It’s that time of year when we are getting ready for the holidays, switching out our warm weather clothing for our cold & freezing (for some us) weather clothing. We have fully transitioned from summer to fall and we are now getting ready for a time of giving thanks this month. Although it should be celebrated on a daily basis, we tend to focus more on giving thanks and being appreciative during the month of November due to Thanksgiving. Last Year I did something called 30 Days of Thanks where each day I posted something for us to be thankful for with a journal assignment and prayer at that end.
A few days ago, there happened to be someone who found my blog post on the 30 Days of Thanks and subscribed to receive my 30 Days of Thanks that I created last year. How awesome is that! Well in light of that, I decided to dedicate this month’s weekly posts to excerpts from the the 30 Days of Thanks.
I hope you enjoy them and while doing so remember: In ALL things give thanks, for this is the WILL of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
If you are interested in receiving my 30 Days of Thanks post at anytime, click here to receive 30 days of THANKS
Today’s post is from Day 5:
30 Days of Thanks…
Today’s day of thanks is focused on our Basic Necessities: FOOD, CLOTHING, SHELTER.
We are five days into the 30 Days of Thanks and today we want to take this day to focus on food, clothing and shelter. Oftentimes, we tend to focus only on what we don’t have but most times we are referring to not having enough to meet our ‘wants
‘ not our ‘needs.
‘ In preparing for today’s post and in light of Hurricane Sandy, I started thinking about the hundreds of thousands of people who lost EVERYTHING! For them, their homes and everything in it was destroyed. After Hurricane Sandy, the basics of food, clothing, and shelter, something we take for granted on a daily basis, vanished in a moment.
- Can you imagine leaving your home to escape a storm and coming back to realize your home and everything in it is no longer there?
- Can you imagine working one day, lose your job another day, lose your home the following month leaving you the only option but to move into a shelter just to have somewhere to lay your head?
- Can you imagine making enough money to just barely pay the bills but not have enough for food? or vice versa?
- Can you imagine going to the food pantry for food just to feed yourself and your family when there used to be a time you ate out every other weekend?
This is the reality of many people. You see, the face of homelessness is no longer what we think. It is YOU, it is I, it is who we least expect; people who work hard, love God and want the best for themselves and their families. They may even have their own businesses, they may have gotten laid off or maybe there just isn’t enough money to cover the month. Either way, as you will see below, the face of homeless has changed and if we aren’t careful, it could be any one of us. (If you want you can say THANK YOU lord for food, clothing, and shelter RIGHT NOW, be my guest
).Before we move into being thankful for our wants in another post (which for some people food, clothing, and shelter are wants), which goes beyond the basics, we want to focus on our needs. So as you focus on giving thanks for having somewhere to lay your head, eating a nice hot meal, and having clean clothes to put on your body, think about these statistics (http://www.grabstats.com/statcategorymain.aspx?StatCatID=7
- National Homeless Estimates: 700,000 per night; 2 million/year. (On any given night in America / US, anywhere from 700,000 to 2 million people are homeless)
- The homeless population is made up of: Single men 44 percent of the homeless,single women 13 percent, families with children 36 percent, andunaccompanied minors seven percent (7%).
- The homeless population is about 50 percent African-American, 35 percent white, 12 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Native American and 1 percent Asian.
- 28% of adults said they sometimes or often do not get enough to eat, compared with 12% of poor American adults.
- 44 percent did paid work during the past month.
- 66 percent of the homeless have problems with alcohol, drug abuse, or mental illness.
- 30 percent have been homeless for more than two years.
- 3.5 million people (1.35 million of which are children) will experience homelessness in a given year ** THIS Is HUGE!!!
- Families with children comprise 33% of the homeless population.
- 25%of the homeless nationwide are employed — WORKING BUT HOMELESS
- 31 million Americans now live in hunger or on the edge of hunger.
- Families are the largest and fastest growing segment of the homeless population.
After reading these stats, my heart was very heavy because I remember a time where that could have been me. When I got laid off from my job back in 2009, I wasn’t sure where I’d be or if I’d be able to find a job immediately. When a two-income home now becomes a one-income home, you wonder how you are going to make it through. BUT GOD! He helped us make it through. Every bill was paid, and we were able to live comfortably, but tight, on my husband’s income and speaking engagements I was getting at the time. I was attending graduate school to get my second masters, that I had imagined my prior employer would pay for. But when I got laid off, that was another bill I had to think about paying. Again, BUT GOD. I completed my second masters in Mental Health Counseling in May 2011 while pregnant with my first child. In the midst of all of that, I began to appreciate the little things: having the lights and gas on. $1 Movie nights from Redbox, just being able to spend quality time with my husband even though we may not have had enough money for a date outside the home. I started thanking God for the basics and I also started getting creative on how we could still have a great time on a budget.There were a couple passages in the Bible that the Lord took me to as I was meditating on what to write for today’s post. The first is in Deuteronomy 8:2-4. At this point, the children of Israel had been reminded of how God provided manna for them while in the wilderness and how during those 40 years of wandering (that’s another post), the clothes they wore NEVER wore out nor did their feet swell. The passage states that God led them in the wilderness to humble them and test them in order to know what was in their heart.Let me stop here for a minute.There may be someone who has been in a dry place for an extended time and you aren’t sure why. You feel like it has been forever and you keep wondering when you are going to transition to a place of abundance. Well I am here to tell you to start giving thanks NOW for where you are. Start giving thanks for how far you have already come. Lastly, start giving him thanks for providing for you while in this dry season. As the advertisement says on TV, THIS IS ONLY A TEST. Yes you are being tested. Although your ‘milk and honey’ are already prepared for you, there is a season of the basics (hopefully not for 40 years) that you have to go through in order for God to see if He can trust you to keep his commands and obey him NO MATTER WHAT.
- Can you be thankful for your beans and franks when you hear people talking about filet Mignon?
- Can you be thankful and trust God for your WIC and food stamps while others eat out every weekend or better yet every day?
- Can you be thankful for your current wardrobe, knowing that someone is wishing they had what you currently have?
- Can you be thankful for being faithful over few so that God can one day place you over many?
- Can you be trusted to bless God in the small places?
- Can you be trusted to know that man does not live by bread, steak, salmon, steak hoagies, or any other food alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God?
“2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-4)
The other passage that the Lord took me to was Philippians 4:11-13 where Paul states that he had learned to be content in whatever circumstances he encountered.Can you say the same?
I mean can you REALLY?For those of you that God has REALLY blessed. I mean spiritually and financially. Can you be trusted to give thanks in everything if it is all taken away?
THINK ABOUT IT…. Have you learned to be content in every area of your life? Have you learned to be grateful and appreciative even when you are piping mad that God has decided to use you as the poster child for his Kingdom purpose?
I will tell you I’ve been there and yes I have been mad about it. But with time I get over myself because knowing God like I know him, when certain things happen, I know HE is always up to something, even if I don’t like it. So once I feel my flesh/ego rise up, I begin to say, ‘Lord I don’t know what you are doing, and I most certainly don’t like it, but as long you get the glory, I will go along for the ride.” You see sometimes giving thanks isn’t always about doing it when you WANT to do it. Sometimes it’s about doing it when you NEED to do it because it’s what NEEDS to be done in order for GOD’s purpose to be fulfilled in your life.
“11for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
So with that said, take some time to think, ponder and meditate on those passages of scripture. Remember that in order to build your faith, you must know the word. But not only do you need to know it, you need to know how to put it to use at the appropriate time. Once you have meditated on those passages, write about how things would be different for you if you didn’t have food, clothing or shelter. If you have already been there, go back to that place and really think about what was going at that time, how were you feeling, did you know God was strategically positioning you for something at a later date. Think about how you would feel if you came home and your house was destroyed or better yet, not there? Think about how you may overindulge on food, clothing and maybe even shelter. You buy more than you use. You aren’t being a good steward of what you have been blessed with. Now keep in mind we are only focusing on the basics. Are you buying food and wasting it by not eating it before it spoils. Are you not taking care of your home? Are you getting slack in your home maintenance? Are you hoarding clothes just for the sake of it. Get rid of EVERYTHING that you are no longer using or have too much of and give it to someone who could actually put it to use. If you are in a position to be a blessing, then DO IT.
Lord on this 5th day of thanks we just want to say thank you for the basics. Thank for you supplying and providing us with food to eat, clothes to wear and shelter to keep us safe and warm. Lord forgive us for taking these great but small things for granted. We wake up every morning with no thought that at some point they could be gone in the blink of an eye. We thank you for supplying our need according to your riches in glory. Thank you for blessing us with more than enough. Thank you that during our dry season, you ‘kept’ us. You provided and not only did you provide, you allowed our clothes and shoes not to be worn out just like you did for the children of Israel. We may not have realized it then but we realize now that our setback was a set up for our comeback and for you to show out. Lord bless the families that were affected by Hurricanes Sandy who no longer even have the basics anymore. Bless those families and individuals who are homeless, who have no food or who only have the clothes on their bodies. We speak a supernatural blessing to them TODAY. Because we know that nothing is too hard for you, we pray not only for ourselves but for them that you would open a door for a job, for transportation, for groceries, for a check in the mail, anything else that they may need and lastly for insight, wisdom and understanding to recognize the blessing, utilize it properly and then immediately GIVE THANKS. We know you can do anything but fail. Now unto you who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that can ask or think. Amen.