Grateful in November

As we begin the month of November and look ahead to the Thanksgiving holiday, I think about many things I am grateful for.  I am grateful for the autumn colors we have enjoyed. I am grateful for Laura adjusting well to college life with new friendships, engaging classes, and already registering for the spring semester.  I am grateful that Matt is enjoying high school with an expanding friend group, a good adjustment to another level of academic work, and getting involved in high school activities.  I am grateful that Dad enjoys his weekends with us and is adjusting to a different life after Mom’s passing.  I am grateful that Sheri and I are getting used to having our daughter away from home and our son being away from home more often.   I am grateful that our church is seeking to live out her mission and vision more intentionally with some new ministry ideas that are being launched.  I am grateful for the love of our Christian community demonstrated with the illness and death of one of our devoted members.  I am grateful for the opportunity to focus again on the precious gospel of Jesus Christ as we have joined the global church celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.  I am grateful that in a world of cancer, political rancor, natural disasters, and terror attacks that we can always rely on God who is “our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1), our “Mighty Fortress.”

I am grateful that when feelings of gratitude well up over fiery autumn leaves, a well-played football game, a meaningful conversation with a family member, or a note of appreciation, I know Who to direct my gratitude towards.  The Scriptures clearly remind us where to direct our ultimate gratitude.  One of the most well-known Scriptures on gratitude is a particular psalm that was specifically written “for giving grateful praise.”  That Psalm is Psalm 100 which invites us to “Enter his gates with  thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (verses 4-5).

Every day, the Lord demonstrates that he is good, that his love endures forever, and that his faithfulness continues through all generations.  He is worthy of our thanks and praise every day and not only in the month and season of Thanksgiving.  May the Lord make you aware of his blessings that he constantly displays in your life. In the spirit of the psalms of praise, the hymn-writer helps us to articulate our prayers with soaring lyrics, “Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices, Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices; Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today” (Martin Rinkart).

Thanks be to God!

Pastor Mark

Mark Bennink