Thankful in every situation

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From the Desk of…

by Patricia Swyers, Commissioner –

…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

As you celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, including the many who are gathered in a Salvation Army venue, enjoying a dinner of turkey and dressing with all the trimmings, the territorial commander and I are in Africa participating in the commissioning events of the South Africa and Kenya territories. We will be sharing in officers’ councils and a variety of exciting Salvation Army meetings. We may be miles apart but we are mindful of the committed service that you are giving in your different areas and it causes us to pause and give thanks to God for you and for your ministry to others.

Paul admonishes us not “to become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” This Scripture was brought to mind because so many of you have labored long and hard in the opportunities that have been afforded you to do good to all people. In particular, I am mindful of the recent fires that have consumed homes and land and lives throughout California with some families losing every possession they owned. What an opportunity to bring comfort, to provide basic provisions, and to offer food and water as you share your faith with those who are hurting. We thank God for you!

We watched in amazement as a young teen, whose home had been destroyed, clutched a large stuffed animal and courageously stated that she and her family were thankful that everyone was safe. We often hear of teens who are materialistic and selfish, but during this Thanksgiving season, I am remembering that beautiful teenager who was giving thanks for life! Perhaps it was one of our Salvation Army volunteers who gave her the stuffed bear or offered her words of encouragement along with a “cup of cold water” in Christ’s name. We thank God for our youth!

Yes, I doubt that we will be dining on turkey and dressing this Thanksgiving but that is a tradition we can skip for a year. The tradition that we will surely keep is to thank God for our daily blessings, for our family, our friends, and for every opportunity that has brought joy, encouragement, and faith to God’s people.

Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you: Were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:5

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