MEMORABLE THANKSGIVING: HOPE AND GRATITUDE

Thanksgiving Day this year will be memorable for me. Any plan for a traditional holiday has gone by the wayside to accommodate an unplanned need that arose following a major medical event in our family. I never anticipated a hospital as my setting for any holiday much less the day set aside to give thanks for blessings.

However as I am  beside the hospital bed of my spouse of 34 years, I know I can give thanks for much and especially for hope. I am learning that it is possible to have hope at a hospital that was never in my plans.

Hope is not dependent upon my surroundings or situation but upon the One Who resides in my heart. If I have Jesus in my heart, then I have hope in my heart.

Even little things — maybe especially little things — come to mind with gratitude in my heart. I agree with the quote that the most important things in life are not things. The one with whom I am able to share this day is far more important to me than the most bountiful feast or picture-perfect Thanksgiving gathering that I can imagine.

Sometimes our perspectives change after major medical events change our lives or the lives of loved ones. My perspective is changing toward my having more gratitude. Hope brings thankful thinking in my head, and it brings thankful feeling in my heart.

I need to keep letting God’s Word fill both my head and my heart to have gratitude for the place where we are. I don’t mean this hospital location. I refer to being in God’s care, in His shelter of refuge, under His wings. We are loved supremely by Him and in His care. There is no better place to be.

I have hope that He will see us through this challenge. Having this perspective allows me to rest in Him. I can recognize and be thankful for blessings both large and small. I am grateful that our God is an awesome God!

Then you would trust, because there is hope;
And you would look around and rest securely.”
(Job 11: 18)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;”
(Psalm 46: 1, 2)

“He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.”
(Psalm 91:4)

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”  (1 Peter 5: 7)

“O God our help, our Creator, our Saviour- Redeemer, our Guide, our Fortress and our Healer… may we always make You our God, our Focus, our Life.  Amen.”  (Wynona Behling)

[Thank you for prayers. I am praising God for significant improvements in my loved one.]

Search this website for previous Thanksgiving-related posts listed below.

THANKSGIVING: GOD OF HOPE (November 26, 2020)

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: HOPE IN THANKSGIVING (November 27, 2019)

JAMES MERRITT: GIVE THANKS TO GOD OF HOPE (November 27, 2018)

FIRST THANKSGIVING: A GREAT HOPE, part 3 (November 22, 2018)

FIRST THANKSGIVING: A GREAT HOPE, part 2 (November 21, 2018)

FIRST THANKSGIVING: A GREAT HOPE, part 1 (November 20, 2018)

PILGRIMS: LABORED IN HOPE (November 15, 2018)

MAJOR MEDICAL CHALLENGE: INTENTIONAL HOPE

I do not think that hope happens spontaneously or randomly. I think that hope comes following an intentional decision when I choose to trust God Who is the Source of Hope.

My beloved is in a hospital after a major medical challenge, yet I am blessed with hope for recovery and rehabilitation. Our family and friends are praying from the West Coast of our country to the Caribbean. The common characteristic required to be on this prayer team is hope.

I have chosen to be hopeful, because hopelessness leads to despair. Hope is life-affirming, and that is our need.

Father God Who gives hope is in charge of the medical care plan, God’s Holy Spirit gives comfort and strength as needed, and Jesus the Great Physician is primary care provider. Our loved one is in the most capable loving hands. This is reason to hope!

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  (Psalm 46: 1)

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust!’ He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.”  (Psalm 91: 1, 2, 4)

“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
(Romans 5: 5)

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
(1 Peter 5: 7)

[Please join in praying for my beloved’s recovery and rehabilitation.]

GENERAL COLIN POWELL:   INSPIRATION & HOPE

Today we commemorate Veterans Day in America. I wish to express thanks to our veterans and honor their service. I also want to feature one veteran who was laid to rest last week.

During 84 years of living Colin Powell (1937-2021) was an American Patriot,  politician, diplomat, statesman, US Army veteran, four-star general, national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 65th United States Secretary of State, and first African-American Secretary of State.

Powell was born in Harlem, NY, son of Jamaican immigrants, raised by caring parents in a humble home, educated in public schools, and graduated from high school without any definite life plans. While at City College, he found his calling in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). He became commander of his ROTC unit and began an historic military career and gave direction to his life. The rest is history… literally.

After being wounded twice during tours of duty in Vietnam, he was awarded a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and a Soldier’s Medal. Also he served a tour of duty in Korea and received a total of 11 military decorations that included the Legion of Merit.

Gen. Powell served over US Army Forces Command and was appointed by the President as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the US Department of Defense, and was the first African American officer to receive that distinction.

Colin and Alma Johnson Powell were married more than 59 years and raised three children. Together they founded America’s Promise Alliance, because they were dedicated to the well-being of children and youth of all socio-economic levels and committed to young people having the necessary resources for success.

 General Colin Powell was more than a successful veteran. He was a successful man, who was an inspiration for others as they worked to succeed in life. He had a strong faith in God, was active in church, and taught Sunday School where he shared hope. Colin Powell was a rare human example by which following his footsteps would lead others to find inspiration and to live with hope.

I did not know Colin Powell personally, however I did have the privilege of hearing him speak at a motivational business seminar about ten years ago. I was in the audience to be motivated and learn from those who had successfully “been there and done that.” Of the many top speakers on the program he was a memorable personality. He was a man who impacted world leaders as well as an ordinary person like me.

I am thankful to General Colin Powell, for making a difference. I am thankful to God, Who gifted him to be an inspiration and to share hope.

***

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
(Colin Powell)
***

General Powell’s
13 Rules of Leadership:

1.  It ain’t as bad as you think! It will look better in the morning.
2.  Get mad then get over it.
3.  Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
4.  It can be done.
5.  Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
6.  Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
7.  You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
8.  Check small things.
9.  Share credit.
10.  Remain calm. Be kind.
11.  Have a vision. Be demanding.
12.  Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
13.  Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.
(Colin Powell, 1937-2021)
***

“LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straightbefore me.”  (Psalm 5: 8)

“Do not fear for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will strengthen you,surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  (Isaiah 41: 10)

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'” 
(Jeremiah 29: 11)

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  (Matthew 6:33)

“OVERHEARD IN AN ORCHARD”: HOPE AND CALM ASSURANCE

Below is a poem that has been meaningful to me for several decades. It still reminds me to have hope and calm assurance. The poet used a conversation overheard in an orchard between the robin and the sparrow to express a powerful truth about God’s care for His creations — both birds and humans. Just as He takes care of birds, He takes care of His children.

God’s children who trust and obey Him do not have to be weighted down by worry nor overcome by anxiety. Instead we can live by faith because our heavenly Father is with us always and because He cares for us. Such faith and trust gives hope for daily life and results in calm assurance.

OVERHEARD IN AN ORCHARD

Said the robin to the sparrow,
“I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.”
Said the sparrow to the robin,
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.”
(Elizabeth Cheney)

Today’s world has brought pandemic fears, financial strains, racial unrest, and uncertainties regarding nearly every aspect of the life we used to know. We need hope. We need calm assurance that we have a heavenly Father Who cares for us.

Consider the robin’s observation and the sparrow’s conclusion in the little poem by Elizabeth Cheney (1857-1940). Trust the One Who takes care of the birds. He loves you even more and longs to have a relationship with you. He is able and willing to give you hope and calm assurance.

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”  (Matthew 6: 26)

“Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”  (Psalm 55: 22)

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow
of the Almighty.”  (Psalm 91: 1)

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day nor the moon by night. The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.”  (Psalm 121: 1-8)