The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy, and I will give thanks to him in song. Psalm 28:7
This day before Thanksgiving are you doing a lot of leaping or much weeping? The holidays can be depressing, thoughts of loved ones prevail that we have lost, or maybe life has taken a downward spiral for us and we think of all the things someone else has compared to our zero possessions. What will the kids say when I don't have enough to give them presents?
I was there two years ago and most folks did not know it. Thinking of my son Paul; who was killed in a motorcycle accident, pretty much broke from giving all I had to ATB, very few solid friendships, just a proverbial pity party broke out in my mind. But as always, God pulled me out of it and maybe I could write a book of Psalms that would rival David's writings.
Here's how I would start it: Praise your way out of grief, out of debt, out of trouble and into a mindset of thanksgiving. Praise God that whatever we have left will be enough to sustain us until He provides more. Sounds too simple right? I understand the pain one can feel now but trust me, so does He. Ask Jesus about it.
Once the praise and thanksgiving begins to set in there were will be much leaping for joy, and possibly some heavy dancing. When God multiplies something from our nothing it becomes a powerful gift we pass on to others. It reminds us of Thanksgiving day tomorrow, only there are more than one or two days set aside to be thankful, it becomes a lifetime of thankfulness.
He also becomes a full time helper, a constant shield of protection from the next potential catastrophe, and someone in whom we can trust to speak to of our sadness and fears. We write our own Psalm for the next generation to see, that yes, God is still here within us, and he is still working through us.
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving of thanksgiving!
Don Henley's song is a classic message of forgiveness and how it affects the soul, If you have time go to Youtube or google Heart Of The Matter and take a listen. The classic line is "But I think it's about forgiveness, forgiveness, even if you don't love me anymore".
How many times have we hurt someone, or been hurt ourselves? Crushing experiences are the worst, and I can truly say I was on the distributing side of many hurts to my family and friends. This compelling line comes from the Life Recovery Bible: Few things can make us feel crazier than expecting something from someone who has nothing to give.
In my addiction I was a rolling hurt locker, rolling over everyone to selfishly have my own needs met. I had nothing to give and took everything. Especially my first family of a wife and three kids that I hurt badly. In succeeding years the pain I felt was enormous until I met the grace of God and understood that other resentments I had in my life in other areas propelled my addiction and self-seeking.
Don Henley said "You better put it all behind you, baby, 'cause life goes on. You keep carrying on that anger, it'll eat you up inside, baby". Jesus said "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father, also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses".
The war ate me up inside, my childhood ate me up inside, the rejection by a careless mother of my girlfriend ate me up inside, an earthly father who left us ate me up inside. But then I encountered Jesus experiencing his healing and forgiving powers, and gradually all those resentments and anger fell away, clearing me to forgive myself, to forgive others, and ask for forgiveness from those I hurt.
And now, as another scripture says that once we forgive, "there is nothing in them to make them stumble'. The way is clear, the path is paved through the cross of forgiveness, and the time is now to live and love. Henley says "There are people in your life who have come and gone, they let you down, they hurt your pride".
I know this Don, they have, and I have too, but that Jesus, he has never let me down, he has only lifted me up from an unhappy eaten up with anger life to one of great joy! That's the real Heart Of The Matter!
It happened! The Braves gave us a World Championship to begin November, and last week we kicked off our Month of Giving at ATB with a whole bunch of clothing donations. Not the same as a World Series win, but to those who needed those clothes to work, survive and just feel better about how they look, it became their championship.
This week we ask for toiletries, next week non-perishable food items that we can pair with our box giveaways for Thanksgiving. Then we ask during Thanksgiving week for toys for the children of those we serve and books for both children and adults. All of this will help us continue to better serve those we wish to be restored to sobriety, health and to their families. Each week we have a raffle for the givers for a gift card or haircut/style.
This idea which was originated by our Jen (my nickname for her is Jensational because of her incredibly tender heart), and comes form all of us who are just following what the lord has asked us to do:
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 7-8
We are all about abounding with grace in the good works that help others and ask you to join us in this wonderful spirit of November giving. If you cannot donate the things we ask for, you can donate money to purchase them on our website (acrosthebridgeinc.com), or by donating at one of our meetings, or by mailing us a check at 900 Cripple Creek Drive Suite A, Lawrenceville Ga 30043.
As we cheerfully give and approach the holidays there is much to be thankful for, including those amazing Braves. They taught us to never give up despite the odds and to use all the parts of an organization to accomplish an incredible goal. Ours simply, is to deliver a championship caliber month to those less fortunate than ourselves.
Not reluctantly, not under compulsion but because God made us cheerful champion givers through the salvation gift of His son!
* Across The Bridge Inc is a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit - all contributions are fully tax deductible!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.