this year anyway. 

This black Friday I did my best to overcome a Thanksgiving Hangover.  No, I didn’t fall off the wagon. Although my family did come over to celebrate Thanksgiving with wine and German beer, all I had to drink was Coke Zero.  

You see, I have been training to run 5ks without dying and trying to lose weight. I have had success in doing so because I have been extremely disciplined in my exercise regimen and in what I eat.  On Thanksgiving I rose early, exercised like normal, and went down to Rhinebeck for Ferncliff Forest’s 8th Annual Turkey Trot.  It was 30 degrees and I put on a lite fleece, a winter hat, and gloves to keep warm.  I over compensated for the cold though because 5 minutes into the race I could feel the heat and my sunglasses started to fog up. It was okay, I thought not being able to see would keep me focused on running. I finished 27 out of 37 in my age group, so not so great, but whatever, I didn’t die!  

After the race, I went home and Michele had the turkey in the oven and everything ready to go. My Dad, brothers and their girlfriends, and my stepdaughter and her boyfriend all showed up and the feasting began!  I ate turkey, Michele’s awesome Italian sausage stuffing, peas and carrots, chips, salsa, crackers, cheese, pepperoni, cheesecake, buffalo chicken dip, brownie cupcakes, and 4 20z Coke Zeros. 

After training, my body is not used to eating so much and/or so many carbs.  So Friday, I rose early and it took much longer to get through my regular work out.  I did some online shopping for Christmas and then I took the kids into town go to Game stop so Haley could pre-order this game she has her heart set on.  We went into Walmart just to see the aftermath of Black Friday and seeing the picked over displays and frenzied shoppers sort of made me sick, or maybe it was my stomach.  We left after a few minutes without purchasing anything. 

After hitting the drive through at McDonalds, we went home and then, much to my shame, I was surrounded by leftovers, so day 2 of the feast was on: Leftover turkey, gravy, stuffing, cheesecake, apple pie, and then turkey tetrazzini for dinner! 

After a day of watching movies I didn’t enjoy, scrolling through social media, and filling up on food just to get rid of it, I felt somewhat physically ill and spiritually corrupted.  I had indulged the flesh giving into every whim of desire.  I felt like I had worked through most of the seven deadly sins

 (pride: I am running 5ks, hosting Thanksgiving, and am just awesome!
 greed: cyber shopping
 lust, envy:  Facebook, it’s all about lust and envy… for some people….
gluttony:  Mcdonald’s and thanksgiving feast = kill me now
sloth: lazy TV watching slug)

in 24 hours.  So last night I watched this series of teachings on Proverbs and it felt great to reconnect with the word of God.  After getting lost in the flesh (even in this seemingly normal overindulgence), it felt good to walk in the spirit even for just a short while.  

Holidays are nice break from routine but when you overdo the feasting (and in the past I used to overdo the drinking too) you see that you sort of missed the point.  It is nice to gather together and feast but I lost sight of what I was supposed to be most thankful for and to: God.  I spent most of my life trying to meet my needs, to feed my appetites, only to find out that nothing material can satisfy. Our temporary natures in this universe guarantee our eventual dissatisfaction with the things of this world. Physical objects age and fall apart.  Sensory pleasures fade away.  People (ourselves included) are inconsistent and disappoint.  Instead of going all out feasting, I should have taken a moment just to enjoy a breath and to reflect on the goodness of God. 

The great news is as I walk this road with the Lord, it takes me less time to get back on track. Every time things get out of balance I know that I just have to turn back to the Lord.  I just have to follow what I think would be His will for my life.  I am not always sure what that is but seeking His wisdom in the word of God is always a good place to start.  I sure am looking forward to Men’s Bible study tomorrow morning.  5:30 am at Rock Solid Church, in the basement, if you are interested.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Eve! Victory!

Traditionally on this night I would go out with my brothers to the local bars in Hudson and get ripped. My eldest brother Matt would roll into town from New Paltz and out we would go.  Since marrying Michele in 1998, this was one of the few nights of the year that I would go out drinking.  I would drink and smoke to excess, ogle other women, avoid getting into fights, and often not remember the walk home.  I would wake up at my parents’ house with a wicked hangover.  I had skipped last year. I had stopped drinking last September and was 2 months dry on the sly (Thought I would quit drinking unofficially all on my own). Although I skipped the Thanksgiving eve festivities, I gave into having a couple of token beers on Thanksgiving with my Dad.  I didn’t lose control that day but after giving in I soon was drinking regularly all through the Holiday season and into my vacation to Florida in February.  When I came back in March, Celebrate Recovery was starting and I was joined up. After a short slip up 2 weeks into recovery, I have been sober ever since, just over 8 months. 

So today is the day again, Thanksgiving eve, my brothers agree to meet for dinner and drinks before going out drinking. They know I’m in recovery and I was nervous about seeing them. I thought it would be weird.  I just before pulling into the restaurant, I had that strong pull to lose control and had a strong craving for a drink, lots of drinks, and any drugs or women I can get my hands on.  That “LET”S GO! ROCK –N- ROLL!” feeling.  Good news though, it was only a fleeting momentary thought. Michele and I went in. My brothers, their significant others, and my wife had drinks. I had a diet Pepsi. We had dinner and some laughs.  We had horrible service but over all a good time.  My brothers left to go out on the town and Michele and I went home. 

It was cool. They were drinking, I wasn’t.  No speeches or pleas.  Just some light conversation and catching up.  No big deal.

I was talking to Michele about it on the way there and I said I had an impulse control problem. I said that I was trouble.  I was joking and introduced myself to her “Hi, I’m trouble!”  In the past I was full steam ahead into drunkenness.  If there was an awkward pause in conversation I would fill it with a drink or two.  Now I’m comfortable in my own skin. I sit. I listen. I relax.  I’m at peace.  I can talk about drinking and laugh about it but now it is like I know better. 

In recovery I’ve said that I’m addicted to unicorns; I explain that I am chasing after things that don’t exist.   I’m no longer a college student back for Thanksgiving break.  I’m a 43 year old Bible College student, married, with children! I’m sure I could find trouble if I wanted to but I know that I wouldn’t find anything worthwhile.  When I relapsed in early March, after 2 weeks in recovery, I just remember that I felt it wasn’t worth it. My relapse was anti-climactic. I didn’t even have that good a time.  I felt like I let myself down and wanted to be right with God again.  I got back on the wagon and haven’t gotten off. 

I pray every day. I thank God for what I have. I ask for guidance, patience, and strength.  I never feel alone. 

I wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving 2015

On Thursday people all over America will gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving.  The obligatory question always arises. What are you thankful for this year?

I saw a “friend’s” post on Facebook and without naming names or providing exact quotes. They basically stated that they are “so over this holiday”.  They said they are thankful & see family every day already, the food blows, people will judge my food contribution, and something about an animal carcass as a center piece disgusts them. They ended their thoughts with a hashtag something like eff Turkeyday.  

First off: I was EXTREMELY tempted to comment “______, you’re not invited to Thanksgiving.”   You know, short and to the point.   I don’t know this person that well and no, they are not coming to my house.

(Confession:  I friended a lot of people when I was still drinking. I had some wild nights sharing on Facebook over the years, while under the influence too.  I think all those posts have been deleted. I hope.)   

Second: I thought it ironic that they said the “food blows” and then complained that someone would judge their contribution.  

Third: Animal rights can be passionate issue for some people. However, I’ll go with Bible on this one:

Genesis 9:2-3 saysAnd the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.

As for “unclean” animals, those food restrictions are gone with the New Testament (see Acts 10).

So we are having Turkey, or Ham, or Lasagna, or Ziti, or whatever (10 alternative Thanksgiving Dinners. Yikes:

 If you are a guest, deal with it and keep your petty concerns to yourself! 

Dinner is a 2pm! Glad you could make it!.....uh…

Whoa, I went Biblical there……anyway.  

The most distressing thing about my “friend’s” post was the blasĂ© attitude that they had regarding being thankful and the subtle inference that “Thanksgiving is the day we are thankful for family!” 

Now I love my family. They drive me crazy at times and disappoint and frustrate me continually so I can understand where this attitude may arise from.   For instance, My son, Brennan, is extremely bright but has somewhat of an anti-authoritarian streak in him and chose today to misbehave in school so on the cusp of the holiday where we are supposed to gather together and be thankful (for Family!) I have to address a discipline problem.  At the time I most want to reflect on how much I have in regards to family, I just had to remind myself how “blessed” I am with wild teenagers! 

(Actually, my kids are not perfect but they could be far worse.  Truth is they are bright, obedient, healthy, humorous, and “good” kids. )

So I get it.  Family is the original F word but we must remind ourselves of another word that begins with F: Funeral.  My wife, Michele, had similar complaints regarding her parents, Arthur and Mary, and how they drove her crazy.  Although divorced and living separate lives for over 40 years, Mary and Arthur both died within 6 months of each other in 2011.  Michele feels the loss of their absence in her life every day, especially during the holidays. 
So although family may drive you crazy, if you have some that you can spend the day with be thankful.  When you look at the faces gathered around your table, know that one day their chair will be empty and they will be gone from your life forever. 

For fun make a list of those you would like to see gone first!   

Okay, being thankful for family can be a big part of the holiday but it is not the only thing you can be thankful for.  We can be thankful for so many things in our lives: like our friends, our livelihood, our pets, our health, etc.   I was going to share a link to a list of things to be thankful for but I will not subject you to some of the saccharine delights I saw (“Big piles of leaves you’re never too old to jump in!”  Attention seniors: you may be too old to jump in!). 

The bottom line is all about perspective.  When approaching Thanksgiving, let’s lose the attitude and try to find gratitude.  This world is broken.  There is pain, suffering, and death all around us.  However, God made the world a beautiful place. We have to take time to stop and look around us and see the beauty. We have to be grateful for the experiences of pleasure that we have known and still enjoy.  We should not only do this on a Thursday in November. We should do this continually. 

This is going to be the first Thanksgiving that I am not hungover or drunk for since I was a child.  Since surrendering myself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, I have found the way to change my perspective to one of continual gratitude.  I pray every day to the Lord who loves me. I bask in the forgiveness that Jesus paid for with his life and live to honor and glorify Him.  I am not perfect and need to reorient myself to this perspective quite often but as I walk further in this journey with Christ, I don’t have to go as far to get back on track. 
So, what am I thankful for?  I am thankful for every person, place and thing that was part of the journey that led me to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  

Our lives are journeys. If you have known love in this world, you have much to be thankful for. Be thankful for what you have and for those you love.     

If you want to know love like no other, pray for Jesus to come into your life and be your Lord and Savior.   

John 3:16-17: 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who reads this.  Thank you to all my friends, family, loved ones, and acquaintances for being part of my journey!