The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Don’t Forget to Say It

In 1860, The Lady Elgin, an excursion boat on Lake Michigan collided with a freighter and began to sink less than a mile from the shore.

Hundreds of passengers began screaming as they leaped into the icy water.

Edward Spencer was a student at a nearby seminary, and he ran down to the beach to see what he could do.

Being a strong swimmer,  Spencer swam out and back for six hours pulling people ashore, battling stormy waves and the powerful undertow. By dawn, he had personally rescued 15 people in as many trips. Exhausted, he sat down until someone spotted two more people still in the water.
Spencer dived in again and found a man and a woman clinging desperately to a piece of wreckage. He brought them in and collapsed on the beach. Out of 393 passengers, only one-quarter were rescued. 17 of them were saved by Edward Spencer.

His own health, however, was permanently damaged by his act of heroism. He was never able to return to school and ultimately lived out his days as an invalid. Years later, a reporter doing a story on Great Lakes tragedies found Spencer at a nursing home in California and asked for his recollections of that night.

Spencer said bitterly, "The only thing I remember is that not one of the 17 ever thanked me."

In the 1965 Civil War epoch movie Shenandoah, Jimmy Stewart played the widowed patriarch of the Anderson family, Charles Anderson. Anderson’s deceased wife had always insisted that the family attend church each Sunday and that Charles give a “blessing” at each family meal. While he was not a believer himself, his devotion and respect for his departed wife kept him towing the line.

However, his prayer at the meals tipped off his lack of enthusiasm. This is the prayer he lifted up at meals…

Lord, We cleared this land; We plowed it, sowed it, and harvested it. We cooked the harvest. It wouldn't be here—we wouldn't be eating it—if we hadn't done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel But we thank you just the same anyway, Lord, for this food we're about to eat. Amen.

God has blessed us with more than we could ever deserve. He has given us a free nation and more material blessings than anyone in our own nation ever possessed in history and far more than anyone has in any other country today. He has given us the blessing of the opportunity of eternal life through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ and the opportunity to learn that from others who freely told us about Him.

In 1 Thessalonian 5:18, Paul commands us to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. The great Apostle is telling us, DON'T FORGET TO SAY IT!

As we approach the Thanksgiving season, let us understand that gratitude is the attitude that everyone should express in every situation. Even if life is a struggle, it could be worse and every struggle teaches us to appreciate what we have. Our message this Sunday is titled Gratitude and Faith and is based on the lesson we learn from the life of Christ in Luke 17:11-19. This lesson should help us to learn more about the connection between our gratitude for what we have received and the faith that produces such a spirit.

Join us for this very special time of preparation for the Thanksgiving Season.

Happy Thanksgiving,

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