Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

As we have entered into a season of greater peace and less stress, I can't help but reflect on how the last 4 years or so of struggling have molded us. I am eager to see how God intends to use us and those lessons to encourage other people and advance His kingdom. I read an encouraging quote by Ted Engstrom, who headed Youth for Christ and World Vision:

Cripple a man, and you have Sir Walter Scott. Lock him in a prison cell, and you have John Bunyan. Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have George Washington. Raise him in abject poverty, and you have Abraham Lincoln. Strike him down with infantile paralysis, and he becomes Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Burn him so severely in a schoolhouse fire that doctors say he'll never walk again, and you have Glenn Cunningham, who set the world record in 1934 by running a mile in four minutes and six seconds. Call him a slow learner, retarded, write him off as unable to be educated, and you have Albert Einstein. Have him or her born black in a society filled with racial discrimination, and you have Booker T. Washington, Harriet Tubman, Marian Anderson, George Washington Carver, and Martin Luther King.

The strongest world changers did not live comfortable, easy lives. They were strengthen by their adversities and therefore prepared to conquer many other challenges.

So I praise God for leading me through some rough terrain and for giving me times of respite, too. One stage breaks me down and creates a greater dependence on God, allowing me to grow as He intends. The other is an opportunity to put that growth into action.

Now, I leave you with some Thanksgiving quotes to kick off your day:

"On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence." --William Jennings Bryan

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." --H.U. Hestermayer

"Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude." --E.P. Powell

"What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?" --Erma Bombeck

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Lord, lift me above my own narrow horizons, that I might fulfill your true vision for me. - B.J. Hoff