23 Nov THANKFUL
As we all gather around the table with friends and family, we hope that these thoughts on thanksgiving from our EbCo Team will bless and encourage you. We are so thankful for you, our readers, and how you have helped grow our ministry! Happy Thanksgiving!
“Let all that I am praise the Lord, with my whole heart. I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” Psalm 103:1-5
The more we rest in the truth and finished work of the cross, the more we experience joy and thankfulness. If we look to our circumstances to provide happiness and contentment we will never be filled. But Christ has already come to complete what is missing in our lives – He has come to give us hope and a future. The amount of joy we experience depends on the depth of our thankfulness. In Psalm 103, David speaks through praise and thankfulness. He experiences joy through his thankfulness for all the redemption God has already provided him and the promises he’s been given. Look at what God has done for you. Where has He brought you, what has been restored? Can you use the journey to remind yourself of the tender mercies and good things you have been given? Be thankful today for the lovingkindness of the Lord, and rejoice!
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore, my heart celebrates, and I give thanks to Him with my song.” Psalm 28:7
This verse boasts on the back of my favorite shirt. A shirt a friend and I designed in honor of my daughter, June, who was born into the arms of her Heavenly Father earlier this month. This week, over Thanksgiving, my husband, two daughters, and I are traveling to the Big Bend area to spread June’s ashes across what I think is some of the most breathtaking terrain this side of Heaven. The fact that we get to mark this time of grief and celebration as a family on Thanksgiving is, well, astonishingly appropriate. After all, it is THANKSGIVING that allows me to grasp joy in the midst of my deepest sorrow of life. If you read the EbCo encourage post on “WAITING”, I write about David’s life in scripture. In studying and observing his life, I have found that he endured persecution, constantly fled in fear from an army who wanted to kill him, cried out in deep regret for past sin, and even endured the loss of his infant son. I flip over to Psalms and read David’s heart around his suffering – his journal, really. Yes, there are deep laments in his writing, but it’s hard to find a Psalm that does not talk about giving thanks to the Lord through his trials, fears, and regrets….and singing a new song in response.
So here I am, in the greatest sorrow of my life, facing a command to give thanks to God and sing a new song. I’m not gonna lie, that’s not exactly what I feel like doing right now. Thanking God for this circumstance….singing a song of joy and praise…it’s the opposite of the current posture of my heart. But, thankfulness is kind of like forgiveness. You must proclaim it even before you feel it. You must proclaim it even before you see the outcome. Proclaiming thankfulness changes your heart. It opens it up ever so much and gives God permission to infuse it with joy even in the deepest sorrow of life. But How do you go on to proclaim thankfulness when you can’t see beyond this ocean of grief? You thank God for His promises. His promise to comfort you and be your refuge (Psalm 91:4), His promise to give you rest (Matthew 11:28), His promise to give you joy (Psalm 16:11), His promise of eternity (1 John 2:25). Let’s set our minds on these unshakable promises of God and start proclaiming thankfulness even if we don’t feel thankful with our current circumstance. You might be surprised to discover joy just beyond the thankfulness.
Today, as we mourn the loss of our daughter, June, we will sing a new song, proclaiming thankfulness through the tears and opening our shattered hearts to The Lord’s promises of refuge and joy.
“Then you will joyfully draw water from the springs of salvation. On that day you will say, ‘Give thanks to the Lord! Call on his name! Make his deeds known among the peoples, declare how exalted is his name. Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed — this is being made known throughout the earth.’” Isaiah 12:3-5
When we joyfully and deeply drink from the springs of salvation, thankfulness flows out of us. And at the heart of thankfulness is a desire to make God’s deeds known – to proclaim and declare to others the goodness, grace, and victories that God has made provision for. Our salvation is the greatest gift we could ever imagine, and it’s certainly enough to get us on our feet singing for joy! But our Heavenly Father continues to give good and perfect gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11, James 1:17). What wonderful deeds do you have to give thanks for? Perhaps this Thanksgiving you can declare them to those around you. God will get the glory and you will get to be a vessel for making His name known throughout the earth!
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4
As believers in Christ, we can be thankful for what’s to come. This verse says that we will be with Him in glory! We are promised life on the perfected New Earth for eternity. It’s where we will find our soul’s satisfaction. Where we’ll get to live out our ultimate purpose. Where we will enjoy our inheritance as heirs of The King. So we can choose to set our minds on our imminent move to that better home, and find a new perspective on this short life here on earth. If we see this life for what it is, we can loosen our grip, and live out of a grateful heart for what’s already ours.
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” 1 Chronicles 16:8
In this verse the Ark of the Covenant is being brought to Jerusalem and King David wants to celebrate! He wants to tell everyone how great God is! This makes me think…when I’m thankful for things God is doing, do I sing praises to Him? Do I proclaim His name and make His goodness known among my city, my neighborhood, my friends, and my family? Thanksgiving is a powerful witness. He is the reason for our joy and our hope and for this we cannot be ashamed! As Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Let’s make it a focus this holiday season to turn our thankfulness into a mighty witness for Christ and give the gift of eternal life to so many in need of a Savior!