Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Cor. 15:58


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Thanksgiving Journal by Suzanne Harden

The Thankful Journal

The Strongs Concordance entry for the word "THANKFUL" in the Bible
has several definitions worth meditating on as one studies God’s word and its many exhortations to us to be thankful.
·      Thankful in one sense in the bible means literally to hold out the hand;
·      Thankful can also mean to (physically) throw something like a stone or an arrow
·      Thankful also means to revere or worship with extended hands;
·      Another meaning is to praise and give thanks.
Thankfulness is giving to God something of ourselves; hence, the sense of throwing a stone or arrow-aiming our specific praises at the One who has given us so much, rather then just being vague in our praise and worship.

In this sense we are telling God why we are thankful. Each stone we cast, each arrow is a gift of praise from our lips to our God who has given us such wonderful things to enjoy.

These stones, these arrows of praise are aimed directly to God Most High.

If our thoughts are wandering in worship these stones or arrows of praise and thanksgiving we are casting up to our God are not going to Him at all.

Our lips are out of sync with our heart and thoughts.

Jesus says quoting Isaiah, "This people draw near to Me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me." Matthew 15:8

God desires that we be purposeful in our praise, worship, and thanksgiving.
“And when you make an offering of praise to the Lord, make it in a way which is pleasing to Him.” Leviticus 22:29

 St. Paul in Ephesians 5:10 admonishes us to, “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.”
It is not only important to thank God but also to tell Him why we are thankful every day. Rehearsing our blessings from God focuses our minds on positive things and gets our minds off our needs. One of the best ways to begin this practice is to start a “Thankful Journal.”

A Thankful Journal helps us to record the specific ways God has
 blessed us each day and gives us opportunities to express our gratitude to Him for those blessings. We can LET these expressions be our arrows, our pebbles that we cast up to God.

Gratitude will bless us in many ways. Ephesians 5:20 admonishes us to “give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Gratitude awakens humility in the soul. A grateful heart is a humble heart.

Another benefit of keeping a Thankful Journal is that whenever we feel discouraged we can read over the times when God has blessed us or has come through for us, rehearsing the victories in our life. It will remind us that He is ever faithful to keep His word and that He will come through for us again no matter what the present circumstances are. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” Psalm 103:2
"And be ye thankful." A heart of gratitude toward God is a heart that loves God.

There is a passage in 2 Timothy that makes me shudder every time I read it.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Ingratitude is a defining hallmark of people living in the last days. It goes about wearing the face of dissatisfaction in the person who practices it. People will be dissatisfied with what they have and always craving after what they think is better.  They may be dissatisfied with their body, their gender, talents, mental abilities, health, social status, their house, job, their spouse, their kids, parents, education…The list is endless of things people can find fault with in their lives! People who are habitually negative and critical, though they achieve the things they imagine will satisfy them, will still find something to complain about no matter what quality of life they attain. For ingratitude is a soul sickness and one who practices it will never be satisfied with whatever they achieve or are given.
St. Paul warns us, “Be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear.” ~Hebrews 13:5-6
 My earnest prayer day and night is that the sin of ingratitude will not define me. But the sad fact is, when we focus on our needs and wants and never take time to reflect on the blessings God has already given us, Paul accurately portrays what we can become apart taking the time and effort to thank God daily. For how easily we can descend into the muck of the flesh without hearkening to the Holy Spirit within us.
Gratitude helps us to focus on the positive and transforms our attitude the more we practice it into a heart of humility. God draws close to the humble, but the proud He knows afar off. To know God better, we must begin to thank Him!

To become more like Christ, we must practice the habit of thanking God in all things even as Christ Himself did. In the Upper Room at the Last Supper on the eve of His crucifixion our Lord gave thanks to His Heavenly Father as He broke the bread that symbolized His body that He would give for the life of the world. Though His heart was troubled and His betrayer was in the room, still our Lord gave thanks to God.
Likewise, even when our circumstances are not ideal, even when we are going through terrible trials may we be like our Lord Jesus who still gave thanks and praise to God. The bible says that Jesus even sang a hymn after the Last Supper. (Matthew 26:26-30)

Keeping a Thanksgiving Journal will help us to focus on our blessings rather than our needs; it will help us to set aside a special time for giving thanks to God daily, and will teach us to make gratitude a habit. Thanksgiving will indeed renew our minds into the image of our Creator as we practice it daily, drawing us ever closer to His heart of love.

Lord, we love You! Thank You for giving us Yourself! Help us today to give thanks to You and praise Your name. For You, Oh LORD are good. Your unfailing love continues forever, and Your faithfulness continues to each generation. (Psalm 100:4-5)

“The Thankful Journal” Copyright © 2012 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved. Unto The Least of These

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