Why Give Thanks?
“Anxiety is the most common mental-health disorder in the United States, affecting nearly one-third of both adolescents and adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.” (New York Times, 11 Oct 2017)
Our current culture offers much to cause worry and anxiety. Just in 2018 we have experienced hurricanes, tornadoes, political unrest, uncivility and hatred because of your sex, color, and/or political views. Yet most of us desire to live in peace and tranquility, work our jobs, raise our children, and see our families and friends prosper.
What are the common cures for anxiety? Many doctors prescribe drugs such as Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft. Other health practitioners suggest better nutrition, exercise, essential oils, and other natural remedies. Although many of these are helpful, we are given another solution to anxiety by our Heavenly Father:
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Thanks: An expression of gratitude. Thankfulness is an important concept in our spiritual lives which affects our emotional wellbeing, as well as our physical health.
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Col 3:15-17
The Key seems to be giving thanks to God. This is the “anxiety” reliever. Why? Because as the psalmist says:
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting! Psalm 107:1
God’s character is described as filled with lovingkindness toward us, and this lovingkindness will never end. Whatever is happening in our lives, outside our doors, or on Earth, God says to give thanks and trust Him.
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25-34
Giving thanks to God is important in our relationship with God. It is an expression of ultimate faith in Him to provide, protect, and prosper us. Jesus says not to worry, because He already knows your needs. If we follow Him, life our lives for Him and those around us, we will have all that we need. In my experience, He often gives us more than we need, so that we can become the givers that God uses to meet the needs of others.
November is the month that we dedicate a day to giving thanks. It is an American tradition that began in 1621, when 47 survivors of the Mayflower colonists celebrated an abundant harvest with 102 Native Americans who assisted them in their cultivation of crops, and literally saved their lives. There was a lot to give thanks to God about that year. Our first president George Washington proclaimed Thanksgiving as a national celebration in 1789. The experience of the Revolutionary War, and subsequent quest for a workable form of government cause many of our founding fathers to beseech God for direction, and many credit those prayers as the catalyst for the principles formulated in our Constitution.
Regardless of our current circumstances, we all have some basic things to be thankful for. If giving thanks becomes a priority in our lives, and trusting God to guide us and provide for us, then life will become less anxious, and more peaceful.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:8-9
These ancient words are very significant and applicable to our lives now. Let’s make this a month, and year of constantly giving thanks to our Lord. MB
HABITS of life both good and bad reap a consequence. Good begets good and bad, well, it catches up even though the moment screams of goodness and or temporal pleasure. Good habits don’t always feel good at the moment but the results add up to a great measure of goodness later.
For me, formally as a smoker, I reaped many great temporal moments, but I found that my lungs could not go up and down stairs without a great deal of strain and long term I have a cough due to some damage from pneumonia and perhaps some of compromising lung activities.
I am always in the process of gaining new good habits and trying to discard the old. Some people refer to it as goal setting. We all always want great gains on any investment we make, but few are those who are willing to pay the price upfront. I find I start with a choice…making my bed daily (first accomplishment and good habit), have my quiet meditative preparation time and reading, exercise and get my general “order” of the day (this often happens during exercise). I have made it a habit to go to our Café and see and care for my Ohana there…both old and new.
My routines may change depending on where I am in the world, but I find that the one that does not change is the habit of seeing who I need to be Loving on and giving myself to under the direction of my fearless Leader who I have grown to trust more and more. I have a greater ability to hear and understand what the will of my Heavenly Father is as I have been working hard to clear the airways in my busy little brain of the distractions that come. The emphasis and value that prevails is RELATIONSHIP…mine with God and mine with others. I feel blessed to have the relationships that I do… first and foremost that I had caring parents that I loved and they loved me, to have found a husband that loves me, cares about me and I get to do life with daily, that we share together 4 people that we made together and have raised together and now they are doing life with us is such a dream come true for me. Truly. On top of that foundation, I have the blessing of many quality people who we care for, enjoy and love …what a blessing! I still have my dad on this earth to enjoy and care for and have cherished every moment with him. I have four brothers and lots of nieces and nephews that I adore. My kids have a host of friends that are so much fun and I get to know so many of them and enjoy their presence in our lives.
I am enjoying 30 years of married life, relationship with adult children, playing shopkeeper and cook, dancing whenever I can and learning how to play pickle ball from my husband who is still pining over the fact that I beat him 8 games in a row at ping pong back in the day (skunked him a couple of times)…I get to work out with my kids who are constantly inspiring me for new goals and eating plans, I get to see my dad whenever he beacons for me and I get to daily drink the very best coffee in the world by some of the finest baristas in the world. Life is good. We still have friends on the Coco River who benefit from all that we do here at the cafes and who continue to lead and do a great job educating Miskito children for the future. Thousands have been impacted and will continue to be impacted as we continue together with many of you to make a difference in their lives for here and eternity. Thank you for being in our lives and for participating in giving and praying. We still get to serve as missionaries and have pure faith inducing influence that serve those who come through the doors of our lives. We get to be volunteers at our Café and come alongside many young people who are growing in their faith and expression of it. What a joy!!! I must confess that I still only have 5 cats as grandchildren, but hey …gotta start someplace, right?
I am thankful …God is good. Laura
Tom & Nutie returned to Nicaragua last week after having to leave in June due to the violence, killings, and firebombings that government thugs have been committing against the Nicaraguan people. The government has cracked down on any dissent and now demonstrators against the government are deemed “terrorists”. Fortunately our schools are very far from the political violence which is focused primarily on the Pacific side of the country- one of the few benefits of being in the most remote corner of Central America if not the Western Hemisphere.
I have spoken with our project administrator in Nicaragua a few times in the past weeks. Danilo tells me that our team leaders are all in good health, and the teachers downriver are working well. We are nearing the end of the 2018 school year, and all is well in our communities. However things in the rest of Nicaragua are still in crisis. Danilo reports that:
“There are assassinations, incarcerations, people disappearing, and many wounded. Brothers remember the problems in our country and pray for us! Pray that God will grant us peace and tranquility and changes that will bring a new Nicaragua.” Danilo
Photo: Danilo, Rodolio, Nutie, and Tom. Please keep them in your prayers.
1) Pray for us!
2) Support one of our missionaries;
3) Help us sponsor a school for the 2019 academic year.
You may donate online at seekthelamb.com—”Give”. Thanks!
Please pray that God will:
1) Protect our team in Nicaragua during this political unrest.
2) Bring many into the Rio Coco Cafes this month.
3) Provide us with workers for the Utila Café. We are in need of team members.
Rio Coco Beans
Take a look at our new Rio Coco website which we launched on the first of this month. We have introduced two new blends that, in the words of two of my tasting team, “This could win awards”.
“Java Jake” is a combination of our Pacific Coffees- Sumatra, Papua New Guinea, and Timor. It is deep in character, bursting with exquisite flavors, and guides off the palate. It is named after Jason Spence, one of the founding pastors of Hope Chapel Maui, who introduced me to “coffee ministry” during our frequent meetings at the Kihei Coffee Store.
“Sky Larkin” is named after our dear friend Keith Larkin, the inventor of the light weight headset, founder of the company Plantronics, and missionary extraordinaire. Keith was one of the smoothest pilots that I had the opportunity to fly with. Sky Larkin is a combination of Ethiopian, Timor, and Negro Fino coffees, and I have had numerous cups this month already.
You may order these and other delicious coffees at riococobeans.com.
Thanks for being with us this month.
Have a very good Thanksgiving!