Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving: The gift that keeps on giving

“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1Thessalonians 5:18

There is much talk today about the will of God and those of us who really love the Lord and are called according to His purpose can simplify our lives by heeding the word of the Lord in this verse.

So, do you want to be in the will of God?  Then begin by giving thanks in everything. Over the years many writers have encouraged us to ‘make our thanksgiving thanks-living’. What an awesome way to end 2012. We can do this, ‘yes we can’ because we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
God in his infinite wisdom knew that we’d be living in tumultuous times.  God knew that job and housing losses, relationship challenges, black Friday frenzy, closed doors, haters, issues of the soul, moral depravity, deception, lawlessness, disappointment and doubt would beset us as we approach 2013.  God knew that the events described in Matthew 24 would play out in the headlines right before our eyes. That is one of the many reasons I love our awesome, mighty, powerful, loving God so much.  Our God loves us so much that He gives us the prescription long before the dis-ease even shows up. The Great Physician prescribes preventive medicine. Take note; He says ‘in everything give thanks’.  Wonder what our lives would be like this holiday season if we just committed to obeying that word.
Thanksgiving magnifies God
 Let me paint a brief picture for you.  In Psalms 69:30 David connects thanksgiving with magnifying God and that’s great news considering how huge our circumstances can loom before us. I don’t know about you but if all I have to do is give thanks to make my God bigger than my rent when my job lays me off , that’s what I am willing to do.

Thanksgiving is the gateway to God’s presence
In Psalms 100:4 the psalmist tells us to ‘enter into His gates with thanksgiving’.   In Psalm 16 and Psalm 91 he says in God’s presence is fullness of joy and security.  Then in Philippians 4:6-7 the writer Paul connects thanksgiving with peace.  If I follow the biblical prescription to the letter then I will consistently give thanks no matter what.  My thanksgiving will gain me entrance into His gates. That makes me an insider and when trouble comes my way my God will be so large that all I will see is Him.  That gives me yet another reason to thank Him and it also stirs up my praise so I can get into his courts, draw even closer to Him. In his presence is fullness of joy.  The closer I get to Him the safer I feel.

Thanksgiving guards our peace
That safety or security is grounds for more thanksgiving, more praise.  I never shut down my thanksgiving and He delivers me out of all my fears.  He even gives me irrefutable evidence of His ever present help in time of trouble---A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. (Psalm 91:7) I can’t help but thank and praise Him.  He’s so worthy.
 I love also that He tells us to clothe our petitions and prayers in thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has to be our ever present attitude. He doesn’t want us to be anxious or fretting in any regard. (Philippians 4:6) If we’re practicing thanks-living our prayers will be full of expectation and we will be content with whatever state we find ourselves in.      
That’s peace.
That’s being at ease.
That’s a divinely healthy way to live.

I cannot encourage us enough to choose thanksgiving as a 24-7 preoccupation in every season.  We’ll all be glad we did.