"He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God" (Psalm 50:23).
I love this verse. It essentially says two things: 1) Giving thanks honors God, and 2) there are benefits for ordering your life according to God's ways. I deeply want to achieve both of these things in my own life. I think it was in 1999, a few years after I had become a Christian, that I made a conscience choice to order my life aright. I certainly haven't reached perfection, but I hope those that really know me would agree that I have, in large part, sought to lead me life according to biblical principles even when it is difficult. I have have tried and continue to live by the words of the old hymn, "I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back."
Now, the first part of the verse grabs my attention, "He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me." I'm not sure I ever thought that being thankful could be honoring to God, nor have I considered the opposite. Thanksgiving is one of our only holidays that embraces character trait that is commanded to the Christian. When I married my wife I was exposed to a silly game called "The Thankful Game." You simply work through the alphabet referencing things you are thankful for that begin with the corresponding letter. I remember making the church play this game in the middle of a message. I was shocked to see the disposition of the congregation visibly lighten as we shared things we were thankful for. I love seeing this game spread on Facebook...especially during a time when I see so much complaining there.
Okay, here's my Thankful list this year!
A - Anna. There is no other answer for me than to say I am thankful for Anna my lovely wife. Proverbs 18:22 says, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." God has blessed me with an amazing wife and mother of our children. Not a day goes by that I do not thank God for this amazing woman.
B - Bible. I am thankful for the Bible. God has used His Word to mature me, shape me, and guided me through His wonderful revelation.
C - Cops. I am blessed to serve as a law enforcement chaplain. I am thankful for these men and woman who serve us day and night be coming to our rescue, protecting us in general, and providing a safe environment for us to live.
D - Dogs, especially Lady Bug. I am really thankful for these wonderful creatures God has given us to enjoy.
E - Ellie, my beautiful little girl who is a gift from God and a total crackup. I am love seeing her little personality take shape!
F - Family God has blessed me with.
G - Grace, my wonderful little girl who cracks me up and fills my heart with joy every
H - Hanson family. I am thankful the the Hanson family, the tree that I fell from!
I - Inlaws, the Hilton family. The Lord has blessed me with a great extended family
J - Jury Duty. Okay, this officially marks the hard stretch. I have "J, K, M, T, and U" remaining. But jury duty is something that makes our country great. I would love to serve on one, but am never needed and I don't think
K - Kettle corn. Wait to you get to "P", this is serious. There is a great explosion of flavor, the corn is crisp and crunchy. Great experience!
L - Lake Tahoe. I am thankful for the many memories I have growing up there. I am thankful that I am going to be able to vacation there this summer. I look forward to sharing my memories with my family.
M - Man-child. I love my girls and I would have been totally cool with a third daughter, but this year brought with it the wonderful news of a man-child (which is way cooler to say than "son"). I can tell that he is different in personality than the girls and I am looking forward to seeing this little guy grow into a man.
N - Navy. The Navy was a major tool the Lord used in my life. I am thankful for the many experiences during my 12 years in the Navy. The friends and experiences I had in the SEAL teams have had an incredible influence in my life that I will always be thankful for.
O - Ocean. I am so thankful for its beauty and mystic. I feel so close to God when I am at or near the ocean.
P - Popcorn. I enjoy eating popcorn. Seriously. I have so much fun firing up some popcorn and munching on it with the family around a game or watching one of our favorite shows like Psych, Burn Notice, or Hawaii 5-0!
Q - I think I am thankful for this letter in of itself. Seriously, I like playing Words-with-Friends and this is a 10 point word. I can be lethal if player correctly!
R - Running. I am thankful that I can run--I miss running since I have a bruised heel.
S - Spain. This is a country I knew little about, but after marrying I learned so much about this country. I traveled there with my wife and then learned of her youth. I am thankful for the experiences Spain gave to my wife. I am almost always looking forward to my next trip there!
T - Thanksgiving! This is the last one I filled out. I so thankful for being thankful...it just makes you feel better! Thank you God for blessing me so!
U - Upwords. This is a great game and I am thankful for the many hours of playing this game with my wife and inlaws.
V - Valley Baptist Church. I love worshiping with my church family. I am simply amazed how God has moved through our little church since 2007.
W - Water. Nothing quenches the thirst like it and I love that our Lord describes Himself as living water!
X - Xrays. X is hard, but seriously, I am thankful for the Xray machine way more that I am for xylophones. I was thankful for the Xray machine when my daughter broke her arm. Because of the technology the doctors were able to fix her up good as new!
Y - Yankees, NOT! I am going with Yams. Nothing better than a well prepared Yam on Turkey Day! I think the secret ingredients are brown sugar and marshmallows.
Z - Zoo. We are longtime zoo pass holders. Anna and I love walking and talking there...the animals are bonus!
Okay, now it's YOUR turn!