Colossians 4:2 (NIV) Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving! Before I hit the kitchen to prepare a holiday feast for our gathering today, I wanted to spend some time with Jesus this morning. Just to say, I am thankful. Humbly and wholly thankful and appreciative for my salvation, freedom and the life that He has given me. It is a good life. Though not without the usual peaks and valleys that everyone experiences traveling from here to forever, it is evident to me that God is good, Jesus is for me, and His Spirit lives in me which is all that I need to make it through the dramatic twists and turns, the shaking and the fallout that has brought me to this place. I have come to understand that we all have something to be thankful for. In fact, I might ever venture to say that with a new perspective on life, people probably have a lot more to be thankful for than they realize. It is hidden in the busyness, scheduling, routines, agendas, discontentment, dissatisfaction, grumbling, complaining and bitterness that is present before we give our life to Jesus. I have found that even living our new life in Christ, there are times when we forget all that the Lord has done and is doing in us so we fall back into these bad habits that cause us to miss all the Goodness and Grace afforded to us through Christ Jesus.
Before the oven heats up, the doorbell starts ringing, the crowds amass, I wonder if we could sit for just a moment in the Presence of God shaking off all the responsibilities, worries, cares and even the excitement of gathering with friends and family to pray and be thankful. I have much to be thankful for. Too many times a person is judged by their exterior rather than what is hidden inside. We immediately become envious and jealous of other people and the life they have based on appearances but have no idea what their life is like in the quiet moments when no one is watching and no one really cares. Too many people are living a pointless, performance life rather than tapping into the wonderful purpose hidden inside them. The very thing that God created in you is good enough to do all that He decided you would do which is more than you can even think to ask for. You are His Masterpiece. With such huge potential, it is by putting our faith, hope and trust in Jesus that we become all those things that He promised. We will be satisfied by just tapping into it and completed by living it. I am thankful for all the things that contribute to this process. It has been a good year. It is a building year for our family as the Lord renews and restores us after several seasons of drought that left us dry and thirsty. I am thankful.
Psalm 118:19-24 (NIV)
Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.
I asked Jesus to be my Savior at eleven years of age. It would take all of my teenage years and twenties to make Him my Lord. For many of my adult years, I believed that Jesus was my Savior and Lord doing everything to make Him a reality in my life. But it was when I could not do anything or help myself that I finally understood the God I serve and His Son who saved me. It was never about what I could do for Him, how I could change for Him, or even who I told about Him. It was all about love and trust. The Lord has desired my full confidence from the beginning. I gave Him what I could live without but did not know He is the One I cannot live without. It took a long time for me to get it. It took me to the edge of death with our son to finally realize that there is nothing I can do to save myself or anyone else for that matter. It is ALL a gift from the Lord. Today, I am thankful for Jesus. I am thankful for salvation. I am thankful for all He has done for me. I am thankful for the Cross and that His Blood opened the door to His Presence for me. He will never leave me or forsake me even when I am rebellious and hardheaded – Jesus waits for me to respond with the tiniest bit of faith. He pours Heaven on me in that moment. I am thankful.
I Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.
I am thankful that I have victory through Jesus Christ. I am thankful that He is All-Powerful. There is no greater power than my God. This would be awesome enough but then I have found that His Love for me endures forever. I have faced many problems in life but none so great as the illness of our son. It shattered me. It changed my whole life forever…albeit for the better in the end. In the journey, a point was reached when the only chance our boy had was for a miracle. God delivered. He is the ultimate power and authority over the lives of those who call Him Lord. He will never let the righteous stumble. He will hold them by their right hand. Salvation makes us righteous so I am covered by the Blood of Jesus. I am thankful for the power and authority that lives in me. I am thankful for the Keys to the Kingdom that I hold proudly in my hand. Jesu gave me all of His Power and I intend to use them. I am thankful that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords today. There is no other God like my God.
Psalm 119:103-105 (NIV)
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
I am thankful for God’s Word – both written and spoken in my life. I used to wonder how anyone could spend hours studying the Bible when ten minutes in I was sound asleep. I tried for years to establish come kind of quiet time. Now…I cannot live without out it. It is one of the ways that the Lord talks to me, instructs me, guides me, comforts me, restores me, and renews me day by day. If you are not thankful for God’s Word, you have not read it enough to experience it. I encourage you to taste and see that the Lord is good by making time to read His Word each day and seek the Lord in prayer. It will make a difference in your life, it has in mine. I am thankful for God’s Word.
2 Corinthians 4:13-16 (NIV)
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Please stay with me. I am almost done. I thank God for renewal that is possible day by day as His New Mercy arrives for our use. Note that I used the world “possible” it is up to us whether or not it is probable. I am very good at bringing my needs and petitions to the Lord. Leaving them is another story indeed. I come to the Lord complaining and grumbling, but when He says, “Here I will take that!” I immediately grab it back clutching whatever it is to maintain control. I am learning to lean and now I have discovered how the Lord renews us day by day. I want to be fully renewed and completely restored. I am thankful for His Process of Renewal. It is called refinement which lends to my discomfort but leads to full contentment.
I Timothy 1:12-14 (NIV)
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
I am thankful for purpose today. I am thankful that God’s Plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11) is not dictated by my circumstances (I Thessalonians 5:18) but somehow in them fulfilled. I can be thankful in all circumstances knowing that He is working it out for my good. (Romans 8:28) As I sit here this morning walking through this year in my mind, one might think that the one-year remission mark of our son would be enough to rejoice. But somehow in the midst of overwhelming victory, I almost gave up on my purpose. I couldn’t see it anymore. Lost in a vortex of five years of disconnection with the world around me, running a race of faith that no one else could see left me tired and disengaged. God is good in everything He does and everything He has created. (I Timothy 4:4-6) I will agree. He has given us a purpose. We are fully equipped to achieve the potential packed in us for God’s Own Pleasure. God uses brokenness to release it in our life. I am thankful for brokenness today. The fact that He loves me enough to back me in a corner, to the edge of a cliff, hide me in a cave or any other proverbial showdown you can think of to get my attention, set me back on track, to release the abundance hidden in my heart for my inspection. I am thankful for that today.
This thing called brokenness has opened my eyes to see my purpose again. My position as a wife and mother. My calling in life. My perspective on change. My future and hope. I have been given forever. (Colossians 1:9-14) I have the opportunity to introduce others to it. I have the profound privilege of serving the One True God who is good. His Unfailing Love pursues me. His Hand of Blessing is on my head. Jesus handed me the Keys to the Kingdom and expects me to use them. I have a purpose not defined by my past or influenced by my circumstances. His Word is all the confirmation I need. His Spirit leads me in battle and guides me from victory to victory. I have a better life just because He lives. Oh, I am thankful today. Yes Lord, I am thankful. How about you? It took a lot for Jesus to get through my thick skin and hard head for me to realize just how blessed I really am. Finally, I can say, I am thankful.
Ephesians 5:20 (NIV)
Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.