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I’m sitting at McCoy's Coffee Shop, drinking my coffee, look outside, and smile. I have so much to be thankful for...yes, indeed. It's November. Thanksgiving is just around the corner?!!

Today, I’m aware of the fact that life is better than I deserve, which is saying something these days. The world is full of pain and suffering, hardship and turmoil, disappointment and regret. So the fact that I can be thankful and mean it, is in its own way, a small miracle.

I’m learning that there is a responsibility that comes with privilege.

That I am blessed to bless. Gifted to give. I am not lucky, fortunate, or merely disciplined; I am expected to do something with the grace I’ve been given. And so are you.

When I was younger, I didn’t understand gratitude. In a universe that seemed to hurt for no reason, my giving thanks was so shallow, it seemed, because I basically didn't fully understand it. Living in a world where children die of hunger every day, it just didn’t make sense.

But now I understand. Being grateful is a choice.

So today, I made a list.

OK, to be honest, gratitude is not my natural disposition, so this took some time and effort. It was a discipline to remind myself of the many reasons I have to be grateful. But it was an exercise well worth the discomfort.

Here’s my challenge to you: Take some time today, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, to come up with a gratitude list. If it doesn’t come naturally, don’t let that stop you from still giving thanks. There is still much to be thankful for, if we only have eyes to see.

By the way, these are just quick ones that I came up with. I know that I can come up with so many more.

So, in case you were wondering, here are my 10 reasons to give thanks today:

1. I am thankful for my salvation that Jesus provided for me when I, for sure, did not deserve it.

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2. I am thankful for my health, for being able to do what I do daily in good health, and eat turkey dinners.

3. I am thankful for my wife, who vowed to be my biggest fan on the day we were married and has never once let me down.

4. I am thankful for my children who have been the joy of my life, gifts from the Lord.

5. I am thankful for the gift and work of writing — that it is both extremely hard and easy at the same time. Easy to do, hard to master.

Always frustrating. Always rewarding.

6. I am thankful for living in a town where I live and work. A community that has care and concern for each other.

7. I am thankful for doing work and ministry that matters.

8. I am thankful for various genres of music. It sure helps when it is needed.

9. I am thankful for movies — for being able to turn part of my brain off and still be inspired.

10. I am thankful for books — My shelves are full of them. So much knowledge to attain.

Lastly, (not on the list), I am thankful for Grace — for love that cannot be explained (only surrendered to), for a Creator that inspires creativity, for purpose and a hope that there is more to the story than we see.

And, yes...I am so thankful for you; the readers of my column. Thank you so much.

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Rafael Bastien-Herrera is a Selma resident and Pastor/Teacher of The Word Walk Fellowship Ministries. He has a B.A. in Pastoral Ministry/Counseling, and a M.DIV. in Theology. He is a Radio Bible Teacher on KGED 1680 AM "Christian Talk" Radio, every Sunday at 8:30 AM, in Fresno.

Please send questions to rbherrera@thewordwalk.org.

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