What a wonderful, wonderful day it's been so far. My time in Bible study and prayer seemed to fly by but actually took about an hour and a half. This is absolutely my favorite part of the day. Afterwards it was off to the gym for a workout. As I lifted today, one verse kept coming to mind. It was Psalm 138:3:
"As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength."
You encourage me by giving me strength.
I look out over our nation today and I see those of us in our older years who are strong enough to get up in the morning, dress ourselves, participate in the activities of life, read and study and think. All of this comes from the hand of God, who keeps pumping the blood through our heart, giving the cells of our brain life, giving our will direction, and giving our tongue the ability to articulate words. None of this comes from us. These are all gifts from our heavenly Father. He has provided all of that. And so we give him our thanks, not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day.
As you go through your day, think about that. It is the Lord who gives. It is the Lord who takes away. It is the Lord who gives you muscles to exercise and legs to run with. He even gives us joy and peace when we grow too old to do any of these things. Set yourself aside today, friend, and look up. Give the Lord full-throttled gratitude that he allows you to live and breathe and to serve him and to touch a few lives for his purposes.
I did that today. I say that with a bit of a sigh because I don't do this as often as I should. When Becky passed away in November of 2013, the Lord in his mercy allowed me to see a little more clearly in my widowerhood what I had only dimly seen before: all of life is a gift, a calling, a vocation, not merely something to be endured. "Lord, you have given me strength. I will offer it to you as a sacrifice of thanksgiving."
It is wonderfully comforting to be absolutely sure that "As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength."