As I sat and pondered these words... slowly... over and over again in my mind, it prompted me to truly ask myself if I understand thankfulness. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we often begin pondering the things we are thankful for in our lives. While this is a beautiful thing, I have been challenged by Christ over the years to instill thankfulness.... in every day.... in every circumstance.
WOW... to say this has been difficulty some days... would be an understatement, however, it has proven to be life changing.
If you spend any time whatsoever in the Bible you will find that giving thanks became a way of life for those who were to Christ. This is one of the major things one should notice changing when they accept Christ.... their heart transforms from self seeking to full of gratitude for a God that has shown them love, mercy and forgiveness like they have never known before.
A very popular scripture in Philippians came to life for me years ago as God conked me in the head with part of it's wonderful meaning....
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
What God revealed to me through this scripture is even in the midst of anxiety and fear, we must present our request to God with THANKSGIVING in our hearts, not bitterness, self righteousness and disbelief, but a heart felt thanksgiving for the One who can do exceedingly more than we could ever imagine....
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." Ephesians 3:20
To say I am extremely guilty of forgoing thanksgiving for self pity and bitterness would be, unfortunately true.
I had the privilege of hearing a remarkable story on the power of thanksgiving while attending a Lysa Terkeurt conference many moons ago. This story expressed the POWER choosing THANKFULNESS, even when there appears to be nothing to be thankful or, can have over your life. It can literally change it's course.
In short, she told a story of her two adopted sons from Africa. They were 13 and 14 years old and living in a very poor orphanage in Africa. Their surroundings were dangerous and nothing short of sad. They had one meal a day and had to walk miles to school, climbing over dead bodies and dodging evil people.
One evening as they orphanage prepared for dinner the oldest boy was asked to say something he was thankful for. He told Lysa, that he sat there and was unable to find anything specific to be thankful for living in those conditions. So, unable to think of anything, he chose to just begin singing songs of thanksgiving to the Lord.
Each night, after that, as other boys were called on to share something they were thankful for, they all chose to sing songs of thanksgiving instead. One by one the boys all began to sing each night while the others joined in with them.
On one of these evenings, as God's providence would have it, there were some individuals form the United States, touring the orphanage and heard the group of boys singing. These individuals told them they needed to come to the United States as a choir and sing. They took these boys to the U.S. and they began singing in churches. One of those churches happen to be Lysa's,
One by one, each one of these boys were laid on the hearts of several families in the church and they were all adopted. The two brothers were adopted by Lysa and her husband.
All because.... one boy chose to stand in sing songs of thanksgiving to his Lord and Savior even though his flesh could not find one thing to be thankful for!
THAT.... IS THE POWER OF THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!!
I challenge you today... that even in your darkest hour.... sing songs of praise and thanksgiving in your heart.... to the one.... that can do.... exceedingly and abundantly more... than we could ever ask... or imagine!!!
Peace and Blessings