Tuesday, November 22, 2011

what to give thanks for

Many families like mine, I know, have a time around the Thanksgiving dinner table where we share "what we are thankful for."  

Sometimes, especially with younger children, there may be long pauses after we've thanked God for our family and pets.  

So, it's time to think ahead and get a running start on gratitude.  Here's what I came up with this morning...

God exists, and you are not him.  God reigns, not chance!  God rules over creation and history, working all things according to the counsel of his most wise and glorious will.  Give thanks for these truths!  

God is unchanging in his essence, nature and purposes. God is good, his steadfast love endures forever, he is infinitely wise and powerful, and he is not capricious or evil. Give thanks that he is trustworthy!

God has made a beautiful creation: trees, mountains, animals, and many other things.  For all things bright and beautiful, great and small, wise and wonderful -- give thanks to God for all that he has made!  

You are created in the image of God: you can think, feel, touch, love, and make choices. Give thanks for this!  If you have chosen poorly, give thanks that God joyfully welcomes back the prodigals who return. 
God cares enough for us that he has revealed himself to us in words.  He wants us to know him!  Thank him for the gift of His Word, the Bible.

God sent his Son into the world that we might be saved.  Give thanks that he came to us when we could not come to him!

Jesus is God and man in one Person.  He knows our weakness, and he is mighty to deliver us.  Give thanks for such a great Savior!  

On the Cross, Jesus bore all your sin, guilt, shame, debt, and brokenness.  He has carried these off, never to be placed to your account again.  Give thanks for this!

The tomb that Jesus was placed in was only a temporary stay for him.  The Father was pleased with his Son's sacrifice, He is risen forevermore, and the new creation has begun.  Give thanks!

In Christ you have forgiveness, new life, adoption into God's family, and a calling to serve his Kingdom.  Give thanks for your position in Christ!

Is God at work in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure?  Give thanks with trembling!

God gives you a spiritual family for fellowship, to encourage and build you up in Christ. Give thanks for the church!  

God is a God of providence.  He guides your life and provides for your needs: food, clothing, shelter, safety, and much more.  Give thanks for many such blessings you have received!

Do you have a family?  If your family life is happy, that is a gift from God -- give thanks for this!  If your family life is not happy, this is a way God draws you to himself to find the happiness that only he can give. Give thanks in all things!

Do you have friends? Give thanks for the wonderful gift of friendship, for those who stick close to us through thick and thin. Are you lonely?  Give thanks that there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.    

Are you employed?  Give thanks for this.  Are you unemployed?  Give thanks in all things, and believe that he will never abandon or forsake you.  Give thanks to him who supplies all your needs.   

Are you healthy?  This is a gift from God. Are you in sickness, in pain, or in sorrow?  Give thanks that your Father in heaven cares for you, will never leave you, and will one day wipe every tear away. Give thanks ahead of time!

Finally, God will one day banish evil forever, and will establish a new heavens and earth in truth, beauty and righteousness.  Give thanks for the glorious future we have!  

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NAS)

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