Friday, November 25, 2011

Everyday Thanksgiving

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  It is a day that we are supposed to set aside as a solemn day of thanksgiving for all that God has done for us.  Of course, like all holidays, the world has greatly influenced the day to where the real and original meaning have been lost in football games, drinking, and family.  Don't get me wrong I did watch football yesterday and I enjoyed time with my wife's family.  None of those things are wrong, but they should not overshadow the greater meaning of the day.  It was a day of thanks and probably my favorite part of the day was when we all took turns saying what we were thankful for.  The worst part of the day was during the Cowboys Dolphins game where there was a halftime concert on behalf of the Salvation Army.  The Salvation Army is not only a Christian organization, but it is also a church.  It is actually a denomination.  Supporting a Christian organization is a good thing, doing so with music that glorifies and celebrates fornication and other sin is not.  Shame on the church (if they had a part in allowing it), shame on the NFL, and shame on the television network.  That said, and being that today is Friday, I just wanted to a short post on thanksgiving.  What is it we should be thankful for?  The answer is everything.
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV
That just about sums it all up, but I want to share one other verse to put in context what I mean. 
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  1 Timothy 6:6-8 NKJV
We live in a time where prayer has become for many a list of requests.  We want more stuff or better circumstances and we pray to God for those things day in and day out.  There is nothing wrong with laying out our concerns and request before God.  God has even told us to cast all of our cares upon Him because He cares for us.  What I am saying though (and this is as much for me as anyone else), is that we should be spending more time thanking God for what we do have.  God knows all of the needs you will ever need and we need to trust that God is going to meet them.  What we can't trust is that God is going to meet them in the way that we desire them.  That is a good thing.  We certainly have ideas of how we think that our needs can be met, but God has His own ideas and His ideas are so much better than what we can come up with.  What I am saying is that instead of constantly asking God for things, we should be thanking Him for those things we do have.  Even if you think its not the best or even if you think that it is not adequate, thank Him anyway.  I say that because we need to trust that no matter how we perceive things to be, that God knows infinitely better.  We may not know how something will work out, but we need to trust God that it will.  Who knows, maybe if you take a moment to stop asking for more, God will begin to reveal to you the gift of what you have now. 

Yesterday when it was my time to give thanks I fumbled through some words but tried to make the point that I was thankful that God knows better and does not always gives us what we ask for when we ask for it.  Many of you know the Garth Brooks song "Unanswered Prayer" about being thankful for those times when God gives a different answer than what we thought we wanted.  I was thinking yesterday about the other relationships I was in before I met my wife that I prayed would all work out.  I remember the job choices I once had or the decision to move away to Tennessee and all the other things in my life that I hoped and prayed would work out, but just did not.  At the time, I was disappointed.  More than that, there were times I was downright depressed.  I questioned God as to why this did not work out or as to why things just kept the same.  I asked God why everything was such a failure.  Boy was I ignorant.  The answer to the question as to why God does not always give us those things we think we desire is because we do not even know all the options.  I mean, if any of those other relationships had worked out then I would have missed out on the best one of all, that being my wife.  What we always need to keep in mind is that, first of all, God will give us the desires of our redeemed heart and, secondly, that God not only knows what we thing we desire now but that which we will desire even more in the future.  I was blind to it, but through all those years God was giving me the desire of my heart, which was to put me in the right place and circumstances to meet the one I would desire the most.  I just did not know it!

The moral of that illustration (and thank God for even reminding me of it in my own life) is that we have to put our faith in God that even when our prayers are not answered the way we think we want, it is only because God is working something better out.  We must put our faith that while we think we know what we want or need now, only God knows if there is a better option we do not even know about in the future.  We must rest in the faith that whatever our circumstances in life are, they are the circumstances that God has for us and that no matter how things may seem now, they are only the means to a better future.  Thank God for what you have and appreciate all that He has bestowed upon you.  Think of what you do not have only leads to misery, but appreciating the wonderful gifts God has filled your life with leads to joy.  Most of all, thank God for sending Jesus whose sacrifice made the way for all this to be possible. 
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things [are] noble, whatever things [are] just, whatever things [are] pure, whatever things [are] lovely, whatever things [are] of good report, if [there is] any virtue and if [there is] anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.  Philippians 4:6-8 NKJV

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