June 27, 2015 | Max Torkelsen

These letters are carved in the fireplace mantle at the home of the Hawaiian poet Don Blanding. They are the first letters in the words of a phrase he wanted to be reminded of daily: "Lord I Do Give Thee Thanks For The Abundance That Is Mine." He found it useful in focusing on gratitude, even when discouraging circumstances or overwhelming challenges confronted him. 

Let the meaning of the words of this prayer penetrate the fog of self-pity: "I wish ..." or "If only ..." that so easily create dissatisfaction. Think of the assets instead of the liabilities. Focus on the fact that living in this land of freedom, we are abundantly blessed beyond what we need. 

There are two "abundance" texts in the New Testament. John 10:10 says, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Not just life, but life "more abundantly." Are you living the abundant life? Eph. 3:20 adds, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end." Abundance above all that we ask or think. Is that your experience?

I recently attended the board meeting of Adventist Health in Roseville, Calif. At that meeting a devotional was given by Joyce Newmyer, CEO of Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Ore. She introduced us to LIDGTT FTATIM. When I got home, I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Following the advice of my wife's longtime spiritual mentor Barbara Folkenberg, I got a little blank book. I could have used a note pad or even just 26 pieces of lined paper. I wrote one letter of the alphabet at the top of each page. Barbara had told Linnea that "thankfulness cures a multitude of what ails you, so focus your mind on blessings that begin with one of those alphabet letters, and just see if the windows of heaven don't open the floodgates of gratitude and a feeling of abundance." Well, her advice worked for me too! 

My A group includes:

  • Applesauce — homemade from Gravensteins
  • Academies across the North Pacific Union Conference
  • Advent — the first and the second
  • Angels — my guardians
  • Apostles — especially Paul who wrote my favorite, Philippians 4
  • Acreage gifted to the North Pacific Union Conference and sold to benefit the Lord's work
  • Almonds still warm from roasting in the oven
  • Alpine flowers on Mount Rainier and in Switzerland
  • Apricots, avocados, artichokes, asparagus

Some of the B group: banana bread, balmy breezes, blueberries, baby boys, beds, butterflies, beets from the garden and brownies. And the Cs like caring compassionate church congregations — extra points, you know, for double, triple or quadruple alliterations! You get the idea.

When you sit down and really think about it, it's Thanksgiving every day. We are indeed abundantly blessed above all that we could ask or think. LIDGTT FTATIM. "Lord, I DO give Thee thanks for the abundance that is mine."