A Heart of Thanks :: by Holly Spate

Psalm 100:4 “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, let’s bow our heads in gratitude. Let’s take time out to contemplate all we truly have in which to be grateful.

As believers in Christ, we have so much. There’s absolutely nothing this world can provide that can top or satisfy as that which God has already provided.

God wants His children to always have a heart of gratitude… to forever be mindful of all we have because of all He so lovingly gave.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds of this truth: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Psalm 106:1 says, “Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

In our imperfect nature, it is easy to give thanks when everything is sailing along and going smoothly, but it takes much more effort when things aren’t going as planned.

This life, this world in which we’re living, has no shortage of problems. Anyone paying attention can see that sin is running rampant, and love is waxing cold in many. This world has become a very strange, crazy and dark place in many ways. Those keeping an eye on things all seem in agreement… we seem to be quickly approaching the end of the age of grace. And as we do, we can expect more of the same from the world as we await the arrival of our wonderful King and Savior.

However we find our world or our circumstances, we are called as Christians to continually trust and be ever thankful.

I admit I struggle with being thankful 24/7. Perhaps others out there do too. Some days I’m excited and feel hopeful. Some days I feel especially blessed and thankful. On other days I take my eyes off Jesus and look around and become stressed and a little panicked at all I’m seeing. I find myself complaining instead of counting my blessings. I suddenly forget how blessed I truly am when I allow the fog of frustration, fear, or complaining to take root.

It is during these times when I’m not focused on what I need to be focused that I have to stop and remind myself of this truth:

I have so much to be thankful for. I am in the best hands possible. God loves me and promises to watch over me, provide for me, help me and walk beside me. He promises He will never leave me or forsake me. My life is precious to Him.

Even more importantly, He is King of Kings… Lord of all! There is nothing that is outside his control… nothing. He has proven himself trustworthy and is deserving of my gratitude and praise.

When I respond to life and all I see from the right perspective… focused on Him, I suddenly begin to remember… the blessings begin to flood my mind and memory, and I realize my frustrations and lack of thankfulness have once again clouded my view. I really hate to admit it, but this has been a pattern in my life.

I want to live out Ephesians 5:20 every day, which says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I want to put Colossians 3:17 to daily action: And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

It is definitely a work in progress (I am a work in progress), but with God’s help, I can improve; I can do better. Apart from Him, I can do nothing, but with Him, nothing is impossible.

When I decide to put my life in God’s trustworthy, capable hands, I can rest in His love and care. I can have peace that passes understanding and joy if I keep my focus centered on Him.

Through various lessons in my life, I’ve realized trust and thankfulness are key in maintaining joy. Trusting in Christ and being thankful always helps bring calm and sets my heart, mind, and steps on the right path.

When we really stop and focus… when we turn our eyes toward Christ, we are quickly reminded how much we have in which to be thankful.

As Christians, we can look to the cross and remember all Christ did so we could be saved from a life apart from our Creator. Christ provided the sacrifice, which affords us everything we don’t deserve, but everything God wanted to give. As Christians, we know wholeheartedly that…

Because we are His, we have assurance of provision.

Because we are His, we never walk alone.

Because we are His, we can experience joy in the midst of sorrow.

Because we are His, we can trust the plan He has for our lives.

Because we are His, we know He will work out everything for our good and His glory.

Because we are His, we are saved by grace through faith and have been rescued.

Because we are His, we are promised a bright and beautiful eternity.

Because we are His, we have everything because He gave everything.

I could go on, but you get the picture.

The reality is, no matter how dim the world may become, no matter what’s going on from a personal level, God is bigger. He is trustworthy, He is perfect, His ways are always perfect, and He is worthy of our consistent adoration, praise and thanks.

It’s been said, “There is always something to be thankful for.”

Yes… there is always something to be thankful for.

As Christians, a heart of thanks is not beyond our reach. We have an endless list of blessings in which to be grateful. And we owe it all to our heavenly Father.

Happy Thanksgiving!