Posts Tagged With: Thanksgiving

Truly Thankful

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With Thanksgiving being tomorrow, it is hard to not think of all the things we are thankful for today. However, I think true thankfulness only comes when we really understand who we owe our thankfulness to. Everything we have and everything we are is because God has gifted it to us. Take a moment and really let that sink in. Everything you have, look around at all of the possessions, provisions and people God has provided in your life. Then think about yourself and your health, skills, talents, intelligence, freedom, etc. God has gifted you with.

We would have nothing and wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the Lord. He created us and He loves us. That alone is deserving of our thanks, not to mention everything else He has blessed us with. 

Psalm 69:30

I will praise the name of God with a song;
    I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

The word ‘thanksgiving’ is the Hebrew word ‘towdah’. “It means praise, thanskgiving. The word depicts worship by the presentation of songs of thanksgiving and praise that extolled the mighty wonders of the Lord.”1 This verse describes true thankfulness that cannot be contained. Being so thankful that you can’t help but sing songs of praise to the Lord. 

When we think of being thankful, we often think of simply saying thanks for all God has done for us. However, when we truly understand all He has done for us, it is more than simply a few words. The Hebrew word ‘todah’ is a “word that describes an offering of thanks or a sacrifice of thanksgiving”. It is an attitude of the heart that truly wants to make an offering of thanks to the Lord. 

Are you truly thankful for all the Lord has done for you? How can you show Him your thankfulness today? Let’s keep that in mind as we celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow!

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Holidays and Families

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Thanksgiving is upon us this week and Christmas is right around the corner. Holidays mean spending time with families. For some that can be a blessing and for others, the thought of spending a lot of time with extended family can bring on stress. Regardless of how you feel about time with family at the holidays, there is something we can do to make it more joyful for everyone.

Romans 12:18

18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Thanksgiving and Christmas with all of the preparations that go with them can be a stressful time for many people. We have more things to do and less time to get our regular duties completed. We generally don’t behave our best when we are experiencing stress. However, we have a choice in how we treat others. We have a choice in the words we use, the tone with which we speak and the way we act. We can choose to speak words of kindness in a pleasant tone rather than responding with irritation. 

It is all about what we choose to do. The Scripture in Romans is a beautiful reminder that we are called to live peaceably with ALL, not just those who are easy to live peaceably with. Sometimes, those in our family can push our buttons easier than anyone else. However, we always have a choice in how we respond.

James 3:18

18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Let’s be people who reap a harvest of righteousness by sowing peace in our families this holiday season. One way to help you be a peacemaker is to spend time with the Lord in prayer BEFORE spending time with your family. Seek the Lord and ask Him to empower you with His Holy Spirit to be a peacemaker in your family. Ask Him to reveal ways you can bring peace to your family. As followers of Christ, let’s choose to show His love to those around us this holiday season!

 

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Are You Overcommitted?

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As we approach the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, it is a great time to take stock in how we are spending our time. Are you exhausted just thinking about the upcoming holiday season? Maybe you need to think about pruning some of the activities in your life.

John 15:2

2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

We are to bear fruit for the Lord and it is hard for us to bear fruit if we are too busy to spend time with him. When you look at your calendar for the week, are you so busy that you don’t have time spend with the Lord in prayer or spend time reading His Word? If your calendar is already completely booked, it may be time for you to prune some of the activities in your life.

It is not possible for us to bear fruit if, as branches, we are not connected to the vine.

John 15:5

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Another way for us to be connected to the vine is to be part of a Christian community. If your week is too busy for you to be part of a Bible study, small group or to attend church, perhaps things in your life need some pruning.

We live in a society where we feel the more we do the more successful we are. However, Jesus reminds us without Him, we can do nothing. If we don’t have time to spend with Him, we won’t know what He wants us to do.

Spend some time looking at your calendar. Are you saying “yes” to too many activities that are preventing you from having time with the Lord? Seek the Lord and see if there are activities you are involved in that are preventing you from bearing His fruit. Sometimes doing less can actually mean bearing more fruit in your life. More is not always better. Less can be exactly what Christ requires of us. 

 

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Two Thanksgiving Challenges

Psalm 105:1

Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among

the nations what he has done.

Here in the United States, Thanksgiving is only a day away.  It is a wonderful holiday for us to take some time and thank God for all of the many blessings He has bestowed on us.  It is a time of food, fun and family.  As you spend time with your family this year, take time to “make known among your family what He has done.” Many families have a tradition of going around the table and saying what they are thankful for this year.  My challenge to you is to change that up a bit and go around your table and tell of something you are thankful that God has done in your life this past year.  It is a simple twist on a family tradition, but it opens up the conversation to talk about how God is moving in your life and gives you an opportunity to give God all the glory, honor and praise He deserves.

Another thought for this Thanksgiving holiday is that you take some time to pray for those whose Thanksgiving may be a little tough this year due to the loss of a loved one. After the loss of a loved one, any first holiday is difficult without that person presence. I lost a dear friend this summer and I know this will be the first holiday without him for his friends and family.  Another dear friend of mine just lost her mother a couple of days ago and I know this will be an extremely difficult holiday for her and her family. My second challenge to you as Thanksgiving approaches is to take some time to reach out to someone who might be facing this Thanksgiving for the first time without a loved one.

Psalm 106:1

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

We know that the Lord’s love endures forever and that through the power of His Holy Spirit, we can love others with the love that He first loved us with, so let’s do it.  Find someone to show Christ’s love to this Thanksgiving holiday.  Be a source of love, support and encouragement to someone.  Who knows, your love, support and encouragement may just be what they are thankful for this holiday!

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Family for the Holidays

I am sure that many of you will be spending Thanksgiving with family this year.  Our relationships with our family members are the most expressive relationships we have – both good and bad.  They are the people who know us the best because they have known us the longest.  However, the holidays don’t always bring out the best in us.  The holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s tends to be one of the most stressful times of the year and, let’s face it, none of us is at our best when we are stressed out.

Our lives seem to be taken over by cooking, shopping, wrapping, decorating and preparing for family to visit.  It is the preparing for family to visit that I want to talk about today.  The most important preparation we can do is to spend some time with the Lord.  I know there is laundry to do, cleaning to be done, recipes to find, groceries that need to be bought and rooms to be prepared for company.  BUT, the most important preparations take place in our hearts and minds even before the company arrives.

Many of us only see our extended family a couple of times a year.  The words we speak, the way we behave and the way we respond to others will be the memory our family members take with them until the next time we are all together.  The holidays are a wonderful time for us to practice the two greatest commandments.  When Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is, He responds in Matthew 22:37-39. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

If during the holiday season, we start by putting our focus where it needs to be, on God, we will be filling our heart and mind with Him and His love for us.  Then we are told to love others.  Can you imagine how family gatherings might look a little different if we would love God first and then love others?  Maybe some of the same arguments and hurt feelings wouldn’t rear their ugly heads.  Instead of seeing our family members the way they were at one time or the way they once treated us, we could see them from God’s perspective and love them the way He first loved us.  

Start your holiday season off on the right foot and put your focus on the Lord first, then love your family members the way Christ loves you!

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