January 7, 2016

What Does It Mean to Be Truly Thankful?

LBS_Gratitude

Written By Judy Smith

Now that the new year is past, I was reflecting on the the last part of 2015.  Before Thanksgiving I was meditating on being thankful and realized that we throw thank you’s out there like we throw the word love around. I am thankful every day of my life, but there is more to being thankful than just saying thank you.

Someone gives us something or does something for us and we say thank you, but was it a real genuine heartfelt thank you? Webster’s Dictionary says to thank is to express one’s gratitude. Thankful is a feeling or showing of gratitude. As we know, Thanksgiving Day in the United States is set apart as a legal holiday for public thanksgiving.

Years ago, I began to pray a prayer of thanks over our Thanksgiving meal and as each one of my family members accepted the Lord, different ones said that prayer! I know everyone of them were thankful, but sometimes the prayer was said with their eyes on the food with a “let’s say this quickly, I’m hungry,” attitude. This year I asked my 14 year old great-grandson to bless the food, and though it was short you could hear and feel true thankfulness pouring out of his heart, and see the tears in his eyes. This spurred me on to search my heart and to continue to meditate on true thankfulness.

Jesus thanked God at the passover feast before His crucifixion in Matthew 26:27. He also thanked God for the two fish and five loaves, and then fed the five thousand in John 6:11. Why did Jesus, God incarnate, have to thank God? Because Jesus was truly thankful, and also to be an example to us. There is something supernatural in true thanksgiving. There is power in being truly thankful.

A heart of thanksgiving is vital to our walk with Jesus. It was easy for me to be thankful for all the good things, yet, now the Lord has given me a thankful heart even through trials, challenges, tribulation, and sorrow. In them I have been developing a truly thankful heart. Let’s see where Jesus is in all of our situations. In Psalms 27:13-14 David said “I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.”

I learned to leave the outcome to Jesus while staying thankful. We follow Him wherever He leads in thankfulness, without worrying about how it will all turn out. Think of your life as an adventure, with Jesus as your guide and companion. Live in the now, concentrating on staying in step with Him. When our path leads to a cliff, be willing to climb it with thanksgiving; with His help. When we come to a resting pace with thankfulness, take time to be refreshed in His Presence. Enjoy the rhythm of life lived close to Jesus.

You already know the ultimate destination of your journey is heaven. So with thanksgiving keep your focus on the path just before you, leaving the outcome to Him.

He is pleased with you. Allow yourself to be aware of His pleasure shining on you. Shift your focus from His performance to His radiant Presence. Thankfulness and trust are your primary receptors. Thank Him for all things, trust Him at all times.

Psalms 62:8 Trust in Him at all times you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Habakkuk had a true thankful heart. Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord,I will joy in the God of my salvation.” This is true thankfulness!

A thankful attitude opens the windows of heaven. Spiritual blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity. As you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpse of glory and a taste of heaven.

Thankfulness is not a magic formula; it is the language of love. A thankful mindset is not a denial of reality. Instead, it rejoices in Jesus our savior, in the midst of trials and tribulations. Jesus is our refuge and strength, an ever-present and well-proved help in times of trouble.

Let’s practice true thanksgiving at all times whether there are gifts or not, whether everything is going our way or not.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. So let’s learn life lessons with thankfulness and watch and see what the Lord is doing in all things.

Happy New Year, and with much love, Judy Smith

VERSES ON THANKFULNESS
Psalms 26:7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works.
Psalms 50:14 Offer to God thanksgiving…
Psalms 95:2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
Psalms 107:22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
Colossians 4:2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.

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