I am thankful to be an American with freedoms given by the Creator and guaranteed by the blood of Patriots.
I am thankful for my parents and their ancient family from the hills of Scotland, the villages of Ireland, and the farms of Holland.
I am thankful for a mother who prayed for me every day. I am thankful for a father who was a good man by every standard a man is measured.
I am thankful for Clarence Autry, a man who loved me enough to tell me the good news when I was a 15-year-old. I am thankful for Jay Blankenship a great man of God who preached God’s truth fearlessly, who prayed with me when I fell on my face in repentance and faith, and who baptized me in the North Fork River. He prayed that I would become a preacher, he discipled me the best he knew how, and I’ll ever be grateful for this good man who loved me.
I am thankful for the women who loved me and cared about me and shared their lives with me. I am thankful that God rescued me when I thought all was lost when my first marriage ended after 14 years against my will. I am thankful that when my second marriage ended suddenly after 17 years with the death of my Jeanine that in the middle of some of my darkest days I had joy in my soul. I am thankful the resurrection is real and certain. I am thankful for Carol Jane who soon will have been my much better half for 12 years. I am thankful for a Godly wife, devoted mother and grand mother, ministry partner, and best friend. She is my heaven on earth.
I am thankful for my only brother David. He is the last of my family, 18 years my junior. I am thankful for David’s character, so much like my father. A hard worker, one of the most honest men I’ve ever known, and devoted to his family. I am thankful for William my nephew, David’s son, who is presently trying to grow up. He will I’m sure and I’ll be even more thankful when he gets there. And I’m thankful for Christie who has been the love of David’s life for many years. She is a keeper.
I am thankful for a son and a daughter I was sure I’d never have. And I am thankful for their spouses, each with strengths I admire and very good reasons to love them, too. I am especially thankful for their children who by default are my six most excellent grand children. I am thankful that I have had the experience of being Papa to those little people. I know no earth-bound delight, no measure of joy, like being loved by those precious children. I am thankful beyond mere words ability to describe.
I am thankful for a wonderful church family whom I love deeply and who loves me and mine. I am thankful for the many friends I have over the country whom I hold dear. I am thankful for ordinary people who have been blessed to do extraordinary things for God’s kingdom.
I am thankful for Rusty and Sally Westbury who are my best friends next to Carol. We have been through hell and back together, they know me as well as anyone on earth and have loved me unconditionally for many years and will until they can’t love any more. Only a few people in a life time are instantly stamped on your heart forever without regard to circumstances, good times, or bad times, grief or joy, times of proud accomplishment and times of shame. Rusty and Sal have always been there, and for that I am deeply thankful.
While every word ’til this is true they all pale in comparison to the greatest object of my gratitude. I am thankful for Jesus Christ the Lamb of God who loved me and gave himself for me. I am thankful for his perfect plan of redemption. I am thankful for his death as a sinner in my place, for his burial, and for his resurrection, my promise of life eternal. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit who brings to my heart the truth of God’s Word and assures me I am his. I am thankful for the love of God for sinners and for his mercy and grace. And I am thankful for sweet answers to prayer that cheer my heart.
Well, I could go on and on and on.
Just trust me on this one… I am a very thankful man.
Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to really be thankful, you have a lot to be thankful for.