Ephesians 5:20 (NLT) And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Are you thankful today? It is not always easy to be thankful. Life happens. People are people. Stress this time of year is high. Anxiety from now until January makes it difficult to see the evidence of God’s Provision and Prosperity in our everyday life. This week has been tough. One of our fur babies went to Heaven. Please don’t tell me that animals especially dogs do not go to Heaven. Let me figure it out when I get there…if I get there. I am not always thankful. There I said it. What about you? Do you float on a cloud with a little harp in a pristine white robe of perfection? Or are like me, and some days it is a challenge just to be civil in the midst of performance pressure and long lists of responsibilities? Love has grown cold and it is emanated in a society that is selfish and self-absorbed. I still do not understand why bad things happen to good people. I can’t wrap my head around senseless violence. I know what its like to get an unexpected bill or a whole pile of them. I have kids. They are teenagers…need I say more. But in the quiet hours of this morning, while my whole house sleeps and I trudge to the kitchen to make the Thanksgiving meal. I may not be thankful for everything in my life or some of the circumstance or current conditions but I am content. I am not thankful for everything in my life. But that doesn’t mean I can’t “give thanks for everything to God the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here’s why…
Ephesians 1:3-4 (NLT) All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
Romans 8:37-39 (NLT) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:28 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. I have overwhelming victory because God loves me. And finally, whatever does not line up to God’s Best in my life is not impossible but processing. God has promised to cause everything to work together for my good simply because I love God and He called me to His Purpose. So when I am not thankful for something I can still be thankful because God is working it for my good and I always win. I am a winner because Jesus is my Champion.
Going back to Ephesians 5:20, I made the conscious choice to paint our youngest daughter’s bedroom yesterday and some furniture. I completed the task singlehandedly which usually is a two-person project with my husband. This morning when I got up, my body was as stiff as a board. With each bend and twist something snapped, crackled and popped. I went to get our little dog to feed her and let her out. My heart sank at the reminder her “brother” is gone. I felt a tear rise up. I began to think about our kids who won’t be with us today. My son who will protect and serve today. My daughter and her husband who are serving God in New Hampshire much too far to come home for the day. Sigh… Stepping into the kitchen I became overwhelmed, I know I pared down the menu and tried to simplify some things but I still was overcome by the preparation process. Finally, I realized things were going south fast. So I began to thank God. I thanked Him for my family, home, church and job. Provision. Blessings. The Holy Spirit urged me to be more specific. Naming each blessing right down to the running water in the sink and the disgusting raw turkey I was cleaning. Suddenly, I could feel a change in my heart and the atmosphere around me. Thankfulness gives us contentment. Contentment brings peace.
So to make it simple – I looked up thankfulness in the Word of God and am sharing some tips for those days when it is a challenge to remain thankful. Just to make is easy…
Psalm 50:14 (NLT) Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
The Lord knows that thankfulness is difficult sometimes. He doesn’t condemn us or punish us but waits for us to remember. The Holy Spirit will help us in our weakness even when it is that of being unthankful or taking the Blessing of God in our life for granted. It is okay if your thankfulness is a sacrifice. If life is letting you down, circumstances devastating, people disappointing, or problems plague you – just say thank you for whatever it is that is good. There is always something to be grateful for – always.
Colossians 2:7 (NLT)Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Thankfulness that leads to satisfaction can only be found in a deep and abiding connection to Jesus Christ. There is nothing in this life that can satisfy our soul. We need Jesus. Without Him, there is a longing that will never be satisfied. We must strive to know Him. To remain in Him. To commune with the Lord each day. To invite Him into our life and spend time with Him.
Psalm 100:4 (NLT) Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.
Thanksgiving opens the door to His Presence and as praise pulls back the veil, it allows us to enter His Presence and prepares us for an encounter with the King of Kings. So often we come to Him without acknowledging who He is and dump our mess at His Feet. He is our Lord. We must come with thanksgiving and praise.
Colossians 4:2 (NLT) Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
A thankful heart produces a productive prayer life. It creates intimacy between you and your Beloved. The way one enters a conversation often dictates the outcome.
Colossians 3:15-16 (NLT) And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
When our heart is thankful, it ushers His Presence. Where Christ rules peace is enforced. Always be thankful. When dissatisfaction and discontentment come knocking on the door to our heart, it is up to us if we will let them in. Will I entertain such thoughts? Will I allow this attitude to come between me and my Savior? Will I choose thankfulness? Thankfulness is a choice. We decide to entertain any other concept in our life. We choose who or what is accepted and entertained in our life. We are the gatekeepers of our heart… unless we allow Jesus to be.
I Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT) Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
The things in our life that bring dissatisfaction, discontentment and unthankfulness are usually the areas that the Lord is attempting to gain access to. He wants us to pray about these things so He can reveal His Will to us. Jesus wants His Best for us even when we are willing to settle for a substitution. Compromise is not in the Covenant of God for our life. It is a provision that humans try to write in there when tired of waiting or fear takes over. All circumstances in our life come with purpose, promise and provision. Be thankful for God’s Commitment and Covenant on those days when you are troubled by circumstances. He is always working on our behalf even when we give up or give in.
I Timothy 6:6-7 (NLT) Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.
Finally, let’s put things into perspective. We brought nothing with us into the world. What do you have right now? Look around you. What do you see? Every “thing” that is good is from God. When we leave this world, we take nothing with us except our soul. About that…
Hebrews 12:28 (NLT) Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.
And it is with this thought that I leave you to check the turkey and take a shower to get ready for the rest of this busy day! We have been given life and an unshakeable everlasting Kingdom in Jesus Christ. There is more to life than what we see, how we feel or what we are going through. For this we can be thankful. In each moment of every day, we have Jesus. If you know Him, you know that He is enough. If you have experienced Him, you want more of Him. If you have an encounter, you will never want to leave His Presence again. This life and the things in it will never be as Glorious and Perfect as Heaven. But to see Christ in all things, makes thankfulness simple. Be thankful. In all circumstances friend, for this is the Will of God for us.
Psalm 106:1 (NLT) Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.