Every year I look so forward to gathering with friends and family around a table filled with food, watching a little football, taking a little cat nap, then ending the evening by partaking in some yummy pumpkin pie loaded with whipped cream (cuz that’s the best part after all)!! I can’t wait!
Haha!! See…true that!
Humor aside…the best part is the “Give Thanks” part because we have SO much to be thankful for. In fact, all those things listed above are some top “thankful” items for me. Friends, family, food, rest, pie…those things are gifts that we can so easily take for granted. If only Thanksgiving could be every day to remind us how blessed we are.
But what if things aren’t so rosy for you? What if you are scraping by and don’t have much to eat? What if you have tension in your home that is going to make g
athering around the table something that makes you want to run instead of embrace? What if the turkey gets burned, the kids get sick, the in-laws say something mean, or there is no rest?! That is real for many of you!! Life is not picture perfect. Life is messy. So what do you do?
There is beautiful power and incredible peace in the heart of one that is truly thankful…no matter the situation.
I love this verse. I love that it says “in everything”…pray about everything then thank Him for all He has done. He wants us to just talk with Him…then be thankful for what He has done. For He has done SO much!
When my kids get grumpy or jealous or begin to complain, I stop them and say, “Give me five things you can be thankful for right now!” It helps them to get their eyes of themselves and what they don’t have and put them on what they do have and how blessed they are. We need to stop and do that too!! Even if life is throwing you a bag of sour lemons and nothing seems to be going right, you can always say, “Thank goodness I have Heaven to look forward to!” We have the hope of Heaven when we believe in Jesus Christ…and if that’s all you have, then that is a HUGE thing to be thankful for that will throw your eyes onto Jesus and off yourself.
The next thing I love about this verse is the promise of peace!! What does it say we will have when we pray about everything and are thankful for what He has done!??!!? – PEACE! It will guard our hearts. GUARD! – like a soldier. It will keep our hearts from sadness, jealousy, anger, selfishness. But we have to be willing to pray and be thankful for what HE has done!!
As I was putting this post together, a Bible story kept creeping into my brain. At first I kept thinking, “Lord, this doesn’t really go with a Thanksgiving post.” But I think I can see why it does now.
In Luke, Jesus tells an interesting parable of a tax collector and a Pharisee. They both go into the temple to pray.
“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank you that I am no like other men –
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all
that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven,
but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house
justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The Pharisee is thankful. But has no peace with God…only self-righteousness.
The tax collector can hardly look at God. However, he went home with peace because he was justified because of his humility and faith in the mercy of God.
There is a difference in HOW we are thankful and what we are thankful for. Just being thankful doesn’t guarantee experiencing His peace.
We need to ask ourselves if we are more focused on the stuff or the person and work of Jesus Christ and what He’s done for me. Remember, the stuff will perish, life will get hard and messy, people will let us down. But Jesus never changes. His love and grace are eternal. Now don’t get me wrong…the beautiful, wonderful things we have are gifts from Jesus!! – and we do need to be thankful for them. BUT, the point here is do we put them in a bigger spotlight than the giver who gave them to us? The Pharisee was thankful for who he created himself to be and what he had. The tax collector was thankful for the mercy God showed him.
When I am thankful, are my eyes on myself, “praying thus with myself” as the Pharisee? – thank you for making me the way I am, thank you for all my stuff that I have worked hard for, thank you for my talents that have made me successful, thank you for not making me like him/her, thank you for my friends and how much they love me! Haha! I laugh, but is there any truth to this? We can be so prideful. Do we think we are self-made people like the Pharisee, pleased with own righteousness? – or do we realize anything good is solely because of “what He has done”…THEN there can be true peace.
Jesus loves me.
Jesus has died for me so that I can know Him and we can be together forever.
Jesus has clothed me with His righteousness and calls me His beloved.
Jesus desires to bless me and shower me with grace so that HIS glory shines and HIS love is seen.
Jesus shows me mercy every day.
Jesus forgives me always…there’s not a sin too big for Him.
Jesus loves me…deeply…have I said that already!?! It’s true.
He has done great things. We have SO much to be thankful for that isn’t even tangible! Grace is the best gift. My salvation in Christ is a gift. It’s nothing I’ve done. It’s definitely nothing I’ve deserved. I deserve death due to my sin. If there was a way I could be righteous, then He died in vain. Therefore, if there is anything good in my life…anything…then I owe Him a HUGE thank you. Because it’s by His mercy and grace anything good comes from this life of mine.
When we can humbly come before Christ with a heart of thanksgiving realizing HE has done great things for me and I owe Him my life…THEN, peace flows in. Humble hearts hold peace. In my humility, I acknowledge He is truly the one in control. Then, I am able to sit in the back seat, enjoy the comfort of His love and be thankful for the view…in peace!
I am so thankful HE is loving, kind, gracious, merciful, righteous, holy, strong, sovereign, and my Beloved…the King of Kings.
He is the true Peace that will guard my heart!
On this Thanksgiving day, let’s focus on Jesus and what HE has done for us!! – and allow Peace to fill our hearts!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! xo!