| Clergy Corner

CLERGY CORNER: Why your words MATTER

Posted on 29 January 2015 by L.Moore

The words you speak on a daily basis are powerful. They carry more weight than you may realize. Not only do they shape your thinking and, therefore, determine your actions, they also direct your relationships, your accomplishments, and, ultimately, define your reality. Still, it’s easy to underestimate the significance of words because they are so commonplace. You are immersed in them on a daily basis like a fish in water.

Stepping back and choosing to see the power and impact of your linguistic habits takes intentionality. But, when you are able to do just that, you’ll begin to realize that every word you say has the ability to change your life for better or for worse. The first step in using what comes out of your mouth to create the life you’ve imagined is to recognize three essential truths about the nature of words:

1. Words are a gift from God. The ability to use words at all is a gift from God. He was the first one to harness the creative force of words – and he has entrusted you with the same ability to use words to create the world around you. Given the substantial nature of this gift, you can’t just throw your words around any old way you please; they contain too much power and carry with them too much responsibility.

2. Words can build up or tear down. As a kid, you probably chanted the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Even though it sounds good in theory, the phrase is just plain wrong. Words can hurt. I bet you don’t have any problem remembering the last harsh words that were spoken to you, or the last encouraging words you received. Other people’s words have incredible impact on your heart, as do your words on theirs. Keep this in mind as you speak to your spouse, your children, your friends and your coworkers.

3. The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your words. Words aren’t neutral. Every word that goes out has a consequence attached to it. How you speak to the people in your life will determine the quality of those relationships. How well you communicate with God through prayer will determine the quality of your connection with him. Your internal dialogue with yourself will determine the quality of your actions and interactions each day. When you consider all of these things together, it naturally follows that the quality of your very life is created by the words you speak. Using your words intentionally is crucial to living the life you’ve imagined.

As you become more conscious of the way you use language, you can begin to take advantage of its power to shape the life you want. In the process, you will be able to stop inadvertently sabotaging others and yourself with words that do nothing to help you.

To explore the power and significance of your words in more depth, be sure to check out my new book, Tongue Pierced: How the Words You Speak Transform the Life You Live (David C. Cook, 2015). Pick up your copy at Amazon. com, a book retailer near you or by visiting The Journey Church in Boca Raton. We would love to see you at our 9:30 or 11 a.m. service this Sunday! The Journey Church meets at Boca Raton High School.

Nelson Searcy is the author of 13 books and serves as the lead pastor of The Journey Church in Boca Raton. www.bocajourney.com.

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CLERGY CORNER: What Would Dr. King Say?

Posted on 22 January 2015 by L.Moore

The deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown spotlighted what has unfortunately become the perspective of many in this country: that while we have made progress in the experience of racial equality and justice, we still regrettably have a long way to go.

We all saw the public reaction to the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case. Many of us were even more flabbergasted at the decision in the Eric Garner case. From rioting in St. Louis to protests in cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, demonstrators took to the streets to voice their disapproval.

As we reflect upon the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we may inevitably wonder what he would have thought and said had he been alive to witness the current challenges we face.

While there may be some who would claim to know exactly what he would think and say, the truth is that none of us can say for sure. What we do know, however, is how he thought and what he said during the height of the struggle in his day. His words then may give us an idea how he would respond now:

I think we have to look deeper … if we are to find the real cause of man’s problems and the real cause of the world’s ills today. If we are to find it, I think we have to look in the hearts and souls of men … The real problem is that through our scientific genius we’ve made of the world a neighborhood; but, through our moral and spiritual genius, we’ve failed to make of it a brotherhood.” “Rediscovering Lost Values” (Feb. 28, 1954)

Violence creates many more social problems than it solves. And I’ve said, in so many instances, that as the Negro, in particular, and colored peoples all over the world struggle for freedom, if they succumb to the temptation of using violence in their struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. Violence isn’t the way”. – “Loving Your Enemies” (Nov. 17, 1957)

We must come to see that the roots of racism are very deep in our country, and there must be something positive and massive in order to get rid of all the effects of racism and the tragedies of racial injustice”. –“Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution” (March 31, 1968)

About two years ago now, I stood with many of you who stood there in person and all of you who were there in spirit before the Lincoln Monument in Washington. As I came to the end of my speech there, I tried to tell the nation about a dream I had. I must confess to you this morning that since that sweltering August afternoon in 1963, my dream has often turned into a nightmare. …But, I tell you this morning once more that I haven’t lost the faith. I still have a dream that one day all of God’s children will have food and clothing and material well-being for their bodies, culture and education for their minds and freedom for their spirits … I still have a dream this morning that truth will reign supreme and all of God’s children will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. And when this day comes, the morning stars will sing together and the sons of God will shout for joy.” “The American Dream” (July 4, 1965)

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: Wake up and make The Dream come true

Posted on 15 January 2015 by L.Moore

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, and, to us, he stood 9 ft. tall.

Sadly, many in this world have still not woken up to his dream. They continue to keep their eyes closed to the prejudice and hate against our African American brothers and sisters.

Dreams are amazing gifts. We even find dreams in the Bible itself. And the scriptures teach us, as Theodore Hertzl summed up saying, “If you will it hard enough, it is no dream.” In other words, it is up to us not just to dream the dream, but to walk the walk. There is still much work to be done in regard to equality. The Rev. Dr. King Jr.’s dream has come a long, long way; but, it is up to each of us to help bring that beautiful dream to full fruition.

As Jews, we know what it is like to be treated with hate and bigotry. As Jews, we know what it is like to struggle for fulfillment of a dream. As Jews, we know that there is still much work for us to do in this beautiful but broken world in which we live. As Jews, we know that we have to wake the world from its slumber.

Jews walked side by side with the great leaders of the Civil Rights movement, side by side with our African American brothers and sisters, and, just as we continue to struggle on so many fronts for the fulfillment of our dreams, it is also our Biblical imperative to work toward fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream as well.

Let us hope that the day does indeed come when all people, Black, White, Jew and Gentile, can walk up that mountain together and live in blessed peace with the knowledge that we are all, indeed, brothers and sisters as we all come from the same Father, G-d, The Almighty.

As we approach the special day set aside to honor the late, great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach will present one of the greatest plays ever made about someone stuck in a long sleep who, finally, wakes up to a new world.

That’s right, the Temple will be showing a production of Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” … and not just any production, but one where the characters stand 9 ft. tall. The program will be enjoyed by people of all ages and it is the Temple’s hope that many will opt to purchase admission ($10 per person) so that tickets can be given to members of groups like the Boys & Girls Club of Deerfield Beach so they can enjoy this special play on Jan. 18 at 1 p.m., which is the day before this year’s official observance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Rabbi Ezring is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Tr., Deerfield Beach). His motivational sermons can be heard at the Temple’s weekly shabbat services (9:30 a.m. Saturdays). Rabbi Ezring is a member of the N.A.J.C. and of the A.P.C. He has served as a hospice chaplain and continues to work in pastoral care at several health facilities in the Broward County Area. For reservations, call 954-428-0578.

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CLERGY CORNER: Can God help?

Posted on 08 January 2015 by L.Moore

Almost half of every American makes a New Year’s resolution and only 8 percent of them actually keep them. New Year resolutions are really a waste of time and something not really intended to be permanent. If we truly want to change anything in our lives to make things better, then we would be better off asking God to help us change the way we think.

ROMANS 12:1-2

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice — the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?

2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.

NLT

I find even myself every year making promises to eat better and work on keeping my body healthy and strong. We will have much better success if we allow God, through the Bible, to begin to change the way we think by renewing our minds. The word renewing in this verse means that there is a “constant action taking place that never stops.” God is always working on us to help change the way we think. It is not just a one-time quick fix; it is something that takes place repeatedly. We give ourselves to God once, but we need to transform and renew our minds constantly.

In 2 Kings, Chapters 22 and 23, we read that King Josiah was a man who sought after God. However, his life changed when God’s Word was rediscovered. He called the people to a renewed covenant before God (see 2 Kings 23:3). God moved through Josiah to crush the wickedness of his country like a hurricane crumbles houses as if they were made out of toothpicks.

Not only can God help us, but He wants to help us. We all have problems and issues in life and can use some help. First, God wants to be our source for everything and give us direction for our future. The more we get to know God, the more we understand what He wants us to do and how He wants us to live our lives and treat others.

Second, we need to have confidence in ourselves, and we can do that by developing certain skills in our lives. We need to make sure we have long term goals, as well as short term goals. Make sure you do not worry, look to God for security and not possessions, learn how to rest, and you must choose your friends and associates wisely. Lastly, we must have confidence in God. God has faith in you; but, do you have faith in Him?

In order for us to change the way we think, we need God to help us make our changes permanent and not temporary. Allow God to change the way you think for results that last a lifetime.

Tony Guadagnino is a pastor at Christian Love Fellowship Church (801 SE 10 St., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441, 954-428-8980, www.clfministries.org).

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CLERGY CORNER: A Resolution for 2015

Posted on 01 January 2015 by L.Moore

A man approached a friend of mine the other day. He was dressed rather shabbily and he was not exactly well kept. Okay, he smelled to the high heavens. His jeans were torn and his shoes looked like they were going to fall apart at any second.

In the olden days, we would have referred to him as a bum, but this particular bum must have been a Boca bum because asking my friend for money made him so thirsty that he needed to take a gulp of the frozen latte he held in his hands from Starbucks.

Make no mistake about it, it wasn’t my friend who was holding the latte. My friend would never pay that kind of money for a fancy coffee, frozen or not.

While our parents might never have judged someone asking for a handout, in our day and age, we have become a bit more cynical and some use this cynicism as a excuse to avoid giving charity to anyone or anything.

My Father of Blessed Memory never questioned. He just knew that he wanted to thank G-d by sharing his blessings with others. I may take after my father in a lot of ways, and I certainly hope that I have taken on many of his good traits. But, to be honest with you, before I give to a charity now, I check to see how much of what they take in actually helps the poor.

Sadly, I have even become cynical when it comes to someone on the street asking for a handout. Of course, the fact that on one particular corner in Boca I drive by early in the morning and have seen a gorgeous Mercedes drop off three or four people to beg on the corner …well, that just makes me wonder. No, it does more than that, it makes me cold and cynical.

Even more sad is that I have seen people standing by various intersections with signs in their hands that say things like, “Hungry, will work for food.” I used to keep some things like a case of peanut butter in my car to hand out to these folk, but you would not believe how many of them turned down the peanut butter and even gave me dirty glares for offering it to them.

Now, before I put you in such a negative mode that you never consider giving to charity again, let me turn this around a bit.

There are people, sadly, more people than you can even imagine who are in great need. And no matter how much you think the government is doling out to them, many simply cannot take care of the most basic of needs.

So many of you are going to make New Year’s resolutions of what you are going to give up this year; but, as we begin 2015, I would ask you to make a resolution not on what you are going to give up, but rather on what you are going to give.

Someone I know did this last year and, after giving all that he had planned to give, other things happened in the world, other things came up in the community, and he still found that he had enough blessings to give even more; and he did!

So while you are joyously ringing in the New Year, count your blessings and, who knows, maybe you will take these words to heart and resolve to share those blessings throughout the year. You see, giving to those in need isn’t just a good deed, it is the fulfillment of Holy Commandment.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach, which will be staging the “biggest” version of Rip Van Winkle you have ever seen on Jan. 18. For tickets, call 954-428-0578 or etaarts@aol.com. Come to the show and start the New Year feeling young again.

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CLERGY CORNER: The most wonderful time of the year

Posted on 25 December 2014 by L.Moore

A popular song heard regularly over radio during Christmas is Andy Williams’ classic rendition of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The song celebrates the traditional activities that accompany Christmas, including gathering with our families, feasting, enjoying fellowship and having fun. Thoughtful lyrics and a memorable melody capture the joy and excitement that we first discovered as children anticipating Dec. 25. Although numerous other artists have recorded the song, it is Andy Williams’ golden-voiced version that has helped to solidify it as a perennial Christmas favorite.

The idea of jingle belling and swapping scary ghost stories may be foreign to modern observations of the season. Singing carols and hymns, having holiday parties and remembering past Christmases is much more in line with what we are accustomed to. Crowded shopping malls, colorful light displays, giving and receiving gifts, enjoying fruitcake and eggnog, are experiences that characterize the festive nature of the season. Though there are some who do not celebrate Christmas, there is an undeniable sense of wonder and joy among those who observe its traditions.

Beyond the sights, sounds and anticipation of gifts, however, what really makes Christmas memorable and wonderful is the reason it exists in the fi rst place. Christians celebrate the birth of the Savior at Christmas: God’s Son given to redeem mankind from slavery to sin. The Bible teaches that sin entered the human experience when Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Their act of rebellion made them sinners and imputed their sin upon all of their descendants. Even when given specifi c instructions as to how to honor God and treat fellow human beings, mankind was unable to live according to the Creator’s intentions.

God could and should have visited humanity with righteous judgment, but He decided to take the penalty of man’s disobedience upon Himself by sending His Son. The incarnation refers to God becoming like man in order to save mankind. In Galatians 4:4-5, we are told “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (NIV). It was His love for His creation that moved Him to demonstrate mercy and grace towards us. John 3:16 indicates, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (NKJV).” This undeserved favor is accepted by believers, and motivates them to serve and to honor God by living for His pleasure.

It is very easy to be caught up with the colorful lights and the lure of sales discounts at your favorite store. Santa Claus, Frosty the snowman and Rudolph the red nosed reindeer are now established seasonal characters. And while we ought to enjoy the traditions that help to make this season memorable for us, we should never overlook the reason why there is a Christmas. The essence of the Christmas story is the Creator’s willingness to provide the remedy for our sinfulness: the life of His dear Son. The remembrance of God’s great love demonstrated in this awesome act is what truly makes this the most wonderful time of the year.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: Let there be light

Posted on 18 December 2014 by L.Moore

By Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Some of the stories in the Torah seem like what we would hear about on the TV news; stories about families not getting along, threats and killings, stories about lies, deceit and rape. The stories are about wrestling, not only with others, but with ourselves.

I often ask people who are low in spirits and feel stuck in darkness some questions. One is what they do in the morning and often their answer is they turn on the news.

And when I ask the same people what they do before going to sleep, they tell me that they get into bed and turn on the news. There goes any hope of having sweet dreams.

Many get so upset over the newscasts that they wrestle with themselves and with the covers on their bed all night long. And then they can’t figure out why they feel so miserable in the morning.

We are surrounded by bad news and it often seems that we are surrounded by bad people as well.

Have you ever watched someone who is behaving wickedly? If you have, you might have noticed an odd thing. You see, the first time someone commits a particular sin, you can actually tell from their facial expression and body language that they are wrestling with themselves as to whether they can actually do such a thing. But as they keep committing the same wickedness over and over they can become immune to that inner struggle, that self wrestling match.

We have people who thrive on stirring up trouble. They may try to tell themselves that they are doing it for a holy purpose, but they soon become victims of their own point of view and refuse to accept any other version of events. They stir the pot and others are grossly affected.

Take the case of the recent killing in Ferguson.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know who was in error, but I do know that the pot was stirred to the point that, if anything but the verdict that the mob wanted was given, well, the threats were already there.

And, as could have been predicted, there were those who took it as an excuse for looting, for hate and destruction.

And those who sat glued to the news went into the usual diatribe that things have never been this bad, that the world as we know it is falling apart.

But if you watched the news really closely, you might have caught a moment where the darkness was overcome by a very bright light.

A police officer noticed a young boy crying and motioned for the lad to come to him. Can you imagine how scared that young boy must have been being called over to a white police officer.

He was shaking a little but the officer calmed him.

Why are you crying?” the officer asked.

The boy replied that he was sad about the protest and sad about all that was going on in the world…

The officer and the 12-year-old went on to talk about school and summer vacations. Having comforted the boy, the officer looked down on the ground and saw the sign the lad had been carrying (“Free hugs”) and asked if he could have one … and there it was for all to see on the news.

That little boy and that officer are wondrous examples of how things can be. I would reward 12-year-old Devonte and Sgt. Barnum with kindling the first two candles on the Chanukiah (The Chanukah Menorah) as they are great examples of adding light to take away the darkness.

And I would give them a coupon book good for unlimited hugs whenever and wherever they should need them.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

And while you’re at it, why not stop by Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Trail, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442) on a Saturday Morning for services and a free hug! And believe me, you haven’t had a hug until you have been hugged by Rabbi Ezring. LOL.

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CLERGY CORNER: Give & receive

Posted on 11 December 2014 by L.Moore

It is that time of the year when we give gifts to others. It is the time of year when we do not think about ourselves but others and what they want or need. God knew in His infinite wisdom that we would need help with our lives. Not only do I find that I need God’s help, I have also come to realize that I need His help every day of my life. God does not always give me what I want, but He always gives me what I need.

ROMANS 12:6-8

6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.

7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well.

8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

NLT

Our goal in serving God is to be able to continue to serve Him throughout our whole lives. Growing up in church I always heard the phrase “stay full of the things of God.” It took me a long time to understand what that actually meant. When my car runs, it uses gas and I have to fill it up when it gets empty, so it will continue to run and I can use it. So, when I give out things that God has blessed me with in life, I need to find spiritual things in my life so I can fi ll back up the same way I fill my car with gas. The more love, compassion, peace and hope we give out then, the more we need to stay full of the things of God. We can read the Bible, pray, go to church or even sing hymns and worship songs to fill back up. What a great cycle in our lives to have. We can continually give and receive.

When you get a gift, either you like it and use it or you do not like it and hide it somewhere. Gifts from the Father are to be used and not wasted or just put on the shelf. Gifts from God come as He wills (any gift at any time) for the profit of all. You should not only welcome the gifts from God, but also expect them in your life. We all know it is better to give that to receive. However, if we do not receive, then we have nothing to give. We have a responsibility to stir the spiritual gifts in our own lives. God has blessed our lives with many different gifts and there are many people that can use them. You have the gifts; you might as well use them instead of letting them go to waste. The good thing is that no one person has all the gifts. It takes many different parts to make one complete body and that is true for the church body as well. Gifts do not clash or compete, but they all work together to serve the same goal or purpose. Giving gifts is not about serving your agenda and making you happy; it is about serving others and bringing joy to others.

Tony Guadagnino is the pastor at Christian Love Fellowship Church, located at 801 SE 10 St, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441.

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CLERGY CORNER: Greatest gift

Posted on 04 December 2014 by L.Moore

Many people had family come in from out of town to be with their loved ones during Thanksgiving. Many invited friends over to join in. And those friends came bearing gifts.

Giving gifts can be a marvelous expression of love. In the Torah, we read that when Jacob first saw the love of his life, he wept. The Sages ask, “Why did Jacob weep?” Some say he wept in joy. But that’s just one of many answers.

Rashi gives several reasons that are all indeed possibilities. But there is one particular one he gives that stuck out during this time where everybody is busy looking for gifts. You see, one of Rashi’s explanations is that Jacob cried because he had no gifts to give her. He had been robbed and, at that moment, he had nothing.

I thought about that a lot and I wondered what I would say to someone who came to me crying that he or she had no gifts to give, and my response would have been, “But you do have a gift you can give, you can give of yourself. You can give your love and devotion. You can sing or make someone laugh. You can hold a hand and give a hug. You can give of your time, of yourself, and that just might be the greatest gift of all.

What good is giving a bunch of flowers on the holiday if your usual behavior throughout the year does not show your love? I watched during Thanksgiving as various friends and family members came to express their love in the health centers and I caught some very odd behavior in a few cases. I saw one longtime friend come to visit a patient and she brought her a giant box of chocolates. The only problem was that the patient was a severe diabetic, which made that chocolate a very unloving gift. Another patient had a relative who brought them two bottles of wine, but, guess what? That’s right; the patient was a recovering alcoholic.

There is a tale in the folklore of our people about a man who comes to his Rabbi in the middle of a crowded place and goes on and on about how much he loved the Rabbi, about how wonderful the Rabbi is, and about how he adores him. The Rabbi responds, “You don’t love me. If you did then you would know how much I dislike such displays.”

Speaking of gift giving, you probably missed a special day that happened on the 2nd of December. It is known as “Giving Tuesday” It is a day to think about donating your time and your money to those in need.

Our bellies are filled from Thanksgiving and will soon be filled with latkes and jelly donuts for Chanukah, but there are so many who hunger and thirst for food, for health, for love. Let us show our thanks to G-d by being there for those who are more in need of gifts than we have ever been.

I should tell you that I am not a fan of Thanksgiving. I am not a fan of Mother’s Day either. I think the idea of acknowledging your mother should be a daily event and I feel the very same in regard to giving thanks.

What do you have to give? Give of yourself. Give “With all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.”

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach. Join us for worship on Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m. and give us the gift of your presence.

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CLERGY CORNER: An attitude of gratitude

Posted on 27 November 2014 by L.Moore

This is the time of year traditionally given to the consideration of the family, friends, experiences and accomplishments that we are grateful for in our lives. We pause purposefully and intentionally on the fourth Thursday of November to give thanks. But have you noticed how easy it has become to rush through the year and, indeed, all of life full of expectations and even demands? The result is that we may become so selfish and narcissistic as to never display or verbalize any gratitude. The entitlement mindset has descended upon society in such a way that everything is a right, few things are regarded as privileges, and no one wants to take any responsibility.

If you are of the mind to disagree, allow me to suggest that you observe the behavior of motorists on the road the next time you are driving around. How many red light runners can you spot casually breaking the law? Does anyone yield the right of way when they are entering the highway or do they expect you to slow down? If you’re doing the speed limit, are the motorists passing you giving you mean looks or honking their horns? Don’t you think the person behind you is a little too close for comfort? Heaven forbid the light should turn yellow and they are two feet from your rear bumper.

I believe that we all should cultivate an attitude of gratitude that permeates our lives throughout the year. The ability to drive in this country is a privilege, not a right, and we are expected to drive responsibly and to be mindful of others on the road. I love road trips that enable me to see the beauty of Florida. You can enjoy views of the ocean, city skyscrapers from a distance, wide spaces of farm country, small town communities, and large urban areas. Have you noticed the differences between the palm trees of Miami and Jacksonville? I’m grateful to be able to see and appreciate all of this and more.

We all have a laundry list of things that we could complain about but why not list the things we are grateful for? There’s an old hymn of the church that encourages: Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done. The apostle Paul commands believers in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks in everything. It’s a remarkable approach and a beneficial practice. Somehow, the good always seems to outweigh the bad, and the reality is that there is someone who would gladly trade their situation for yours.

You may not have everything you desire to have, but isn’t it true that you have a lot right now? Maybe you haven’t achieved your dreams and objectives, but aren’t you still able to do something about it? So you’ve had setback and failure, but aren’t you still around to try again? You’ve lost a close friend or family member, but aren’t you glad for the precious memories that linger? Let’s make it a daily habit to be grateful and perhaps we can enjoy life more. Let the people you love and appreciate know how grateful you are for their presence in your life. That might inspire them to be grateful, in turn, to others.

Don’t forget to give thanks to God for His mercies and blessings upon your life. And take the time to appreciate the beauty around you. Why the rush? Stop and smell the roses sometime. You don’t have to be a grouch, you can be grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954- 427-0302.

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