Get Your Thanks On

A post-Thanksgiving psalm: Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from humdrum lives and gathered in from faraway towns. Some traveled on the highways, lost and ready for pumpkin pie; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He gave them the right directions. He led them by the straight way till they reached the lights of home. Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to us all! For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things.

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Between the Trees

Fall foliage is kind of a big deal in New England; people come up here from all over to go “leaf peeping.” (Not super sure why it’s considered ‘peeping’ rather than ‘ogling.’ In Oklahoma, we would go on straightforward “foliage tours,” where the whole point was to take in as much color as the scrubby patches of oaks could afford. Now I feel a bit dirty sneaking peeks at these apparently modest and unassuming leaves. But whatever.)

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The Slow Path

Congratulations! You’ve successfully entered the season for making long treks. The US Department of Transportation states that “travel to a destination 50 miles or more away increases by 54% over Thanksgiving weekend.” Obviously, there are faster and slower ways of getting where we want to go. We’re kind of obsessed with fast, and, unfortunately, that obsession leaks into how we walk with Christ.

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When Clouds Cheer

I wonder if this scenario sounds familiar.

You’ve found a moment quiet enough to hear yourself think. It might be in the middle of the night, or maybe it’s when the rush of the day has paused. Your mind wanders to what God has called you to, whether general Christian obedience or a more specific dream. Either way, you know it’s got His fingerprints all over it even if it’s been hard or scary or slow going so far. The enemy slinks in as though he’s been waiting, oozing loneliness into your heart. He makes you feel isolated, like no one will care if you succeed or not, so it’s better to just give up now and be done with it. You’d probably screw it up anyway. No one sees, no one would even know if you called it quits. So why keep plodding forward? You could stop fighting and just go with the flow.

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Systematic Gratitude

Last week we looked at Psalm 107—our focus for the month—through a redemptive lens (where is Jesus in this passage?). This week we’ll use a systematic approach. It asks, “What biblical themes thread throughout this text?” (Another way to systematically read is to look at this particular psalm in the context of the entire book of Psalms. However, since I haven’t been studying the entire book of Psalms, I’ll have an easier time using the themes concept and be more faithful to the Word by doing so.)

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A Few of My Favorite Things

“But there is always a November space after the leaves have fallen when she felt it was almost indecent to intrude on the woods … for their glory terrestrial had departed and their glory celestial of spirit and purity and whiteness had not yet come upon them.”

(L.M. Montgomery)

Can you feel it? The crisp wind scurrying families inside, doors decked with harvest wreaths and firelight flooding memories not yet created? Or smell it—spiced cider and hot bread and food that warms all the way down to the soul? November is the red between October’s orange and the gold of Christmas. It’s last-minute dashes to the store for ingredients, fresh bedding in the guest room, conversations that beckon late into the night, a counting of far too many blessings for justice to have been served us. It’s full bellies and full hearts.

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Jesus Prepackaged

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays—commercialism hasn’t really warped it into something it’s not, and it’s unique among the nations. For Christians especially, November ushers in a returning to contentment, gratitude for abundance (or even just enough), and remembering the God who never fails us. But the idea of expressing thanks isn’t new by any means. It started long ago and continues with our every breath. The book of Psalms includes numerous songs of deep appreciation, the psalms of thanksgiving. I’d like to spend each Friday this month dwelling on one of these offerings to the Lord—Psalm 107.

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