Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oh No - Not Another Thanksgiving Post! (Oh, Yes!)

Among the hundreds of things I am thankful for, one that comes to mind over and over again is my “small group” from church.  The church I attend is rather large, with an attendance upward of 5,000 on any given Sunday, just at our main campus!  These small groups allow us to connect with other people in a more intimate way outside of attending church on Sunday.  We basically “do life” together.  It is always God-centered; this is a place where we are able to share our highest highs and our lowest lows without fear of being judged or ridiculed.  We are supportive and encouraging of each other, and speaking truth in love to one another is ever-present.

I recently sent out an e-mail to the group as part of a thread that was circulating, and one of my sisters encouraged me that its content would make great blog material, so I took that as a prompting from the Holy Spirit to share this message.

Even though we are only a couple days away from celebrating Thanksgiving, giving thanks is something that goes beyond one day out of the year.  The message is short(-ish), so I hope you’ll continue reading.  I would love to know your thoughts…

I got a little curiosity going in my brain and looked up the words "thanks" and "give" - this may not be new to anyone else, but I know for me there are so many words/phrases I use daily that I really don't even think of the meaning behind them.

to express gratitude, appreciation or acknowledgement to

Give -
to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation

Did you get that?  

"without expecting compensation"

I know that I have been guilty of giving Him thanks out of a sense of obligation, AND in the hope that if I do so He will compensate me with the "desires of my heart" (which aren't necessarily in line with His will for me). 

But that's not how it's supposed to go.

We are to be thankful in ALL things. 

Check this out from scripture:

Not just when we get a prayer answered.
Not just when we are blessed with something awesome.
Not just when things are going our way! 

In ALL things.

In the hurt and pain; in the pit when we are there.  Yes, especially there.

Because although it is unpleasant and sometimes almost seems unbearable, we who belong to Him know He is working it all out for good - for HIS good. And THAT is the *ultimate* thing to give thanks for (in my opinion). Knowing that He is all powerful and working everything out for GOOD. 

On that note, I do sincerely hope you all have a beautiful, blessed Thanksgiving celebration with your families and friends. I pray that it will be Day One of the next 365 that you will continually give thanks to God. 

{{P. S. - I have a favorite blog writer and author, Ann Voskamp, who has written a book on the very subject of giving thanks in all things. Visit her blog here, and read about her book here.  I don't think you'll regret it.}}

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