Thankful All Through the Year :: By Holly Spate

Thankful All Through the Year

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1-5).

Soon, people everywhere will gather around the table for a time of celebration. They will sit with loved ones, reflect on memories, and eat a feast of favorites. For many it will be a joyous occasion filled with fun and excitement. For some, a time of deep reflection. For others, a time of sadness or loneliness.

No matter what Thanksgiving brings, we all have reason to celebrate this Thanksgiving season. Let’s take a moment and reflect on what each of us, as sons and daughters of the King, can be thankful for on this day and every day.

First, be thankful that you’re breathing…your heart’s beating. Be thankful for the beautiful world around you, God’s amazing canvas that stretches the earth, made for your enjoyment. Praise Him for the pretty sunsets; the changing seasons; the refreshing rain; the drifting clouds; and the nice, cool breezes. Say thank you for the many fascinating creatures that roam the earth…all part of His marvelous creation.

Enjoy and give praise for a God that whispers His love in everything He’s designed.

Now, give thanks for those who have helped you and supported you along the way, for those who have blessed you in some way and for the opportunities you’ve had to bless others. Be appreciative for the gift of today and the time given to live it.

Pause and give praise for past experiences which have shaped you, educated you, and given you a bit more wisdom. Be appreciative for the trials in your life, knowing that trials have a way of shaping your character, fine-tuning your heart, and drawing you closer to your heavenly Father, all so you can be a better witness and reflection of Christ’s love to those around you.

Take inventory and smile as you think about everything you’ve been given…every blessing, large and small that has touched your life. There are so many reasons to shout and sing His praises…so many opportunities to simply say thank you for the blessings none of us deserve, but are graciously given because of His unconditional love.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Giving thanks in all circumstances is how we each can be a light to those around us. Praising when all is not going perfectly perplexes people and brings an opportunity to be a positive and consistent witness regardless of what’s happening in life. It’s an opportunity to let Jesus shine through!

When counting all your blessings, the one that stands out most (the cherry on the top), is your salvation! Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

God’s Word promises if we believe and accept Jesus into our hearts we are saved! Praise God!

Webster’s dictionary defines “saved” as: to deliver from sin… to rescue or deliver from danger or harm… to preserve or guard from injury, destruction, or loss.

Because Jesus said “YES” to the cross, you have freedom, a bright future, a new beginning—a fresh start! Your sins (all of them) are completely forgiven…washed clean! Your mistakes are wiped away by God’s mercies when you humbly come before Him and ask for His forgiveness. Psalm 103:11-12 reminds of this miraculous gift:

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

His suffering gave YOU forgiveness, salvation, and an eternal home in heaven…all things no one in this life can ever take from you… ever!

If that isn’t awesome enough, the realization that one day you, along with all believers, will reside in heaven forever with the Father and will never ever again experience suffering, sadness, sickness, stress, or sin is something that should bring a smile to your face and a lift to your spirit! It should also motivate you to share the good news with others so they too can receive the remarkable gift of salvation and be set free.

Sing praises as you remember the incredible promise that He’s preparing a place for you, and every seed you sow here and now for the kingdom will be safely stored in heaven awaiting your arrival. Matthew 6:19-21 reminds us:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

As you prepare your heart for this holiday season, I challenge you to do two things:

First, take a moment and make a “Grateful List.” Write down everything God brings to your mind for which to be grateful. It’s a worthwhile exercise and a wonderful way to keep you focused and thankful.

Second, make it your goal to look at all of life from an eternal perspective. While we live in this world, we’re called to remember our future and look to Him, not our circumstances. We’re called to think about our heavenly home and to continually be mindful of what’s really important in the day-to-day. An eternal perspective keeps us focused on being active for the kingdom and encourages our hearts to sow seeds that will cultivate a harvest of blessing, both now and for all eternity.

No matter what’s going on in your life today, a heart of gratitude should be what drives your actions and directs your day. In ALL things you’re called to give thanks.

No matter your circumstances, as a child of God you have so much to be thankful for, not just at Thanksgiving, but all through the year!