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November is traditionally the month everyone lists what they’re thankful for. Since I’m not one to do things just because everyone else is, I’m going to close the year by giving thanks each day in December.
This has been a challenging year for me. There have been many overwhelming changes within the church I attend and I’ve been struggling to find peace and balance within my marriage. I believe with all my heart the challenges I’ve faced this year are meant to draw me closer to God.
Within the storm this season of my life has brought, I know there have been, and will continue to be, many blessings. I simply must choose to see them, trusting God is in control of the good, as well as the bad. He is amidst the storm with me offering all I need to get through it, and sometimes the only thing He offers is Himself. I need to accept that and continue moving forward with Him as my shield, because He is all I need.
Please join me, starting tomorrow, as I go through the month of December, describing why I’m thankful for different things in my life. What are you thankful for? Why?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for loving us, even when we fail you. I pray we would see You and not the storms around us, Amen.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Not for the excuse to stuff yourself like a turkey with all the wonderful food you prepare for the day, but because it’s a day to look back and see all the good things in your life.
Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks, and I don’t think you can truly give thanks without looking back and acknowledging the bad, or not so good, in your life and seeing the good surrounding it. To me, Thanksgiving is a yearly opportunity to see past our circumstances and see the ‘sunshine and rainbows’ in our life.
I love scrolling through Facebook and other social media sites this time of year, because there are regular postings about why people are thankful. You can tell when it’s from someone who has truly pondered what they have been through and see what they have received from it.
If you know me, you’ve heard me say, “I need sunshine and rainbows”. I need to see the good. Good in people, things and circumstances. It helps me take my focus on the ‘not so good’ going on in my life. It helps me keep my focus on God and how much He loves me. It helps me to see Him and His mighty out-stretched hand in my everyday life.
Some of my sunshine & rainbows……
- How I learn from my family just as much as I teach them.
- I always have people to pray for me, and with me, in times of need.
- The ability God gives to create medicine to help heal.
- The skill surgeons are given, and taught, to perform organ transplants to prolong people’s lives.
- How God uses the trials in our lives to bring encouragement to others.
- Technology and how it allows us to reach out to others around the world.
- The beautiful colors that come with the cooler weather.
- The beauty that is to come in the spring from the rain we receive throughout fall and winter.
- The people placed in my path to be an encouragement at the perfect moment.
- The opportunity to help others with the gifts I have been given.
- Knowing I am never alone, because God will never leave me.
- In my times of weakness, I can call upon the Lord who will give me strength.
- Friends who will speak God’s truth to me, when I seem to have forgotten.
What sunshine do you see in your day? Where do you see the rainbow that is breaking through the darkness, or trial, you are in right now?
Seeing your sunshine and rainbow can help you through your circumstances, as well as be a powerful ripple in the lives of others when you share it. Where can you be a ripple this holiday season?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the sunshine and rainbows you provide to each of us in the midst of our trails. I pray we see you in them and give thanks for them daily, Amen.
November is a popular time for giving thanks and stewardship campaigns in churches. I’ve heard that the attendance drops in churches during this month. People don’t want to hear about the many reasons they should give their money to church. I use to completely agree.
Money is a difficult topic to talk about. Some people live paycheck to paycheck. They think they don’t have anything to give. Other people have plenty. They feel they worked hard for it and won’t give it away with nothing in return.
2 Corinthians 8:12 says “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” God knows what you have. As long as you are willing to give of what you have, and do, then it will be acceptable by God.
I do believe we should each give to the church. I don’t think we should give, tithe, just because the church, or pastor, tells us to. I think we should each pray about it. Ask God to reveal how much we should give. Yes, tithe means 10%. Again, don’t give 10% just because that’s what others are telling you to give. Ask God. Share with God your hesitations on giving. Ask God to prepare your heart to give the way He wishes you to. Then when you do hear from God, step out in faith by giving and trusting He will provide for all your needs and bless you in ways you could not imagine.
2 Corinthians 9:7 says “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
A little over two years ago we were told Robert’s medical pay had run out. He was going to be medically retired and would only receive 50% of his salary. We were devastated! We had no idea how we were going to pay for everything each month.
Around the same time, God was calling us to increase our giving. We felt God was asking us to quadruple our giving. We weren’t giving much at the time, but quadrupling it when our income was being cut in half seemed insane. After praying and talking about it, we decided to increase our giving. We quadrupled our giving the next month. What we gave monthly was now what we gave weekly. We also decided not to worry about our finances. We told God we believed He would take care of our family’s needs.
Within about a month we started receiving unexpected checks in the mail. One because of a miscalculation on his retirement, another because his sick leave was used incorrectly. Then we were told we had paid into long term disability and were entitled to monthly checks to help with our monthly expenses. I know it sounds crazy, but its true!
God blessed us abundantly for being obedient and faithful. We weren’t filled with worry when we gave. We gave believing we would be taken care of. When God put it on our heart to quadruple our giving, it wasn’t 10%. God knew what we were able to give. The next year we did increase our giving. We now give 10%. Sometimes when extra expenses come up, I must confess, I do wonder how we will manage. Then I give it to God in prayer and anxiously wait to see how He will provide, because He always does.
My prayer for us today ~ Lord, thank you for the gifts and abilities you provide daily. I pray we are each the cheerful giver you created us to be, Amen.