Tag Archive | "THANKS"

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CLERGY CORNER: “Give thanks in all circumstances”

Posted on 15 November 2018 by LeslieM

(I Thessalonians 5:18a)

On behalf of Zion Lutheran Church and myself, Pastor Jeff Gross, I want to wish our community a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving. For those who are traveling, be safe. Enjoy the company of the people you love. And let thankfulness and gratitude be the focus of all of your celebrations. God has been good to us and let us not forget His many blessings.

When should we give thanks? When we feel like being thankful? How about when we don’t feel like being thankful? When we are in good spirits? How about when we aren’t in good spirits? Being thankful at all times is a tall order, when you think about it. Is this even a practical expectation? I am glad you asked. I actually have an answer.

I was at a church conference last week in north-central Florida. I had a chance to stay with my son, to cut down some expenses, and when the day was over I could visit him. This was a gift for which I am very grateful.

And as I was driving toward his apartment, my car started to shake. The tire light never came on so I dismissed the idea that it was a flat. Maybe the car was out of alignment. Who knows? I just knew that I had to bring it to a shop the next morning because it was a Sunday night, not the ideal time for car problems. Monday would be better.

The next morning, the tire blew out and plans changed. I was in a strange neighborhood. I called AAA and they were running late … Monday is a busy day. And, when they came, I knew I had to get a new tire, which isn’t cheap. And this would also, potentially, delay my morning.

I wasn’t feeling grateful. I wasn’t in the right mood. This is one circumstance when I didn’t want to give thanks. Just then something snapped (in a good way).

I give no credit to myself. This was a God moment. I realized that I was fortunate. I have a car to get me around. A lot of people don’t have cars. I have a cell phone that enables me to call for help and a AAA membership. I have the means to get a new tire. I had a chance to go to a conference on Ministry with my fellow Lutheran pastors. I had some quality time with my son the night before.

When the AAA person helped me with my tire, I was in great spirits. I confused the clerk at the tire place by being unusually happy with a blown out tire. Most people are in bad spirits when this happens. In fairness, so was I, until I “snapped.” And, when all was said and done, I had a new tire and got to the conference with plenty of time to spare. I thank God that I had a flat tire. Yes, I thank God I had a flat tire. It grounded me in the reality that I am fortunate and it shifted my attitude in the right direction. Call it a “gratitude attitude.”

I may come across as a starry eyed optimist but I can assure you that I can be a real curmudgeon, especially if I don’t have my coffee. Truth be told, something as simple as counting blessings can change your entire day, your entire outlook on life. An inconvenience can become a gift.

These words from the Bible have practical implications. If you are having a bad day that is the BEST time to count your blessings.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I know that it is the one day a year set aside to give thanks. One day is woefully inadequate considering how blessed we truly are. Every day should be Thanksgiving. Every moment should be an opportunity for gratefulness.

I want you to feel as good as I did that Monday morning when a flat tire actually made my day. The good news is that you can. It only requires some reflection and perspective. You don’t have to look far to find a blessing. And, when you do, celebrate. The quality of your day depends upon it.

Pastor Gross is a pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, located at 959 SE 6 Ave., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-421-3146 or visit www.zion-lutheran.org.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Month(s) of thanks

Posted on 03 November 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



It’s almost over, folks. While the turkeys are skittering around looking for hiding places, we know that soon — very soon — phase one of our 21st Century “long national nightmare” will be over. Thank you, God, for that. But no matter how the election turns out, our many wounds will take time and attitude adjustments, before effective healing can take place or certainly before any of the promises of national salvation can even begin to come to fruition. It will be a time for serious auxiliary leadership to emerge with a plan to bring us together.

And for all the jabs we’ve sustained and the dire attributions of the diminished power of the United States on the world scene, we can still lay claim to our “greatness.” Thankful we can be, every day, that we are not living in any of the many war ravaged countries that can no longer sustain its people. Thankful we can be, every day, that our constitution guarantees that we can witness a regime change without bloodshed (we hope). Thankful we can be, as we stare at that half empty glass, yet we are able to see its half fullness. And thankful we can be for anyone and anything that can still make us laugh – no matter what.

And thankful indeed we can be for our sense of touch when offered by a friend or loved one to soothe a painful body or heart; for water still running and available at the turn of a faucet (we are praying for you, Flint); for the sight of a wild sunflower, a palm tree, an orange grove, a full moon and our Florida sun (when it is not hiding) and its sometimes frothing, sometimes calm, but still always there, ocean; and for mountains and summits beyond Florida and sources of transportation to get to all the “beyond.” Thankful we can be for a schoolyard of screaming kids and for loving grandparents still trying to learn to text; for old photographs borne of film (what’s that?) that remind us of the good old days; and for our freedom to respond with a polite ”no, thanks” as needed. Thankful we can be for the good people who show up to help during disasters and the good people who just show up; for the people devoted to all the “cures” of body, mind and soul; the sounds of music in private places and acoustical buildings, and in outdoor venues soaring into the airways, and lifting our spirits, that in some cases, inspire our dancing feet; for poetry, good and bad; for storytellers and painters with words, and brushes, and on stages; for people who run things and make things, and repair things, and imagine new things, and offer new ideas … and for people who protect us and our things, and for the lives of people no longer here, but whose legacy make our own lives meaningful. Grateful we are, too, for the mistakes we’ve made from which we have learned many a valuable lesson, and for the freedom to make more of them without having to live in fear; for the off-button on remote controls; and for broccoli, kale, smoothies and chocolate. And, we are oh so grateful for humility, forgiveness, choice and hope.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Add your own gratitudes and keep them in mind all year.

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CLERGY CORNER: Be grateful!

Posted on 27 November 2015 by LeslieM

Andrew Carnegie was considered to be the richest man in America during his lifetime. Having made his wealth in the steel industry, he advocated for philanthropy and practiced what he preached by reportedly giving away over $350 million to public charities. I recently read that he also left $1 million to one of his relatives, who was consequently displeased with the amount when compared to the large sums given to other causes. He should have been grateful that he got anything at all.

Samuel Liebowitz was a criminal lawyer and judge who reportedly saved 78 men from the electric chair. It is said that none of them ever thanked him.

In the Gospels, it is recorded that Jesus was approached by 10 lepers who begged him to heal them. He instructed them to go and show themselves to the priest. On the way, they were all healed but only one returned to thank the Lord. Jesus publicly inquired about the other nine, noting that only one had returned to voice his appreciation.

The expression of gratitude is a characteristic of civilized society. We were taught as children to say “thank you” when given gifts, on receiving a compliment or when we were the objects of the kindness of strangers. Good manners dictate that we acknowledge the graciousness of our fellowman. Only animals and barbarians are so callous in their disregard of others, and so consumed with themselves, that they display no sense of indebtedness for acts of good will.

Bible teacher H.A. Ironside was said to be dining in a crowded restaurant when he was approached by a gentleman who asked to share the table with him. He consented and then bowed his head to give thanks for his meal, as was his custom. The surprised gentleman inquired if Dr. Ironside was ill or displeased with his food.

Upon learning that Dr. Ironside was engaging in a habit of thanking God for his meal, the gentleman scoffed, “Oh, you’re one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in.”

Dr. Ironside replied, “Yes, you’re just like my dog. That’s what he does, too!”

As we prepare to celebrate another Thanksgiving Day, we ought to be grateful for the many blessings and good things that we are able to enjoy. Even in the seemingly difficult circumstances of life, and with all of the chaos that exists on a national and worldwide level, we can still find a reason to be grateful. Life may not be all that we would desire for it to be, but consider that things could be a lot worse than they are right now. Somewhere on this planet there is someone who would gladly trade places with you.

Do you have people in your life who genuinely love you? Do you have a comfortable bed to sleep in at night? Are you able to eat when you feel hungry? Do all five of your senses still work? Do you know your name and where you live? Are you in possession of any good memories? If you can answer “yes” to at least one of these questions you have a reason to be grateful. Even the simple things, that we often take for granted, should be appreciated. God has blessed us in many ways and He rightly deserves our thanks.

Several Psalms encourage gratitude to God for what He has done by making the same exhortation, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Psalms 106:1, 107:1, and 136). May this directive to an ancient people in their day inspire our attitude and behavior in our day. God has shown us great mercy, goodness and grace. Let’s 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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CLERGY CORNER: A prayer of Thanks

Posted on 16 July 2015 by LeslieM

There is a prayer that is traditionally recited upon wakening in the morning. It is the Modeh Ani which basically says, “I thank You G-d for this new day.”

What a wonderfully positive expression of gratitude to begin anew.

Oddly enough, I recently read an article online that talked about the most important thing in a happy marriage and, according to that particular analysis, the No. 1 ingredient that was found to exist in happy marriages was that both partners took the time to express gratitude to their partner on a daily basis.

I used to sarcastically tell a story about gratitude in marriage.

I would say how wonderful it was (and please don’t call me a male chauvinist for this … it is just a story) about how after a couple returns home from their honeymoon, the wife lovingly works in the kitchen to prepare these amazing meals each evening.

And, for the first two weeks, or, if you are really lucky, for the first two months, the husband lavishes praise upon her, letting her know each and every night how grateful he is, how delicious the food is, how loving it is for her to take the time to prepare each of his favorite dishes.

And then, you should pardon the expression, the honeymoon is over.

The husband now takes all those wondrous meals for granted and does not express any gratitude at all.

Now, instead of the wife feeling that what she is doing is appreciated, what used to be a joy to her now feels like she is stuck slaving away in the kitchen.

Make no mistake about it, gratitude is important and it is important not just to the recipient but to the acknowledger.

Now let’s turn back to the prayer that is traditionally recited upon waking.

How many of you get up in the morning and your first thought is, “Oy, my aching back?” How many of you wake up in the morning and simply think, “Oh no, not another day?”

Not a very positive way to start the day, and it immediately triggers your brain to put the emphasis on negatives.

Modeh Ani, on the other hand, has you start your day with words of thanks, of gratitude. The practice of thanking G-d each and every morning just for waking up teaches an important lesson. You see, just because we get up each and every day does not mean that we should take it for granted.

Neither should we take other daily things for granted.

Funny, we don’t give a thought to breathing until we have difficulty catching our breath. We don’t give a thought to our heart beating until we feel those beats out of sync.

A friend of mine recently needed some eye surgery. I was on the phone with her late at night to see how she was doing and she said that it is amazing that she is beginning to be able to see again.

I learned something very special from those words. How many of us close our eyes at night to go to sleep and, when we wake up in the morning, we rub our eyes and open them up to start the day? How many of us take the time to thank G-d, not just that we have a new day, but that we can see again?

Blessed is G-d who enables us to open our eyes and see.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Tr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442). Regular Shabbat services are open to everyone on Saturday mornings from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

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CLERGY CORNER: Thanks for Giving

Posted on 23 November 2011 by LeslieM

L’Chu N’Ranena from the Book of Psalms begins with “Let us sing unto G-d.” But, it does not say to sing the Blues. No, it says that we should “sing unto G-d in joy.”

What an interesting thing to be commanded to feel joy. What if you are not feeling so happy? What if you have been having a bad day, a bad week or a bad year?

Well, I guess we need to read further because the next part of the Psalm tells us how to lift our spirits. It tells us to approach G-d with praise and Thanksgiving. You heard me right, we are to approach not with a list of requests each of which remind us of what we feel we lack, but rather with a list of the things that we have.

So here we are with the Great American Festival of Thanksgiving and I would ask each of you to think of what you are thankful for. I know many people will sit with family and friends to a scrumptious turkey dinner and they will go around the table and each will get an opportunity to say that they are thankful for this or that, but what of those who can’t seem to think of anything to be thankful for?

Well, if nothing else, on Thanksgiving Day, at least, be thankful that you are not a TURKEY!

Those of you who read my column regularly know that I love to dance. I even help teach beginning students in the Adult Education Program. In recent classes, we had a wonderful couple, newly married, and, watching them, I saw in their every action, their every glance at one another, that they were filled with joy; they were so thankful that they had found each other. They know that there are many people who go through life without ever finding that special match that lights them up like the brightest of Shabbat Candles.

We recently read about the first matchmaker in the Bible. His name was Eliezer, the trusted servant of Abraham who was sent on a mission to find a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac. He could have gone looking for the wealthiest woman in the land, but he chose to look for someone who was kind, caring and gentle. Okay, it didn’t hurt that she also happened to be gorgeous. But remember, the woman he chose was kind and caring before she ever met her husband.

If you are not married yet, if you are looking for a partner in life, I would urge you to start being kinder and more caring right here, right now; it just might lead you to your bashert.

My new friends from dance class know this well. They both spend their days collecting food for those who are hungry. They have blessed so many others and G-d has indeed blessed them and they are ever-so-thankful.

May you each learn to be thankful, not just for what you have, but for what you can give.

If you would like to share in the joy of my newlywed friends, and, as we will all have a feast on Thanksgiving, consider giving some food or a donation to “Boca Helping Hands” at the Remillard Family Resource Center in Boca Raton. www.bocahelpinghands.org. Or you may choose to give to any of the other fine organizations that help feed the hungry, and may I be the first to say, “THANKS!”


Shalom My Friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring


Rabbi Ezring is a Hospice Chaplain and Member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains. He also provides Professional Pastoral Care Services to a number of health centers in Broward County.

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