It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to the Most High.
It is good to proclaim your unfailing
love in the morning,
your faithfulness in the evening,
Thanksgiving isn’t always an easy attitude to wear. The people of Israel didn’t find it an easy habit to cling too, and I know that I personally don’t find it an easy one to develop either. In fact since I have been working through this word study on Thanksgiving I have really been struggling with a bad attitude.
Life isn’t easy, and as we look at social media, and at the news it can be so easy to fall into the pit of negativity. There are so many terrible things that are happening right now, and we are constantly being reminded of all these horrible things multiple times a day.
Then added to that there are all the disagreements about how those horrible things are to be handled and dealt with and who should be responsible. It can be tempting to just throw up our hands and say, “I QUIT!”
Instead of giving in to fear, or allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed let us stop and remember some of the things we have learned so far in this study on Thanksgiving.
Grumbling puts distance between us and God.
Praise and Thanksgiving feeds our soul.
God is sovereign and puts us in places to demonstrate His holiness to the world around us.
God wants us to have thankful hearts.
There are many times I have felt like my heart and even my very soul have been sucked dry. I feel like a parched desert unable to provide anything else to anyone. In those moments I don’t feel like praising God. Yet we learned that praise and thanksgiving feed our souls. So those are the most important times that we need to stop everything and give thanks to God.
Psalm 147:1 Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how right!
Psalm 89:1 I will sing of the tender mercies of the Lord Forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.
Psalm 81:1 Sing praises to God, our strength. Sing to the God of Israel.
Did you miss that last one? “Sing praises to God, our strength!” When we sing to the Lord, and when we stop and remember his faithfulness our strength is renewed and are hearts are filled.
Are you living your life in your strength? Are you trying to “do” all the things that you are supposed to be doing? Are you too busy “doing” that you don’t feed your soul?
God has told us over and over again that a sweet spirit comes from praising God. Yet I am so quick to forget this very important lesson. It starts first thing in the morning doesn’t it?
We wake up and realize that we are already late. The frantic rush of the morning stirs our grumpiness as we begin to feel frustrated and angry because we don’t have the time we need to “do” all the things that need to be doing. We allow the grumpiness to grow as we try and pour into those around us and we are treated badly, or shown ingratitude. We rush about our day trying to make everyone else happy, while feeling disgruntled about it, and wondering why our lives are so empty of joy. Finally we fall in bed at night discouraged, and disheartened feeling as though we had failed again. We continue to listen to the lies that are bombarding our souls, and we allow those leaches of discontentment, anger, frustration and bitterness to steal away every bit of joy or happiness that once characterized our lives. We wish there was a better way and yet we can’t find what that might be so we fall asleep and pray it doesn’t happen the same way tomorrow.
What if I told you it could be different? What if I told you we could fight for joy? Would you believe me if I told you that joy isn’t something that just passively happens to those people who “have it all together”? You see joy is a promise that God has given to us. Don’t you remember we have been promised joy as a fruit of the Holy Spirit? Go read Galatians 5:22-24 if you have forgotten.
The issue is that we have an enemy to wants to steal our joy. This enemy of our souls wants us to be parched, and empty. When we are debilitated we are not going to be useful as a soldier for Jesus.
So how do we fight this enemy?
By thanking God.
By remembering God’s faithfulness.
By praising God for who he is and what he has done for us.
By telling other people about God’s amazing faithfulness.
We fight for joy with praise and thanksgiving.
The enemy of our hearts wants us to forget who God is and what He has done for us. The enemy wants to leave us discouraged and defeated. We don’t have to live like that.
Consider this day instead:
When you wake up in the morning take a few minutes to thank God for your sleep the night before. (Thank him even for those precious 2 hours you were able to get between baby feedings.)
While you are rushing out the door, remember to thank God for those things that are causing your morning to be so busy. Things such as: A job, kids to get ready, food to feed your family, plenty of dishes to use to prepare the food in and whatever else that is around you. Remember that God provided ALL of it.
While you are at work, or going about your daily tasks remember that God gave you those things for that day specifically. God put you right where you are for a very special purpose.
As you fall into bed at night, no matter how bad the day has been stop and thank God for who He is and how he brought you through your day.
Do you see a theme? Praise and Thanksgiving. Our lives can be filled with joy when we keep our eyes focused on the right things. God has put us where we are, God has given us what we have and God has given us specific jobs he has called us to do. Maybe the day didn’t turn out the way you wanted, but God is sovereign and simply trust that God will use it for His glory.