• Shannon Aardsma

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” ----- Matthew 14: 22--33

While talking with a friend this evening, I felt prompted to write this post. As my group of friends has widened, so has my awareness of the troubles people -- particularly teens -- are going through. Families are broken, hopes are shattered, and faith is getting harder and harder to hold onto for some. I know so many who are sinking in the tempestuous storm of life, finding it difficult to keep their eyes on Christ who could bring them through their trials. Just as Peter had to stay focused on Christ so as to not sink, so we need to keep our hearts tuned to our Savior when troubles arise against us, threatening to bring us down. My favorite part of this piece of Scripture is verses 30 and 31. Peter takes his eyes off Jesus and begins to sink, but as soon as he calls out to Jesus for help, He is there to lift him above the waves again. Of course, God wants us to never doubt Him, but even if we do, He'll still be there to lift us up when we call on Him.

That being said, I want to challenge you to stay focused on God and his blessings this month, and I have a simple way for you to do so. This month, together, let's count our blessings every day. Keep a notebook, or a notecard, or a white board, or anything you can add to each day somewhere handy and where you'll hopefully see it often. Then, every day, write down one thing you are thankful for. It can be something specific from that day, or something general like your family, friends, house, food, etc. One new thing every day for 30 days shouldn't be too hard if you take the time to recognize all that God has given you. I'll be doing this with you, and at the end of the month I'll post my Blessings List. If I forget, I'm sure my sister will "yell" at me until I do. ;)

Pass this idea on to your family and friends if you want. You can do this together. If you're as forgetful as I am, keep your list by your bed so you see it when you go to bed, or set an alarm on your phone each evening reminding you to write one blessing down if you haven't already. Why should Thanksgiving be the only day this month that we remember to give thanks to our awesome God? Let us be sure God knows just how grateful we are for all He has does for us and given to us. Without Christ's death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, we aren't deserving of anything. We aren't even deserving of that incredible sacrifice. So don't let it go unnoticed. Don't be ungrateful. Gives thanks this November, each and every day. :)

That's your mission, should you choose to accept it.

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