I Challenge You... Thanksgiving, 2020
Choosing to become a grateful person will alter your life, It will improve your mental and physical health and increase your longevity. I challenge you - give thanks 7 times a day.
This is a briefing I wrote on my first trip to Israel and brought a forever love home in my heart . . . for the land, [pictured - morning in Jerusalem ~ 2019]
for her people. I have been back three times since and am planning to go again in midyear 2021. There is no place in the world like Jerusalem, the Galilee . . . I am flying cross country today, so thought to 'reshare' this briefing from 2016.
please read to the end as I will share a great resource with you.
Gratitude from the Land. November, 2016.
Boker Tov. (Good Morning in Hebrew)
I consulted my watch - 53 minutes until I landed in the Holy Land. Just can't quite believe it. Everything up to this has seemed like one exhausting build up . . . much preparation, security lines, 14+ hour flight. At 4:55 a.m., on one of my laps around the plane, I saw an Orthodox man praying toward the wall, bobbing (as it were) back and forth, tefillah1 on his forehead. A preamble to what was coming.
While I had great anticipation for what lay ahead, I did not have expectations-I held those at bay. Some people thought me crazy for going to a land torn with strife, others were jealous, most knew it would be incredibly meaningful for me to see, touch, walk and even taste the land of Jesus, particularly as a Bible teacher.
This is the week of Thanksgiving in America, also celebrated in Canada, Puerto Rico, and western Africa. In this week, I have great anticipation! When I finally touched down on American soil, the day, the flight, security and customs rendered me numb; when finally my head hit the pillow, I slept a solid 18 hours, and even then was awakened! Still getting my bearings several days later.
Perhaps this is the set-apart time of the year in which we please God the most. No gifts expected, just family and friends and food . . . and most importantly, giving thanks to our great God. Scripture speaks of giving thanks about 75 times. When a little girl of five years old, I memorized Psalm 100; it is still near and dear to me. Take a look:
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.2
Ah, indeed the Lord is good, and worthy of our thanks-giving. Interesting to note, powerful research out of Harvard Medical School indicates that gratitude not only enhances our mental health, but also our physical health as well.3 David got it right ~ It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.4
Let's get radical, let's improve our mental and physical health and heed the psalmist's words-giving thanks seven times a day.5 Will you take my challenge . . . intentionally thanking God seven times a day? Perhaps three in the morning as the day is new, and
four more before you lay your head down when the day is through.
Be part of resurrecting a spirit of gratitude across our land . . . I thank thee, God, for your truth endures to all generations!
1. I thank thee, God, for ____________
2. I thank thee, God, for ____________
3. I thank thee, God, for ____________
4. I thank thee, God, for ____________
5. I thank thee, God, for ____________
6. I thank thee, God, for ____________
7. I thank thee, God, for ____________
Thanksgiving blessings to you,
Each time I go to Jerusalem, I delight in taking people in to Creations, a jewelry store (and more) owned by a wonderful family who create and craft their own jewelry. The Demirjians, (John and fam), are lovely people ~ fourth generation craftsmen who welcome you like family! I thought perhaps you might like to order something from them for a Christmas gift: https://www.creations.co.il/35139/names. I am sure their business has been devastated without all the Christian pilgrims traveling to Israel since Covid. Please support them - they are part of us; truly, I love them, My favorite piece is the round pendant, which spells the Shema (love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul and mind...) in a distinctive round sterling pendant.
1 - Tefillah also called phylactery, small black leather box containing scripture from the Torah, worn during prayer
2 - Psalm 100, NKJV
3 - "In Praise of Gratitude," Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School, https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude
4 - Psalm 92.1
5 - Psalm 119.62
5/Worship: My Tribute, Andrae Crouch + , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RZTYDPavEY
5/Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, Teach me to a person who looks to live in a state of gratitude, regularly looking for how you are at work, and thanking you. I want to see you in the beauty of Nature and thank you, feel you expressed in the love of a friend and thank you. . . God, may I be a person who reflects your grace because gratitude is always on my lips. Amen.