Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

thanksgiving Archive

Thursday

22

November 2018

The Thankful Heart

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

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Seeds of discouragement will not grow in the thankful heart. | See more at hopereflected.com

Seeds of discouragement will not grow in the thankful heart.

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto to Him and bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4)

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Tuesday

20

November 2018

Hope Reflected | The Gift of Giving

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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"The gift of giving is a blessing." | See more at hopereflected.com

The Gift of Giving

3 examples of generosity from which we can learn

Last weekend, Wes and I were waiting in line for the car wash, and when the vehicle in front of us finished, the driver announced, “I got it started for you!” As we pulled ahead, we realized that the driver had paid for our car wash. What an awesome, unexpected blessing!

Later in the week, our neighbours invited us over for tea and cake, to celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary. We were so touched that they wanted to share their special day with us, and that they wanted to give to us.

The gift of giving is a blessing, regardless of the type of giving. Some people give of their time, while others give of their finances, and some give of their talents. Regardless of how you give, giving is a gift.

There are so many examples of the gift of giving that we can learn from in the Bible. Whether Old Testament or New, we can all learn from the examples of generosity in the Bible.

Consider the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. He is a primary example that the gift of giving doesn’t have to be about money. Beyond financial giving, the Good Samaritan saved a life, a life that others went out of their way to avoid. He gave his time, he gave of himself, and he even risked his own reputation to give to another. “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.” (Luke 10:33) Even the act of compassion for someone else is an example of the gift of giving. Compassion! Showing sympathy and a caring heart toward another is one way of giving to someone. We can all be challenged to give the gift of compassion.

We can learn from the example of the poor widow in Mark 12. The poor widow taught us that you don’t have to have a lot in order to give. “For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” (Mark 12:44) The widow gave everything she had, literally. She only had two mites, and she gave them. Perhaps you already give regularly to a cause or through tithing at church. We can all learn from the poor widow what true giving really is. Giving a lot isn’t a prerequisite to the gift of giving. Even when you think you don’t have anything worth giving, you do. Give in faith.

And what about Zachhaeus, the money collector! Yes, that’s right. We learn from Zacchaeus that the gift of giving is something that can be learned. The man who was famous for taking money had an incredible turnaround when he came to know Christ. Zacchaeus, who started out as a tax collector, turned around in faith and turned into a giver! “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” (Luke 19:8) Perhaps your track record isn’t representative of the gift of giving. Anyone can change; you just have to purpose in your heart. As C.S. Lewis once said, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

The gift of giving doesn’t have to be overly elaborate. Sometimes the simple and quiet gift of giving has the biggest blessing of all.

Originally published as “The Gift of Giving.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. September 27, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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Saturday

6

October 2018

Hope Reflected | Thoughts Around Thanksgiving

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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"Be ye thankful." Colossians 3:15 Thoughts Around Thanksgiving | Read more at hopereflected.com

Thoughts around thanksgiving

It’s not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy.

With summer behind us, this doorway to fall during mid-September through October often finds people getting excited about pumpkin spice, Halloween, and wearing heavy knits. As we head in to this Thanksgiving season, I am reminded of what the Bible tells us about thanksgiving, and these are truths that are applicable the whole year through.

So many times throughout the Bible we read about giving thanks, thanksgiving, and being thankful. Colossians 3, talking about Christian characteristics, says that we should, “let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” As children of God, we are called, among other things, to be merciful, kind, humble, meek, patient, forgiving, loving, peaceful, and thankful.

While all of those characteristics stand out to me as areas in which I fail daily, I can’t help but be convicted by the last part of verse 15: “Be ye thankful.” This is instruction that we are to follow in our daily lives, not just one day out of the year, and yet, how often – even in the span of a single day – do I find myself complaining, lamenting, and resenting! As humans, we’ve made it a habit to complain and as a result we’ve become immune to God’s blessings.

The Bible also provides specific guidance around the areas for which we are to give thanks. When you consider Thanksgiving with your family, perhaps you’re accustomed to going around the table and sharing something, or someone, for which you’re thankful. These thoughts are traditionally positive, however note what we read throughout the Scripture about the nature of thanksgiving. “In every thing give thanks,” (1 Thess. 5:18). “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God,” (Phil. 4:6). “Giving thanks always for all things unto God.” (Eph. 5:20). “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” (Col. 4:2). Thanksgiving is not to be reserved just for the good stuff. No, on the contrary, we’re called to be thankful for every thing – that includes the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. As C.S. Lewis said, “We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility, and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.”

Thanksgiving, it should also be remembered, is not just a singular action. Thanksgiving has two components, that of being thankful, and that of giving. As much as thanksgiving is about what we are thankful for, thanksgiving is also about what we give. Consider who is around you, what have you been blessed with, and where can you serve others.

Someone once said that it is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy. As we enter this new season, may we remember that thanksgiving is an acknowledgement and reflection of God’s blessings to us.

Originally published as “Thoughts Around Thanksgiving.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. September 20, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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Thursday

2

November 2017

Hope Reflected | The Grateful Heart

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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"That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14 The Grateful Heart | See more at hopereflected.com

The Grateful Heart

Like most holidays, Thanksgiving comes and goes in the blink of an eye. In fact, here we are less than a month after Canadian Thanksgiving, and you’re more than likely already thinking about other things. More than a choice, having an attitude of gratitude the whole year through is possible when you have a grateful heart. So what are the characteristics of a grateful heart?

  1. The grateful heart seeks God regardless of circumstances. “In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Take note of this portion of Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. He says, “in every thing give thanks.” Not “in some things,” or “in happy things.” In every thing we are to give thanks. Can that ever be a challenge or what?! There are some things and times in which I just don’t want to give thanks! Even in challenging times or difficult seasons, we’re called to give thanks, even if it’s for the little things (because really, the little things are the big things, aren’t they?). Don’t concentrate on the circumstances that will always change; focus on God Who will never change and Who will always be there for you. The grateful heart seeks God regardless of circumstances.
  2. The grateful heart wants to help others. “Do not forget to do good and to share with others.” (Hebrews 13:16) We’re called on several times throughout the Bible to help others. It’s not always going to be convenient, and it’s not always going to be easy. In fact in Hebrews 13:16 “to do good and to share with others” is referred to as a sacrifice. The grateful heart wants to help others. Maybe for some that means lending a helping hand, or for others, it could mean being a listening ear. Whatever the case, we are encouraged in Galatians 6:2 to “carry each other’s burdens.”
  3. The grateful heart is content. “Be content with what you have.” (Hebrews 13:5) The grateful heart remains focused on what it already has rather than looking for fulfillment in other places. I’ve written before about the importance of contentment, and a sure sign of a grateful heart is one that’s focused on all it’s been blessed with. You may have heard the old adage, “the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greenest where you water it.” This wisdom is true. We brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing with us when we leave (1 Timothy 6:7) so where’s your focus? The grateful heart is content with what it already has.

Above all, the grateful heart realizes and treasures what is truly important. What’s in your heart? Is your heart a home for our Lord and Saviour? Or is your heart focused on building an earthly empire? Your answer will determine your eternity. The only One who can truly satisfy the human heart is the One who made it. There’s a longing in each heart that only Christ can fill (Psalm 90:14).

Originally published as “The Grateful Heart.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. October 12, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

23

August 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Attitude of Gratitude

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Wednesday Wisdom

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What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday? | See more at hopereflected.com

“What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday.”

This quote really resonated with me, and I was immediately convicted. It was the middle of the week, on a day where I hadn’t really taken much time throughout the day to be in conversation with God. This quote really spoke to me and reminded me of the importance of taking the time to give thanks, to express gratitude.

I’ve written before in my column about the importance of developing an attitude of gratitude, rather than getting caught up complaining about our circumstances.

What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday? Can you imagine?

Take time today to thank the Lord for His goodness and His blessings. Take time to give thanks for the people in your life who care about you. The world would be a better place if we all took time to give thanks!

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his lovingkindness endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1)

“What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday.”

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Monday

31

October 2016

Encouragement: Psalm 147: 7-8

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psalm 147 encouragement

“Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.” Psalm 147: 7-8

Autumn weather often brings along with it cloudy days, cold winds, and lots of rain.

Even during the dullest of days, there is so much to praise God for! He is the one Who creates the clouds, sends rain for the earth, and Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.

If you’re searching for reasons to give Him praise, consider all the ways that God has demonstrated His faithfulness throughout your life. Count your blessings, and you’re sure to be encouraged.

“Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.” Psalm 147: 7-8

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