of The Message
speak fluently only one language - English, but whenever
I am visiting a non-English speaking country, I always learn
one word and that is the word: THANKS! Merci ... Gracias
... Danke ... Arigato. I have discovered that this one word
alone will work wonders. It will open doors. It will establish
relationships. It will be the first tender thread upon which
can be woven a cable of affection and trust. Learn the power
of the word THANKS!
Kipling was one of those authors who was very successful
in his lifetime. A British newspaper criticized him, ridiculed
him and called him a mercenary. They said, "He is now
writing just for the money. One word of Rudyard Kipling
today is worth a hundred dollars."
after the release of the unkind article, a reporter approached
Kipling at a gathering and said, "So, you're worth
a hundred dollars a word. Here's a hundred dollars. Give
me a word." Then he handed him a paper and pencil.
took the hundred dollars, put in his pocket, and on the
paper, he wrote one word: Thanks!
if a criticism or unkindness causes you to slip, stumble
and slide into discouragement, then lift your mood back
up by giving thanks to God ALWAYS for ALL things.
ministry is totally committed to one specific, focused objective,
to lift the hearts of people who are disappointed and in
danger of being discouraged. If we don't allow ourselves
to control our reactions, then the negative emotion of discouragement
can quickly follow a disappointment.
what can we do to keep from becoming discouraged in the
face of the recurring disappointments in life? We need to
develop the daily habit to exercise the Ten Commandments for thankful living.
In the Bible, St. Paul says, "Be thankful always for
everything." (Ephesians 5:20)
Wendell was my secretary, a devoted worker, through many
difficult early years of our growing ministry. She became
like a sister to Arvella and me. Late one evening Lois telephoned.
She had worked through the day, but had left early to go
to the doctor. Now I heard her faltering voice at the other
end of the phone. She said, "Bob, I received some bad
news today. The doctor tells me I have cancer."
could hear she was struggling to keep from crying so I said,
"Hang up, Lois, I'll be right over."
got in my car and drove to her home in West Garden Grove.
She met me at the door. I walked in and my first words were,
"Let's pray." I proceeded to pray a most unusual
prayer. Lois quoted it often and shared how much it helped
her through her battle with cancer that took her life years
later. She reminded me, every sentence began with a THANK
You, God, that they've discovered it early. Thank You that
we're living in America where there are all kinds of potential
treatments available. Thank You that Lois has a faith that
can carry her through. And I thank You, that she has a husband
and children who love and support her. And I thank you,
God, that You are hearing and answering this prayer. Hallelujah.
the months that became years, Lois bravely fought her battle.
She asked us to pray that God would allow her to live to
see her two sons, eight and ten, grow up. And God answered
that prayer. During the last months, the chemotherapy made
her so ill. She was really too ill and weak to come to work,
but she was there every day answering the phone and typing
my letters. The Lord had given her a calling to help our
ministry. The last year Lois continued to work until Christmas,
then a few days later Arvella and I stood beside her bed
as she slipped into God’s arms.
thankful to God always for everything. I'm seventy-eight years old and it still shocks me to say that I have
never had anything happen in my life, including tragedies,
near disasters, that did not turn out to be blessings in
disguise. I reached a point many years ago where I intuitively,
instinctively impulsively, and I think very intelligently,
start my prayers with simple thanksgiving. Be thankful for
all things. Exercise the ten commandments for thankful living.
thankful for prayers answered, known and unknown.
take time to think about all the prayers God has answered
for you in the past. Some of these prayers that have been
answered are prayers that you didn’t pray. Others were
praying for you ... friends, parents, grandparents. Maybe
you sat on your grandpa or your grandma’s knee and they were
praying for you. I’ll tell you something
about prayer: Prayers are seeds ... and they can last a
long, long time. One day, given the right environment, they
remember my first trip to Cairo, Egypt. In the museum, you
can see kernels of wheat that were taken from King Tut's
tomb. That tomb pre-dates Jesus Christ by centuries. They
took some of these kernels of wheat and they sprouted! They
are not dead! Just because they didn’t sprout doesn’t mean they are dead.
God’s delays are not God’s denials.
thankful for prayers answered: known and unknown.
#2 Be thankful for habits, broken or avoided
about how blessed you really are. Thank God that you are
not addicted to one of the many destructive addictions such
as alcohol, heroin, cocaine, or if you are, be thankful
that these addictions can and will be broken starting now.
Thank God for the support groups available that stand ready
to help with these life crushing addictions.
#3 Be thankful for sins forgiven, both public and private
all have committed sins that people know about and sins
that nobody knows about and may never discover, but are
known only to you, your conscience and your God. So no matter
what it is, you can be happy if you can go to bed at night,
put your head on the pillow and know that you have no guilt.
to the polls, the favorite hymn of many Christians is, "What
A Friend We Have In Jesus." Perhaps that is because
the last line says, "All our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry everything to Him in prayer."
#4 Be thankful for healings, seen and unseen
can see scars. You can recall the surgery. There are these
known and obvious symbols of healing. But pause and think
a minute of all the hidden hurts, the unrevealed wounds,
the quiet, secret torturing memories that you carried with
you. Then there was that moment when God touched you and
healed you of your hurt. This church is a place where hurts
#5 Be thankful for the storms of your life that have blown
blown over or passed you by and never touched you.
thanks to God for all the narrow escapes you’ll never know about. You and I will never know how often our lives
have been spared, how close we came to being at the intersection
when the accident happened and we could have been involved.
You will never know in your life, what infectious germs
touched your body but never took root and you never became
ill! Yes, thank God for storms which blew out, blew over,
passed us by and never touched us.
#6 Be thankful for friends, old and new
lonely life would be without friends. And take time to remember
old friends, especially if you’re down and discouraged. Take time and write on a piece of paper the
friends that have meant the most to you in your life. Go
back to your childhood: who was the little girl or the little
boy you walked to school with? Who was your favorite teacher?
Who was the favorite friend on your block? Who was the schoolmate?
Think of all these friends, the old ones, the present ones,
the new ones, and then stop and think: "Some of the
best friends in your life, you haven’t even met yet!"
tomorrow, this week, this year you are going to meet new
people for the first time. I predict that some of the best
friends you’ll ever meet are still waiting to be met.
#7 Be thankful for impossibilities that become possibilities
is so easy to forget past blessings. We can get so blinded
by something that isn’t happening today that
we focus on the unanswered prayers instead of the answered
prayers. We look at what we’ve lost instead of what we have left. We get
hung up on our failures instead of our triumphs, our successes
and our achievements. Say with St. Paul: "[your name],
be thankful always for all things."
of the impossibilities that became possibilities. I do that
when I stand in this Cathedral and remember how this fantastic
building was just one great big, wild, impossible idea!
Engineers told me, "You can’t build a building out of glass that big in an earthquake zone."
But we did build this all glass cathedral and it has survived
some pretty good shakes. Thank God for impossibilities that
#8 Be thankful for gifts, given and received
and think about the gifts you’ve received, but most of all, thank God for the joy of giving. Each
time in our ministry when I call on members of the church
who are shut in, I am the one who is blessed. I visit them
and give them an uplifting, encouraging thought. In the
process, I discovered that it really is true: it is impossible
to give of yourself without receiving something immediately.
"Give, and it shall be given back to you ... running
over will be put into your lap ..." (Luke
learned that from my mother who even in the tough years
growing up in the depression in Iowa, would pick apples
from the tree, peel them, and make an apple pie. It cost
her only a few cents. She would bring the delicious apple
pie to somebody in the community that either just had a
baby, lost a husband or was sick in bed.
God for gifts given and for gifts received.
#9 Be thankful for the possibilities that God put WITHIN you
are possibilities within each of us that have been discovered
and developed, but there are others that remain undiscovered
and undeveloped. So, be thankful for possibilities that
are blossoming. Be thankful that the world hasn’t seen the best of you
yet. If you’re not happy with what
you see, stick around. God is still at work in you.
#10 Be thankful for hope that springs eternal and never dies
you visit the Crystal Cathedral gardens, you will see a
Norfolk pine tree. If you walk up to the Norfolk pine, you
will see a granite plaque that reads, "A gift to the
Crystal Cathedral Congregation in the year 2007, by the
Keenagers (our senior citizens) Class of 1987. They planted
it with a twenty-year goal, to be tall enough to become
the Christmas tree for our 2007 Christmas Eve Candlelight
Services. That will happen in only three years.
to those senior citizens, who were real possibility thinkers,
I said, "Do you know what it means to plant a tree?
When you plant a tree, it means you have faith in tomorrow."
you disappointed or discouraged today? Don’t turn the TV set off. Don’t
close the book. Don’t walk out of the movie
... the story isn’t over yet. Give your
story a happy ending. Thank God for the hope that springs
eternal. Because of Jesus Christ, we know that life has
Whoever believes in Him has eternal life." (John 3:15)
will always have the last word, and it will be beautiful!
Thank you, God, that we can give thanks in everything, for
all things. You are our God and we praise You. Help us,
Father, to exercise the ten commandments of thankful living,
and may we be thankful always for all things and in all circumstances!