Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks Regardless

Happy Thanksgiving! Liney and I have a great day planned here in Dallas with friends coming over for a traditional turkey pig-out-session with the Dallas Cowboys. Here's what we've been enjoying today (I don't know how to cook any of it..) but I trust many of you are having turkey and all the fixin’s too! Here's my favorite Thanksgiving chow:
  • Turkey - I prefer the white and dark meat
  • stuffing - not soupy
  • Fresh hot rolls - by boys go nuts over that stuff
  • Mashed potatoes - with gravy
  • The normal green bean deal
  • Pies - Liney make the best apple, pumpkin, and cherry pies
  • Sweet potatoes - especially with melted mini-marshmallows on top

I hope you have an awesome day too. It's a good day to share our faith about the love of Christ with loved ones! I dare you to pray for them, be tactful, loving and bold. Go for it wisely. The Lord will guide you. He cares about them more than you do.

Give Thanks To The Lord In The Good Times And In The Bad.

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. —1 Thessalonians 5:18

Think again about the four basic levels of gratefulness in life. Level one: It is represented by folk who are constantly complaining and grumbling about stuff. They brighten up a room just by leaving it.

Then there are folk who merely exist living lives marked by ingratitude. They don't complain much, but they never overtly thank God for His obvious generosity or blessings. That's a step up—a little better way to live than the former option.

Then, there are people who thank God for obvious blessings. When something good happens, they're grateful. That's even better.

Finally there is the higher level: It is to be grateful in Jesus and express it all things at all times. Now folks when you choose that option, then you’ll live a life of joy that's pleasing to the Lord ..and people will begin to wonder why they like to hang around you so much.

God is always very generous—that's how He was when He gave us His sinless Son and that was how Jesus was when He gave us His life!

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!" —Psalm 118:29

But thanking God in all things is perhaps one of the hardest things that we Christians are called to do ..especially when the circumstances are more than difficult. You know that the Holy Spirit inside of us can help us though, because He shows us that expressing gratitude to the Lord is basically an important secret for being well-adjusted, joyous and productive in this life.

What good thing do we really deserve from Him today anyways and yet He has given us so very much! Listen, God doesn’t owe us anything good, but so many people around us feel that He indeed does. You and I have sinned and deserve Hell, but there have been some.. at least a few pearls of blessing within our ugly gumbo soup of a past.

It’s time for us to extract complaining, cussing, and all self-pity from our minds and mouths..and insert some enthusiastic praise to the Lord instead! Try to remember all that He has given you and done for you--recalling the good is key! Hallelujah, that He hears and answers all the prayers of every Christian (with: yes, no or wait--He knows best)!

If our loving heavenly Father is sovereign and allows both blessings and trials into our lives, it must all be for a reason huh. Father knows best! That’s why we can boldly express thanks in all things! Like me haven't you got a bumb deal before where you felt angry at God and then later on it turned out to be a real blessing in disguise?

Man, I have so much to praise God about. But when God allows something really hard into our lives—you know, a MAJOR OUCH!—even though He does feel for us at the time and He weeps with us.. there is potentially great good that can come out of it if we will have faith. Some think God is selfishly looking for personal gain from us, but that just ain't so! A thousand times “No!” He is looking to bless and help a whole lot of people—yes, whoever will allow Jesus entrance and control! God has no needs and is not small in His mind-set! He's always been more than big-hearted, generous and smart.

It was beyond hard for me to thank God when I had to do a funeral for my sister who died young. It wasn’t God’s will how it happened either. I still don’t understand everything about it, but some attendees repented and trusted Jesus because of that horrific tragedy. That’s why I could thank God in and during that whole uber-painful ordeal. A person's life is changed forever after something like that happens. Please run towards God and His church when you feel intense pain, not away from Him. Better yet, do it before the pain arrives.

Everyday ought to be Thanksgiving Day for Christians! Why not; we have a lot to be grateful for! Let’s turn Thanksgiving day into daily thanks-living! The Psalmist wrote, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits...” (Ps. 68:19). He loadeth us up big-time every single day!

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