Enter his gates with thanks; enter his courtyards with praise! Thank him! Bless his name! Because the Lord is good, his loyal love lasts forever; his faithfulness lasts generation after generation. – Psalm 100:4-5 CEB
What am I passing on to my children? I realize as I watch the news in the morning, my children are usually watching too. I wonder as they watch, what I am teaching them about the ways of the world? Fear of terroists, fear of violence, fear of people with different ideoligies or skin colors? I also wonder what I am teaching them about the ways of Lord and God’s people? Trust, hope, love, thankfullness, forgiveness, grace, compassion, and mercy. Am I teaching the fear-based ways of the world, or the hope/trust/love/thankfullness/forgiven/grace/compassion/mercy-based ways of the people of God? I want to be an idealist and a realist, and I want to pass that balance on to my children.
A hallmark of God-fearing folks is an attitude of trust and a heart of thanks in all circumstances. As Paul writes:
I’m not saying this because I need anything, for I have learned how to be content in any circumstance. I know the experience of being in need and of having more than enough; I have learned the secret to being content in any and every circumstance, whether full or hungry or whether having plenty or being poor. – Philippians 4: 11-12
Over and over again in the Psalms, we are instructed to give thanks. I’ve learned from experience and scripture, (and I’m still learning) contentment. So much of contentment comes from perspective. Do we truly believe we have Jesus, we have God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, we always have hope, and we never have to fear death, because of Jesus place on the cross is the death of death? And if we have truly experienced God’s love in Jesus Christ, how can we not be thankful?
Challenge: As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week here in the U.S., make a list of 100 things you are thankful for. (It’s 21*F outside this morning so I’m thankful for hot water and indoor plumbing.) Then use that list in a time of prayer with God.
Prayer: Lord, you have provided me with so much. Help me never to take it for granted. Teach me to use it for your kingdom, to make your world a better place for all. Teach me your ways and guide me. May we never forget all that you have done for us, may we always be grateful for your provisions and blessings. Amen.
Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Ephesians 5:20