Thanks + Giving :: By Holly Spate

As you prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, take a moment to stop… to relax… to reflect. Allow yourself to breathe deeply. Slow down your steps… let your mind rest. Give yourself permission to not give in to the hectic schedules. Clear your calendar of the unnecessary. Be intentional. Make it your mission this holiday to approach this special time of year with a purposeful mind and heart.

Every heart benefits from simply slowing down. Every life benefits from the blessing of recharging and allowing the body and mind the chance to experience rejuvenation. Jesus knew the importance of slowing down and simply resting. He calls each of us to rest.

Matthew 11:28-30: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Hebrews 4:9-11: “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Psalm 127:2: ” It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.”

We have a Savior who teaches balance. It’s easy to get swept up in the hecticness of life… so many things vying for our attention, participation, etc. But when we focus on what’s most important, we can really experience and appreciate all the blessings around us.

We become Mary’s in a Martha world.

When we stop and slow down, we naturally can enhance our ability to appreciate… to really see, hear, and feel the moments surrounding us and the beauty of our surroundings. As Christians, when we carve out moments to simply slow down, we can better listen and hear the direction of the Holy Spirit. Slowing down and being still is something most of us have to practice, and many sweet rewards come when we do. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

As you begin thinking and preparing your plans for this very special holiday, carve out time to rest, relax and rejuvenate.

Secondly, something that will also add to the joy of your experience this Thanksgiving is a beautiful exercise I’d encourage you to participate in. As you take a well-needed break and rest, grab a pen and paper and begin to write down everything you’re grateful for. Think of everything… leave nothing off the list… don’t be in a rush. Spend this sweet time with the Savior, giving praise for each blessing you write down.

Think of everything… big and small and all the blessings that await you one day for all eternity. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Philippians 4:8 further reminds: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

God wants us to spend time thinking about good things… focusing on what’s right, true, lovely, etc. He wants us to stop and praise Him, the maker of ALL good things!

Psalm 33:21 says, “For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.” Let Your heart rejoice today!

If you’re coming together with friends or family, encourage each person to make their own list before they arrive. Then, share these praises of blessing while you’re gathered together for Thanksgiving. Listening to everyone’s list of blessings and writing down your own has a way of lifting hearts, creating more gratefulness in hearts, and helps to center the celebration around Christ.

Slowing down and making a grateful list are two ways to really experience and add meaning to your holiday. And as you prepare for Thanksgiving, think of ways you can give back. Being thankful is one part, and giving is another. Choose to be a blessing to someone or many someones this holiday. Choose to be the hands and feet of Jesus to someone else. What can you do to make a difference this holiday season? What can you do to help lift someone else up? What can you give today and every day? Acts 20:35 states:I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

And when we give, we are to remember our Heavenly Father gives us all things. James 1:17 reminds: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

Let this holiday be one of focus and intention. Take time to look over your grateful list often. Contemplate frequently concerning all God has done for you… past, present, and future.

As a child of the King, you must always remember you have much in which to be thankful. Having Jesus in your life affords you a wonderful existence in the present (no matter how our world looks today) and an incredible eternity that’s so magnificent your mind can’t even begin to comprehend. 1 Corinthians 2:9 reminds of this truth: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

What will your Thanksgiving look like this year?

My hope is that your holiday is filled with both Thanks and Giving. May your heart be filled with joy because of Jesus’ sacrifice, which has brought you salvation. May you rejoice and give praise to your Creator for all the blessings you have. And, may you have a Thanksgiving that’s focused, intentional, and one that brings rest and rejuvenation. But, most importantly, that you’ll turn your eyes upon Jesus and keep Christ at the center of your celebration.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Offering I Give

by Holly Spate

This offering I give from my heart which You made
May I sing now Your song with this voice that You gave.

May I lift up my hands held in adoration high
May I feel now Your presence ever drawing me nigh.

With each breath that I breathe, may Your spirit take flight
May it guide me through darkness ever seeking Your light.

This offering I give, flowing heart filled with praise
May I sing constant Your song for the rest of my days.