Even if you do not live in a land that celebrates Thanksgiving it is good to take time out to ponder with thanks and gratefulness the salvation, lovingkindness, and His provision. I had a radio show Flock of Goats Preparedness and in 2016 I did a show on Thanksgiving and Gratefulness. This is a transcript of my show. Little did I know that the Lord Jesus was preparing David and I to go on two very different journeys. I had no idea that in less than 48 hours I would be a widow.
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This article is dedicated to my beloved David and my faithful dog the Moshe, who have both left this earth but never my heart.
A song for a thanksgiving offering.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with joy, come before Him with praise.
Know that the Lord is God; He made us and we are His, people and the flock of His pasture.
Come into His gates with thanksgiving, [into] His courtyards with praise; give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good; His kindness is forever, and until generation after generation is His faith.
Image by Celeste
Fall is a sensory sensation! We have color with which to delight the eyes. We have an abundant harvest with exquisite tastes. These are the days to hear birds migrating and insects humming as they collect their last nectar. Fall has its unique aroma as cold winds begin to kiss our cheeks.
Have you taken time to be thankful and grateful for today, this season, and your colorful life in general? Living gratefulness and thankfulness are tools that should be in every preparation kit whether it is in your home, to go bag, lending a hand, and prayer. We need to be encircled by a garment of thankfulness and gratefulness.
What is the definition of being grateful? Having a due sense of benefit, kindly disposed towards one from whom a favor has been received, willing to acknowledge and repay benefit. Characteristics include being: agreeable, leasing, acceptable, a sacrifice… an attitude of the heart.
What is the definition is being thankful? A sense of being impressed with a sense of kindness received and ready to acknowledge it. Characteristics include being: sentiment, kindness, gratitude, remembrance, and favor.
Discipline of oneself towards gratitude & thankfulness is tough. We cannot feel sorry for ourselves, no matter how little we may have. One grateful master began a talk to his students with a thump on the table and the words, "It is enough that a human being is alive!" Then he ended his talk right there.
I must admit that when I prepared for this show on thanksgiving I was tossed into some stressful and challenging situations. That is where the rubber met the road and it gave me an opportunity to give thanks in these situations. The more I did it the easier it got!
There is a story -- probably urban legend, but full of truth nonetheless -- concerning the famous violinist Yitzhak Perlman. One evening, Perlman was in New York to give a concert. As a child he had been stricken with polio and so getting on stage is no small feat for him. He wears braces on both legs and walks with two crutches. Perlman labors across the stage slowly, until he reaches the chair in which he seats himself to play.
As soon as he appeared on stage that night, the audience applauded and then waited respectfully as he made his way slowly across the stage to his chair. He took his seat, signaled to the conductor to begin, and began to play.
No sooner had he finished the first few bars than one of the strings on his violin snapped with a report like gunshot. At that point Perlman was close enough to the beginning of the piece that it would have been reasonable to have brought the concert to a halt while he replaced the string, to begin again. But that's not what he did. He waited a moment and then signaled the conductor to pick up just where they had left off.
Perlman now had only three strings with which to play his soloist part. He was able to find some of the missing notes on adjoining strings, but where that wasn't possible, he had to rearrange the music on the spot in his head so that it all still held together.
He played with passion and artistry, spontaneously rearranging the symphony right through to the end. When he finally rested his bow, the audience sat for a moment in stunned silence. And then they rose to their feet and cheered wildly. They knew they had been witness to an extraordinary display of human skill and ingenuity.
Perlman raised his bow to signal for quiet. "You know," he said, "it is the artist's task to make beautiful music with what you have left."
We have to wonder, was he speaking of his violin strings or his crippled body? And is it true only for artists? We are all lacking something and so we are challenged to answer the question: Do we have the attitude of making something of beauty out of what we have, incomplete as it may be?
Ten Challenges of Life
Each of us will go through ten challenges in life whether we are rich or poor, free or slave, spiritual or not. As the wisest man ever born accounts in the Book of Ecclesiastes, The day of one’s death is better than his birth. Why is this? Because when you are born there is endless opportunity ahead in your life. The day of your death, opportunity is over and it is what you did with your life that will be your enduring legacy.
The Challenge of Childhood
The early formative years of a child are the most precious. They define the strengths the child will accumulate and the challenges the child will face throughout his or her entire life. It is therefore absolutely vital to create a spiritually nurturing environment for your child and protect your child, in these impressionable years, from narcissistic and corrupting influences.
Due to the Holocaust my parents walked away from their faith in order to save their children in case another holocaust revisited the earth. I stand in awe that it was from this that the seed of faith was birthed into my life. A faith so strong that it could weather all the seasons of my life.
The Challenge of Commitment
Sometime in life, often early on, and perhaps more than once in a lifetime, you will be asked (with or without words) to make a choice: Either conform or “burn.” Today, thankfully, “burn” isn’t literal. But the price of choosing the “road less traveled,” the path of virtue and faith, will be threatened by material and spiritual pressures that consume us like “fire.” Will you choose to bow and worship an “idol” – money, fame, superstars, whatever – or do you commit to a higher cause?
When confronted with an ultimatum that would result in the incarceration and death of many Americans I walked away from my family, life, friends, home, and comforts that I enjoyed for an unknown and uncertain future. But I had my God, faith and thanksgiving as my traveling companions in my adventure.
The Challenge of Change
As you mature into an adult the time comes to “cut the (psychological) umbilical cord,” and leave your home and comfort zones to discover yourself and what you are capable of. This can be a formidable challenge. More specifically, the journey consists of freeing yourself from the subjective forces that shape our lives: Our natural, biased, tendencies; parental influences; and social programming. “Scripture commanded Abraham to leave and so too God commands us to leave our inertia-based environments and experience the “real you” – who you are and what original contribution do you make, as opposed to being a product of others.
I confess that I was once a liberal, idealistic young person with many beliefs that needed to be changed to be in alignment with Scripture. I was blessed to have mature spiritual mentors who helped guide and shape my walk as a young adult woman of faith. Thank you Joe and Margaret from the bottom of my heart. Your blessing is an eternal gift.
The Challenge of Deprivation
Then there will be those times when you may experience deep hunger and wonder whether your choices were all worth it. You committed to God and yet you have no “food on your table.” You may need to wander to strange, hostile places to acquire some nourishment. Will you give up or see it through?
When my children were young my husband was in the Navy. He was overseas and the people who the Navy put in charge of paychecks did not speak English and so many errors occurred. On one occasion I did not receive my husband’s paycheck and I was a home-maker. I had no money, no family to turn to, a sick child and I faced a mountain of bills. I bowed my head and thanked God that He provides. It was a simple prayer. That afternoon I went to the mailbox. There was a check from social security for the exact amount I need to cover my expenses until the paycheck error could be rectified. I had applied for social security for my disabled daughter, but the decision had to be unanimous, from a panel of 10. There had been one dissenting vote. I was unaware that just for applying I received 3 months social security in my daughter’s behalf.
The Challenge of Sexuality
And then your most intimate needs may be compromised or abducted. Your heart challenged and your love denied.
Will this break you?
My marriage failed miserably and it shook my world. The shock wave still ripples through my life to this day. I believed in a happily forever marriage. Then I discovered sexual impurity and perversion I was compelled to take action for my sake and for the sake of my children and grandchildren. Was it easy? No.
The Challenge of Confrontation
No matter whom you are or what your life space is like, you will be faced with confrontations. Even when you are not looking for adversity, enemy forces will assault you. They may take on the shape of people – so-called friends, co-workers, neighbors, surrounding nations, or they may be inner fears, psychological phobias, haunting ghosts of the past. But whatever form it takes you can rest assured that you will have to fight a battle or two in your life. These battles will either demoralize you or strengthen you.
My life has been one of confronting the forces of evil. I do not know why, other than the fact, most people have an aversion to confrontation. I suppose I must have the spirit and character of Elijah forged by the hand of God Himself into the bedrock of my life.
The Challenge of Suffering
No one is immune to loss and some form of pain in our lifetimes. Even when God is merciful, we will, in our current condition, experience the loss of a loved one, the break of a promise or the dissolution of a dream. We are mortals and fragile creatures. Health issues will crop up. Here too, the challenge is whether we can discover deeper resources to help us through the harder times.
As a Believer, I really had to do a reality check on my life, and what I discovered is that my spiritual walk is independent of the pains of loss in my life. So many losses and so much pain have only increased my love and thankfulness to God Almighty.
The Challenge of Transformation
Our metamorphosis to be circumcised in our heart, mind soul. The challenge of transformation is not just a partial, limited commitment to a higher cause, but one that is complete and permeates every aspect of our lives, including the material and physical. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
The good Lord required of me to walk this path: And thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. Somehow and someway my family had strayed from the Living God. I am here to remain faithful to Him, firmly planted, and see not only the salvation of the Lord, but also His abundant blessings.
The Challenge of Discipline
Often, in the name of deep love and spiritual conviction, we can overwhelm ourselves and those around us. Abraham, the epitome of love found it difficult to send away his son Ishmael. But this discipline was necessary for the welfare of Abraham’s own home, as well as of Ishmael and Hagar. We too will have the challenge in our lives, where we will need to exercise profound discipline lest we become consumed through spiritual and sensual passions.
I am a black and white person who does not walk in gray. I have passionate personality with a tendency to overwhelm people with anything I put my whole heart into. My biggest challenge is to learn to teach: drop by drop, line upon line, precept upon precept. Yes, this is my biggest challenge, even until this day.
The Challenge of Total Submission
Finally, the ultimate challenge will be when you are asked to be ready to give up the single thing you love most for God. Not with the intention of actually having to relinquish it – but you cannot be privy to that at the time or it will defeat the entire purpose; you will feel as though you actually will be sacrificing your most precious possession. Only to discover, that when you are sincerely ready for such a sacrifice, you not only lose nothing; in return you gain eternal life and an eternal connection to the very thing you love so much.
Total submission is not an easy feat. I have seasons where I approach and then the tides of seasons which pull me back to the mundane. I suppose... as I ponder on total submission, I do believe that we are to bring the sparks of heaven to infuse this mundane world. I do not want to live exclusively in the heavenly realm where I am no earthly good to anyone, and neither do I want, to live like a wild pagan with no spirituality whatsoever. It is a great balance.
These are the ten general challenges that we will all face in our lifetimes (obviously, with many subsets within each). How we will rise to these ten challenges will define our lives.
The key thing to always remember, with every fiber of our being, is that these are all challenges that you have the power to withstand, and when you do they will help catapult you to greatness.
Water from the Tap
Gratitude literally, "recognizing the good." When you practice gratitude it means that you recognize the good that is already in you.
Maybe you have lost your job, but you still have your family and health, you have something to be grateful for.
Maybe you can't move around except in a wheelchair, but your mind is as sharp as ever, you have something to be grateful for.
Maybe you have broken a string on your violin, and you still have three more, you have something to be grateful for.
When you open up to the trait of gratitude, you will clearly see how much good there is in your life. Gratitude affirms. Of course there will be things you are still lacking, and in reaching for gratitude no one is saying you ought to put on rose-colored glasses to obscure those shortcomings. But most of us tend to focus so heavily on the deficiencies in our lives that we barely perceive the good that counterbalances them.
This condition is especially common among we who live in a world permeated by advertising that constantly reveals to us all the things we don't have -- and tells us how satisfied we would be with ourselves and our lives, if only we would buy their product.
There is no limit to what we don't have, and if that is where we focus then our lives are inevitably filled with endless dissatisfaction. This is the ethos that lies behind the great proverb which asks, "Who is rich?" and then answers, "Those who rejoice in their own lot."
Think about our country with this next story: A man once noticed that a fancy restaurant was charging a huge price for a cup of coffee. He approached the owner and asked why the coffee was so expensive. After all, some hot water, a few coffee beans and a spoonful of sugar could not amount to more than a few cents.
The owner replied: "It is correct that for a few cents you could have coffee in your own home. But here in the restaurant, we provide exquisite decor, soft background music, professional waiters, and the finest china to serve your cup of coffee."
The mans face lit up. "Oh, thank you very much! I now understand the blessing of that 'All was created by His word' begin grateful even for a glass of water. You see, until now, I had in mind only that I am thanking the Creator for the water that He created. Now I understand the blessing much better. 'All' includes not merely the water, but also the fresh air that we breathe while drinking the water, the beautiful world around us, the music of the birds that entertain us and exalt our spirit, each with its different voice, the charming flowers with their splendid colors and marvelous hues, the fresh breeze -- for all this we have to thank God when drinking our water!"
When you live charged with gratitude, you will give thanks for anything or anyone who has benefited you, whether they meant to or not. Imagine a prayer of thanks springing to your lips when the driver in the car next to you lets you merge without protest, or when the water flows from the tap or the food is adequate?
When gratitude is well-established like that, it is a sign of a heart that has been made right and whole. Gratitude can't coexist with arrogance, resentment and selfishness. "Gratitude rejoices with her sister joy, and is always ready to light a candle and have a party. Gratitude doesn't much like the old cronies of boredom, despair and taking life for granted."
Old Shoes and Gratitude
Precisely to whom should we feel thankful? In the Torah, when Moses is bringing down the plagues on Egypt, he isn't the one who initiated turning the Nile River into blood and bringing frogs from the river. His brother Aaron invokes those plagues. Medieval commentators explain that the river had protected Moses when he was an infant, and therefore he could not start a plague against it. God was teaching Moses a powerful lesson in gratitude: We can have gratitude even for inanimate objects.
When you replace a pair of worn-out shoes, do you neatly wrap up the old ones in newspaper before placing them in the trash, and would declare, "How can I simply toss away such a fine pair of shoes that have served me so well these past years!?" I think about this as I transition into a new pair of tennis shoes, oh so difficult because the old worn ones are so comfy.
Who is our fellow?
If these models tell us that we can be grateful to rivers, shoes, cars and benches, which help us involuntarily, how much more so to human beings who have free will and who help us consciously out of the goodness of their hearts. Or, to the mysterious Source from which our lives come.
When Leah, wife of the patriarch Jacob, had her fourth child, she named him "Yehudah," which means "I am grateful," to reflect her gratitude to God for the gift of another son. Our prayers should be primarily concerned with expressions of gratitude.
Gratitude opens the heart, and that's why it provides a fine orientation equally to the inanimate, human and divine dimensions of the world.
Our homework this week is to practice gratefulness, which means that you need to do something that will cause you to recognize the good in your life. How easy it is to figure out what is missing or wrong in a situation, but it takes training to see that the glass is at least half full, if not more.
Our dog has a propensity for getting my husband up at all hours of the night to go outside. Sometimes it is to do his business while other times it is for comfort and sometimes he is just plain restless just as we are in our older age. Sometimes when he does this it can be a frustrating experience because getting enough sleep as we age is not always an easy. It is times like these, when we are frustrated, that I need to ask myself, "What can I find to be grateful for in this situation right now?"
This softens my heart as I think about the wonderful companionship our dog provides. He is not intentionally doing this behavior to aggravate us. My mind and heart open to his love, sweetness, and it is an honor to be his guardian and friend even in cold and dark hours of the night as he struggles with his life’s necessities.
This is where you want to get to as well. You want to be able to find the good wherever you might happen to be, even in the midst of a difficult situation.
This won't happen just because we discuss it here. Those who are disciplined in gratefulness are very astute in recognizing that in the midst of a trying situation, all our learning and convictions are likely to fly out the window. Only by practicing do we equip ourselves with tools that ready us to meet life's tests in new ways.
Do you know an individual or individuals who are much like the biblical Job with many troubles on their plate? You can become a person with the character who contains "comforted is the person who says 'this too'." When you read the stories that are told about him, the meaning is made perfectly clear. No matter what terrible thing befell that person in life -- and that person’s misfortunes -- or what uncertainty he had about what lay around the next corner, these people will always respond to life in the same way: "This too is for the good." Such are these people’s sense of gratitude.
So this week, as we approach Thanksgiving your first task is to memorize the phrase this too is for the good. Repeat it several times to yourself. This too is for the good. Got it?
Now you have that phrase firmly in mind. But will it be there tomorrow when you find yourself stuck in traffic or having just dropped an heirloom vase? To ensure that this tool will be there when you need it, your practice is to repeat this phrase every morning this coming week. You may already do thank God each morning for life which expresses gratitude. But even then, repeat, “This too is for the good” to yourself. Repeat it quietly or aloud or even sing it to yourself (even in the shower). Or you can reprogram the screensaver on your computer. The point is to give yourself repeated exposure to this phrase and its meaning as you begin your day.
When “This too is for the good” has been firmly imprinted in your mind, you will find that phrase at the ready whenever something occurs that seems to run counter to your expectations and wishes. You won't have to remember to bring that phrase to your mind. From deep within, the reminder that "this too is for the good" will pop up, and the situation you face will suddenly look different. Try memorizing the phrase and doing the morning recitation for one week, and see for yourself.
Your Accounting of the Soul Diary is waiting for you to record your experiences.
Gratitude Extra Credit
If you are feeling extra brave:
Spend one hour writing down everything for which you are grateful.
Most people fly through the first 15 minutes. The next 15 minutes the pen moves more slowly. The next 15 minutes get even tougher, but you can pull through if you include your eyebrows and socks...
The last 15 minutes are excruciating.
Once the list is compiled, add one new blessing each day.
The power of this exercise is clear: You must be conscious of all your existing blessings, in order to appreciate a new blessing that comes your way.
Follow this course and work at it daily. Your gratitude will continue to grow, building a solid foundation for a lifetime of happiness.
If you are extra, extra courageous you can give thanks 100 times a day. Try it! Whether something during the day is good or not so good give thanks immediately! Make a mental note of this is number 1, 2, 3…Or journal it down. See just how many thanks you can pack into a day! Don't forget to write down all the people who provide you access to real news and spiritual encouragement.
Image by Celeste
When you have a quiet moment of introspection, hold a cookie in your hand and read:
Envision a farmer plowing his field from morning till night. He rises the next day at sunrise and plants seeds of wheat in neat rows. He returns each day to remove the weeds and to irrigate the field. After a few months, tall, green stalks sway back and forth in the soft breeze. The farmer then harvests his field and binds the stalks into sheaves.
The sheaves are delivered to a mill where they are pounded to remove the wheat kernels, and separate the chaff. Next, the wheat kernels are ground into flour. The flour is poured into sacks, loaded into a truck, and delivered to a bakery. The baker then measures the flour into a big mixing bowl and adds eggs, sugar, cocoa, and water. He forms the dough into balls and places them on baking trays. Next he slides the baking trays into a pre-heated oven. After 15 minutes he removes the trays of fresh baked cookies and places them on cooling racks.
Soon another worker arranges the cookies in boxes and loads them onto a truck. The driver delivers the cookies to the market, in which you purchased the cookie that you are now holding in your hand.
Contemplate the process of photosynthesis, providing the precise amount of rays from the sun, which is 93 million miles away. Consider how water evaporates from the salty seas and turns into sweet rain to water the earth. Then reflect how a tiny seed that is planted in the brown earth begins to grow and develop into a living plant. How amazing is the growth of food from seeds! A single grain can produce more than a thousand new grains. One grain of wheat can produce over 300 grains.
Look at the cookie in your hand. Who has worked so many wonders to provide this cookie for you?
Now eat the cookie -- and savor every bite!
Now I lay me down to sleep
When I was young my mother and I would say this prayer before bed:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
It was always comforting. But rarely did I take that prayer to the next level.
We all have mornings at this time of year when we struggle to get up in the dark to face the responsibilities of the day. Sometimes we feel like pulling the covers over our head and not even beginning the day.
On those dark mornings, thank the Lord that He did keep your soul, so that you could awaken to enjoy another day.
At the very moment when most of us are feeling distinctly unspiritual (think of your own state of mind when you hear the annoying buzz of your alarm clock first thing!), but we discipline our urges us and force ourselves to think of the enormity of what has just occurred.
How often do we get the chance to stop and thank God for the miracle of our own existence? In this brief prayer, we thank God for not having let us die in our sleep, for letting us exist. It's an obvious source of gratitude, but one that we often lose sight of in our hectic days. How often do we get the chance to stop and thank God for the miracle of our own existence?
I thank you, Eternal King…. And then I stopped as the words hit me. I thank Go‑d? I…thank…God? Students, do you realize what a privilege this is, to commune with the Almighty? I realized the power of this statement! And I have been sitting here pondering the greatness of this ever since!"
This is an old fable that hints at the power of prayer. Most of the time, prayers are rote, maybe even a little boring. But every so often, their power hits us, and transforms an ordinary moment into a mystical moment of complete clarity and connection to God.
Many of us today are not in the habit of prayer. I have heard many people note that they do not find it meaningful to mumble a bunch of rote words. While we always try to make our prayers meaningful with intent and direction we will not always succeed. We nonetheless have an obligation to pray, however, in the knowledge that these kinds of spiritual moments will eventually ensue. We cannot know exactly when we'll have those sudden moments when we say "Aha!" and feel our connection to God, but in a lifetime of praying to God, there will be many.
My grandmother, of blessed memory, woke up early and prayed. As children we would attempt to draw her attention from her prayers. But I now know realize that she was at the throne of God in sweet fellowship. She did not pray aloud but her eyes were shut and her lips moved in silent prayer. It is a beautiful tradition that can be shared throughout your generations and it can define who you are as a person. It is a statement of faith, self-awareness, linking us to generations past forming a human prayer chain rippling through time.
I thank You, living and eternal King, Who has returned my soul into me with compassion – great, is Your faithfulness!
Image by Celeste
Every man today lives more opulently than an ancient king. We live in weatherized homes where scorching heat and howling winds remain outdoors. We eat fresh foods, refrigerated and frozen at the source and stored bacteria free. We have doctors wise in the body who can heal most ills. We have stores filled with multiple options and a wardrobe at our beck and call. We shower daily in water warmed just by turning a tap. We have conveniences early royalty can only dream of. Yet, in today’s lucky world, scandals and depression are rampant. The luckiest generation is truly miserable. Homes are bursting with technological advances, yet they want more. Deserve better. Need the next upgrade.
How did the world come to a point where fortunate people are no longer happy? Even more important, how can we get out of it? The Bible is the secret handbook of how God created the world, hands the key to those who wish to be freed from self-misery. Let s take a moment to dissect the core of discontentment. Replacing thoughts of entitlement with the concepts it teaches will lead those who truly wish for happiness.
The Entitled Man…
The entitled man or woman is miserable. When making an account of that person’s deeds and compare it with the person’s lifestyle, God always comes up wanting. No matter how trivial the deed, in that person’s eyes it was lifesaving. No matter how minute the effort, in that person’s eyes it was laborious. In return, that person only lives in a mediocre house while his stingy neighbor has a manicured lawn and mansion. This person forgets, within humanity any person including ourselves, can act stingy. We can forget the times I didn’t help out or did it half-heartedly. My self love covers my faults, exaggerates my qualities and leaves me feeling owed.
…In a Fur Coat
The fine-stitching on the jacket, high quality of the hat and monogrammed gloves showed money was not a problem. Yet, his tale of woe was precisely that. Due to his prominence and generous spirit, he undertook to marry off relatives and support the needy. Alas, the wheel of fortune turned, leaving his coffers bare and his promises wafting in the wind. Why, he wasn’t even asking for himself. All he needed was God to grant him the means to fulfill his word to those relying on it. With subdued sniffles, clenched fists and a reddening nose, the man completed his narrative. His downcast eyes faced his fur boots as his shoulders slightly shook.
With a piercing gaze, the man’s spiritual leader replied to his follower who stood before him seeking his blessing. “Of what you need, you have just told me. But what God needs you for, you have yet to speak.” Promptly, the man’s feet gave away and he was carried out in dead faint.
Selfless needs are still needs. Validating giving still needs to feel validating. The most charitable and benevolent doers can still be off the mark. When many of these givers take stock they see what they lack. The score is in their favor.
Man was created by God for a purpose. Every human on earth has their specific mission of good to accomplish. When a person remembers why he exists, to make the world a better place, his meritorious actions are merely what are expected of him. He feels no entitlement in return; existing is reward enough. Food, shelter and family are all generous blessings bestowed by God. In His ultimate kindness, He gifted these as physical bonuses. The man with this outlook is a lucky man indeed. Every breath is a gift; every meal is a present; every item is an extra treat. He is happy and fulfilled, for life owes him nothing but grants everything.
That is the distinction of viewing life as your due or as a gift.
Humbly or Haughty?
How do we get a mindset of gratitude?
There is a secret to gratefulness and humility. In Jewish tradition the Passover holiday is characterized by eight days of abstaining from chometz, leaven. Preparations for the holiday include scouring the house for chometz, searching for any remains and burning them before the holiday begins.
During Passover itself matza is eaten in place of bread. Why the frenzy of ridding the house from chometz for a mere eight days?
Chometz represents pride, an inflated ego. The simple matza which had no time to rise signifies humility. When we rid our chometz to prepare for Passover, we also rid ourselves of our inflated sense of selves. We then spend an eight day holiday focusing on humility, being unassuming in our ways. If humbleness is a desirable trait, why do we only have an eight day holiday purge? Why don’t we free ourselves from chometz year round?
After spending eight days ridding ourselves of negative selfishness, we can have a constructive year of accomplishment. It is human nature to have a sense of self worth. With a foundation of humility, we can use our self worth in a positive way.
Whether you choose to celebrate Passover or not you can integrate a week in your life to lessen your ego and sense of self and focus on humility.
An Attitude of Gratitude
Taking the time to be humble will create a mindset of appreciation. When we are discontented we can replace our thoughts with positive meditations. We can ponder how we humans are imperfect and only exist by the generosity of God should awaken us to his senses. Further contemplation of how our deeds barely measure to our potential should make us grateful that God granted what he already has!
Imagine if the same talents, life position and good fortune were bestowed on another. How much more positivist would they spread in the world? How much more would they accomplish? I know I am a capable, talented individual- God created me that way. I need to use those abilities in His service. Am I giving it my all?
Thoughts are powerful creators of reality. When we approach life with true humility and modesty, we can go forth and be successful for we made room for God to join.
Start the day with a thankful attitude, and end the day with it. "It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night,"
Being thankful is a choice. Leviticus 22:29, “And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will.”
Become aware of the values that drive your daily choices and decisions. Ask yourself, “What’s the thought behind my choice? Why is this important to me? Is this thought or behavior consistent with my G-dly dignity and empowerment? Don’t lose yourself in being driven by any other person or thing. Let go of the ideas that contradict your exclusive dependence on G-d. Let your dependency on god drive you.
Give thanks in every situation. I Thessalonians 5:18, "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Take every need to God first. Before reaching out for help from others, turn to G-d. Turn every sigh into a prayer.
One of the first marks of rejecting God is forgetting to thank him Romans 1:21, 1 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Stop taking on the judgments of others. Stop making it a goal to win friends and generate approval. This minute, He is powering your life – His approval is signed and sealed. You are already perfectly worthy. We have only One to serve, only One to please, only One set of rules of play by. We are dependent on nothing and no one other than G-d.
In giving thanks to God; don't forget from where our blessings come. Psalms 103: 2, NIV. "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits."
Proactively establish G-d as your personal Power and life-force. Ask yourself: If I truly believed that I am dependent exclusively on G-d, what would be different in my life? How would I relate differently to myself? How would I relate differently to my spouse / child / family members / friends? What would I do more? What would I do less?
Give thanks for all the good God does for you. Psalms 107:8, NKJV. “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”
Proactively strengthen your awareness of being dependent on G-d by expressing your gratefulness to Him for everything good in your life.
Give thanks for you are redeemed! Psalms 107: 1-2, NKJV. “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy"
We can be thankful for how God has rescued us from our enemies. 2 Samuel 22:49, NKJV. "He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; You have delivered me from the violent man."
Give thanks – the victory is ours 1 Corinthians 15:57, NKJV. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Praise God – He leads us into victory to help lead others along life’s way. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15, NKJV. “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing."
Be grateful for the good people in your life. 1 Thessalonians 1:2, NKJV. “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,”
Be thankful for all the people in your life – even those in authority. 1 Timothy 2:1-2, NKJV. “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
Daniel gave thanks even in the face of the lion’s den – it was his habit. Daniel 6:10, NKJV. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.”
Give thanks before the miracle. John 11:41, NKJV. “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.”
Give thanks to God to let others know where your good gifts come from. Psalms 69:30, NKJV. “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”
In everything you do, demonstrate your gratitude to God. Colossians 3:17, NKJV. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Give thanks to God who made us qualified! Colossians 1:12, NKJV. “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”
Instead of joining in crude, vulgar, or useless chatter, give thanks. Ephesians 5:4, NKJV. “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”
Trust God even in the dark of night, and give thanks. Psalm 119: 62, NKJV. “At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, because of Your righteous judgments.”
God is on the throne – give thanks Revelation 11:17, NKJV. “Saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned.”
Happy Thanksgiving week to you my friends. May this Thanksgiving be one of blessing from the Most High to you and your loved ones.
Tomorrow's article: Crumbs from the Master's Table
Note: November 13, 2018- Sadly, I need to report that my blog was targeted by hackers that began November 1. Because of this I must turn off the comment ability because they bypassed moderation security. I have enjoyed your comments. Feel free to contact me via my email.
Be blessed. Celeste
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Going where angels fear to tread...
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Celeste has worked as a contractor for Homeland Security and FEMA. Her training and activation's include the infamous day of 911, flood and earthquake operations, mass casualty exercises, and numerous other operations. Celeste is FEMA certified and has completed the Professional Development Emergency Management Series.
- Incident Command
- Integrated EM: Preparedness, Response, Recovery, Mitigation
- Emergency Plan Design including all Emergency Support Functions
- Principles of Emergency Management
- Developing Volunteer Resources
- Emergency Planning and Development
- Leadership and Influence, Decision Making in Crisis
- Exercise Design and Evaluation
- Public Assistance Applications
- Emergency Operations Interface
- Public Information Officer
- Flood Fight Operations
- Domestic Preparedness for Weapons of Mass Destruction
- Incident Command (ICS-NIMS)
- Multi-Hazards for Schools
- Rapid Evaluation of Structures-Earthquakes
- Weather Spotter for National Weather Service
- Logistics, Operations, Communications
- Community Emergency Response Team Leader
- Behavior Recognition
Celeste grew up in a military & governmental home with her father working for the Naval Warfare Center, and later as Assistant Director for Public Lands and Natural Resources, in both Washington State and California.
Celeste also has training and expertise in small agricultural lobbying, Integrative/Functional Medicine, asymmetrical and symmetrical warfare, and Organic Farming.
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