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100 Reasons to Give Thanks to God This Thanksgiving

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2019 has brought many blessings, trials, challenges, and hopes and in all, God is so good! As I write this week’s Beacon article and prepare my list of 100 blessings for this year, I contemplate how the week of Thanksgiving is a great time to specify each one. Below, I will share a few of the 100 reasons I’m thankful this Thanksgiving.

  1. Grateful to the Lord for blessings seen and unseen! Expected and surprising things have come this year that has been both good and difficult. In all, God has been faithful and
    taught me.
  2. Grateful for the call into ministry now 44 years and counting.
  3. Grateful for my wife Karen now 34 years!
  4. So grateful for the doctors, staff, and health professionals who guided
    Karen through the treatment plan to fight and heal her cancer.
  5. Grateful for hundreds and thousands of prayers that have gone up for Karen!
  6. Thankful for the abundant cards, meals, gifts, concern, and prayers from our congregation at Shalimar UMC-Some of you really stepped up to help walk with Karen! Thank you!
  7. Grateful for my three daughters (Mallory, Brooke, and Haley), two sons-in-law (Brian and Matt), and my grandson (Luke) that really stepped up in love and support this year.
  8. Grateful for my daughter Haley’s engagement to her now fiancé Marlin Morin.
  9. Grateful for our lay leadership at Shalimar UMC for their perseverance and love of God and the Church.
  10. Especially grateful to our Lead Team of 2019, chairpersons, and administrative teams-Many of you offered your whole self to the Lord and Church in 2019. Thank you!
  11. Grateful to our staff who shares ministry at Shalimar UMC each day and has gone the extra mile with work, understanding, and patience this year.
  12. Grateful for my critics as sometimes they are right and it leads me to new insight and humbles me to faithful prayer.
  13. Grateful for those who build others up, encourage, and serve others at the “drop of a hat.”
  14. Grateful for the many gifts and kind thoughts during pastor appreciation month!
  15. Let me also say I am grateful for the other pastors I serve with at Shalimar UMC!
  16. Grateful for those living as disciples and who are helping to make disciples such as the 12x12 team.
  17. Grateful for all those in Shalimar United Methodist Church who are so faithful in living their membership vows of prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.

As I prepare this list, my spirit of gratitude gets a positive jolt. If you have never listed your blessings, you might try it and find inspiration as well. My number of blessings never ends.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone!

What a wonderful time of year to give thanks to God!
Shalom,
Philip

Posted by Philip McVay with

The Need of the Giver to Give

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The first focus of giving is God! The second focus is the need of the giver to
give for spiritual growth. Growth in giving is not related to a church budget
but rather discipleship growth in our hearts. Giving is a response to
TRUSTING GOD’S GOODNESS. Our motive in giving should not be meeting
a budget but rather to give to God which we do through the church!

As we prepare our 2020 commitments, how do we know if we are being
faithful to the Lord? The best place to determine how much to give is to
follow the guidance of the Bible. Below is a variety of bible teachings about
giving, generosity, the state of our hearts, and obedience to God.

  • We cannot out give God. Everything we have already belongs to Him. The
    Psalmist says “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1).
    Think how absurd it would be to offer God what already belongs to Him.
    Yet God chooses to make us stewards of all in the world.

  •  A tithe (10 percent of our income) is the most measurable standard of
    giving in the Bible. The tithe honors God above all with the first ten
    percent of what we have. Most tithers speak of tithing as a blessing that
    impacts every area of life positively as well as a needed spiritual discipline.
    “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my
    house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open
    the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not
    have room for it” (Malachi 3:10; NIV). If you have never tithed, I invite you
    to test it out for the first 90 days of 2020.

  •  The willingness to make sacrifices helps us grow. When we sacrifice, we
    are able to worship more fully. King David said “I will not sacrifice that to
    the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24).
    The amount is not as important as the heart. If we have very little, we can
    still be commended by God. The widow who gave the mite was
    commended by Jesus for she gave all she had as condescending onlookers
    gave out of their abundance. Jesus also said “where your treasure is there is
    your heart also” (Matthew 6:21). Our heart is the focus when we give
    treasures in Heaven.

  • A spirit of generosity is also commended in the Scripture as “whoever sows
    sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap
    generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6).

  • God loves a cheerful giver and joy is the right spirit in which to give. “Each
    of you should give what you have decided to give, not reluctantly or under
    compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

    These Biblical principles are solid and offer a great foundation for our
    growth in giving to the Lord. I would invite us all to take the next step in
    growth by giving to God through the church. If you are going through
    financial hardship, please do not let that prevent you from participating in
    the church. There are other ways to give until you can get to a financially
    better place. Please call on us to help.

    Thank you again for giving to the Lord!

    Shalom, 
    Philip
Posted by Philip McVay with

Can I Get a Second?

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Imagine, if you would, a meeting of people with calendars to reconsider expanding the
observance of Thanksgiving Day. The idea would be to observe Thanksgiving 364 days a
year and designate one day for griping and complaining. Wouldn’t that be
great? We could celebrate Thanksgiving all year long! This would offer the time
needed to list and give thanks for all our blessings!

On the day designated for griping and complaining, we could just stay home and get
our sour attitudes out of the way. If someone started to lose sight of blessings, we
could just kindly remind them there is a day for that. We could even cook food we
don’t like and drink expired milk to really do the day up right! As a side note,
our service for that day would be filled with slow, sad hymns and we would lament
all that is wrong with everything. We would hear this message “ain't it awful?”

On the other hand, we could spend the other 364 days focusing on the Psalms! “Taste
and see that the Lord is good” (Psalms 34:8a) or “Enter into His gates with
thanksgiving and into His courts with praise” (Psalms 100:4). Also, “Give thanks
to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1). We would say
in worship often “God is good all the time and all the time God is good.”

We would spend those 364 days listing our blessings and praising God! We could give
thanks for all He has done for us. The evil one would not have a chance! It has
been said Satan cannot live in the heart of a grateful person. We would see
unity, enthusiasm, and accomplishing the impossible on the rise, as we glory in God 364 days a year!

Well, the chances of changing the calendar for the new 364/1 rotation are not very
realistic, but there is good news. We can make this change in our own heart! We can
choose to be grateful every day! Can I get a second?

Shalom,
Philip

Posted by Philip McVay with

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