where love is alive 

Living Thanks

In this time of year, we turn our hearts and minds on Thanksgiving and many of us will ponder and reflect on the blessings and joys that make us thankful this year.  Some will do a thanks a day post on Facebook or you do a list of things you are thankful for to share with you family on Thanksgiving Day.  Whatever your tradition is it is the season of thanks.  But, as Christians should thankfulness just be a season, or should it be a constant lifestyle?  I would challenge each of us to think about a daily mindset of thankfulness.  It can help us to experience more joy and less stress when we realize that none of this is of our own doing but all gifts from God above.

First, let’s be thankful for the people that God has put in our lives.   Three times in scripture when Paul was writing to different churches he said, “I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with Joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”  (Philippians 1:3-5)  He also shared similar greetings in 1 Corinthians and Ephesians.  Paul was thankful for the people that had come alongside him in his journey of ministry.  Just the thought and remembrance of them brought joy to his life.  We all know that Paul didn’t always have the greatest of experiences out on the mission field.  He was imprisoned a few times.  He was run out of town for his teachings.  He had death threats on his life, yet he had joy because he knew that he had people in his life who were rooting for him, encouraging him, and praying for him.  Be thankful for the people like this that God has placed in your life, and let them know often that you are thankful for them and the joy that they bring to your life.  We all need to know that we have people on our side.

Second, a thankful heart will help with stress and anxiety.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.   And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)  When we have a thankful heart it is hard to be anxious, because scripture tells us that “the peace of God” will come upon us and guard our minds and hearts.  If we are not worried about what the person down the street has, or what the lady at the workstation across the office thinks about us, or what will happen if we do this or that, and the list goes on.  If we truly approach life with prayer and thanksgiving, we will have less to worry about.  I heard someone say, “What if when you woke up tomorrow you only had the things that you thanked God for today, what would you have?”  That is a good question.  If that were true, we would certainly spend a lot more time thanking God for His blessings and less time worrying about the things of this life. Do we spend very much time thanking God for his blessings and provisions?

Last, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:16-17)  We are to teach and admonish one another with gratitude.  In whatever we do we are to do it in the name of the Lord giving thanks to God.  We are to live lives of gratitude and thankfulness.  It should permeate our very beings and existence.  Thanksgiving shouldn’t be just a date on the calendar but a way of life.  I would challenge each one of us to start looking at life through the lens of gratitude.  It will be a game changer for all of us.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

(1 Thessalonians5:18)                                                                                                                                                                       -Lanny

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