Monday, November 25, 2013

Let Everything that has Breath Give Thanks

Giving thanks.  Variations of the phrase 'give thanks to the Lord' occur at least 40 times throughout the Bible.  An important topic to our Lord to say the least. It should be equally important to us.

A spirit of thanksgiving. "Sure", I say "I can give thanks. I can offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for the food on the table, the roof over my head, the material blessings that surround me, even the air I breathe."

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!    His faithful love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:39

We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. Psalm 75:1

And, I can certainly give thanks when a prayer is answered as I have asked. When life is good. When I have everything I think I need.

And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. 2 Corinthians 1:11

And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat.  These are the Lord’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.” So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed.” 
Exodus 16:15-18

But, do I really know what I 'need'? Can I really give thanks to Him during the tough times?  Can I thank Him for that trial, tragedy, or tribulation?  The unpredictability that life brings? The pain that often accompanies it?

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Ephesians 5:20

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Ouch! Giving thanks for everything?!  Certainly easier to say than to do. Yet we are asked, in effect commanded, to do so!  It is God's will for us. So then, we must ask ourselves those hard questions once again...  What do we truly 'need'? How and when should we give Him thanks? 

Sorrow is better than laughter,  for sadness has a refining influence on us. Ecclesiastes 7:3

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

So simple yet so difficult. We read it; we hear it.  But when it comes to living it, we deny it.

He desires to transform us. To become more like Him. The potter and the clay.  It hurts. It's hard. It doesn't make sense to the flesh; yet, His ways are NOT our ways. He is increasing our faith and trust. He is reducing our stress and anxiety so that we can find rest in Him and become eternally minded. So that we are free to desire a deeper understanding, draw closer to Him, and develop His character.

Desire something Deeper
 Draw even Closer
 Develop Godly Character

Remember:  HE IS LOVE. He is not motivated by any other reason than His unconditional love for us! He desires an intimate relationship with us unhindered by the flesh. Our definition of love must become His definition of love....

Praise the Living God for what He has done, is doing, and will do. It all has glorious purpose.  Praise Him who is a God of details leaving no stone unturned so that we can relax. Praise Him for being Love and for loving us so much that He gives us just what we need when we need it most! Praise Him for His devotion to us and to our transformation process. Thank you, Lord!

An attitude of gratitude. Always. In everything. 

Receive His grace.
Accept His gift.
Give thanks. 
No matter what.
His love endures...