Give Thanks

I love Thanksgiving Day. It is a time for our family to strengthen ties with each other, friends, and our God as we sing songs of praise around the piano, not to mention the great feast we all enjoy!! I also love that Thanksgiving is a unique holiday born out of a desire for Americans to rest and show their gratitude to God who is (quoting George Washington) “that great and glorious Being Who is the Author of all that is good” – past, present, and future.

James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

George Washington, the first President of the newly formed infant United States of America, made the Proclamation in October of 1789 that the first Thanksgiving Day would be observed among the Thirteen Colonies in November 1789. It was to be a “day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording our nation’s founders the opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” I knew our nation’s founders had a different idea of happiness than we do in our society today. Noah Webster, known most for forming Webster’s Dictionary is quoted to have said this about Happiness: “He only can be esteemed Happy who enjoys peace of mind in the favor of God.” This proclamation came on the heels of a bloody 8 year war for Independence from the British Empire. General George Washington led the Continental Army to victory after losing several battles and narrowly escaping total destruction. His army was constantly plagued with a poor supply chain leaving his men with desperate shortages of
shoes, shirts, blankets and gunpowder. One unknown writer said “he labored under a terrible strain that would have destroyed a lesser man.” Are you under the strain of some sort of battle because of life’s challenges?

Psalm 119:28 “My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy Word.”

James 5:13 “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.”

What was the secret to George’s strength as an accomplished leader? Many say it was his Mom.

Quoting Karol Ladd, “George Washington stands out in history as one of America’s greatest heroes. His integrity and leadership led this nation through its challenging formative years. Certainly God’s hand was upon our nation’s first president, but George Washington also credits another important person in his life for success. Consider what he had to say about his mother: ‘My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All that I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her.’ What made Mary Ball Washington so influential in the life of her son? Widowed when George was only eleven years old, Mary was a devoted Christian who desired to glorify God in the way she raised her children. One historian writes the Bible was her daily companion.”

Mary and young George read many other books as well that taught biblical principles. It is no wonder that as we read George’s own writings, we see a man of sincere faith and humble, godly leadership. In his personal prayer book, consisting of 24 handwritten prayers, we catch a glimpse of this mighty man’s genuinely thankful heart as he expressed his appreciation to his very personal God.

I am going to close with one of George Washington’s prayers – a good prayer for us to pray as well. I suggest you finish the prayer in your own words that God Almighty would also help you in the personal battle or challenge (whether great or small) that you are facing today and ask Him for victory. Will you also pray a prayer of wisdom and direction for our leaders great and small in our nation or the nation you are a citizen of?

“O eternal and everlasting God, I present myself this morning before your Divine Majesty, beseeching you to accept of my humble and hearty thanks .… Direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ), and purge my heart by Your Holy Spirit. Daily make me more and more in the likeness of Your Son, Jesus Christ. THANK YOU for the eternal life that at the appointed time I might attain resurrection. Bless my family, friends and in-laws and unite us all in praising and glorifying You in all our works.”

  • Now pray for yourself, friends and family. For good and lasting gifts.
  • Now pray for your nation, it’s leaders great and small and it’ citizens. For happiness and safety.
  • It is in the blessed name of Jesus we pray. Amen


Love, Mary Visnovsky, Mentor Mom

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Noticing Goodness And Knowing What is Good

Noticing Goodness And Knowing What is Good

   This is one of our 2015-2016 Mops Themes – that is “Noticing Goodness”. I chose months ago to write about this theme first and foremost because I want to become a more grateful human being. I chose November to write because I love Thanksgiving, when people gather to celebrate “thankfulness” for the “good” things in life. Ever since I chose to write on “goodness”, I have been more intentional about my observation of this life’s abundant blessings, whether seen, touched, felt, heard or tasted. I hope you all have experienced, like I have, much “good” and not “bad” in your life as well since we started our “flourishing” Mops 2015-2016 year!!

Now did you notice that, unfortunately, in noticing “good” we can’t help but think of its antithesis- “bad” or even “evil”?  Being the questioning sort of person that I am, I began to contemplate how does one intrinsically know what is “good” from what is “bad”. Or do we sometimes get the two mixed up? Have you ever experienced something “bad” that actually turned out quite “good” or vice versa? I must admit I like to watch the Dr Phil show from time to time. I also watch the world news and read the newspaper fairly regularly. It becomes overly apparent that we seem to live in a pretty “bad” environment. Why can’t people and nations just get along? There seems to be chaos and disconnect everywhere, intermixed with some “good” positive news as well.

So I want to raise the logical question: “Is moral ‘goodness’ an absolute or is it subject to reinterpretation according to the desires of society?”  I can take this question to the extreme; one society says I should not murder you or harm you in any way. Another society says you can and you may be my next meal! A favorite family story of ours illustrates my point even better. We like the movie “End of the Spear” and books about Jim Elliot and Nate Saint. These Christian missionaries dared to befriend a very dangerous tribe in Ecuador called the Auca Indians. To make a long story short, both lost their lives when the tribe turned on them because of a slanderous woman’s misinformation. This happened after spending a week with them enjoying each other’s company with many talks around the camp fire.   But the story did not end there. Their wives befriended a girl who managed to leave the tribe and she in turn taught them the Auca native language. The wives again made contact with the Indians where they lived in the jungle peaceably for over 2 years. The tribe’s members, through these women, experienced love and forgiveness that they had never seen and their lives and society were dramatically changed through the Biblical principles learned from their new friends living amongst them.

I believe the forefathers of this great nation understood that the God of the Bible, and the practice of His truths and principles were the essential ingredients to a peaceful “good” existence between individuals, government, allied nations, individuals and families. I illustrate this with the words of George Washington himself when he proclaimed Thanksgiving a “public day of thanksgiving and prayer” to “Almighty God”.

As President, on October 3, 1789, George Washington made the following proclamation and created the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government of the United States of America:

 Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

 Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

 And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

 Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

George Washington again proclaimed a Thanksgiving in 1795.

  So this Thanksgiving will you, with your family and alone in your prayer closet, take meaningful time to meditate and to Praise God for “all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2)? Will you think about all the good He provides for mankind – His crowning creation – the only one’s created “In His image” (Genesis 1:26-27)? Will you look to Jesus, the Savior, by trusting in Him for the greatest gift of all – that is, never ending life? If you haven’t done so will you take the time to read the Gospel of John?

Titus 3:4-7 explains that simple faith alone in Christ is all that is required. Mercy is undeserved and cannot be earned:

4 But when the goodness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 This Spirit He poured out upon us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that having been justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the promise of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7


 Mary Visnovsky

Written by Mary Visnovsky- Mops Mentor Mom at GCBC