“Words have meaning.” So said the late Julian Jaynes, an American psychologist.
Take the root word, thanks. To express appreciation for a gift, favor, compliment or act of service, just saying “Thanks” may seem to be a bit flippant and disingenuous.
“Thankful” is a state of mind, an internal feeling, an inert and unarticulated thought. “Thanksgiving” is an intentional, overt communication of one’s gratitude.
Years ago a women’s Bible class at a Memphis church mailed a check each month to my single-parent, working Mom to help put me through a Christian high school and college. Much to my shame, I didn’t think to thank those ladies until many years into my adulthood. By that time most of them had probably already moved into their celestial condos.
At this Thanks-giving season I’m reminded to be alert to seizing the opportunity to GIVE thanks rather than to simply be thankful.
There’s plenty to go around these days. You can contract it by watching CSI, Stalker or the closing Dow. Scare tactics ring the cash register in October for the candy ‘n’ costume makers.
A genuine chill races down your spine with every sickening amber alert. What can you do to walk on the other side of the street when fear comes to call? Who is the author of fear?
Our friend Paul, God’s truth-teller, writes, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.” One of the most oft-used admonitions throughout the Bible is simply “Fear not!”
Whether it’s Isis, Ebola or Wall Street, here’s another timely tip from Paul:
“Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.”
Is this merely a Pauline pipedream or a possibility?
What is it about September? It seems to be as much of a new leaf to be turned over as does January 1st. Why is that?
Perhaps this past summer you took your eye off the ball, and deservedly so. You needed a break from the job, school or the home. Maybe you encountered some setbacks, some disappointments that need to be put behind you. Face it, you’re ready for a fresh start.
Last spring we “fell forward” into Daylight Savings Time. Soon we’ll “fall back” into Standard Time. Could it be that on a personal, an emotional, yes a spiritual level, we should instead fall forward? But forward into what?
Accomplishing which three objectives this fall would constitute a move forward for you? To help you come up with your three, try the first chapter of Proverbs. It truly is a word from the wise.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere our calendar and thermometer agree that these are the “dog days” of summer. Coined by the Greeks to refer to the sultriest stretch of this season, the early Romans blamed the extreme muggy weather on the “Dog Star,” Sirius, brightest in the night sky.
We now know that the sweaty temps are due to Earth’s tilting on its axis. Maybe you know the feeling. Are you tilting a bit off center, maybe feeling the heat from some unwelcome situation?
God has been known to provide clean, fresh, cool water from a mere rock. He wants to make streams in the desert of your life. They pour from a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Bible’s solution for your dog days? It’s Solo Fide (by faith alone).
Hitting the air in 1932 in Seattle, “One Man’s Family,” went coast-to-coast until 1959. This longest-running, uninterrupted soap opera in American radio was set in San Francisco’s Sea Cliff area. It traced the adventures of Fanny Barbour as mediator between her old-world husband Henry and their five, independent-minded children.
The evolving storyline of a family, perhaps any family, is a study in contrasts. Examine the cast and you’ll find arrogance and humility, greed and generosity, aggressiveness and apathy, success and failure. What’s the key to scripting a family legacy of mutual concern, care, encouragement and love?
In his wisdom Solomon wrote, “Reverence for God gives a man deep strength; his children have a place of refuge and security.”
Each of our founding thirteen states did so on July 4, 1776 by dissolving “the political bonds” which had shackled them to Mother England. They courageously put their faith into action, declaring their God-given right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
To this end, these entrepreneurial patriots pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor.
Thousands of brave souls have followed their heroic example, spilling their blood as the ultimate sacrifice so that we may breathe freedom’s fresh air. We humbly salute them each time we vote, or pause to admire Old Glory, or give thanks to someone’s son or daughter wearing our nation’s military uniform.
How will you honor the One who gave His life to liberate you from your sins, declaring you to be His greatly loved child and heir in the land of the truly free?
Even oceans apart in this Era of Simulation, we “Skype” each other to stay in touch. Employing holography, technology can virtually unite us with people who’ve gone on to meet their Maker. Maybe you’ve seen Celine Dion sing “If I Can Dream” with a 3-D image of Elvis Presley. (link below)
Would you want a holographic reunion with a loved one or friend who’s gone on ahead of you? In this Age of Instantaneity almost anything fantasized can be realized. But today’s marvels pale alongside the supernatural surprises heaven has for those who follow Jesus Christ there.
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love Him."
What memories do you have of your graduation day? Did you strut across the stage summa cum proudly? Or trip on the mic cord, upending the table stacked with diplomas?
Looking back, graduation was not about the end of classes and cramming. It was a flashpoint in our lives when we saw most of our friends for the last time. Class reunions are occasions to ask, “Whatever happened to so-and-so?
Before we know it, this flashing moment called life will come to a close, with or without any pomp or circumstance. It too will be a time of leaving many friends forever. Will you be among those graduating into God’s presence? Which of your friends will you invite to come with you?
“Breaking News” bombards us relentlessly. The media’s appetite for violence, disasters, tragedies and lawlessness is insatiable. How does this impact your day?
You grab the rear bumper of your stock portfolio and skateboard behind it all day as it spikes, plummets or goes nowhere. With clenched fists you follow the search for victims of an awful accident. You watch world leaders brandish their threats of annihilation.
What’s the solution? Should you turn off the world and become a knuckle-dragging hermit?
A particular Hebrew poem offers an answer worth considering:
“You’re fortunate if you honor the Lord and delight in His ways. You don’t fear bad news. With confidence in Him you can fearlessly face your foes, assured of victory.”
This loose paraphrase of Psalm 112 won’t be on the evening news tonight. We’ll take a brief commercial break while you think about this, okay?