1.  Being Thankful Every Day

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name."  Psalms 100:4

The prayer journal I started writing in January is getting closer and closer to the end.  Beginning each entry with something I am thankful for has been a grateful experience.  Stopping to thank the Lord for something each day has made me more appreciative for all He has done for me through the year.  I usually write my November devotionals with a focus on Thanksgiving and I was thinking about how I could do it a little different this year.  I thought it might be good to make my Thanksgiving list from A to Z.  I looked at a calendar and Thanksgiving is on November 26th, so that will work out just right.  With a new focus on a different letter of the alphabet each day, I may be able to think of things that we sometimes overlook, or take for granted, in our Thanksgiving prayers.


2.  Thanksgiving - Air

The beginning is always a good place to start, so as we begin with the letter "A" let's go back to the beginning.  "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."  (Genesis 2:7)  Each new life that is born begins with a breath of air.  When my children were born, I remember listening to hear the first cry, the wonderful cry that told me they were breathing on their own.  God gives us air to breathe and without His continual supply, we would not be able to live.  I am thankful for the air I breathe.

I also want to thank the Lord for automobiles and airplanes.  My grandmother moved into her house with a horse and wagon when she was eight years old.  She told me that the first time an airplane flew overhead, she and her sister ran and hid under a tree in case it fell from the sky.  Travel has come a long way in the last hundred years.  I am thankful that I can get in my car and make a quick trip to the store or church or where I need to go.  When my son lived in Minnesota, I flew for the first time, and it was a brand new experience to rise above the clouds and look down on God's creation.  God has blessed us in so many ways!


3.  Thanksgiving - Born Again, and Bread

Today I most joyously give thanks that I am born again!  Jesus told Nicodemus, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." (John 3:6-7)  When I just a young girl, the Holy Spirit showed me I was lost, and I asked Jesus to save me.  Jesus forgave me of my sin and became Lord of my life.  He has promised me everlasting life and given me so much more!  He provides my needs, gives me protection, guides me along the way, and loves me with an everlasting love.  Through Christ I have hope, joy, and peace. 

Another "B" that I am thankful for is bread.  Jesus taught us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread" in Matthew 6:11 and Luke 11:3.  It used to thrill my heart when my little Christopher would come to visit and say, "I smell bread cooking!"  Not much smells better than fresh bread baking in the oven.  I love to cook and bake and God has always blessed us with food on our table.  Thank you Lord, for providing our daily bread!


4.  Thanksgiving - CHristmas and Christ, and Church

My Thanksgiving "C" just has to be Christmas, and Christ, because He is Christmas.  When I was just a little girl my sisters and I would put towels on our heads and around our shoulders and make our own Christmas play with Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus.  Then we would be the shepherds, and end with the wise men singing "We Three Kings".  So Christmas plays based on Luke chapter 2 are really important to me.  Spending time with family and friends, baking, making gifts, and decorating all make Christmas special.  I have fond memories of going to the woods and cutting down a tree with my Dad, and rocking my babies in the glow of the Christmas tree while singing Christmas carols to them.  Some people complain about singing Christmas songs too early, but I could sing them all year.  Christ has so filled my heart with love, and at Christmas it just spills over in everything I do.

I am also thankful for my church.  I have been going to Pine Grove Baptist Church almost 30 years.  God has blessed us with great Bible preaching and teaching, good singing, and wonderful friends.  If you live in the Archdale area of North Carolina and don't have a church, I invite you to visit us some Sunday or Wednesday night.


5.  Thanksgiving - Doors

Today I am thankful for doors.  First, that Jesus showed me the door of salvation.  "Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.  I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."  (John 10: 7 & 9)  Here are more doors in the Bible that we can be thankful for.

"And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it."  (Matthew 28:2)

"And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles."  (Acts 14:27)

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."  (Matthew 6:6)

"For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries."  (I Corinthians 16:9)

"Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:"  (Colossians 4:3)

"I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." (Revelation 3:8)

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)

"After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter."  (Revelation 4:1)


6.  Thanksgiving - Easter

As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, I also think about Easter.  I am thankful for Christmas and all the joy it brings, but I am also thankful for Easter.  Jesus left His home in heaven to be born in a stable and lived a perfect and sinless life.  He healed the sick, fed the poor and needy, and taught the people about God's love and His judgment.  He gave His life to save others as He died a painful death on the cross.  He was buried and after three days He rose again, giving those who believe victory over death. 

"1  In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
2  And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3  His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4  And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
5  And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
8  And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word."  (Matthew 28:1-8)

And because He lives, I can live!  And just as He came the first Christmas morn, He is coming back!  And we have a promise that we can live with Christ in heaven through eternity if we believe in Him.

"1  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 
2  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 
3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 
4  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5  Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  (John 14:1-6)


7.  Thanksgiving - Family and Friends

I am so thankful for my family and friends.  I was born and raised in a Christian home with parents who taught me to love God and live for Christ.  My grandparents had lived through some hard times and taught me to be strong. Michael and I met at church and our love continues to grow even after 37 years of marriage.  My love for our five children overflowed to include their spouses as each of them married, and now I have seven grandchildren who have a very special place in my heart.  God has also blessed me with loving sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.  I am also thankful today for friends I have made through the years.  I have some Christian friends who don't live very close, but there is always a closeness when we get together.  It is amazing how strong a Christian friendship can be when you pray for each other and help bear one another's burdens.  There is also a special bond with the pastors and preachers, and their families that I have known through the years, and the dear ones that I worship and fellowship with at church. God has blessed me with so many family members and friends and the communication and transportation that we have today helps us keep in touch.  Family and friends bring a special love and joy to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And though I miss my Dad and others who have gone on, I know that I will see them again when God calls me home. 


8.  Thanksgiving - Gifts

As we come to the letter "G" in our 26 days of Thanksgiving, I have to say that I am thankful for gifts.  I look at gifts as more than just the monetary value.  One day when I was in the second grade and my sister was in the first grade it began snowing heavily, and we did not know whether to walk home, or go wait in the car-rider line like we did when it rained.  Just as school was letting out, in walked my Dad with new red boots, which were supposed to be for Christmas.  Of all the Christmas gifts I received as a child, that is the most memorable.  As Dad walked us home in the snow that day, I felt like the happiest, richest, kid in school.  Through the years there have been other gifts which meant a lot to me.  There are many items that I use around the house that remind me of the gift giver in a special way.  Even more than receiving gifts, I enjoy giving.  I really try hard to give special gifts that will show people how much I care for them.  I can't always spend as much money as I would like, but I try to give in other ways, such as giving my time and energy to help others.  And as we celebrate Christmas and the joy of giving, let's remember that the greatest gift came that first Christmas, born in a stable, the gift of life from God Almighty.

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  (Romans 6:23)

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"  (Ephesians 2:8)

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."  (II Corinthians 9:15)


9.  Thanksgiving - Home

I feel extremely blessed that the Lord has always provided me with a place to live.  When I look back to the first house we rented when Michael and I were married, I can remember all the problems with the house, but we were so happy and they didn't seem to matter.  As our family grew, so did our need for space, and each time we moved it seemed a little better than the place before.  Our last move was in 1993, and I hope it is our last move.  I felt that God helped me feel at home here from the first day I looked at the house, going from room to room with flashlights, because the electricity was turned off.  Twenty two years seems like a long time to live in the same house, but it really isn't long at all, compared to eternity.  And it doesn't make any difference what kind of house we live in down here, or what kind of car we drive, or how much money we make, or don't make.  Our trust in the Lord for salvation is what matters.  Do you know the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Savior?  Do you know where your home will be after you leave this earth?  I used these verses last week, but they are worth repeating when we think about our heavenly home.

"1  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5  Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  (John 14:1-6)


10.  Thanksgiving - Inspiration

As we look at the word, "Inspiration" on the Merriam-Webster online dictionary the first definition is, "a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation." We can see this in Job 32:8.  "But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding."  God inspires us through the Holy Spirit and His Word to act in His will and walk daily on the right path.  If we continue with the definitions, we also see "the act of drawing in; specifically:  the drawing of air into the lungs."  This gives the idea that God breathed His Word through the writers of the scriptures.  We see this in II Timothy 3:16-17, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."  Today I am thankful for the inspiration of God.  I am thankful that He breathed through men and women to preserve us a copy of His inspired Holy Word.  I am also thankful that God inspires me through the scriptures as I meditate on His Word and write these short daily devotional thoughts.  I am thankful that as I pray for direction, He uses many ordinary things and people in my daily life to speak to my heart.  God is my inspiration and I bless His Holy Name!


11.  Thanksgiving - Jesus Brings Joy

Today I am thankful for Jesus and the joy He brings.  As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, we can find joy at His birth, just as the angels proclamed to the shepherds.

"10  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."  (Luke 2:10-14)

We may not have money to do a lot of Christmas shopping.  We may not have time to decorate and write Christmas cards as we would like to do.  We may not have the energy to go and experience all the sights and sounds of Christmas.  But don't let the expectations of others rob you of your Christmas joy.  I find joy in listening to Christmas music as I work about the house.  And my house never looks like a page from a magazine, but I have joy in getting out my Snoopy and Charlie Brown Christmas toys for the grandchildren to play with.  When the excitement and noise gets to be too much, there is joy is sitting with the little ones and reading Christmas books to them, especially the ones of Baby Jesus.  When I look back to my childhood and our Christmas celebrations, I remember the simple things.  It was a joy to go into the woods with my Dad to chop down a tree, even though it was often bare on one side.  It was a joy to decorate it, and we often made paper decorations and an aluminum foil star for the top.  It brought joy to spend time with relatives.  I can't remember the gifts that I received at Grandma's or what we ate, but I remember that my Grandpa Beasley always read from Luke chapter 2 before we could open any presents.  When my children were babies, it was always a joy for me to sit in the glow of the Christmas tree lights and rock my babies to sleep, singing "Silent Night" and other Christmas songs.  Maybe I can be the first to wish you a joyful merry Christmas!


12.  Thanksgiving - Veterans

I am stepping out of order with our alphabet today to honor our veterans.  I am thankful for the veterans who have served to defend our country.  My Dad was in the Navy and my father-in-law was in the Army.  God protected them and brought them back home safely.  There have been many wounded and killed in action and my heart grieves with their families as we celebrate Veterans Day today.  I am thankful for my Christian freedom and the many who fought so I could be free.  I close with these encouraging words from Paul reminding us all to be good soldiers for Christ.  "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."  (II Timothy 2:3)

"10  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"  (Ephesians 6:10-18)


13.  Thanksgiving - Kindness and Knowledge 

Today I am thankful for kindness and knowledge.  These two traits don't seem to go together.  Sometimes the kind people in this world are not considered to be very smart, and the smart people are sometimes full of pride and not very kind.  I don't usually quote movies, but this is shown in an old James Stewart movie, "Harvey".  The James Stewart character says, "Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me."  We don't have to choose between being kind or having knowledge.  We are told to be kind in Ephesians 4:32, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."  Proverbs 31:26 pairs kindness and wisdom together.  "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."  God's Word makes it plain that we are to show kindness.  The Bible has even more to say about knowledge.  When God asked King Solomon what he desired, he replied, "Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?"  (II Chronicles 1:10)  Solomon tried to pass this desire for wisdom down to his sons.

"1  My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
2  So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
3  Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
4  If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
5  Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
6  For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding."  Proverbs 2:1-6

I am thankful that we can show kindness to others.  We can also pray for knowledge and wisdom.  "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."  (James 1:5)


14.  Thanksgiving - Love, Life, Light, and Laughter

As we look at the letter "L" I want to use the most familiar verse I know, John 3:16.  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  Because of God's great love, we can have everlasting life!  And because of God's great love to us, we can show this love to others.  Love is the only thing I know, that the more you give, the more you have.  I am thankful for God's Light shining down on me and opening my eyes to His great gift of love. "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)  So we have love, life, light, and let's add laughter.  I am thankful that we don't have to walk around with solemn, sad faces.  God gives us laughter.  He gives us so many reasons to rejoice.  Even His creation rejoices to God's glory. 

"Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.  Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice."  (Psalms 96:11 and 12)
"The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof."  (Psalms 97:1)
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."  (Philippians 4:4)


15.  Thanksgiving - Music

My daughter was blessed with great musical talents.  She may have 20 different instruments in her collection and I have enjoyed hearing her play them all.  Her baby is 8 months old and not yet walking.  Susanna was surprised this week when little Elsa crawled to the piano and pulled herself up and reached as high as she could to tap out music on the high notes.  I believe music is a very special part of God's creation.  God asked Job where he was "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"  (Job 38:7)  Solomon reminds us that God created the birds that sing. "The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come,..."  (Song of Solomon 2:12)  We find musical instruments very early in the history of man.  "And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ."  (Genesis 4:21)  Some of the Levites sang to the Lord day and night.  "And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free: for they were employed in that work day and night."  (I Chronicles 9:33)  The Levites sang when King Solomon dedicated the temple and the glory of the Lord came down.

"12  Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:)
13  It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;
14  So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God."  (II Chronicles 5:12-14)

A great Psalm for Thanksgiving is Psalm 100.  We may not be blessed with great musical talent, but we can all "come before his presence with singing."

"1  Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3  Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5  For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.


16.  Thanksgiving - Name

Today I am thankful for my many names.  My parents named me when I was born, and I gained a new last name when I got married.  It was great to gain another new name and hear my babies say, "Mama" when they learned to talk.  It turned to "Mommy" and when something was wrong it became, "MOM".  Now that I have grandchildren I enjoy being called "MeMaw".  I am also thankful to be called a Christian.  I hope that others can see the Light of Christ shining through me.  I believe this is an example of the "good name" found in Proverbs 22:1.  "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold."  As Christians we should strive to be like Christ and not bring a reproach on His name by the way we live.  If you are not saved, I pray that you will see that Jesus is the only way to heaven.  Only those who have believed on the Lord, confessed their sin and trusted in Jesus to save them have their names written in the Lamb's Book of Life.  John tells us in the book of Revelation 20:12 and 15...  "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works...  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."  Heaven is prepared for those "written in the Lamb's book of life."

"22  And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
23  And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
24  And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
25  And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
26  And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
27  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life."  (Revelation 21:22)


17.  Thanksgiving - Opportunities

For the letter "O" I am thankful for opportunities that I have to serve the Lord.  I believe that God has given us all different gifts to use for Him.  I don't do well in front of people as a teacher, but I am thankful that God has given me the opportunity to write these Daily Devotionals and pray that they will be a blessing to others.  My memory is not sharp any more nor my acting good enough to be in Christmas plays, but God gave me the opportunity to write and direct our Christmas plays at church for several years.  I enjoyed teaching my children and planning things for them, and as they grew older God fulfilled my needs with the opportunity to work with our youth at church and I enjoyed planning Bible activities for them.  I think that the ones who accomplish great things for God are the ones who have proved themselves faithful in the small things.  Jesus taught this in one of His parables.   "His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."  (Matthew 25:21)  God used Joseph to save the Children of Israel during the famine, but not until he had remained faithful through the trials that he faced.  Daniel became a mighty prophet and was shown great visions of the future.  This was after he proved himself faithful to God.  "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself."  (Daniel 1:8)  I believe the Lord will come back soon and we need to take every opportunity we can to serve Him and be faithful until the end.  We need to follow the example of Jesus in John 9:4.  "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." 


18.  Thanksgiving - Pastors and Preachers

There have been many Pastors and Preachers who made a difference in my life.  I have often told how my Grandpa Moyer P. Beasley was preaching when I was saved as a little girl.  I heard many wonderful men of God while I was growing up that helped me to grow in the Lord.  Preacher Author Blackburn was my pastor for many years while I was young.  I heard some of the best preachers in the area at the High Point Camp Meeting and I can still hear Preacher Percy Ray in my mind saying, "You'll find the reading..."  There were several young preachers in our youth group who are still serving the Lord.  We have been going to Pine Grove Baptist Church for almost 30 years and Preacher Buddy Fox was our pastor for most of those years.  Our children grew up under his ministry and I am thankful for his preaching of the Word of God.  I used to teach my children memory verses from the Bible.  Well, during one of his sermons, Preacher Fox quoted their verse for the week.  My little boys, who may have seemed too young to understand the sermon, heard the verse and looked up at me and smiled.  In the next week or two, it happened again.  I was amazed at how often God led Preacher Fox to use our memory verses in his sermons.  I used to let my children write and draw with pencils and paper during church to help them sit still, and some people may have thought they were not listening to the preaching, but God showed me that they were hearing and learning because every time my children would hear their memory verses they would look up at me and smile.

I am also thankful for my other pastors, Preacher David Owen, Preacher Jeff Woods, and my current pastor, Preacher Jack Tripp.  I believe God has used all of these men to teach me more of His Holy Word.

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God... For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."  (I Corinthians 1:18 and 21)


19.  Thanksgiving - Quiet Time

Today I am thankful for my quiet time with the Lord.  I began emailing devotionals to my son when he was in college and when his younger brother moved away to college two years later I began writing devotions for them on a web site, "Lamp Unto My Feet."  My only concern was writing something new every day.  Well, that was in 2003 and the Lord is still leading me to continue with these daily thoughts from His Word.  I give God all the glory because I could not keep on without His inspiration.  He guides me through my quiet time; spent reading my Bible, thinking and meditating on His Word, and prayer.  We live in a technological age where we have access to instant communication and entertainment and noise fills our lives.  Sometimes we are too busy listening to everything else, and we don't hear what God is trying to say to us.  I am reminded of Elijah when he ran from Jezebel.  "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:  And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.  And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?"  (I Kings 19:11-13)  When our lives are shaken by things around us and we ask ourselves, "What are we doing here?" we need to listen for His still small voice.  We may look for God to come in like the wind or fire, but sometimes we just need to listen for His still small voice.  Another one of my favorite verses is Psalms 46:10.  "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth."  If you don't have a daily quiet time with God, let me encourage you to do so.  I know my day is a lot brighter when I begin in prayer.


20.  Thanksgiving - Rainbows

As I open today in thankfulness for rainbows, I want to look at the very first rainbow in Genesis 9:12-16.

"12  And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
13  I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
14  And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
15  And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16  And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth."

I am thankful for rainbows because they show me that God always keeps His promises.  One year I began in January and looked at one hundred promises from God's Word.  Here are just a few of the precious promises we find in the scriptures.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  (I John 1:9)
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."  (Romans 10:13)
"... I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."  (Hebrews 13:5)
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  (Romans 8:38-39)
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."  (Luke 6:38)
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4:19)
"...I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."  (Matthew 28:20
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."  (Proverbs 3:5-6)
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 24:1-3)
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."  (Romans 8:28)
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."  (Malachi 3:10)
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."  (Isaiah 40:31)
"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."  (Psalms 126:5-6)
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  (Matthew 11:28)
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matthew 24:35)
"And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life."  (I John 2:25)


21.  Thanksgiving - Savior

These devotionals have been in alphabetical order, but if they had been in order of importance, this would have been at the top of the list.  For today I am most thankful for my Savior, the Lord of my life, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, Jesus Christ.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and the living Bread.  He forgives my sin, and clothes me with His righteousness.  He is my Good Shepherd and protects me, provides all my needs, and He leads me with calm assurance.  He gives me peace in the storms, hope when things seem hopeless and joy during times of sorrow.  He is my Rock and my Shield, and my Deliverer.  The Lord renews my strength from day to day and gives me a song in the night.  He comforts me when I am weary and lifts me up when I am down.  Jesus has blessed me with a home here on earth, and the promise of a heavenly home for eternity.  My cup runs over with mercy and grace.  The Lord is always with me and will never leave me, and my God is faithful to His Word.  As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we can rejoice with Isaiah, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."  (Isaiah 9:6-7)


22.  T is for Thanksgiving

As we come to the letter "T", I am thankful for Thanksgiving!  I am glad that we have a day set aside to give the Lord thanks.  Only one leper out of ten returned to thank the Lord when He healed them.  I don't know if even one in ten thanks the Lord today, but whatever the ratio, I want to be that one.  Thanksgiving was always big at our house and brings back sweet memories.  It was my Dad's favorite time of the year and my sisters and I helped Mom fix a huge Thanksgiving meal with turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce and more food than we could eat at one time.  My Mom makes the best pies.  But, I thought the leftovers the next day were just as good.  I am looking forward to cooking our Thanksgiving lunch next Thursday and having my children and grandchildren and in-laws together.  It is a joy to spend the day celebrating and giving thanks to our Lord!


23.  Thanksgiving - Understanding

Have you ever been discouraged and felt like no one understood?  Have you ever tried to do the best you could and those around you let you know that it was not good enough?  Have you ever been burdened by your mistakes and there was no one to lift you up?  Have you grieved for someone so long that it seems like your broken heart will never mend?  I think that everyone has times in their lives when it feels like no one understands.  I want to tell you today, that you are not alone.  We all go through trials and even though we may feel like no one else has felt like this, or been through this, it may help to see that others have walked this same path.  And as Christians, we can be thankful that the Lord knows all about us and He understands.  We can find help from the Lord when we put our trust in Him and pray.  And the Bible tells us that when things are so bad we don't know what to pray, the Spirit prays for us.  And the Lord Jesus is at the right hand of God making intercession for us.  So, when it seems like no one understands, I am thankful that my Savior always understands!

"14  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."  (Hebrews 4:14-16)

"26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  (portions of Romans 8:26-39)


24.  Thanksgiving - Word of God

Today I am thankful for the Word of God!  When I was working a lot of overtime with my job it was hard for me to take the time to read my Bible like I should.  But since I lost my job I have enjoyed having more time to spend in God's Word.  If you have never read your Bible all the way through, please let me encourage you to do so.  The Bible is not just any old book, but it is the living Word of God and it can help us get through these troubled times.  Are you going through some battles in your life right now?  Here are just a few of the verses I just read while reading through II Chronicles. 

"And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee."  (II Chronicles 14:11)

"For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him..."  (II Chronicles 16:9)

"...Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's."  (II Chronicles 20:15)

"Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you,..."  (II Chronicles 20:17)


25.  Thanksgiving - Extras

Okay, so I know that extras does not begin with the letter "X", but it sounds like the letter "X", so that is my word for today.  I am thankful for all the extras that God sends my way.  I have listed some of the things I am thankful for, but I could never list everything my God has given me.  I can say with David, "I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me."  (Psalms 13:6)  I live in the most advanced age in history. I live in a country where I can go to the store and buy food, and clothing, and all the things like lightbulbs, that I need to live comfortably throughout the year.  I cook with an oven, and a microwave, and have a refrigerator to keep milk, butter, and eggs cold.  I can get in my car and drive to the mountains or to the ocean in just a few hours.  I can talk to my friends and family on the phone and even see my grandchildren through the computer.  I can wash and dry my clothes while I am busy working about the house.  I have hot and cold running water and heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.  God has blessed me with all these extras that I often take for granted.  My Grandma kept her milk, from her cow, in a wooden box at the spring head to keep it cool.  She cooked on a wood stove, and in the summer when she canned vegetables that they raised in their garden, it was so hot in the kitchen you could hardly breathe.  She plowed with a mule when she was a young girl and worked hard to help her family.  We have so many extras in our lives that our parents and grandparents did not have when they were young.  God is good!  When my children were small and things were tight, I turned to God with a promise found in Malachi 3:10, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."  With a thankful heart I praise the Lord and bless His holy name for all the blessings He has rained down from heaven on my life.


26.  Thanksgiving - Yesterdays

Today, I want to thank the Lord for all my yesterdays.  He let me be born to Christian parents, who brought me up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4)  I have many happy memories of my childhood.  Dad worked hard to provide for our family.  He cut pulp wood and fire wood to sell on his days off and always raised a big garden, and he encouraged me as I worked along by his side.  Mom stayed home with my three sisters and me when I was small and she used her sewing talents to help make a little extra money.  I always had clean, nice clothes to wear and I never went to bed hungry.  I have blessed memories of family vacations and holidays.  I remember a wonderful yesterday, on March 23, 1978, when I walked down the aisle and married my best friend.  I praise the Lord for the yesterdays when my five children were born.  Even though there were yesterdays of pain and suffering, God brought me through and gave me peace and hope.  As I get older, and time seems to pass more quickly, I know that I have more yesterdays than I have tomorrows.  So I try to live each today in the Lord's will.  I try to live each day in a way that my children and their spouses will be able to look back on my yesterdays and know that I loved them, and that I loved my Lord.  And grandchildren... oh they are so grand!  I don't get to see them everyday, but I pray for them everyday, and hope that they will have fond memories of yesterdays with MeMaw and PawPaw.  Most of all, as I think of yesterdays, I am thankful for this wonderful promise found in Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."  I don't know what the future will bring, but I know that just as Jesus has been with me through all my years of yesterdays, He will be with me today, and all my tomorrows, throughout eternity.


27.  Thanksgiving - Z, Z, Z, Z, Z, Z

Thanksgiving is a busy day.  I get up early to start cooking.  Our home overflows with family, and children running and playing, and love and laughter.  After the meal, and the cleaning, I am tired, but it is a good tired. And I am thankful for rest.  For the past twenty five days I have shared some of the things I am most thankful for.  Today, I want to wish you a most blessed Thanksgiving and share some scriptures on sleep and rest.  Happy Thanksgiving!

"And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.  And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made."  (Genesis 2:2-3)

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."  (Matthew 11:28-29)

"I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety."  (Psalms 4:8)

"When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet."  (Proverbs 3:24)

"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."  (Revelation 14:13)



Thanksgiving ...
From A To Z