what we've got

November 18th, 2016 | Posted by

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It is Thanksgiving time again.

I love this time of year. I love this holiday.

No gifts required, no major decorating like Christmas. (And no irresistible candy left over to tempt me, like at Easter and Halloween.)

Thanksgiving. Just the idea of it! What nation on earth but America has a holiday to remind us of all God’s blessings. I should add that to our list—I’m thankful for Thanksgiving.

Let’s set aside all the blogging advice on how to roast a perfectly moist turkey (though I am always looking for new Thanksgiving recipes). We have so much to be thankful for, our hearts should be brimming like Norman Rockwell’s classic Thanksgiving painting.

Here’s something I just thought (or read somewhere on a food blog, wink, wink). Have all your guests bring a picture of someone, or a small memento as a conversation starter for sharing what they are thankful for. I can bring my mother’s beautiful fan, or maybe a photo of people on the field at Harvest America.

Jonathan Edwards, the famous Puritan preacher, drew a distinction between “natural” gratitude and “gracious” gratitude. We tend to focus on natural gratitude. I am grateful for my adorable grandchildren, my cozy bed, my hot Matcha Almond milk latte. This last one is a new add on my thankful list. Coffee has been my favorite for years, but I may be free at last!  (Matcha tea has nearly as much caffeine as coffee but without the jittery spike and with none of the acidity.) A real gift . . . thank you.

But in a galaxy beyond earthly gratitude, there is what Edwards called “gracious” gratitude. God is good. God loves me. God knows my every thought and still loves me. God has given His one and only Son as a sacrifice for my sins. This gratitude “gives thanks for who God is.”

Boy, do I ever need to remember this when my natural gratitude runs out. God is gracious. Period. For that we will say, “Thank You, Jesus” forever and ever and ever. And ever and ever.

Eugene Peterson put it this way:

“Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God” (Hebrews 12:28 The Message).

An unshakable kingdom! A crown better than the one on the HRH’s head. A place better than Versailles or Buckingham Palace that I’ve been watching in The Crown on Netflix. We have a better King! And just so you know, according to the verb tense in that verse, it’s already ours. God has already given us an eternity of bliss and joy forever!

“Thankless children we all are, more or less, comprehending but dimly the truth of God’s fathomless love for us.” – Elizabeth Elliott

 But you may wonder how we can be grateful when this planet can be a world of such pain. We look at history. Auschwitz. The Cambodian Killing Fields. We read the headlines. The genocide of the Church which is happening, even now, in the Middle East.

Dear reader, this is in my mind too as I write about gratitude. Gratitude does not remove the horrors of violence. Or poverty. Or pain. I need only to revisit the worst tragedy of my life, the sudden death of my son Christopher, to taste how bitter life can be. I hate to disappoint any who are ultra-pious, but I cannot—I will not— be grateful for that.

If we are willing to be truthful, our lack of gratitude isn’t because of what is happening around the world. It is because we are lured in by the continual barrage of advertisers who tell us we deserve more. We need to look younger and be thinner. Our beds need 500 thread count sheets. Our houses need shiplap. (Thank you, we love you Joanna and Chip.)

Here is my sure fixer-upper cure for ingratitude. Think deeply about the love of God and the gifts He has given. Make it a daily part of your prayer time. What if we take a break from merely petitioning God for this and that? Imagine if we only heard from our loved ones when they needed something. That isn’t love. That’s a debt collector.

Let’s spend time in giving thanks, more than just the three minutes it takes to “say grace” (if we even remember to do that). Let’s voice our gratitude and praise all through the day!

Developing and maintaining a grateful heart is easier said than done.

If you want to be a grateful person, you need to remember to remember.

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT).

Our circumstances, or the tragedies in Mosul, don’t cause ingratitude. Ingratitude comes out of allowing a disconnect from our Heavenly Father.

Thank Him. Thank Him. Thank Him.

This Thanksgiving night, when all the guests drive home and the dishes are done, I will kiss my family good night, make a hot Matcha latte, tuck into a cozy bed . . . . and try to convince Greg to watch an episode of The Crown with me.

I will be grateful for it all . . . and most of all for Jesus.

 




27 Comments

  1. Terri says:

    So beautifully written, dear Cathe! I am (amongst so many others) grateful for your encouragement and your leadership. Thankful that your foundation of instruction is solely based on the Word of Jesus. Happy Thanksgiving to all Lauries, beginning with Greg and you! With tons of love. From the Greens.❤️

  2. Christine says:

    Thank you Cathe! Very beautifully put. You really know how to remind us how to put things in just the right perspective.

  3. iris klieves says:

    Thank you Cathe, how beautiful, all honor and praise to Jesus for ever and ever Amen

  4. Patricia mccurry says:

    Thank you cathe for your beautiful thoughts on thanksgiving. We do have a lot to be thankful for,I hope you and your family have a very blessed Thanksgiving. I would appreciate prayers for my family and for the family of my dear friend Nell who went home to be with the Lord nov 8. She will have the best thanksgiving ever but she leaves a lot of us behind to miss her. I told our pastor I knew where she was and I know I will see her again but it sure leaves a hole in my heart and he said he thinks God gives us the holes in our heart to keep our memories there. Don’t you like that? Prayers for all of you Blessing ms Patricia McCurry York s.c.

  5. jodi palmer says:

    I am grateful for you Cathie…for your wisdom, your sweet heart and the light and love you cast on so many of us. Thank you, thank you , thank you…Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless and Keep you…

  6. A Jones says:

    Thank you that was lovely. In one of my darkest seasons, I couldn’t see anything good around me. I literally forced myself to give thanks for the little things that most of us take for granted. Like my ability to walk, my hands, my mind, my sight. All those blessings that some people don’t have. To keep me grateful, I started to document answered prayer and moments when God intervened or made His presence known to me. This helps me recognize how awesome the Lord God truly is.

    A

  7. Nicole says:

    What a cute picture! Your right what a wonderful holiday to celebrate with family and enjoy the time together. God bless you and your family.

  8. Kendra says:

    Sage words from such a sweet beautiful woman of God! Thank you!! And happy Thanksgiving to you and your wonderful family! God bless…

  9. Gina Yount says:

    Thank you for the reminder. Look at all the Feasts and Festivals God ordained to help us remember! I’m going to call all my family (well the Mom’s) and do this with my family! I’ll read this to them. We do indeed have so much to be thankful for!. And when all these North Carolina fires all around me go out I’ll be thankful for that too! God bless you and your sweet fam! ❤ JESUS❤

  10. Bel says:

    Hello,
    Cathe, you write such beautiful words!!
    I’m thankful that Jesus is with me always because
    this walk is a hard one and it’s good to know for
    Certain that he is with us every step of the way!!

    Happy thanksgiving!!

  11. Caryn Marsh says:

    You are a blessing my friend..

  12. MiaAyne Vaughters says:

    Thank you, this causes me to reflect,and with my heart full to say thank you God for my family. Thanks for your graciousness. Happy Thanksgiving.

  13. Liz says:

    Thank you for this timely reminder. So often I forget to thank God for all he has done, especially when circumstances are not the best.

  14. Michelle Beckman says:

    Yes! Being content in His Love!…. it’s such a place of richness and blessing! Finding His Eternal perspective… Thank you dear Cathe’, once again…

  15. Evie Sholtis says:

    Thank you for confirming the blessing of acknowledging God’s grace throughout the day. I would like to add one thing I learned last year at the age of 79, that I was not “super woman” even to the extent of over-serving my husband (also 79) and weakening his headship. I experienced a sub-dural hematoma surgery (now fully recovered) and have learned what God means by resting in Him and doing things in His strength not mine. I’m still a “recovering doer.” Thank you for using the gifts God has graciously given you.

  16. gina hazzard says:

    thank you Cathe for reminding me to be thankful. i too have lost my son. he was in a motorcycle accident at age 21 at 6 am in the morning. he was a college student at GSU and worked part time. he was on his way to work. the pain and void in my heart is a reality every day. i miss him so very much and i too cannot be thankful for that, but i am thankful for my daughter and my family and friends and that i still have a job and for my health and for being able to still worship in a church of my choice. compassion christian in savannah ga. and to worship God on my way to and from work listening to air1.com. God bless you for reminding me to be thankful for the every day things that we so often take for granted.

  17. Julie says:

    I am thankful for your posts. They are very insightful and give lots of “food for thought”! Our Canadian Thanksgiving is past but I agree we should live daily in a state of thanksgiving!

    I have been trying to figure out how to share your posts. I read one the other day about suffering that was powerful and would be a help to someone close to me who lost a child in the past year.

    Thank you for allowing God to use you!

  18. debbie Zamora says:

    Good Morning Cathe, it is always good to hear from you! Thank you so much for the reminder, that My Jesus knows my every though and still loves me this is beautiful ahh! I love God’ words they are beautiful. Yes, I have so much to be Thankful for My Jesus, God the Father and The Holy Spirit and my family I love them all so very much they are precioius I like Thanksgiving, Christmas mostly 4 of July and Easter mostly. Your grandchildren are beautiful! I have six grandchildren two girls and 4 boys. Have you heard Prince of Peace from Hill song United ahh.. its a beautiful song. I wish you and your family a blessed and good Thanksgiving.

    Thank you, In God’s awesome Love, Debbie.

  19. Karen Colyer says:

    Thank you, Cathe! Such a beautiful message, straight from your beautiful heart! Thank you again and again for praying with me several years ago at The Cove just about a month and a half after I lost my son in a car accident. God bless you and your family, and I pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Love,
    Karen Colyer
    from
    McDaniels, Kentucky

  20. Dorothy says:

    Thank you for your encouraging words all year long, but especially at this time of year! Just wanted to let you know that there is another nation who gratefully celebrates Thanksgiving..in Canada we celebrate our Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October.

  21. Marta says:

    Thank you,please pray for our family, my Husband Milton is looking at his job closing the doors very soon. We went through a long (years) hard time already and ask God for his grace on not happening again.
    Thank you,
    Your Sister in Christ
    Marta M.

  22. Mary Maul says:

    You have a beautiful family Cathe Laurie-and a husband that keeps you laughing.Have a blessed Turkey day with your family cute photos with the kids putting marshmallows on the sweet potatoes my favorite.

  23. Debra says:

    What a wonderful and thought provoking message for this season of thanks. I love how you point out that we are the only country to celebrate thankfulness to our Lord for our wonderful bounty. He is our provider and our savior. I love Him. I hope you had a wonderful celebration with your family as I did with mine. God Bless.

  24. Pat C says:

    thank you for everything you say and do. You may never know how timely and appropriate your words are to so many.
    Sincerely,
    Pat C

  25. Nicole says:

    We are thankful that we are alive. We have been in Gatlinburg, Tn for a few months and was working on our cabin which is part of our retirement. We live part time in Orange county and the east coast. We have one son and his family and tons of family in California, one son and his family on the east coast, so we go back and forth to see our kids and grandkids.

    We lost everything in this fire…43 three years of things and all our pictures we are very thankful for what we do have, we have each other (my husband) and our dog, we are starting over.

    God is looking out for us and watching … he will get us through this emotional roller coaster. There are so many people that have died, missing, and people who have lost everything. We are fortunate enough to have such a blessed area to be in and the Tennessee people are so sweet. Dolly Parton has even kicked in and is helping anyone who had a permanent
    residence, including us.
    God bless all of you and keep you safe. Mike, Glenda, and Angel

  26. Linda Bedsworth says:

    lbedsworth54@gmail.com

    Hi Cathe, I attended Harvest from 3/1988 until retirement and move to Forest Grove, Oregon in September 2015. I miss the Virtue Study (but am in a great study at Calvary Chapel Worship Center). I saw the Facebook pictures of the Women’s Christmas gathering and saw the black thermos Virtue containers. Can I buy one online and have it shipped to me? That would be so special.

    Blessings,
    Linda

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