- The Washington Times - Friday, November 27, 2009

We see all races of faces on the news these days worried about how to care for their families. Philippians 4:6-7 offers hope, telling them not to be anxious about anything but to bring everything to the Lord in prayer with thanksgiving.

Thanking God can lift your spirit and my spirit, too. When you begin to be thankful for the things you have, realizing it could be much worse, your heart will rejoice.

This time of the year is absolutely beautiful — that is, if you’re not caught up in your problems so you cannot see the beautiful foliage and God’s other beautiful creations. He is faithful. Ever seen a season skipped? Each season comes right on time, down to the minute or second.

I will always cherish having grown up on my grandfather’s farm back home in North Carolina, where living close to nature was part of my life — pine trees, flowing waters along dirt roads and gorgeous sunsets. My early attention to the beauty of God’s world gave me added appreciation for the amazing variety of plants, creatures and scenery God has provided for us to enjoy. When I praise God for something He made, it increases my joy.

Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field … Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28-29).

There are the provisions of life given to us each day by almighty God. Even though we say grace, we may take the food we eat for granted. We would enjoy it much more if we were really grateful. The next time you eat one of your favorite foods, be thankful for its availability.

When I was just 5 years old, living on our farm in Kinston, N.C., my three brothers and two sisters and I enjoyed one another’s company. Too young to work in the fields, we were full of energy and free to explore the vast farmland, green gardens and deep surrounding forests. I enjoyed my time alone more than anything.

My father raised many different types of fresh vegetables. It was wonderful. And there were always colorful flowering plants mixed in the garden, and flowers were all along the front and sides of our yard, too. Mother and her green thumb always kept plenty of green potted plants on our front porch. She had her flower-potting routine for every home where we lived, and those flowers always grew beautifully. It was as if she had a greenhouse. Flowers were always part of who my mother was.

When Mother cooked a chicken for supper, we would get only one piece, and Daddy always got the breast. The table was adorned with a big platter of homemade biscuits, and always our kitchen was filled with fresh, organic foods grown right there on the farm. We were never hungry; our family always had delicious food to eat. Though we were considered poor by definition, I can never remember a day without delicious, enjoyable foods, full of good nutrients.

Though my little Southern lifestyle was menial, many people in the world today eat only plain rice for every meal. When we think of our less privileged, hungry brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s pray, “Lord, give us this day our daily bread.”

When you see another homeless brother or sister rummaging through the trash for food, offer to help, then remember to be thankful for the provision God has made in your life. We do see the homeless all around us - on 16th Street, they sleep on church fronts; on U Street, they are looking through the trash for food; near the White House, they are sleeping in the park.

The homeless are all around us. Yet we are caught up with the greed in the world, and because we don’t have nearly as much as we once had, we feel sorry for ourselves. Just look around.

While watching the news this week, I was shocked by the sight of 60 dead bodies held in refrigeration in Detroit. The families did not have money to bury their loved ones. According to CNN, a young woman named Shanti Das, who once worked in the recording industry, started the nonprofit organization May We Rest in Peace with a single goal: to bury all the unclaimed bodies in Detroit. She raised $6,000 in just a few weeks, calling on her personal connections with recording artists such as Busta Rhymes and Akon.

Then, on a crisp, clear November afternoon with the sun shining down on a burial plot at Knollwood Cemetery on the outskirts of Detroit, six persons were laid to rest.

Miss Das said she will continue her efforts until all the unclaimed bodies are buried.

“It’s going to take one person like me and a million others to start shedding lights on these problems,” she said. “But just because I’m a country girl from Atlanta doesn’t mean I can’t help someone in Detroit.”

Look around folks; there are many out there having a really bad time. When you really take a good look at your life, you are living a life of abundance.

Everything we have comes from God. Ecclesiastes 5:19 says, “When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work - this is a gift of God.” When we help others and stop living our lives in such a selfish manner, we please God. There is an old hymn that says: “You can’t beat God giving, no matter how you try. The more you give, the more He gives to you, just keep on giving, because it’s really true. You can’t beat God giving, no matter how you try.”

We must thank God for our families, our homes, our health, warm clothes, for jobs even when the pay is a lot less than we prefer, and for those businesses many of you own. Be thankful you’ve kept the doors open, be thankful for your employees and the ability you have had to endure throughout the recession. Be thankful for the ability to bury your dead and that you didn’t have to leave a family member stored in refrigeration. All the conveniences that make our lives easier, we are able to enjoy them even more when we are thankful.

John 8:32 tells us that “ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

• Lyndia Grant is a writer living in Washington.

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