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Devotional: November 22, 2021

Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise,… 20giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5: 15, 20 NRSV

This is the beginning of Thanksgiving week, a special time for many as they gather with friends and family to celebrate the holiday. Our thoughts naturally turn to blessings, gratitude, and thankfulness at such a special time of the year.

Some of you have been doing the “30 Days of Gratitude”. Fittingly, today’s prompt is: “A challenge I am grateful for.”

Being grateful for a challenge may sound odd, or at least a little unusual. Most people give thanks for overcoming challenges, or for getting through them. But to give thanks for the challenge itself? That seems counter-intuitive, and maybe even a bit strange.

However, the apostle Paul encourages the Ephesians to give thanks at all times, and for everything. Most people find it is relatively easy to give thanks when times are good, and life is easy. But what about those hard times, and those difficult days? Can we give thanks for them, as well?

The truth is that there are always blessings to be found. Even when we walk through the valleys of life, rather than skipping upon the mountaintops, we can find blessings. We may just have to look a little harder to find them.

One contemporary Christian song which reflects this truth is “Blessings” by Laura Story.

Here are the lyrics for the first verse, and the chorus:

We pray for blessings We pray for peace Comfort for family, protection while we sleep We pray for healing, for prosperity We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering All the while, You hear each spoken need Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops What if Your healing comes through tears What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

This Thanksgiving, contemplate God’s call to give thanks for ALL things, at ALL times. I know it may be difficult to answer such a call, but being grateful can soften our hearts. Giving thanks continually can help us be aware of what is all around us.Why stop at 30 days of gratitude? May it become a lifelong habit for each one of us!

Prayer

God of every blessing,

Thank you for every opportunity we have to count our blessings, and give thanks to You, as the source of those blessings. I ask you to bless me, my family, my church, my community, and this world. May I become grateful for all things, at all times… I pray this prayer in Jesus’ Holy name. Amen.

On a note of Thanksgiving, tomorrow I will be having a total knee replacement. I guess this is where I am to be grateful for this challenge, and thankful that modern medicine offers me a solution for my pain.

Due to my surgery, I am going to take some time off from writing the devotionals this week. However, I do plan to resume writing the devotionals sometime next week. Jeana has sincerely shared with me that she is looking forward to thanking me for all the care she has received through the years, by helping me through the healing process. We do want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. I appreciate your prayers for my healing.


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