Thanksgiving

Last night my wife and I attended our own small group, and as would be expected one week before one of our nation’s most historic holidays, Thanksgiving, the topic we covered was all about thankfulness; what it means and what we as individuals are thankful for.

It got me thinking though.  Have you noticed that Christmas seems to be creeping up in the calendar more and more every year?  Each year it seems Thanksgiving gets more and more hidden behind the Christmas tree, Black Friday, continuous Christmas songs on the radio, and stores decked out for all the Christmas shoppers.  Certainly, we still see Thanksgiving in commercials, parades, football games, and in specially marked isles at the store.  But, infused in the midst of it all is the massive dominance of Christmas’ future arrival.  It almost seems that mainstream America see’s Thanksgiving as a necessary nuisance along the path to gifts and eggnog. Continue reading “Thanksgiving”

The Most Powerful Prayers are Prayers of Thanksgiving

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Let’s face it, we do not and cannot know or understand everything about God.  We cannot fully grasp Him.  To say God is big, is a massive understatement.  Through scripture, spiritual experience, and relational connection with Him (and isn’t it wonderful that we can have such a relationship) we can gather a lot about His personality, His ways, His requirements, His plans, and so on.  And we should endeavor to do so; learning evermore the wonders of Him.  However, I would say that what we have and will learn about Him during our earthly lives is not even one one-hundredth of a percentage point of His fullness.  In reality, it should be considered an absolute unviable, and almost silly impracticality for a finite being to ever endeavor towards fully grasping an infinite God.  For it is an utterly infeasible impossibility to ever measure or understand the depth of His eternally existent capacity with our limited and sin-stained flesh.  To actually accomplish such a feat – if so doing was an actual capability –  would be far greater than holding the sum-total of the oceans water in a single cracked red Solo cup.

I bring this up to draw you contemplatively toward God’s greatness.  Certainly, we already know He is, but to meditate on this fact from time to time can do wonders for our faith – inspiring a fresh genuine awe within the secret places of our soul.

What we do know about God is that He is good and He is powerful.  I love the description C.S. Lewis uses in his book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  Here, Jesus is presented allegorically as Aslan, “a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.”  Susan, a young girl who has entered into a new and magical world through the backside of a cloths-filled wardrobe, is befriended by a number of talking animals with human characteristics.  One such character, Mr. Beaver, satisfies Susan’s curiosity as to whether this Aslan, the great Lion, is safe.  He tells her, “Safe? …Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.”

God is not safe, but He is good!  He is great!  He is might!  He is wonderful!  He is lovely!  He is the King!

The scriptures are full of stories and descriptions of Him.  They tell us, within the confines of our limited understanding, who and how He is.  Both in the written Word and in our lived-out faith we begin to see the limitlessness of His dangerous but good personality.  We see our smallness, our incapableness, our weakness, our brokenness enveloped and overtaken by His vastness, His marvelousness, His supremacy, and His absoluteness.  In it all we cannot help but to say, Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name” (Psalm 103:1).

Our Knowledge of God should lead us to understand that His blessings aren’t simply limited to the golden nuggets we find placed in our hand, or even the burning coals that have been removed from said place.  They are also the unseen things He has guided us to or from.  They are the traps our feet have never found, and the encounters we’ve never encountered.  I am sure as we sit in His Holy presence, in our eternity yet unseen, we will be told many stories of thing we were completely unaware of in our earthly lives.  We will be awed in learning of how His grace and mercy truly guided us along the visibly limited path of our physical existence.

Therefore, I state a thought to consider.  Prayers of thanksgiving are the most powerful prayers we can ever pray.  New Testament scripture is full of thanksgiving statements from the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us.  They make it clear that what was, what is, and what is yet to come is to be seen, experienced, and expected in a faith-filled heart beholding worshipful gratitude.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:4-7

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:15-17

Thank you, Jesus!

Go Deeper, Grow Stronger