Summary: Psalm 100 and I Thessalonians 5:16-18 give guides on planting a family Thanksgiving Garden.

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Plant a Thanksgiving Garden

Psalm 100

I Thessalonians 5:18

Someone e-mailed me what love means to 4 to 8 year old children.

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.

Rebecca age 8

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Billy age 4

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.”

Chrissy age 6

“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.” Emily age 8

A 4 year old boy lived next door neighbor to an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. The young boy demonstrated love when he saw the neighbor sitting in his yard and crying. The little boy went into the gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his life, and just sat there.

When his Mother asked what the boy had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, “Noting, I just helped him cry.’

This morning I want to talk about “Planting a Family Thanksgiving Garden.” History teaches that as the family goes so goes the nation. Healthy families make healthy communities, schools and churches.

When I talk about the family I’m including one person families, single parent families, blended families and nuclear families with both a mom and dad in the home.

The Bible, God’s Word gives us the guidelines for planting a Family Thanksgiving garden.

Rich Soil. For a healthy productive garden we need rich soil. Where I grew up in Kansas there are some fields with dark black soil that produces great crops of corn and wheat.

Rich soil represents the foundation for a successful family. The building blocks for the foundation of a home is made up of thanksgiving and praise.

Psalm 100 verse 4 might be paraphrased this way, “Enter your home with thanksgiving, and go into every room with praise. Give thanks to God and bless his name.”

An attitude of thanksgiving can become a lifestyle. Praise is a reflection of a person’s heart. Thanksgiving and praise are the music of your soul.

Like Jesus we can look for the good in every situation.

• Jesus saw something beautiful in the sacred life of Mary Magdalene

• Jesus saw potential in the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4)

• Jesus saw potential for honesty and integrity beneath the façade of a tax-collector

An attitude of thanksgiving builds up and encourages everyone in the home. A vital faith in God builds a solid foundation for the home.

I was privileged to grow up in a home where my mother had a vital faith in the Lord. She gave me words of encouragement and instilled in me a “can do spirit.” Unfortunately my Dad tended to live a thankless life. His leadership and lifestyle filled the garden of our home with toxic soil.

Toxic Soil. Thankless people make the soil toxic in the family garden. Toxic soil does not produce a happy and healthy family. God is not acknowledged by thankless people. Thankless people end up with bitter hearts and shriveled souls. Thankless people become ingrown and selfish.

My father always looked at the glass half empty. Without God in his heart he looked at life colored by doubt and pessimism. He found fault with what my mother did, what my sister did and what I did. It was the prayer of my mother that turned the tide and sprinkled the toxic atmosphere of the home with sunshine of hope and optimism. From my home experience I determined by the grace of God to have a fun filled, positive family. Carollyn and I made it a practice over the years to provide a rich soil of encouragement and praise for each other and our children.

This Thanksgiving I encourage you to build your home on a rich soil foundation of thanksgiving and praise. Practice Psalm 100:4, “Enter your home with thanksgiving, and go into every room with praise. Give thanks to God and bless his name.” Also practice Psalm 34:1 “I will praise the Lord at all times, I will constantly speak his praises.”

Cultivate the Soil. To plant a family garden you need rich soil and you also need to cultivate the soil before planting seeds. The soil needs to be plowed up and prepared for planting the seeds.

One of the best ways to cultivate and prepare your family for healthy relationship is through prayer. Prayer is the primary tool for cultivation. The Apostle Paul gives excellent instruction for the family in I Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No mater what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Jesus Christ.”

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