Friday, January 13, 2012

Thankfulness

Isn't it amazing how God can put something on your heart one day, and, once you’ve forgotten about it, remind you about it the next day.. then a few days afterwards, then three times the next week? This is not coincidental. When
you serve a God like mine, there is no room for “coincidence”.

One of these things that has been twirling itself over and over in my mind like an ipod stuck on re-play (If it is even possible to get an iPod stuck on replay) is thankfulness.

Before you roll your eyes and hit that little red X button on the top right of your screen thinking that you’re perfectly thankful enough and don’t have the time nor the patience to read my thankfulness jibber-jabber, I ask
you to consider the following quote:

“What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for
yesterday?” ~Unknown Author

I have one word… Ouch.

Now do still think you’re perfectly thankful? If you do, leave a comment I’ll make a mental note to rush you to a psychologist (you’ll thank me sometime later in life, believe me). But don’t take what I’m saying the
wrong way. I’m not pointing fingers. In fact, I personally could probably count the things I thanked God for yesterday on one hand. That is bad.. Very, very bad.

Let’s dissect the above quote a little bit. Grab your pen and paper!

What are some of the most likely things you thanked God for yesterday? Food is the first thing that comes to my mind. If you prayed over breakfast, lunch or dinner last night, than you initially thanked God for food, right?
Well, that’s good. We have food on our list of things that we have for tomorrow, we won’t starve. But before you turn all happy-go-lucky-- “Yay, I have food!!”-- I have a question for you… Did you specifically thank God
for your dinner last night, or did you just utter an “Amen” after your dad said the prayer, remembering absolutely none of his words because you were much too focused on guarding your plate from that detestable little stinkbug that always seems to make its way into your mashed potatoes?

Maybe for all you fortunate people (unlike me) it wasn’t a stinkbug that your mind was enveloped with. It was another distraction. Maybe your mind was wrapped around a conversation you just had with your best friend, those new zebra striped high heels that you just bought, or your boyfriend. It could be anything, but the point is that it probably wasn’t thanking God for the food set in front of you. Thankfulness has to be pure, and thankfulness has to be with your whole heart. You can’t half thank God for something.

So, if you initially and whole-heartedly thanked God for your food last night, keep it on your list of things you will have tomorrow in your day-of-having-only-what-you-thanked-God-for. But if you were distracted by the fact that your make-up was smeared, cross “food” out of your list. Fasting won’t be too bad for one day, right?

Alright, onto dissection number two. Many different things could have come to my mind as far as this “second dissection”, but I felt that while this one was relatively unusual (as in, something that wouldn’t generally come
to a normal persons mind) it was a perfectly worthy point.

Have you ever thanked God for… energy? Recently, I developed a semi-serious mono related sickness. If you are familiar at all with mono, or have had it yourself (my condolences for those of you with the latter answer)
you will know that it leaves you with absolutely no energy. Opening the car door, or climbing a flight of stairs seems so ordinary for healthy people. In fact, you probably hardly notice it when you do something so mindless. But when you don’t have any energy, it can become hardly “mindless”.

The truth of the matter is that God made you, breathed life into you, and as an extra bonus He blessed you with energy! But have you ever thanked Him for it? Have you ever even realized how beyond blessed you are to have the
ability to function and do things?

If you didn’t thank your God for energy yesterday, than you might as well cross that off your list too. You’ll have to lay in bed all day and feel like a weak blob of jello—but wait, you don’t have a bed because you forgot to thank God for it yesterday when you crawled under your covers. In fact, it’s raining because God blessed the land with a refreshing rain, but you forgot to thank Him for a roof over your head, so you’re out in the rain. You’ll have to curl up under a tree and wait it out. You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? It’s beginning to look like a really bad game of dominoes because there is no tree for you to curl up under—You forgot to thank God for His beautiful creation and now there isn’t any of it. Actually, if you wanted to go really far, there isn’t actually a world, because you forgot
to thank God for it. Did I mention you don’t exist? You forgot to thank God for bringing you onto this beautiful earth—you forgot to thank Him for your life, for making you, creating you into the beautiful person that you are!
Oops, Houston, we have another problem. A big problem. We all—every single one of us forgot to thank God from the depths of our soul for sending His own son to die for us. We didn’t thank Him for salvation.

Have you figured out that your day-of-having-only-what-you-thanked-God-for has turned into a disaster? I could use a better word... a tragedy, a calamity, a catastrophic event?! Yet we know that God could do that to us in a split second. He could take everything we have—the things we take for granted every day of our lives—the thousands
upon thousands of blessings we have never thanked Him for, yet He still pours out upon us. Why? He has every right to take them away from us—because we don’t even deserve them! We deserve fire and hell, yet every day we are blessed with food, clothing, energy, a bed to sleep on, God’s creation, rain to soothe the parched ground, the world, beautiful life and most importantly—salvation! These things I have mentioned are an extremely small part of what God has given us yet we never thank Him. We never thank Him.

I don’t even need to sum anything up in this last paragraph. You already know what you’re going to go do, right? You’re going to finish reading this article, then run to your bedroom and take some time to thank God for every
blessing that He has poured upon you. You’re going to write them down—and never ever forget them.

1st Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give
thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus
for you.”

There is a lot I could say about that verse.. For now, I will bring out that all three of those things are commands. We are commanded to rejoice always, we are commanded to pray without ceasing, and we are commanded to give thanks in all circumstances. Do you give thanks in all circumstances? No matter what? I know that sometimes I don’t. We need to change. Our lives need to change, and we need to all put on hearts of pure, complete, and whole gratitude. Will you join me?


Love in Christ,

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"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of a man does not produce the righteousness that God requires." ~ James 1:19-21

"So whether you eat, or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." ~1 Corinthians 10:31