Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Giving Thanks for Our Gifts

"Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in Heaven." - Matthew 5:12a (NIV)

I can honestly say that receiving gifts is not a big deal to me. After taking the "5 Love Languages" quiz, I know that receiving a gift is at the bottom of the barrel of what I need to feel loved. Of course, I knew that, deep down, before I even took the quiz. However, I LOVE giving gifts...I love shopping for that perfect gift, I love wrapping it, I love to see the look on the face of the person I bought it for when they open it, I love the excitement when they share with others the gift I gave them...I absolutely love that part of gift giving! But, I don't need to receive one in return; they're not important to me. And, I'm not always thankful when I receive one - for example, my husband has brought me flowers before, for no reason, and all I could think of was, "Why did he spend money that could have been used to pay bills or buy groceries?" How ungrateful was I?!!

God has also gifted me. He has blessed me with so much. And I don't always thank Him because, as I said before, gifts aren't important to me. But they should be! I think of how I feel giving a gift...God feels that way when He gives to me!! And all He desires in return is that I thank Him, praise Him, celebrate the life He has given to me and share His gifts with others. To count my blessings daily and give thanks continually and use the gifts in service to Him and to others I come in contact with. To be joyful and celebrate. That's not too much to ask. I intend to be more aware of the blessings and gifts God has bestowed on me and to be grateful for them...daily. As my devotional points out - "Today is a non-renewable resource -- once it's gone, it's gone forever." So, to hold myself accountable to thank Him for my blessings today, I want to list a few:
     - Salvation - for Jesus loving me so much that he took on human form, suffered and
       was nailed on the cross for my sins so that I could choose Him as my Lord and
       Savior and spend eternity in Heaven with Him.
     - My husband, Dennis - for the love he shows me constantly and putting up with
       my moods: I love you!
     - My kids, Corey, Dusti, Brittany & Trae and the extra "kids" they've brought into
       my life, Megan & Lucas - for the happiness, inspiration, and even the heartache
       because they've taught me to "let go and let God".
     - My grandkids, Alec, Andrew, Annelyse, Madyson & Dominic - they keep me
       young, make me laugh and teach me patience.
     - My parents and siblings - I am who I am because of the examples you have been,
       are and continue to be to me.
     - My friends - through good times & laughter, bad times & tears, God has placed
       each and everyone of you in my life for a reason and I am very thankful for you.
     - A home when so many are homeless, food when so many are hungry, peace
       when so many are at war, joy when so many are unhappy, beauty when there
       is so much that is ugly, love when there is so much hatred and His Word 
       to keep me grounded when there is so much uncertainty.

Wherever you are and whatever you're doing...stop and take a few moments to see your blessings and thank God for them. Celebrate the life He's given you!!

Dear Lord, today, I celebrate the blessings and life you've given to me.  I celebrate the family and friends you've surrounded me with. I celebrate the love You have for me. I celebrate the cross and the sacrifice Jesus made for me. Let me never take Your gifts for granted, Lord. Let me always be thankful and share Your blessings with others. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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