Thanksgiving is here again. It's amazing how fast the years pass us by, and even more amazing just how much can happen all in one short year. This past year has seen us go through so many ups and downs at our house. We've had health issues, a rough pregnancy and the birth of our first son, a transition to parenthood, family crises, and so much more. Even though the year has been a stressful one, I know without a doubt that we have so much to be thankful for. My prayer is that I can be thankful every day this coming year, not just on Thanksgiving!
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)
We Should Be Thankful In All Circumstances
As the verse above tells us, we should be joyful always, pray and give thanks in all circumstances. Why? Because it's God's will for us in Christ Jesus.
Why should we be thankful in all things? Because by being thankful we focus on the good things in or lives, and focus on our blessings that God has given us. By focusing on the good we have a better outlook on life, and we're happier people!
I know first hand that it isn't always easy to be thankful, especially when you're in the midst of hard times. It's so much easier to dwell on the misery and allow the negative to overwhelm. Looking back, however, I see that even the hard times have been used for so much good in our lives. I know this may sound a bit weird to some, but I'm so thankful for how God has used the hard times in our lives as well – taking negative situations and turning them for good.
Being Thankful Requires Discipline
I've found over the years that most things that are worthwhile will require some sort of discipline. Being thankful is one of those things that will sometimes require discipline – just like exercise, reading your bible or writing a blog post every day.
For me one thing that I've started doing is to start off all my prayer sessions first with words of praise and thanksgiving – before I jump into my list of “wants and needs”. More often than not by thanking God for all of his blessings, his saving grace and the positive things he's doing in my life, by the time I get to my requests they don't seem as important anymore!
Another thing I want to do this coming year is to thank Go for my blessings when I'm feeling down or upset. Again, feeling thankful can change your mood extremely quickly.
I Am Thankful Because I Know I Have Been Given More Than I Deserve
One of the reasons I am so thankful this Thanksgiving is because I know that God has seen fit to bestow so many more blessings on me than I deserve. I've got a wonderful and loving wife, a new baby boy, 2 wonderful extended families, loving friends, a church we love, a good job, a nice house, clothes to wear, more food than we could ever eat, and on and on. Just trying to list things out here makes me realize just how blessed we are. I could never list all of his lavish blessings!
What have I done to deserve these blessings? Not much. But God is a loving father who blesses those who follow Him, always giving them more than they deserve.
I Am Thankful Because I Know My Savior Has Redeemed Me
I am a sinner, as we all are, and I know that I haven't done anything in this life that can earn my way to heaven. None of us is good enough to just get into heaven on our own merits. We need Jesus Christ.
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:22-24 NIV)
We have all sinned, and we all need Jesus Christ to save us by his gift of grace. We can't do it on our own – we needed Jesus to die for our sins on the cross so that we might spend an eternity in heaven with him. That's the ultimate gift to be thankful for!
Today I thank Jesus Christ for saving me from my sins, and giving me his gift of grace so that I might spend an eternity with him.
Do you want to receive that gift as well? It's available to anyone who accepts Jesus Christ into their heart. If you want to ask him into your heart, and make your life whole, just pray this prayer. When you're done, tell someone the good news (or tell me)!:
Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen