A Psalm for Thanksgiving

Psalm 106:1-5, 43-48

Praise the Lord!
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord?
Who can ever praise him enough?
There is joy for those who deal justly with others
and always do what is right.
Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people;
come near and rescue me.
Let me share in the prosperity of your chosen ones.
Let me rejoice in the joy of your people;
let me praise you with those who are your heritage.

Again and again he rescued them,
but they chose to rebel against him,
and they were finally destroyed by their sin.
Even so, he pitied them in their distress
and listened to their cries.
He remembered his covenant with them
and relented because of his unfailing love.
He even caused their captors
to treat them with kindness.
Save us, O Lord our God!
Gather us back from among the nations,
so we can thank your holy name
and rejoice and praise you.
Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
who lives from everlasting to everlasting!
Let all the people say, “Amen!”
Praise the Lord!

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I had dinner with crazy Italians last night

Seriously. Not making it up. Well, the crazy part maybe. (I know you’re reading, and you know I love you guys.)

I’m a pretty closed person when it comes to being myself around people. I try to be compassionate and pleasant and likeable as a general rule, but there’s a lot more to me as a person that I keep bottled up until I know my ridiculous, loud personality isn’t going to scare you to death.

I am so fortunate to have friends who know the ridiculous, loud me and love me. I’m even more fortunate to have friends who love the real me who don’t hesitate to tell me when I’m making a really stupid decision. So when those friends (the real ones, who won’t feed me a bunch of lines about positive thinking when I’m acting on a truly dumb idea) get excited about something I feel God leading me to do, I jump for joy.

It’s one thing to have a friend’s words of encouragement when you’re undertaking a big challenge. It’s something else to have a friend’s actual support, knowing they’re behind you 110%.

Two little girls at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Two little girls at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is Proverbs 13:20.

Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.

I’ve posted about friends a lot on here, mostly because my friends are such a vital part of my life. I’ve really tried to be wise about the friends I choose because so many of them play a role in helping me make decisions, and if my inner circle of advisors aren’t wise and don’t live their lives according to Scripture, they won’t give me counsel that will help me do it either.

I have been so very blessed to have such a variety of friends from all corners of the world, all cultures and backgrounds, all personality types. I have friends who are as introverted as I am. I have friends who are insane crazy people. I have friends who occupy high-ranking corporate positions and friends who work minimum-wage. And the most beautiful part about all my close friends is that they love Christ, and in the dark moments of my life, they help me remember how much I love Him too.

Do you have those kinds of friends in your life? If you don’t, you really ought to look for some. Just remember that the best friends you can have don’t always say yes to you. The best friends you can have are the ones who love you for who you are but don’t want you to stay the same. Yes, that’s a paradoxical statement, but I believe it’s true.

The best friendships I have had in my life are with people who love me for who I am as a person, but they love me too much to let me plateau in my growth—both professionally and spiritually. If you have a friend who just agrees with you all the time, that could be nice, but do you ever get to really know that person? The best friends you can have challenge you to grow and love you regardless.

My friends are patient people because I’m stubborn. Compared to me, donkeys are easy to get along with. I’m set in my ways, and I don’t like change. But you can’t go through life without changing. Everything changes. Granted, the things that matter don’t, but it’s how you grow to survive the little things that don’t matter that help you determine the real things that do.

Is there a friend who is open and honest with you in your life? Is there a friend you trust to tell you the truth even if you don’t want to hear it? Is there a friend who loves you too much to let you make a foolish decision?

Find that person. Because that person is worth his or her weight in gold. And the more you hang out with wise people like that, the wiser you will become if you’re willing to pay attention.

A very brief thought for a very cold morning

My driveway is full of snow, and it’s very cold outside. So I need to get an early start to work. This is very brief today.

The verse is 2 Thessalonians 1:3

 3 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.

I know that I get discouraged a lot sometimes, for various reasons. When that happens, the best thing for me to do is to go hang out with someone who is an encourager. Someone who cheers me up and who is constantly joyful.

It’s funny, though, because those people are usually the ones who are going through difficult trials themselves.

This verse makes me think of all the people in my life who I am thankful for, the people who cheer me up when I’m downhearted, the people who make me laugh when I don’t even want to smile. I’m thankful for the friends that I have becuase life would be much harder without them.

If you don’t have encouragers in your life, find some. Trust me. You need them.

There. That’s it. Told you I’d be brief this morning.

Now I’m going to go get stuck in a snow drift.