Happy Sunday! We are kicking off Thanksgiving week! Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday, so I am definitely looking forward to all this wonderful week holds.
I have seen many on Facebook and other social media outlets start their countdowns to Thanksgiving a few weeks ago. Every day they post something that they are thankful for. Some do "40 days of thanks," others have their own methods. Even though I have not participated in this sort of thing before, it really is a great practice. This time of year has a way of bringing to light the even the tiniest blessings in our lives. While I love the holiday, thanksgiving is actually something that we need in our lives constantly.
In 1 Thessalonians, Paul gives us this advice himself. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says,
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Paul gave this piece of advice along with several others in these final verses of 1 Thessalonians. You see, when you've been around, done a lot of living, and you have seen a lot of things, you feel the need to share the lessons you have learned with others. I believe that is exactly what Paul is doing here. Be thankful in all circumstances... Sounds like there is a story behind that statement. Whatever the backstory may be, it is probably related to this statement that Paul also made:
Again, sounds like he definitely learned from experience.
You know, it really isn't the easiest task... being thankful in every circumstance. We can all agree there are times when we can't help but be overwhelmed with thankfulness. Perhaps we are simply more conscious of the many blessings we have, or we are going through a time of great blessing. Whatever the case, it is much more natural to be thankful in times as those. Then there are the other times... when it doesn't come quite so naturally. But whether it comes naturally or through intentional effort, we must practice thanksgiving. And here are some reasons why:
Just as Paul, we too are bound to experience times with plenty and times with little. Now, this is not just in relation to our mu-lah. Sure, there are times when we have more than at other times, but there are times when we have plenty in regards to where we are spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. There are times when we are vibrant in spirit, and times when we are not as vibrant. There are times when the cultivating we are doing inside our souls is paying off BIG TIME! And times when there is more work than reward. And come on now, there are times when our relationships are so deep and rewarding and times when they are ______________(you can fill in that blank).
BUT, when we learn to be thankful so much will change. We will learn that even in the times with little, there is so much happening and so much to be thankful for. Be thankful for the times with little! Yes, I said it. Be thankful! Because during those times you realize just how much you really have.
I love when Paul (the assumed author) says in Hebrews 12 to throw off all the things that weight you down and hold you back, and run your race. He says, "We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith." We set ourselves up for a win whenever we just keep our eyes on the prize... Jesus. When we keep our eyes on Jesus the weight comes off, we stop tripping on what we have been tripping on for the longest, and we run our race well. Giving God thanks draws our attention back to Him and sustains us as we run the race and fight the good fight.
Did you know we were created to worship God? That's right, we were created with the purpose of worshipping God. Worship is a powerful thing. It draws God to us (Psalms 22:3), it draws us closer to God (John 15:4), it points unbelievers to God, and it brings God pleasure (Psalm 147:11), just to name a few. Giving thanks is giving back to God... not what He needs, but what He deserves. Giving thanks to God can be our way of bragging on how good God is. And He IS good, ISN'T HE?
There are some sweet-hearted people who love to serve and do things for other people, but then HATE the recognition it brings. Do you know someone like that? Maybe it's you, but they just don't want the attention. They would much rather get a personal, "thank you," or something of that nature. However, God doesn't mind the recognition. God is worthy to be praised, and He desires to be praised. The whole earth brings praise to the Creator, how much more should we have a lifestyle of giving praise and giving thanks.
This week let's get ROOTED in thanksgiving. Yes we are going to be celebrating all of God's blessings this holiday, but let's determine that we are going to be women who have thanksgiving in our hearts, in our mouths, and in our lives. Be sure to download this week's verse, put it on your computer, tablet, phone, print it out, whatever is best for you. But get this message in your heart, that no matter your circumstance, you will give thanks.
I will leave you will part of a Psalm that I love and often speak out when I am giving thanks to the Lord.