r. Gale Watkins is the Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church.  He leads us in our walk with Christ and provides the pastoral care for every person at Westminster.  His Princeton Seminary background allows for a deep and rich understanding of the bible as it relates to modern day use.  As an avid marathon runner, including twice in the Boston Marathon, Gale ran in the World Vision Marathon this spring to raise monies for clean water.  Gale is the one running next to the line. 

 

 

Dear friends,

As we move into the month of November, it seems like a good time to focus our attention on the Christian virtue of gratitude. Our nation observes a Day of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. Since Christians are called to be thankful every day of the year, the holiday can be a helpful reminder for us. To get us going in that direction, I’ve gathered some favorite quotations that you will find in this newsletter. I hope you will enjoy them and ponder what they are saying.

God’s blessings on you.

Gale Watkins, Pastor

 

“Thanksgiving”

German pastor Martin Rinkart served in the walled town of Eilenburg during the horrors of the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648. Eilenburg became an overcrowded refuge for the surrounding area. The fugitives suffered from epidemic and famine. At the beginning of 1637, the year of the Great Pestilence, there were four ministers in Eilenburg. But one abandoned his post for healthier areas and could not be persuaded to return. Pastor Rinkhart officiated at the funerals of the other two. As the only pastor left, he often conducted services for as many as 40 to 50 persons a day - some 4,480 in all. In May of that year, his own wife died. By the end of the year, the refugees had to be buried in trenches without services. Yet living in a world dominated by death, Pastor Rinkart wrote the following prayer for his children to offer to the Lord:
Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom this world rejoices.
Who, from our mother's arms,
Hath led us on our way,
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
(Harry Genet)

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.
(Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

Thou who hast given so much to me, give me one more thing - a grateful heart!
(George Herbert)

Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly.

(Henri J. M. Nouwen)

Being thankful is not telling God you appreciate the fact that your life is not in shambles. If that is the basis of your gratitude, you are on slippery ground. Every day of your life you face the possibility that a blessing in your life may be taken away. But blessings are only signs of God's love. The real blessing, of course, is the love itself. Whenever we get too attached to the sign, we lose our grasp on the God who gave it to us. Churches are filled with widows who can explain this to you. We are not ultimately grateful that we are still holding our blessings. We are grateful that we are held by God even when the blessings are slipping through our fingers.
(Craig Barnes)

The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you.
(Robert Louis Stevenson)

The soul must forget about [understanding], and abandon itself into the arms of love, and His Majesty will teach it what to do next; almost its whole work is to realize its unworthiness to receive such great good and to occupy itself in thanksgiving.
(Teresa of Avila)

You say, “If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.
(Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

The careless soul receives the Father's gifts as if it were a way things had of dropping into his hand... yet he is ever complaining, as if someone were accountable for the problems which meet him at every turn. For the good that comes to him, he gives no thanks - who is there to thank? At the disappointments that befall him he grumbles - there must be someone to blame!
(George Macdonald)

We have received too much from God to allow ourselves opportunities for unbelief. We have received too many gifts and privileges to allow a grumbling, murmuring heart to disqualify us of our
destiny. In contrast, the thankful heart sees the best part of every situation. It sees problems and weaknesses as opportunities, struggles as refining tools, and sinners as saints in progress.
(Francis Frangipane)

Thanksgiving is the language of heaven, and we had better start to learn it if we are not to be mere dumb aliens there.
(Arthur John Gossip)

Receive every day as a resurrection from death, as a new enjoyment of life; meet every rising sun with such sentiments of God's goodness, as if you had seen it, and all things, new-created upon your account: and under the sense of so great a blessing, let your joyful heart praise and magnify so good and glorious a Creator.
(William Law)

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

Oh what a happy soul am I although I cannot see, I am resolved that in this world contented I shall be. How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't. To weep and sigh, because I'm blind? I cannot and I won't.
(Fanny Crosby)

The most important prayer in the world is just two words long: "Thank you"
(Meister Eckhart)

We need deliberately to call to mind the joys of our journey. Perhaps we should try to write down the blessings of one day. We might begin; we could never end; there are not pens or paper enough in all the world.
(George A. Buttrick)