Stop and Give Thanks

It would be an understatement to say I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. What did you expect? After all, the holiday is centered on my two biggest interests: food and football. Growing up as a kid, I could think of no better treat then sitting on my grandparents couch with an overflowing plate watching the Cowboys lose (the Redskins fan in me is finally exposed). Yet, my family had a tradition which often put a kink in my plans. Before saying grace, each person gathered around the table had to share what they were thankful for. It always baffled me why my family didnt understand that I wanted to show my thankfulness for football and food by digging into the grub and getting back to the pigskin.

Now, as I grow older, I am beginning to realize why we have a holiday dedicated to the act of thankfulness. Gratitude isnt a natural act. In the midst of our busyness, we rarely pause and give thanks for what weve been given. While faced with a difficult circumstance, the last thing on our mind is remembering to rejoice over God working everything out for good. Our thoughts tend to gravitate towards what we dont have rather than counting our blessings. Even in the process of our growth, we are quick to point out our shortcomings rather than looking behind us and being grateful for the many ways God has formed our character.

So, the focus for todays blog entry is very simple: to pause and give thanks. Below youll find scriptures along with a few reflective exercises designed to help you express gratitude over the growth that has occurred through your One Word. If you are in the habit of journaling, mark this moment by taking some time to write out your thoughts. My hope is that youll use this as an opportunity to rejoice over Gods faithfulness to you.

Psalm 118:28-29 (NIV)

28 You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. 29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Take a moment and reflect on how Gods love is consistent even in the midst of our inadequacies and failures with living out your One Word.

Romans 6:16-18 (NIV)

16 Dont you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obeywhether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

Take a moment and thank God you are no longer a slave to sin.

1 Corinthians 15:56-58 (NIV)

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Take a moment and thank God for the victories youve seen in your character over the past year.

Ephesians 1:15-17 (NIV)

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all Gods people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

Take a moment and thank God for the people who have come alongside you in your journey to reflect Gods heart.

Philippians 4:5-7 (NIV)

5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Take a moment and reflect on the areas in your life where you are currently struggling to experience peace. Thank God that He is using this event to bring you closer to His side.

Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)

6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Take a moment and thank God for how your One Word is beginning to take root in your character.