Category Archives: thanks
Day 5: Happy Thanksgiving!
Last year I posted this for Thanksgiving and as I read it over again, I was struck by how many things I wrote are still in the same pattern. So here I am to share it with you once again. Enjoy and be blessed!
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
—Psalm 95:1-3, ESV
This year has been one of ups and downs for me, but the ups far outweigh the downs. The best thing that happened in my life this year concerns my son. After praying diligently for him for many years, he came back to the Lord and was baptized in September. And the day after that, he was on a plane to Albania where he was part of a medical mission team. To say that this mother’s heart was full of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord is a gross understatement!
All around us things are happening that make life a challenge. My daily battle with migraines continues but the pattern has changed somewhat. I still wake up with a migraine every morning and go to bed with one every night. The difference now is that on many days I am migraine-free for about four hours so I can at least feel somewhat human and get a few things done around the house.
The other day a close friend who has been estranged from her son for several years received the sweetest note from him as the first step in a joyful reconciliation. In this note, he asked for forgiveness and told her that God had been doing a work in his heart.
My husband and I were saddened to hear of the recent sudden death of a dear friend we knew when we lived in California. We shared many a Saturday morning over coffee, discussing many things including Biblical matters. We don’t know if he ever came to know the healing power of Jesus Christ, but our heavy hearts are comforted by the fact that God knows, and that is enough for us.
Read or watch the news and it is easy to see that all over the country people are struggling with health and financial issues, family and personal relationships, extreme weather devastation, and job problems. Our cost of living is constantly on the rise in direct contrast to most people’s income staying the same or going down.
And yet, in spite of all this, God is always with us and ever in control.
Is life getting you down? Are you wondering when—or if—your suffering will ever end? Why not do something completely different than what our normal human tendency dictates? I’m talking about a radical approach to everyday life, a way of lifting ourselves up before we get mired down in the muck of life as we know it. Here it is:
thank God for each and every thing in your life, the bad as well as the good.
Wow… really? Yes, really! It is understandably difficult to thank God for illness, questionable finances, family problems…and on and on. But—and here it comes—how we will be blessed!
This is more than the power of positive thinking. It is an inner calm and a peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), not in spite of your circumstances but because of them. See what I mean? Radical, right?
Beloved, our thanks to God ought to be because of who He is, not for what He does or does not do for us. We need to be thankful for every single thing in our lives, whether good or bad, because these are what He uses to shape us into who He wants us to be. And the first and best thing we should thank Him for is the ultimate gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, Who died in our place, for our sins. How awesome is that?
I wonder if changing our thought process this way would change our outlook on life. I mean, if we remember to thank God first for everything in our lives, wouldn’t that change our view of our circumstances?
Since I am a visual person, I like to picture this: place your arms out wide—this is how much we think we need; now place your hands about six to eight inches apart—this is how much we actually need.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive us for not always acknowledging who You are and how much You have given us. Thank You for sending Your Son to die on our behalf so that we can spend eternity loving and worshiping You on Your throne. Help us to always remember that You want the best for us, even when we can’t see or understand it. We love You, Lord, thank You for being our All in All!
“I thank God for my handicaps, for through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.” —Helen Keller
“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” —Henry Ward Beecher
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” —1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
Do you find yourself thinking about things you once were able to do but are not able to any longer? Are you dwelling on past mistakes or times that to you seemed to be better or easier than where you are right now?
I confess that I am guilty at times of dwelling in the past, remembering when it seemed effortless to do something as simple as laundry or taking an enjoyable walk without a lot of physical pain. However, I’ve
found that these “remember when” thoughts only serve to fuel that monster called “discontentment.”
The dictionary defines being content as “satisfied” or “resigned to circumstances.” Being satisfied means we feel fulfilled, but feeling resigned to our circumstances denotes a passive acceptance of our situation. These sound like opposites, but they are not. We can accept our physical limitations and still be satisfied, but it has to be a conscious decision to accept our situation as something God can use in our lives.
I haven’t been able to work at a job outside my home for more than ten years. I have always wanted to write, but never had the chance to do so — until I had to stop working, that is. Now I’m thankful for this chance to do something that has always been on my heart.
It has taken some time, but I’m learning not to let my past dictate my future. Instead, I am acknowledging this “new thing” that God has fashioned in my life as He makes “a way in the desert” to use me in the lives of others.
For every wasteland in our lives, God gives us a stream of living water to help our way through that desert. Those who are not able to scrub the kitchen floor can read a story to their children or grandchildren. If I can’t hammer a nail any longer, God has blessed me with the ability to write in a way that may help others in similar situations. Much has been taken from me, but God has replaced them with more meaningful things, which in the process has brought me even closer to Him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for a brand new year! We are so thankful that You are our Stream in the Desert, even though we sometimes have trouble remembering that. Help us to see that only with You can we ever be satisfied. Amen.
Would you believe that I haven’t always been the most thankful person? Oh, I did thank people out of politeness every so often. But God worked on my heart for many years before I realized the need to express thanks more often.
When I first met Rick, he took me to dinner and I thanked him for that afterwards. The next day we had lunch together and I thanked him for that too. I recall him being very surprised and pleased that I would thank him for such simple gestures and that spoke to my heart as I realized I needed to do this more often.
Thus began my “campaign” to thank Rick for the smallest things, from his carrying out the trash to his offer to help with the dishes—even though I always turn him down This in turn seemed to lead him to thank me for so many little things.
The point is that truly thanking someone for something they did or provided really makes that person feel as if what they did counts for something. Not only that, being thankful breeds more thankfulness and results in a mutually loving attitude that colors your whole relationship. And your life!
So, here’s the challenge: make the effort to thank those around you regularly and wholeheartedly for even the smallest, most seemingly insignificant things. It may take time, but you’ll see a difference in the people in your life because a thankful attitude rubs off on others. And blessing other people this way ultimately blesses you!
Take my word for this. It really works!
As I was pondering what to write today about being thankful, I came across this wonderful devotional by Adrian Rogers. His teachings have always encouraged me, and I hope you are encouraged as well when you read his words here.
A Thankful Heart Is a Joy-Filled Heart
by Adrian Rogers
“These things have I spoken unto you,that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” –John 15:11
Did you know that a Christian without joy is a contradiction in terms? If you are right with God, you ought to have joy in your life! But there are many Christians who live as if they have lost their joy.
Why Is Joy Important?
One of the most important reasons joy is important is to win the lost to Jesus. You can’t go around with a Bible under one arm and a tombstone under the other saying, “Don’t you want to be like I am?” Our best advertisement is the joy of the Lord.
You also need joy in order to have the strength to live the Christian life. God said to Nehemiah when he was building the walls around Jerusalem and the people were getting tired, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). You can’t live the Christian life without joy.
Joy is also essential in order to bear life’s burdens. We all have heartaches and difficulties, but joy is the lubricant of life. The joy of the Lord will remove the burdens from your heart.
Click here to read the rest of this wonderful article!
I love Sundays. Even though I don’t work outside my home any longer, Sundays are still special to me, especially when I am feeling well enough to go to church with Rick. There is nothing like that special time of worshipping and praising God, learning more about Him through His Word, and fellowshipping with friends.
Today is an especially happy Sunday for me. It’s Rick’s and my 13th wedding anniversary. Neither of us can believe how quickly time has flown by. I can still picture his face as he slid my wedding rings onto my finger…
Neither of us could imagine the changes that would take place so soon after our wedding. In the space of four years, I went from being able to work 60-70 hours per week to not being able to work at all. My “new normal” had nothing at all to do with being normal as the world sees it.
I thank God daily for Rick, my beloved. In the face of uncertainties, difficulties and major life adjustments, he has remained steadfast and true. His love for me is evident as he helps me cope with those uncertainties, grieves with me over what was lost, shares my disappointments when we have to cancel fun outings. But the thing is this: he loves me for me, no matter what I can or cannot do any longer. He is my best friend and biggest cheerleader!
So, here’s to us. As Rick and I continue to look to God for every single thing in our lives, may He continue to bless us individually and in our marriage. To God be the glory!
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.