1 Thessalonians 5:18In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Thanksgiving has come upon us again! I can't believe how quickly time has passed and how much my life has changed. I remember Thanksgiving in the States... and Thanksgiving here in Mexico... but this will be my first Thanksgiving away from home. It is kind of strange. I have been such a house-body all of my life and most of my memories are with my family. As I have been here at the school I have begun to form my own memories that are somehow apart from my family and I guess that this Thanksgiving will be one of them.
I have always loved Thanksgiving more than most other holidays because of the wonderful history behind it. I just love the idea of setting aside a day of the year to get together as a family and thank God for His grace and all the good things that He has done in our lives throughout the year. Because, honestly, how often do you sit down and really consider all of the things that God has blessed you with? If we all focused more on what we have and less on what we want, we would all realized just how fortunate we are.
That's why I want to dedicate this post to remembering God's goodness. As I was thinking about what to write I picked up my Bible and looked up the word "'thanksgiving". I was amazed at the amount of verses I saw. Here are a mere handful of what I found.
Psalm 95:1-51O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD,Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.2Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.3For the LORD is a great GodAnd a great King above all gods,4In whose hand are the depths of the earth,The peaks of the mountains are His also.5The sea is His, for it was He who made it,And His hands formed the dry land.Psalm 92:1-21It is good to give thanks to the LORDAnd to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;2To declare Your lovingkindness in the morningAnd Your faithfulness by night.Psalm 28:7The LORD is my strength and my shield;My heart trusts in Him, and I am helpedTherefore my heart exults,And with my song I shall thank Him.1 Chronicles 16:8-98Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name;Make known His deeds among the peoples.9Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;Speak of all His wonders.
Here's my list of things that I want to thank God for this year:
- My family. As always, my family has been such an enormous blessing in my life. They are such a great group!
- My friends. I couldn't individually mention any of them because they are all such wonderful people. I have truly been given above and beyond what I deserve in this respect!
- Food to eat and roof under which to sleep.
- Computers! It has been so awesome being able to keep in contact with all my friends near and far.
- Those little moments that make life so special. I feel so loved when God not only gives me what I need, but more than I could ever ask for in precious memories and beautiful moments!
- Being apart from my family. It's been hard, but it has taught me to value free time and family.
- For not having. It has taught me to appreciate little things more than I used to.
- God's provision of daily needs.
- For long walks on the beach during which I have learned to understand the worth of a "time in the desert".
- For trials. As God's Word says, tribulations produce perseverance and perseverance a proven character (Romans 5:3).
- For my Bible. I have come to see it as my best friend!
- For music. It's one of God's best gifts!
- For those who have gone before. It's such an encouragement to be able to see how others were able to go through the same things I am dealing with and, through God's grace, come through victorious!
- For hard situations in which I have felt under-qualified. They have taught me to rely more on God's grace and less on my own resources.
- For my Savior's willingness to die for my sins. That is the greatest gift and most precious blessing of all!!!
Before I finish this post I want to challenge you to stop what you are doing for a moment, grab a pen and paper and write down 10 things that God has blessed you with. Once you finish that, write down 5 things that have happened in your life in the past year (or more) and what God has taught you through them. When we give thanks to God we need to remember that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). That means that you can look at the bad things too and God WILL have them work together for good... it might be hard to see that now, but you can trust in His promises!
I pray that you take the time this Thanksgiving, amid all the hustle and bustle of festivities, to sit down and remind yourself of how awesome a God you serve!