This is a repost from last December. I found myself struggling for joy this morning and realized that I was not fighting hard for it and was not commanding my soul to be thankful. I went back and read this reminder and was encouraged…may you too be blessed today in the fight.
I have started the practice of keeping a list of the good gifts from the Lord each day. Right now it is on my computer, but I hope to transition to an actual journal soon so that I can keep it with me throughout the day. As I have done this, it has been a tremendous help in giving my mind some tracks on which to run. It has brought to my attention how much I live by my feelings, rather than truth. I have had to scratch and claw at times to find something to be thankful for (after the 4th time of disciplining my children for the same thing…after I’ve committed the same sin of impatience toward my kids for the fourth time that hour. I am sure you understand!) So when my sin is all I can see – I am forced to either quit and curl up in the fetal position or else repent and focus on the cross of Christ where ALL of the wrath for my sin was born – where the power of my sin was broken! Praise God!!!
In an attempt to keep Christmas simpler this year, I decided that this would make a good gift for a family member. So I purchased a really nice journal and wrote the following to put inside:
“This journal is given to you for the collection of your daily thanksgiving to your Heavenly Father in the coming year and beyond.
- We are Christ’s. A thankful heart is central to being a Christian! We have been bought with His blood. He is worthy of all our thanks!
“I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” Psalm 7:17
- We can only be thankful because of Christ! It is through Him that we offer our thanks to God. It is only through Him that we have every blessing lavishly given to us. Every blessing includes marriage (good or bad one), singleness, sickness, health, poverty, riches, children, barrenness, youth, age, well-behaved children, disobedient children, sunshine, rain, plenty of food, starvation…
“…be filled (or be being filled) with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 5:18b-21
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57
- We are the instrument God uses to spread His fragrance and knowledge across the globe. A thankful spirit is a sweet-smelling aroma of and to God!
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
- Thanksgiving is a sacrifice. SACRIFICE! That means “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.” We must give up the grumbling, complaining and discontent fault-finding. And we CAN! We have been given the victory in Christ!
“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” Psalm 50:23
- Lack of thanksgiving is a mark of those who are lost – those not found to be covered by the blood and righteousness of Christ – those whose hearts have been hardened by their arrogance and foolishness.
“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 2:21
- Thanksgiving to the Lord is a gift you pass on to the next generation, whether it be children, grandchildren or just the body of Christ. Money and things come and go – but the example of a heart of thankfulness in any circumstance is a true treasure and gift.
“But we are your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.” Psalm 79:13
- God has given us everything – even the very breath we breathe! Everything from His hand is a good gift, and we say ‘thank you.’
…set their hopes…on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17b
“…who (those who have departed from the faith) forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:3-5
- We are to pray and be thankful for everyone – Christians and non. We know there is no perfection found in anyone – Jesus Christ was the only perfect one to walk this earth. However, the image of God IS found in everyone. So our thankfulness is not rooted in the kindness, goodness or perfection of others. It is rather rooted in Jesus Christ. He has given worth and value to His creation – because of Him. He is doing a beautiful work in those who are repenting and believing – all because of Him. It is all about Him! So all our thanks goes to Him!!
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people…” 1 Timothy 2:1
- We are commanded to give thanks! Plain and simple…
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7
“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:4
“…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
- We are commanded to give thanks in ALL things – for all circumstances, for all people, for everything!
“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
- We will be worshiping God for all eternity – bowing before Him in thankfulness and worship of His greatness. Start now. Start with this journal. Keep it handy throughout your days this year and jot down each thanks (even those that take some thought and prayer to dig up). Let’s let our lives be transformed as we behold the beauty of God in the face of Jesus Christ – one gift at a time.
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 7:9-12