My heart is flooded with thanks this year as the Christmas holiday is right around the corner and Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Quite possibly more than any other year, I am filled with deep and true, heart-felt thanksgiving. For I have seen the Hand of God move through His people in the most beautiful ways over the past few months, and I have seen the light of the promise of Genesis 50:20 in such great reality. So many of you have played a part in my miracle story that is still unfolding, and I am daily seeing the miracles of God on display in others' lives. Maybe I'm just more in tune now that I am in the middle of my own "trial"... I pray that my thoughts do not drift from that awareness of seeing Jesus marvelously and intimately at work in our every day lives.
I challenge you, in the midst of whatever affliction or adversity you face, to KEEP PRAISING GOD AND GIVING THANKS, and declare this in the face of the Enemy (yes, the very real Enemy of our souls),
"You meant to do me harm, but God meant it for GOOD- so that it would come about as it is today, with many people's lives being saved."
That is what Joseph told his brothers after they sold Him into slavery, and years later found him as second in command of all Egypt- the head honcho leader who was saving thousands of lives from famine.
That's the promise for us, when Satan attempts to steal, kill, or destroy our lives, JESUS comes to rescue us over and over to give us LIFE and LIFE TO THE FULL! (John 10:10)
God is about the daily, moment-by-moment business of saving lives, saving souls, and bringing restoration to our hearts, minds, and bodies. He cares so deeply and intimately about the details of our lives.
I picked up a book recently that I'm eager to dive into, written by Eric Metaxas. Here's a quote from Miracles that stopped me in my tracks:
"If God could speak the universe into existence, could He not afterward speak into that existence?" Just listen. The Holy Spirit is speaking to your soul today, and His message for you is one full of life, beauty, restoration, and promise. He is calling you by name. When you cry, He is there crying with you. The compassion and mercy of the Father never ceases. When you rejoice, He is right there taking joy in you, His beloved child. He is actively working right now in your life. He wants you to know Him and to allow yourself to be molded by His love and extraordinary purpose. Maybe the key to unlocking your vision of His presence is to start with a simple prayer of thanks.
That's it- a simple prayer of thanks. Just a humble offering of gratitude and acknowledgment to the One who has given you everything. For "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17)
I challenge you and I challenge myself today, as Paul challenged the Thessalonian church (5:16-18):
"Be joyful always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus."
Do not stare at the immediate today, and do not even stare into the future and all it's unknowns. Stare at the glorious faithfulness of God! Gaze into the love of the Father who is everlasting and who always carries you through! And meanwhile, give thanks. Give thanks for the big things and every little thing. Don't miss any single opportunity to give thanks.
We train children to say "thank you" and we are delighted when they do so. How much more is our Heavenly Father delighted when we offer up a simple, "Thanks!" to Him? And how great is the Enemy's defeat and our triumph when we are not overcome by adversity, but rather we overcome with abundant thanksgiving in every single circumstance?
Here is a Psalm to meditate on before the rush of the travels and turkey and stuffing and football.
"I thank you, LORD, with all my heart; I sing praise to You...because of Your constant love and faithfulness, because You have shown that Your Name and Your commands are supreme. You answered me when I called to You; with Your strength You strengthened me... Even though You are so high above, You care for the lowly, and the proud cannot hide from You. When I am surrounded by troubles, You keep me safe. You oppose my angry enemies and save me by Your power. You will do everything You have promised; LORD, Your love is eternal. Complete the work that You have begun." (Psalm 138)