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Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:4-5
Thankful is not a word most people would associate with us as we stand and pray for our loved ones and marriages. Those who do not understand say, “What in the world does HE or SHE have to be thankful for?“ But to us, being thankful is a big part of our relationship to Jesus Christ. It even baffles us sometimes, doesn’t it? How can we be thankful in the midst of this crisis? How can we be joyful when our heart is torn in two? How can we be grateful for the circumstances we find ourselves in?
Yet we are. Whether our stand has been short or long, whether the path has been clear or rocky, whether the way has been straight or wandering, we are all thankful for the One who walks beside us. Think about how many times the Lord has been your provider, comforter, refuge and strength.
Think about all the answers to prayer that you have received. That nice guy who stopped to help you change the tire. The check that came in the mail just when you didn’t know how you were going to get by. That friend who called out of the blue because they were thinking of you just when you were feeling you couldn’t take another step. That healing that came when doctors said it wasn’t going to happen. The peace that enveloped you on special days and in tough circumstances when no one could understand how you did it. Yes, for all these things we are thankful.
But more importantly, we are thankful that the Lord has redeemed us, saved us, loved us and chosen us to stand in the gap and pray for the ones we love. With the encouragement of His Word and with the strength of His promises, we continue to walk. It’s not an easy path and many do not understand why we have chosen this road. But we are thankful that even when we stumble or fail, even when we take a detour road, even when are faithless, He shows Himself faithful to us.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. Psalm 145:13b-14
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches once again this year, let us remember all the things for which we are thankful. Thanksgiving isn’t just a day on the calendar or a time of the year. Thanksgiving is a way of life, an attitude, a commitment we make to praise our Lord and King every day, no matter the circumstances. It lives in our hearts and it shows in our prayers. It inhabits our praise and lights our path. It is demonstrated in our unconditional love and celebrated in our forgiveness. It is our way to peace.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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 4:4-7
We need to live in a spirit of gratitude every day of our lives. A grateful heart pleases God. As much as He longs to give us good things, He also longs to hear our thanks. We are thankful that He was willing to die on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and we could have eternal life. We are grateful for the hope He always calls us to and for the chance for communion with Him in prayer. We are thankful for the people He has put in our lives to give us support and encouragement. We thank Him for the mountaintop experiences and the strength to walk through the valleys. We are thankful that He is more than willing to carry our heavy load when the burden becomes too much for us.
A heart of gratitude may not always be an easy thing to come by especially when we are surrounded by doubters or drowning in circumstances. But it can be cultivated. The Lord told us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 that we are to “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” And being thankful is catching. When you are living with a grateful attitude, it can’t help but affect those around you. Being thankful is contagious and it’s something we should be happy to share.
Abba Father, we come before you today and every day with thanksgiving and praise. You have shown Yourself faithful to us time and time again. You are our blessed protector, defender, refuge and strength. You are our source of comfort. When the world around us is falling apart, You are there with encouragement and promises. We are thankful for the task You have set before us and pray that we can be good stewards of all You have blessed us with. With thanksgiving in our hearts and praise on our lips, we bow before You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
A Stander in Nebraska