Tag Archives: Thanksgiving


And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  John 1:16

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey (Photo credit: tengrrl)

I love Thanksgiving.

Of course, we have a million reasons to thank God every single day. But, to have a day specifically set aside to do so is a great blessing.

For our family, Thanksgiving is the pinnacle of our family gatherings throughout the year. It is a day rich in tradition, a part of the legacy left to us by our grandparents and parents that we are handing down to our children and now (in some cases), their children. It is a time we set aside to eat, play, fellowship, and worship the Lord together.

All of us try each year to attend, but as our families have grown there are times when that’s not possible. (The in-laws want time with their family members, too. Understandable!) But this year is different.

As many of you know, my mom was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer last summer. This turn of events has intensified our resolve to spend our holiday as one, big family. And so, this Thanksgiving we will all be together. All 38 or so of us!

There have been some very low points in this journey with Mom. And make no mistake, this trial is by no means over. But, amazingly, we approach this Thanksgiving with, well, thanksgiving!

While it is true that our trials test us, throughout this trial I think that God has given us the honor of testing Him. The result? Our family has experienced first-hand the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father. Again and again He has proven Himself to us. We have learned that His Word is sure, His character is true and His promises are real. The Lord has done a great work in our hearts and minds. We have walked through the crucible together and stand ready to raise our hands and our voices this Thanksgiving and shout, “Hallelujah! God is good and we THANK HIM!”

I stand amazed at what the Lord has so freely given us even in the midst of a cancer diagnosis for our mother. What mercy! What hope! What love! What grace! How could we ever withhold our deepest thanks to such a God as this!

Most importantly, when I think of what I have been given by virtue of the Gospel compared to what I deserve, my only rational response is a heartfelt giving of thanks to the Lord.

Praying all of you know His goodness this Thanksgiving.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

Counting My Blessings

Oh, give thanks to the Lord for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.  Psalm 106:1

b/w line drawing of a cornucopia

b/w line drawing of a cornucopia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I give serious thought to counting my blessings, both great and small, I find that they are innumerable. For example, I am thankful for my husband, for my children, my family, my friends. My marriage is a blessing. My children are healthy. My family ties are strong. I have good friends and, I love my church. Beyond that, I even have clothes to wear, a roof over my head, and enough to eat. My car runs. And if it doesn’t, the busses do!

There are also the small things in life that make me happy and for which I am thankful. Sunsets. Yellow roses. The sound the wind makes blowing through the trees. The early morning cacophony of singing birds. Music! The warmth of clean clothes straight out of the dryer. And laughter.

While it is good to be thankful for these gifts, I would also do well to cultivate a grateful heart for the blessings I have in Christ. Blessings that will never fade away, my inheritance, my adoption into the family of God, salvation. Access to Godly wisdom. Truth. Love. God’s Grace. His peace. The prospect of Heaven. Genuine joy. His mercy that endures forever. Surely, I can echo the psalmist’s exclamation, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!”

I will leave you with these wise words written in 1897 by Johnson Oatman:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

This prayer was taken from The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. This little book is filled with beautiful words of praise to God. I’m sharing this one with you in honor of Thanksgiving.

Oh my God,
Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admires, adores, loves thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee
in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express,
for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, Oh my God,
Through time and eternity.

(From The Valley of Vision, p. 26)


By His Grace and for the Gospel,

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