Gratitude Can Thrive in an Upside Down World
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:1–2, ESV
The leaves are finally turning. Fall comes later and later, it seems. When that first crisp morning arrives with sweater weather that lasts the whole day and prompts a fire in the fireplace at night, I just want to hold on and make it all last a little longer. For as long as I can remember, I have loved everything about November—especially Thanksgiving.
It is still the one holiday our consumer culture has not remade into the image of something it was never meant to be. But I won’t hold my breath! I know retail now opens its doors to Christmas shopping almost before the Thanksgiving dishes make it to the dishwasher, but overall, it is still a day to slow down, to reflect, to have face-to-face conversations between generations, and to count our blessings. It is a welcome respite from what has become the norm in our very cynical, secular world.
If you are feeling the least bit jaded about the human race because of the outrageous and angry noise that saturates the airwaves and much of social media, you have come to the right place for a little attitude and gratitude adjustment!
Wait till you meet my friend, Dan Hall. Mississippi Christian Living would not exist if he had not encouraged me 13 years ago to cut the ties I had with another magazine and to pursue the mission God put in my heart. He was a tough coach who pushed me past my comfort zone several times, but what a gift his friendship has continued to be to me. He never minded telling me the truth when I least wanted to hear it!
Our friendship began when he was a consultant extraordinaire for Mission Mississippi, and I was a lowly board member. It was evident from the first board retreat he led that he understood people—and more than that, he understood and appreciated the uniqueness of every person. He is a true giver, and for so many years he had a limitless supply of energy to go around, taking care of family, friends, clients, and the “sheep” in his congregations. He thrived on taking care of others and solving problems.
You will read how his life circumstances changed in an instant, but despite the loss of mobility and the many challenges such a traumatic event wreaked on his life, Dan is so much the very same person he always was. His roots in Jesus run deep, and his joy remains when so many of the externals have been taken away. Dan is still Dan, and that preaches louder than all the verbiage I could possibly try to put on paper.
Hazel Hall’s epiphany of the way the body of Christ came to their rescue in those first days preaches pretty well, too. Christ is the Light of the World. And His Light shone brightly in those days when there were so many questions, so many needs, and so many uncertainties. It was one outstanding moment for Christ’s Body to demonstrate what it does best.
There is so much here to lift your spirits, to remind you what matters most in this upside down world. Love the Lord, cherish your relationships, count your blessings, and have the best Thanksgiving ever!
From Marilyn’s Bookshelf
Written in Stone: The Ten Commandments and Today’s Moral Crisis
By Philip Graham Ryken
My Bible Study is reading this at the moment. I don’t think I have been this challenged in a long time. Each commandment one by one, connections made between the Old and New Testaments, and so very relevant for Believers trying to navigate the murky waters of 2017!
By Julie Cantrell
Julie is an Oxford, Mississippi, resident, a NY Times Best Selling Author, and someone I really enjoy reading. Set in Oxford and steeped in Southern family relationships and drama, Perennials is an entertaining read with conflict, complicated dynamics between siblings, and lessons learned—like real life!
A Mississippi Palate
By Robert St. John and Wyatt Waters
The dynamic duo has done it again with this coffee table book that offers to-die-for Mississippi cuisine a la St. John along with watercolors by Waters that make you want to buy a copy for every Yankee relative you know! I might even start cooking!