Giving Thanks Together

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. KJV

I heard a snap, then the handle gave way and the bucket of rocks and shells I was carrying zeroed in on my big toe. The sharp pain in my foot and the first signs of blood told me this was going to be a game changer. As I quickly limped into the house calling out to my wife for help, I was definitely not thanking God. After she drove as fast as she could to the hospital, the only humorous moment came while I sat bent over in the wheelchair holding my foot as the security guard searched me for weapons at the door!

Photo by Marcus Aurelius on Pexels.com

Thankfully, the x-rays revealed nothing was broken but one thing was certain; like it or not, my plans were going to change. As we road home that night, rather than complain, my wife began to slowly list all the things we should be thankful for. First, we had insurance to pay for the emergency room, second, we I had received wonderful care from the health aide who washed the wound, the nurse who joked with me while she gave a tetanus shot and the doctor who gently encouraged me that my injury should heal with no complications. Compared to our daughter-in-law’s cancer or our grandchild’s kidney failure my problem was infinitesimally small, but the lesson was huge. Thankfulness is not something we always do alone. Even Paul had Silas with him when they sang praises in jail. Few of us in the middle of pain, grief or loss have the ability to honestly say “Thank you Jesus! I’m so happy right now!”. There are times when the best thing we can do is to lean on one another as together we learn to give God praise.

Thursday Morning Sunshine

Thursday morning Sunshine is a free devotional newsletter produced by Rob Keller, Pastor Janice Burnett and myself (Peter Caligiuri). Pastor Janice is a nursing home chaplain in Western New York, I do volunteer nursing home ministry here in Florida and my friend Rob is a professional graphic artist and writer who lends his talents to Sunshine. If you would like to receive the pdf format of Sunshine please contact me at revpete51@gmail.com and I’ll be delighted to include you in our weekly mailing.

Giving Thanks by Peter Caligiuri

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20 ESV In today’s verse the Apostle Paul tells us to be thankful for everything. Now without a doubt there were plenty of terrible things going on in the world in Paul’s day just as there are in ours. But the thankfulness Paul talks about is more than simply recalling the good things we have experienced. Instead, the gratitude that God has in mind is about seeing things as He sees them. We may see the potholes in the road but God sees the whole journey. We feel the cold of the winter wind while God sees the trees resting while they gather their energy for spring. We are angry over hurtful words spoken to us while God is giving us an opportunity to learn to forgive. We experienced the loneliness of the Covid-19 lockdown, but God was giving us time to remember what and who matter most in life. If we are able to see all of our family again this year, will we remember to tell them we love them and hold them close? But whether we are together or apart from our loved ones, the biggest blessing is that Jesus has promised to sit with us! God is good. We have much to be thankful for!

Giving thanks when things go well
Is an easy thing to do
But giving thanks when the chips are down
Is God’s will for me and you!
Yes, give thanks for ‘all things’ for, as it has been well said ‘Our disappointments are but His appointments.’” –A.W. Pink

Riddles in Heaven? By Rob Keller

Do you like riddles? Here’s one I thought was pretty clever: What runs around the yard day and night, but never moves or never gets tired? Give up? Well, you’ll have to keep reading to get the answer. Ready for another one? What has a beginning, but no end? To find the answer, just look in the mirror. If you are a Christian It’s you! The moment you received Jesus as your Savior, you were born into God’s family and began a life that will never end. Yes, some day we will leave this world behind and find ourselves frolicking on Heaven’s streets of gold, but that isn’t when eternal life begins. It starts right here and now. That’s because the eternal life that God gives us is not just about how long we live, but it’s also about how well we live. Now that our sins are forgiven, we can live in a close relationship with God. We have the privilege of talking with our Him (That’s prayer). Jesus calls us his friends. In God’s kingdom, our lives now have meaning and purpose. This new life fills us with deep peace and joy, no matter our circumstances. These are just a few of the blessings we are given as a “down payment”, of the full inheritance we will have in Heaven.

In Heaven, where we will live forever, we will receive bodies that will never grow old, get sick or die. There will be no pain or sorrow. We will join multitudes of believers worshipping around God’s throne. We will be reunited with beloved friends and family and gather around a table to share the most amazing banquet ever. God’s word gives us only little glimpses of what eternity will be like, but remember, it can start right here and now.

Did you figure out the first riddle yet? The answer is a fence! It runs around the yard, but never moves or gets tired. Life can be full of riddles but when we get to heaven every one will be answered at the feet of Jesus Christ!

The Lighter Side With Sue Hyson

The phone rings at the church parish, “Hello, is this Father O’Malley?”
“Yes it is.” The priest replied
“This is the IRS calling. Do you have a parishioner named Ted Houlihan?
“Well yes, Ted is a member of our congregation.”
“Did Mr. Houlihan donate $10,000 to the church?”
Father O’Malley thought for a moment and then replied, “He will!”

Sunshine News: This is the week for giving the 30-day Christmas Devotionals. If you do not receive one please let me know and we will work on getting a copy to you. It is great to welcome Sue Hyson back to the newsletter with her lighter look at life. For my blogging friends I have made Finding Jesus This Christmas available as a free download from 11-17-21 through 11-20-21. You may either search for it on Amazon as Finding Jesus This Christmas by Peter Caligiuri or follow the link below. Have a blessed week all!

Pausing to Remember

On September 10, 2001 Nancy and I flew home safely past the Statue of Liberty to land in Newark. Were returning from visiting family in California and I looked forward to getting back to our normal schedule.

The next morning I got up and went back to work. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was mowing the big lawn behind one house where I had worked for many years. When I noticed the owner’s wife walking down the hill from the house I was quite surprised as she rarely walked around the grounds.

So I turned off my big mower and went up to see what she needed. “Hi Radica. What can I do for you?” I asked as I got off the seat of the lawn tractor to greet her.

She looked blankly up at me as she responded, “An airplane flew into the World trade Center and the towers just fell down.”

“Are you sure?” I asked incredulously. “They’re so big. I can’t believe it.”

“That’s what they are saying on the news.” she answered softly. “I’ve got to get back to the house and see what is going on.”

At first I just went down tot he truck and turned on my radio to double check that she understood everything correctly because the idea that anything so big could fall over seemed unreal. But I was stunned with the reports I heard as I tuned into the local radio station. Everything she had said was true: and more. A few minutes later I meekly knocked on her door and asked if I could watch with her. It felt as if our life was about to end and that everything we had been so concerned about the previous hour didn’t matter at all. There we sat together listening as new and terrible reports came in of other planes being hijacked and burning buildings. Nothing made any sense but somehow I finally excused myself as she watched with tears running down her face and I put my tools away to go home to my family.

This is exactly where I was that day

How little did Nancy and I know when we woke that morning that we would be spared while others would never be able to go home. Now 19 years later as I am looking back at that day it still doesn’t seem real. It still doesn’t make sense. But I have learned that in a life often filled with terrible things that don’t make sense to always be thankful for every one of God’s smallest blessings and that as He gives us ability we should always be ready to serve in every way He gives.