Friday, November 17, 2017

Practicing Thanks-Giving in Word and Deed

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:17 NLT 

Can you believe it???? Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas is just a blink away. I'm reminded by the verse above- that all we do — in whatever season we're in — we're to be thanking our good, good Father. 

Word and deed. With our mouth and with our hands. Thankfulness and gratitude aren't reserved for a couple of designated days each year! Sometimes the hardships and challenges that come with being a parent of a child with special needs can blur my vision concerning our many blessings.

I fight the "poor me," "life is so hard" attitude. Thankfulness in word and deed helps me defeat the "buying stuff helps me enjoy life more" lie. I especially have to prioritize at this time of year as I'm bombarded with ads and bargains before Thanksgiving through the night before Christmas.

Instead of ignoring Black Friday, I've decided to use it as the catalyst to prioritize our giving with intentionality. Thankfulness says, "I have been given so much, I want share my abundance with others."

What better way to teach Bethany to be grateful for her blessings than to help her put her focus on others in need and help her pay it forward? 

   So BEFORE the shopping games and holiday feasts commence, we make a Merry Black Friday List!s
We make a different list and check it twice.
We know we're blessed by God and we want to be nice.
Sometimes our Christmas presents are meager but fun.
We gladly celebrate God's Holy Son!
This year before lots of presents are bought or they're ordered
I'm determined I'm gonna do my best to pay my blessings forward!

Bethany did some extra chores and earned money. Then we went shopping! Hot Wheels, socks, jump ropes, and hard candy are going to fill our Samaritan's Purse Christmas Shoe Boxes! Just look at the joy on the face of those children! We packed 360 boxes at our church's packing party!!!

Ring Those Bells ~ All spare change goes in my purse or car to be given to Bethany or the grandkids when we're out and about. We just can't pass those merry bell ringers and the red Salvation Army bucket. It's important to learn that a little from many makes a difference.

Samaritan's Purse

I used to buy Christmas presents and then make a donation to somewhere. For the past couple of years, I've decided to make my Samaritan Purse Gift list for BEFORE I make my giving list for our family. This reins me in from impulse buying things just because they're a "good deal" that we don't really need. It focuses my heart on the true Spirit of giving.

In less than a minute of perusing the gift catalog, my heart was captured in the timeless truth — It is more blessed to give than receive.

As I read about children and families sleeping outside after a storm, earthquake, or other disaster, I thought about "what if" it were us? What if those were my grandchildren?
Two years ago, I spied warm, snuggly blankets for only $6.00 each! I quickly bought 11 in honor of our 11 grandchildren. Warmth, shelter... things we take for granted. Thankfulness for our abundance should propel us to give to those who have so little.
The next thing that made my heart beat faster was sponsoring a Medical Missionary Doctor!

Recently, our dentist had overwhelmed us with his generosity. Bethany was born without 6 permanent teeth. She just lost the last of her baby teeth and was left with a large gap on her left upper and a gap on her middle lower. The cost for bridges for Bethany would take us at least a year or two to save for. (Can you say not covered by insurance?)

Our dentist (God bless Dr. Markway!!!) gifted Bethany bridges and all the dental work to make her smile beautiful!  WHO DOES THAT? Count your blessings, name them one by one.

We decided sponsoring a Medical Missionary Doctor would be a great way to honor him and pay it forward!
Last thing on my Merry Black Friday Giving list? Finding something to donate in honor of our kids and their spouses!
It's so hard to decide!!! Providing care for orphans? Food and warm clothing? Clean Water? We finally decided on a gift that keeps on giving! Chickens and Goats. They not only provide much needed food, but help lift whole families out of poverty by their own work.
We've made our list. We've checked it twice. 
Our hearts feel full at such a small price.
Such joy to share, with those in need.
To do God's word in thought and deed.

Don't forget — Thanks-Giving is a Verb.

 Have a Grateful Thanksgiving that leads to a Merry Black Friday!

Prayer:  Father, open our eyes to see your goodness and grace in our lives! Help us count our blessings, give thanks, and make our Thanks-Giving both word and deed. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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