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Good morning. This morning we are here on a Thanksgiving Sunday, and we are a people with much to be thankful for. I watched a video this last week and in it a man is struggling as he sits on his bed and says, “Lord, I am struggling for what I have to be grateful for.” In the morning, it shows him moving his toes and words on the screen say, “I can move,” and it shows him with friends and family, clean running water, air he can breathe, and some of the dozen things that we take for granted in the West. And I think that is good and healthy. But 1 Thes. 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. In everything? How does that apply for a persecuted believer in Pakistan? Or for someone who does move today but every movement is pain? Give thanks for that, too?

So I came up with a dozen things, I just want you to meditate on and so I’ll say them slowly…

12) For Brilliant, Awe-Inspired Creation. With seahorses’ fluttering wings, a hummingbird’s heartbeat, stars larger than the earth, the depths of the sea, and a butterfly whose creator painted two eyes on her to scare predators away, a human eye so complex it befuddled Charles Darwin.

11) For a Righteous God Named Most High. Who hates sin, loves goodness and justice, who mercifully stopped the hand of a father on Mount Moriah.

10) For the Guidance of a Tiny, Rag-Tag People. Out of bondage. Fed from heaven. Guided by Cloud and Light and Words Written on Stone.

9) For a God Who Loves the Using Weak Vessels. A shepherd boy to defeat giants. The least of a household. The younger. The foreigner. The widow. The orphan. All display His glory.

8) For a prophetic Word pointing to Messiah. Deliverance. Redeemer. Suffering Servant. For hope of rescue from bondage.

7) For choosing a father and mother from the least of these. Born just over 2000 years ago in a rude manger where the smell of cow dung, goat, and hay mixed with the blood, sweat, and tears of birth.

6) For a Messiah few recognized in a Kingdom no one foresaw. For not throwing Rome, its taxes, its dominance, and restoring the nation, recognizing a more eternal and insidious enemy. For proclaiming the kingdom is now.

5) For the name Yeshua meaning Savior.

4) For a Savior who said, “I forgive sin.” For healing not only the blindness of eyes and lameness of feet but for forgiving the prostitute, adulterer, cheater, and drunkard.

3) For three nails. For a crown of thorns. A rugged cross. Jeering crowds. Wrath and darkness. Excruciating separation. The drinking of a cup if you believe you might otherwise have drunk yourself.

2) For the confusion of running feet of disciples. For bewildering tears of wonderment. A marvelous light. The dawn of a new day. The resurrection from the dead.

1) For our own resurrection from the dead. For the Holy Spirit. Reconciliation. Transformation. To someday be in the very presence of a wondrous God, the very hope of heaven.

We do indeed have much to be thankful for.

A fellow representative sent me this today. Wow, talk about your presuppositions! Friedman skewers Phil Donahue on his assumptions and does it with a smile.

 

So my good friend Michelle picked up a line I told her the other day over a caramel cappuccino in New York. Actually, she found it at Iowa Politics, but she is right that stimulus money borrowed from our children to result in temporary teaching jobs is not good for our fiscal state and the subsequent debt we’ll owe. You can find her article in which she quotes me as the “responsible teacher” here.

Though their humor is weird, I guess I like anything that shows that we are all fools (cf. King Lear). Anything from Seinfeld to Much Ado About Nothing to The Office–and I mean anything that smartly pokes fun at the human condition and shows that we take ourselves too seriously, I enjoy. See below.

So I’ve done combatives in the Army and am not terrible meaning that I’m not just ate up right away though I have a very basic understanding. When it comes to martial arts though, I haven’t the foggiest. I’m kind of guessing that I would be in the blue in this video.

With great-grandparents who came from Italy and understood the value of education, let me write a phrase I used in a speech the other night (I know I should credit someone somewhere!): Education is the greatest means of upward mobility in a free and democratic society. And there is no freer and more democratic society than the United States of America. Having been to a U.S. Naturalization ceremony, this is a moving tribute…

I was reminded recently of the love of dogs by a friend who lost a dog. This video is such a sweet reminder of “man’s best friend.”