At Thanksgiving, we oftentimes reflect on WHAT we are thankful for. We think of our family and friends, the freedoms we enjoy living in America, the roof over our heads, the food on our table and the clothes on our backs. We may even think of how God saw us through a difficult time this past year, and we are thankful for His hand of mercy and deliverance. All of these things, and countless others, are definitely things we should to be thankful for.
The way to honor God and walk in His will is to be thankful in EVERY circumstance. Notice all the little things that God does for you – that close parking space, that favorite song that comes on the radio, that super sale on the item you’ve been eying for months, the kind service you received in the checkout lane, that cute dog walking down the street that made you smile, how you avoided that accident just in the nick of time. When we notice these things and stop for a couple of seconds to thank God, we are showing Him our dependence and reliance on Him, our love for Him. We’re letting Him know that we acknowledge His hand of blessing in our lives. He doles out these blessings in hopes that we will indeed seek Him.
That’s why I want to challenge you, that even more than being thankful for the BLESSINGS, let’s be thankful this year for the BLESSER! I believe that being thankful for the BLESSER, above all else, is the greatest and highest way we can fulfill the command we are given in 1 Thessalonians!
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV
You see, every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17). But we have access to those good and perfect gifts through our Savior, Jesus Christ. He died to give us ACCESS to God the Father. It’s through this relationship with Him that we experience the blessing that adds no sorrow with it (Proverbs 10:22). We experience the FULLNESS of redemption and salvation – in our bodies, souls, spirits, relationships, finances… every area of our lives.
But what about those people in the world who have no relationship with God and yet they seem to be blessed and prosperous? Well, I would propose that a portion of what they are experiencing is the mercy of God towards them… His GOODNESS… which is for a purpose:
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4 NKJV
God desires that ALL men are led to repentance and into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We are told to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good and His mercy endures forever (Psalm 107:1)!
Jesus Christ is the ULTIMATE gift that’s been given to us. He is our Lord and our Savior. He is our Redeemer and Friend. He is the Restorer of our souls. He sent the Holy Spirit, who is our Comforter, our Helper, and our Teacher (1 John 2:27). We are never left without a solution to any problem. We are comforted in situations that would attempt to discourage us and try to steal our joy.
Let’s be thankful for the PERSON of Jesus Christ, who never leaves us nor forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). Let’s be thankful for the PERSON of the Holy Spirit, who guides us into all truth (John 16:13). Let’s be thankful for the PERSON of God the Father, who gives us eternal encouragement and good hope (2 Thessalonians 2:16).
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5 NKJV
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us at Celebrate Your Faith!
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 -18
Sometimes life can throw us a few curve balls – also referred to as bumps in the road, hurdles, challenges – you know what I mean. Whether big or small, if it isn’t something pleasant, we often wonder why this terrible thing has happened. I have come to learn that much of the time we will not be given the answer to that question. We may not be able to see the good that comes out of an awful situation, although someone else may; or we may see that good result some years down the road. What it all really comes down to is completely trusting God – even when everything seems like a complete mess.
It was eight years ago this month that I opened my own business. It was a coffee shop and café. I spent a year learning the business, putting together my business plan and saving my money. I had no doubts this was going to be a big success! The five years that I owned that business were some of the toughest years of my life. The business required that I work many hours, quite often without pay. It also meant being too tired to go out with friends, being too broke to go out for dinner and spending much of my waking hours trying to figure out how to do business better. I learned how to create a budget, follow a budget and how to respond to unexpected circumstances that impact business. It was those unexpected circumstances that would make me cry out to God, “Why are you having me do this? I thought this was what you wanted me to do! What am I doing wrong? Where are You?” Although the business was profitable, it certainly was nothing to brag about and it definitely was not helping me build up savings for my retirement years. So, after five years, with mixed feelings of sadness and relief, I sold the coffee shop. I wondered if I just wasted five years of my life – what could I possibly have gained from this?
It is now three years since I sold my coffee shop, and I cannot think of a better training ground for what I am doing today than the five years I spent owning that business. Running a nonprofit organization is not unlike running a for-profit business, but it does seem to have a few more of those “unexpected circumstances.” These do not surprise me or throw me off, anymore. The five years I was in business taught me that “freaking out” does no good. I’ve learned to pause, to trust in God and to lean on Him – always! I’ve learned that God is in the details, including the ones we don’t see. I can see God in the details of the coffee shop, now, even though at the time I felt that God had stepped back from me. Instead, He was teaching me, preparing me for what was ahead. I now thank God for those five years, but I should have started thanking Him then! I hope you can see God’s hand in your life, especially when it has seemed a mess. Maybe you can think of a tough time that you’ve been through and found later that it worked out for good (Romans 8:28). Use that time as a reminder of this truth the next time things get tough. Remember God is in the details and that He will show you those details in His perfect timing. For this reason, it does make sense to give thanks in all circumstances; for when we do, we are living examples that there is hope along the way.
We give thanks for this guest post by Colleen Prudhomme, Executive Director of Christian Recovery Counseling.