God Bless You This Thanksgiving and Always!

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A Child's Trust

“Trials and suffering can actually refine and deepen gratefulness if we allow them to show us not to take things for granted. Our national holiday of gratitude, Thanksgiving, was born and grew out of hard times. The first Thanksgiving took place after nearly half the pilgrims died from a rough winter and year. It became a national holiday in 1863 in the middle of the Civil War and was moved to its current date in the 1930s following the Depression.” (“How Gratitude Can Help You Through Hard Times” by Robert Emmons)

A Child's Trust

A Thanksgiving Prayer
by Helen Steiner Rice

Thank You, God, for everything …
The big things and the small,
For “every good gift comes from God” …
The Giver of them all.

And all too often we accept
Without any thanks or praise,
The gifts You send as blessings
Each day in many ways.

And so at this Thanksgiving time,
We offer up a prayer;
To thank You, God, for giving us
A lot more than our share.

First, thank You for the little things
That often come our way;
The things we take for granted
And don’t mention when we pray.

The unexpected courtesy,
The thoughtful, kindly deed,
A hand reached out to help us …
In the time of sudden need.

Oh, make us more aware, dear God,
Of little daily graces,
That come to us with “sweet surprise,”
From never-dreamed-of places.

Then, thank You for the “miracles”
We are much too blind to see,
And give us new awareness
Of our many gifts from Thee.

And help us to remember
That the “key” to “life” and “living,”
Is to make each prayer a “prayer of thanks,”
And every day THANKSGIVING.

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“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above;
it comes down from the Father of lights
[the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens],
in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting]
or shadow cast by His turning
[for He is perfect and never changes].”
James 1:17

A Child's Trust

Perhaps because of difficult circumstances, troubles, or losses, you’re having a hard time feeling thankful at all. Maybe your cry is, “Why, God? Where are You? Do You even care about me?”

Yes, Jesus cares. Deeply. He knows what you’re going through. He understands you better than anyone ever can or will. He cries with you. He opens His arms wide and longs for you to rest in His love for you.

Does Jesus Care?

“Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press,
And the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?

O yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary,
The long night dreary,
I know my Savior cares.”

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New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

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“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
His faithful love endures forever.”

Psalm 107:1

“Give Thanks”
by Fatima Soriano

Maybe you won’t have a happy family get-together,
a home with an abundance of food,

or the absence of painful memories on Thanksgiving Day.
But regardless of your circumstances, I sincerely hope
you have a special day thinking of the one constant hope –
Jesus cares and always will.
He has suffered in our place so we could be
set free from sin and all the troubles in this world.
No matter what you’re going through, He’ll get you through it.
His love remains constant even when our lives feel upside-down.
May we be truly grateful for His faithful love and His boundless blessings!

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Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂 I find many of them because I read about them on someone’s blog post. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

✎  How Jesus Broke the Rules to Set You Free: God’s Plan for Women to Walk in Power and Purpose by Sharon Jaynes

Jesus broke the rules“Popular speaker, teacher, and author Sharon Jaynes offers fresh understanding to the meaningful encounters women in the Bible had with Jesus. She spends time with Jesus’ mother, the woman at the well, Mary Magdalene, and others, and she brings to life their experiences with the forgiveness, healing, and compassion of Jesus.

As you explore with Sharon how God interacted with these women, you’ll uncover exciting and wonderful encounters, and you’ll see that He has great dreams for you today. He continues to transform women from

– insignificant to highly esteemed
– disgraced to full of grace
– guilty to forgiven

You will discover God’s heart and hope for you as He lovingly exchanges your heartache, hopelessness, or shame for the beauty of wholeness.” (Amazon Review)


✎ Making It Home: Finding My Way to Peace, Identity, and Purpose by Emily T. Wieringa

Making it home“For women who have grown up in the tension between third-wave feminism and Martha Stewart, it can be a struggle to define and embrace the meaning of home. There is constant pressure to do things a certain way, and sometimes intense criticism from those who think you’re doing it wrong. But what if home isn’t really about whether or not you homeschool or have a career? What if it’s more about who you are than what you do?

A self-proclaimed “former subversive,” Emily T. Wierenga has learned the art of making a home and the joy of settling down. Emily takes readers on an unconventional journey through marriage, miscarriage, foster parenting, and the daily struggle of longing to be known, inviting them into a quest for identity in the midst of life’s daily interruptions. Through soul-stirring writing, she helps women understand that homemaking is much more than old-fashioned tradition; rather, it’s a timeless art requiring mind, body, and spirit.” (Amazon Review)

 

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Hope Harbor

I Give Up – A great reminder by Michelle about surrendering our insecurities, shame, etc., to God and His healing promises

Thank You For the Fleas – How can one be thankful for fleas?!  This is an article about how and why Betsie thanked God for the fleas in the concentration camp. (Excerpts from The Hiding Place) An amazing example of how God turns bad things into our good and His glory.

What God Thinks About You – an article by John Rinehart about our identity in Christ with proof from many Scripture passages 

Nature Retreat

“Lots of people talk to animals,” said Pooh…
“Not very many listen, though,” he said.
Benjamin Hoff

“Listen to the voice of nature,
for it holds treasures for you.”
Native American (Huron) Proverb

More of God’s Amazing Creatures

(Cicada photo was taken by my brother, John V.V.
All other photos were taken by myself.)

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Cicada

Conservation Institute: Earth Matters – Awesome photos and animal facts that “instill a sense of awe and reverence for this incredible world we live in by showcasing the beauty and wonder of nature.”

 God’s Beautiful Creation – Breathtaking scenes of nature that will put you in awe of the Amazing Creator. In the background, Brian Doerksen sings “Creation Calls.”

 ➺ Nikon’s Small World – Astounding photos that capture “the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope.”

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Quotes

I’m adding a new category on my Quote Page – Gratitude. That warm feeling of appreciativeness and thankfulness for gifts and blessings bestowed on us. It’s not always easy to “feel” that way, especially if we’re in the depths of pain or depression. I know it’s something I need to work on – To even in the midst of suffering, intentionally focus on what God’s gifts are. It can help us to look more through God’s perspective and live more hope-filled.

❤︎ “Giving thanks is that: making the canyon of pain into a megaphone to proclaim the ultimate goodness of God when Satan and all the world would sneer at us to recant.” ~ Ann Voskamp

❤︎ “Gratitude doesn’t change the scenery. It merely washes clean the glass you look through so you can clearly see the colors.” ~ Richelle E. Goodrich

❤︎ “Gratitude’s not a natural posture. The prince of darkness is ultimately a spoiled ingrate, and I’ve spent most of my life as kin to the fist-shaker.”~ Ann Voskamp

❤︎ “To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.” ~ Thomas Merton

❤︎ “We give thanks to God not because of how we feel but because of who He is.” ~ Ann Voskamp

❤︎ “When I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.” ~ Ann Voskamp
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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Barbie – Weekend Whispers

Hope That We Never Have to Walk Alone

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“We’re not rich. We never have enough money… We don’t have ANYTHING!” grumbled a little boy.

A wise old man said, “I’ll give you $500 if you give me your eyes.”

“No way! Then I can’t see anything!”

And the man continued offering him more money for each of the boy’s senses and other things in his life. And eventually the little boy decided he was pretty rich after all.

I read this story many years ago, so I’m not sure this is entirely accurate, but the meaning is the same. Aren’t there just so many things we have that we take for granted? Things that are worth more than all the money the whole world can give? Things that open up more opportunities of blessing?

Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings and be grateful but should not be confined to one day of the year. With each sunrise we wake up to, hope is renewed. We have been spared another day to fulfill God’s purpose for us and anything is possible through God.

This Thanksgiving I am grateful I may get together with a family who loves me, and our table will be filled with nourishing food. But I can’t help but think of those who are so lost and lonely during this time of the year. No family to share love with. Burdened with troubles with nowhere to turn. Maybe they have family, but they are still alone, because their family doesn’t understand them at all. Or there is strife and division – words spoken that hurt so deeply. Or maybe deep sadness sucks the joy away, because there are empty places in their hearts and at their tables.

Sometimes our hearts can get so loaded with oppressive burdens that we have no energy to open our eyes to the blessings we do have. But may we allow hope to enter into our hearts. Hope that we never have to walk alone. Jesus invites us to walk with Him through whatever storms or troubles we are burdened with. He is faithful and He will never leave our side.

“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have.
For God has said,
‘I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.'”
Hebrews 13:5

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“You’ll Never Walk Alone”
Authors: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein
Sung by Celtic Woman

“When you walk through the storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark

Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone”

We will never walk alone when we have a friend in Jesus!

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus!”
Written by Joseph M. Scriven
Music by Charles Crozat Converse
Sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford

“Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.”

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