TD Fri. – A TD Thanksgiving!!!

slide-thanksgiving-1

Hey TD!

It’s that time of year again … a time for thanksgiving, for giving thanks to God, for pausing to consider and count our blessings, naming them one by one, and a time to give blessings in Jesus’ Name.

This Friday is our annual potluck TD family feast and fellowship – A TD Thanksgiving – at my home from 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.  Please sign-up with your small group leaders, indicating what food you’ll be bringing.

We’re looking forward to having the TD family together on this special occasion!  See you Friday! – Arthur

 

Advertisements

“The Real Meaning of Thank You”

Happy Thanksgiving, TD!

I hope you’ve been able to implement what I encouraged you to do in our last post; and I hope God has been enjoying you!

During this time of thanksgiving, have you stopped to think what “Thanks” or “Thank you” really means?  My wife, Sandra, has 🙂  As she often does, she goes to the root of giving thanks to help us honor God more thoughtfully.  Enjoy! – Arthur

“The Real Meaning of Thank You” by Sandra Hsieh (adapted from her talk at SPCH)

We are commanded in Scripture, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  (I Thessalonians 5:18 ) What is the root word for the word “thank”?  Think (change one letter and you get “think”).  The reality is, a thankful person is a thoughtful person.  When you say “thank you”, you are basically saying, “I will remember what you did for me.”

How do you say thank you in Portuguese?  Obrigado – literally, “much obliged” or “I am in your debt.”

How do you say thank you in French? Merci (begging for mercy, placing yourself in your benefactor’s power — since a debtor is, after all, a criminal)

How do you say thank you in Spanish? Muchas gracias (much grace).  It leans heavily on the word “grace.”  Grace is undeserved favor.

Let’s look at the response.  What is someone saying when he responds, “You’re welcome”?  When you say “merci” in French, what is the response? “De rien.” Or, in Spanish, “Muchas gracias” is returned with, “De nada.”  In both languages, the giver is saying, “It is nothing, no worries, I am not going to inscribe a debt in your imaginary moral account book.”

In English, when you respond with, “My pleasure,” you are saying, “No, actually, it’s a credit, not a debit — you did me a favor because in asking me to do that favor, you gave me the opportunity to do something I found rewarding in itself!”

So, the next time you thank someone … you are saying “I stopped long enough to think about what you just did for me.  You didn’t have to do that for me, but since you did, I am in your debt.”

John Njoroge, a member of the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries team, writes in a “Slice of Infinity” entitled, The Indignity of Giving Thanks:

“But everything we know about ourselves and our world speaks loudly against this tendency to self-sufficiency. As human babies, we all begin our lives at the highest level of dependence, and none of us really outgrows all degrees of dependence. We depend on parents, teachers, peers, coaches, and others to open doors for us in life.  Dependence on others is a living reality whose attempted concealment is gradually unveiled by the onset of old age. From the inventions that give us comfort in this world to the young soldiers who give their lives in the battlefields to protect our livelihoods, an unobstructed view of our lives reveals the fact that we all owe debts that we can never repay.”

Our life is full of things that we do for others and things that others do for us.

But, what does it mean for us to give thanks to God?  God is self-existent.  He created all things and upholds this universe.  God is the Spring or Well in which everything originates.  The rest of us are just sharing with others what has been given to us.  We are not real owners ourselves; we are just stewards of what He has given to us to manage.

When we say “Thank you” to God, we are truly expressing the real meaning of the word, “we are indebted to you, we are at your mercy, we accept your grace and favor.  We are sinners and criminals.  We owe You a debt that we cannot pay back.”

Now, would it be right for God to say, “De nada” or “It’s nothing”?  If He said that, then we would be left in our condition to go to hell.  He cannot be the righteous and just One and say, “No worries” to our sin and transgression to Him.

When we show our indebtedness to Him, the truthful and proper response is, “You’re right.” You do owe Me, you do need My mercy, you do need My grace, you do need to THINK of the situation that you are in.

Then, He does only what He can do to pay for that debt; He extends His mercy and grace.  He comes in the form of a baby, lives a perfect life, and then dies a death that He did not deserve.

As John Njoroge continues to write, “We will never begin to worship God until we recognize that we are bankrupt debtors, for an attitude of gratitude is an indispensable impetus to worship.”

As Thanksgiving quickly gives way to Christmas, may we continually ponder and think about our debt to God and His priceless GIFT to us in His only begotten Son!

Let us proclaim as the apostle Paul did in II Corinthians 9:15:

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

Touching God’s Heart This Thanksgiving

 imagesCALVGPUE

Happy Thanksgiving, TD’ers!

I ask you to pause long enough today to give God one of the greatest gifts you can – the gift of time.  Please take the time to read and act on this Thanksgiving devotion.  You’ll be glad you did – and so will He! – Arthur

Let’s take advantage of this day instituted by President Lincoln, who during the civil war, proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” and use it for the Lord’s honor!

How? The Bible tells us how:  “In everything, give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5:18

Did you catch the significance of that? There aren’t too many places in Scripture that explicitly state, “This is God’s will for you,” so when it does, we need to take notice.

And what is God asking of us? Simply, to give thanks to Him everywhere, all the time. To be a walking “thanks dispenser,” if you will. Notice that He’s not calling us to have a grateful heart, though that is implicitly necessary. He’s calling us to go further than that to actually express thanks. Friends, He’s telling us that it WILL bless His heart! Think about it! God is explicitly telling us that it will bless His heart!

Wow.  This was brought home to me several years ago as my own heart was blessed.  The lesson has never left me since.  Let me explain via some thoughts I penned then:

“We arrived home from DC late last night. Of the many things on my to-do list this morning, I wanted to update the TD website and write this devotion, which I am now doing. A few minutes ago, I went to take a “bathroom break” and there on my sink counter, to my surprise, were two hand-cut, hand-drawn, hand-made cards with pictures and drawings of Washington DC on them and the words, “Thank You So Much!” I opened them up and inscribed within were deep heart-felt expressions of thanks from my two youngest children, Daniel and Angela, for taking them and for caring for them on our trip.

Sandra and I had heard some activity down the hallway early this morning while we were still asleep but didn’t think much of it. Now, I get it. Those two woke up before anyone else did and the first thing they did was to get busy to find a creative way to give us thanks. Had they already expressed verbal thanks to us earlier? They sure did, but they wanted to take it further to express their gratitude and to bless our hearts. And they did. My heart melted with appreciation and love for them. I went downstairs and gave them big, big hugs and kisses. Sometimes, little ones teach us the biggest lessons.

I think of how God’s heart has been blessed when His children have taken the extra time to write poetry, hymns, and songs to say thank you to Him; when they’ve carved out larger amounts of time in their lives to harness their skills and talents to painstakingly produce offerings to Him (whether visually, audibly, or tangibly) as an expression of their thanks to Him. I’m sure, in His own providential yet personal way, He gave them His “hugs” and “kisses,” for our Father will not be outgiven.”

Here are a couple of suggestions for you to bless your Father’s heart this month (I’m sure you can think of more):

  • Count your blessings, name them one by one – make a list of everything God wants you to be thankful for. Then give Him thanks for each one. Be specific and make it heart-felt. Notice I didn’t ask you to list things and people you ARE thankful for. Of course, that’s important but sometimes there are things and people we really ought to be thankful for that we don’t feel thankful for.
  • Produce something extra special for Him as a way of saying thanks. Make Him a card, write Him a song or poem, paint or draw Him a picture, practice playing a song for Him on your instrument, etc. Whatever you’re gifted in or trained in, use your skill for His honor in an extra special way for Him this month.
  • Make it a special point to “acknowledge Him” (Prov. 3:6) ALL day, EVERY day – audibly, silently, through singing, journaling, etc. We need to realize that God is actually with us all day, everyday. So, make a special effort to develop your everyday relationship and conversation with Him. 1Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray without ceasing.” This is what that means. Always be relating with Him, including Him in your activities and conversations, as well as in your rest. Relate with Him without ceasing. You’ll both be blessed.
  • Express actual thanks to those God has used to bless you. Expressions of thanks go a long way for those who receive them. Go ahead and surprise them with a simple thank you for being your friend, sibling, or parent. Even though it may not be your “style,” it’s God’s style, and we all represent Him much better when we’re thankful. “As I grew older God continued to prepare my heart and teach me to seek Him. One of the first lessons that I have learnt was not to take things for granted. I had that wake up call around the age of twelve and realized just how much I was blessed with. I take my foot for granted, my family and the fact that I wasn’t born in a third world country all blessings that God had freely given and I still complain?” – Nick Vujicic (born with no arms and legs)

The Irony of It

The actual giving of thanks to God and others forces us to realize how blessed we are and how so much of that blessing had nothing to do with us deserving it. That then leaves us humble, and humble people are the ones God uses and blesses most, for “Blessed are the (humble), for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5)

So, leave it to God to instruct us to do something that seems to be for His benefit, but in actuality it benefits us! That’s our Father. Thank you, God!

– Arthur