“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17- 18; NIV
Can you actually give thanks in any and all circumstances? Do you know that everything we have is His? I was recently reminded of this scripture last week when my car window was smashed and my purse and everything in it was stolen. I was angry yes, but mostly very sad. Sad that someone was either so desperate or simply so brazen, that the enemy could push them to this state; sad that no one in a busy parking lot was willing to step up and stop a thief. And sad that the next few days would be spent on the phone, cancelling cards, getting drivers license, etc. However, in the situation I found many reasons to be grateful and prayerful: The woman I did not know, who graciously stayed with me until the police came; a bus driver who stopped to offer help; my friend who picked up my daughter from school; the policeman who walked me through what to do; and especially for my husband who didn’t freak out and ask me “Why was your purse in the back seat of the car?”
In a time of plenty and harvest it is quite easy to be grateful. But what do you do when things aren’t going your way? Is that when you make mistakes?
Throughout your day, FIND things for which you are thankful – In all situations. If we fail to do that, the enemy is waiting to trip us up. Thousands of articles and books are written on the importance and value of practicing gratitude. If you pick up Psychology Today or most any “self-help” magazine this month, it will be devoted to the benefits of being thankful. This philosophy is not a new concept, nor is it a “new age” idea. It was not developed by psychiatrists, psychologists, or Wellness Clinics; – It is BIBLICAL from beginning to end! Being thankful is an actionable item; we actually can choose to be grateful. In fact, we must “DO” it, even if we don’t “FEEL” like it.
God’s Word is an encouragement to our hearts and reinforces why we need to have a grateful heart.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV)
“I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.” (Psalm 7:17 NIV)
“Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.” (Colossians 4:2 The Message)
I love the Colossians quote especially, because staying alert is so difficult in these days of massive amounts of media and entertainment being fed into our brains.
Years ago, while battling depression, I began a practice of meditation in the form of a gratitude journal. Each night, (or most nights) before bed, I would end the day by forcing myself to jot down at least 3 things for which I was grateful. Some nights all I could say was THANK GOD TODAY IS OVER! (Really!) But this progressed into a practice that has become a part of my life where at times God provides me pages of things to jot down. Hallelujah!
There are days however, when I make some really stupid mistakes, I say things I can’t believe that came out of my mouth. Or I do things that clearly do not honor or glorify God. Or I simply just live out my flesh and not His Spirit. Sometimes these things are a result of the day not going my way, or a crisis situation that comes up, and I give in to the enemy who is taking advantage of the situation. At other times, I am simply not prayed up! What I mean by that is I didn’t spend time with the Lord and get ready for the day ahead. You must prepare yourself every day by getting into the Word, giving thanks for Him, and asking Him to lead you that day.
I want to remind you of the verse we started with today with the Message translation: “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
God’s good, isn’t He? I don’t know about you, but our God constantly amazes me and I am so grateful. I am so glad our God is a loving, forgiving Father whose mercies are new every day! Remember that mistakes are the price you pay for being human; repeated mistakes are the price you pay for being stubborn. Don’t be stubborn!
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I wish you and your family a Blessed Harvest time of Thanksgiving. And I pray that the “God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
~Anna Marie Caulkins
EHM Planning & Development Director