Happy Gratitude Day

Happy Gratitude Day
Photo by Charlota Blunarova / Unsplash

Thanksgiving, thankfulness, gratitude, and gratefulness *is* the name of the game this week.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

Prayerfully, it’s getting easier for us to overlook Black Friday bargain bins to search of eternal treasure. It’s a dark day when so-called "treasure" trumps family.

The lasting treasure is certainly family. Truthfully, our family and friends are immortal whether they like it or not.

God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
Psalm 68:6 NLT

Pardon me for being focused on the family;

We just wrapped up a three-day missionary retreat. Fellow missionaries and formidably fun families frolicked in five cabins about four kilometers from Mt. Fuji the last few days.

Eleven kiddos laughed (and screamed) and laughed again, all for the sheer pleasure of haunting the “tickle monster’s cabin.” It served as an appreciated parental break from the usual hustle and bustle of rearing children. It was also a break from my typical solitude and silence.

Many families have been faithfully attending our Paz Church in-person 11:15 service again, with a surprising number of Brazilian speakers from further-out locations. Thanks for your prayers!

We located a new place for the Kids Church to rent on Sundays. We were previously running into an issue with our previous rental property where we couldn't have Kids Church each week. Space is at such a precious premium in Japan and the kids are worth it!

Reverberating reminders of a life recently relinquished

My workspace/living space has not been greeted by children for over a year now.

But a mere year and a half ago, kids exclusively filled my workspace and my work hours. (Expect nothing less from an education enterprise named Kids on Air.)

As I approach my 30th year, the solitude in Japan has been unexpected, but it’s been God’s hand-picked blessing.

In Japanese, the world 孤独 (kodoku) is both the world for loneliness and solitude.

The glamorized solo-hiker ideal, mixed with the frigid prick to the silent heart. Kodoku is neither strictly negative like ‘loneliness’ nor the bold, calm blend of ‘solitude.’

A better explanation of kodoku (and the phenomenon prompting Japan to establish a new government position: Minster of Loneliness) is in this Japan Times article.

Spent a bit of time over the last week reading part of Billy Graham’s intimidating, 600-page autobiography, “Just As I Am.”

These are the quotes I'll be pondering from the book:

“She [Ruth Graham] thought I was unwise to push myself so hard in the Lord’s service. ‘I think sometimes it is easier to drive ourselves to actual death than it is to take ourselves firmly in hand and make ourselves do the wise thing,’ she wrote from home.”
- Just As I Am, p. 108
“A movie star who was not a Christian offered me this word of spiritual wisdom: ‘Billy, you can’t compete with us in entertainment. We know all the ropes. If you get up there and preach what’s in the Bible, I’ll be on hand every night.’ I [Billy Graham] tried to follow that advice.”
- Just As I Am, p. 154

Finishing up a conversation on the legendary American evangelist, one of our pastors remarked at the sorrow of losing your children doing ministry work.

Let’s not win the world and “lose the souls” of those closest to us.

What are you thankful for? Have you come across any excellent quotes about gratitude?