This past week Manitobans have felt a variety of emotions when we look back and reflect on our election week full of victories and losses.  And then we wake up on Saturday morning to the horror played out across our tv screens of what's happening in Israel.  With what's going on around the world, we have much to be thankful for, and much to pray about.

My first thought goes to a dear friend of our family who lived in Brandon while attending Brandon University.  He has moved to Winnipeg but still ventures out to Brandon for family visits.  This young man hails from Israel and the last we heard is his sister and her family are locked in their safe room in their house in the region of fighting.  Every house has to have a safe room to protect them from the bombs.   Our Israel friend's brother has not been called to war yet, but his brother-in-law has.

I spoke with Pastor Danny Groening with the Killarney Mennonite Church on Friday, prior to the invasion by Hamas into Israel.  I believe what Pastor Danny shares is still very relevant to our Thanksgiving weekend, and what we are experiencing in our province and in Canada.

We need to remember "to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus," shares Pastor Danny. 

"When we as believers talk about thankfulness or gratitude, we're going deeper than just outer circumstances, of what we're thankful for," he shares, "because I think on that level everyone can understand, to be thankful when things are good. When positive things happen to us naturally, we experience a sense of thankfulness for that. And that's something that's common for everyone."

"You know, you get a promotion at work and you're thankful, when you get a bumper crop, you're thankful, you met the love of your life and you're thankful. But what about when you're fired from work, the crop fails, marriage is hard or the relationship didn't work out, and circumstances are now not so good. What have we got to be thankful for?"

"That's when God's Word points to that again and again that the spiritual wealth, the riches that God has given us in His mercy and grace," adds Pastor Danny.

"They are greater than our circumstances and they cannot be taken away from us especially when we focus in on the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, and what we have, the wealth that we've been given. Then we can be thankful in all circumstances.

"But we need to understand that at a deeper level spiritually to be able to do that, because on the natural level to be thankful when things are good, but not so thankful when things are bad," he says. "And to really cultivate that deeper level of thankfulness it starts with that relationship with the Lord and that spiritual understanding of what we've been given through Him."

A favorite quote that Pastor Danny enjoys sharing with his church members is, 'A thankful person tastes joy twice, once when it happens and again when gratitude is expressed to God.'"

"I've always loved how that encapsulates what a truly thankful person experience," he explains. "When you give those thanks, you're repeating you're doubling the joy. You receive it, and then when you express the gratitude for it again, you're revisiting it and reliving that joy!"

Please listen to more with Pastor Danny below as he shares more on thankfulness, and on this favorite quote.

As we continue to celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, let's remember to pray for the many families in Israel and the entire Gaza region.

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