"Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!" (Psalm 100:4 ESV) I plan to do just that with this blog. I am entering into the courts of the Lord Almighty with songs of praise over all He has done. I give thanks to Him for the many blessings He has given to me.
As I continue my Thanksgiving thoughts I want to clarify one thing - today I am giving thanks for "temporal" things. I said yesterday I would talk about the material today and that isn't quite true. I am talking of temporal - those things that are not eternal, things that are temporary, no matter how long we might have them. The first of those temporal things is life itself. After all, we are only here a short time. None of us knows how long that shall be but we do know one thing, unless the Lord returns first, we shall all die. So this is a temporal life. But I thank God for each year He gives to me. I am fast approaching the 50 year mark. To some, that isn't that old while to others it is ancient. I must say, to me, it is what it is. I have never lived this long before so it is a new experience. So I thank God for the years I have lived and I look forward to praising Him through out however many years He gives me.
I am thankful for my family - all my family, even those that I don't have much contact with. They are still family and have been a part of my life. They are a part of who I am today. I thank God especially for my wife, Penny. I wouldn't be the person I am without her. She is a rock in my sometimes sand-filled life. When other things begin to slip away from me, she remains solid. I thank God for her faith. She has a faith that is tremendous. Generally, when she gets upset over something it is because she is looking at it through the lens of faith and sees how the incident doesn't fit with the way that God would have His people living. She has taught me much about living in Christ. She has taught me about love - unconditional love. To love me is a challenge, has been through out our 31 years together. She has taught me how to forgive. I give thanks to God for a wife, friend, lover, companion and helper.
I thank God for my children. I have two of the best kids in the world. They aren't perfect - just take a look at their rooms! But I am so proud to be able to call them my daughter and son. Rachael and Matthew have both grown into fine young people. They both have strong faiths and a good head on their shoulders. We did not have difficult times during their teen years, of which I am very thankful. It is fun to have them around. I enjoy going places with them, doing things with them and being a part of their lives. I thank God for them.
And I could go through the list of those in my family. I am thankful for them. Some I am very close to to - like Penny's mom. Others I don't have strong relationship with - like my brothers. But I am still thankful for them. I pray for them daily and ask the Lord to watch over them and to awaken in them that faith in Jesus Christ as their only Lord and Savior.
I am thankful for the opportunities that I have had to be involved in many people's lives through the ministry the Lord has given me. Each parish I have served has blessed me in some way. There have been good people in all of them. They each have presented their own challenges. And each one of them have helped to make me the pastor I am today. I thank God that I am allowed to be a pastor in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. I rejoice that I am privileged to present the message of Jesus Christ week after week. I get to do what I enjoy - helping people through the Lord Jesus - and I get paid for it! How much better can it get than that? I am thankful for the congregation here at St. Paul's Lutheran, Troy, IL. They are a people who have been challenged in their walk of faith. They are a blessing to me and my family and I am thankful for each of them. The Lord has brought us together and we can rejoice in His leading and guiding to get both myself and the congregation together to work together in His kingdom.
For the moment, that is enough to be thankful for. I plan on bringing more that I am thankful for in part 3. There are so many temporal things to give thanks for - shoestrings, washing machines, a warm bed, the sound of rain on the roof, the flash of lightning at night, and the pant of a dog that wants to go outside. All blessings from God. Continue to think about what you are thankful for - and give thanks to God for those things.