What are your thoughts when you read the word “thanksgiving”? Do you think of a meal, do you think of a hymn or a phrase?
Do you ever think of it as being an expression of gratitude that you need to practise as an “attitude”?
When I volunteered to do a blog on Thanksgiving, I did not realise that having an attitude of thanksgiving would immediately be a challenge!
Had I known, I would have looked to see if there was another topic I could volunteer to write about, but I think the Lord would have had a chuckle as anything I wrote about would be challenging.
When you stop to think about the subjects you get to speak about, write about, meditate on, there is always something that will challenge you.
I meet so many people who LOVE complaining. And as a South African, there is a lot we can complain about – loadshedding, fuel prices increasing, food prices increasing because fuel prices are increasing, mothers-in-law, children-in-law, your own children, our spouse, the government, church -and the list can go on – and I will not ask you to add to it.! My greatest challenge is to ensure that I do not jump into that same pit of complaining, but that I keep my eyes on Jesus. I am not denying that there are challenges facing every one of us every day, but keeping our eyes on Jesus makes us look at things so differently.
As a youngster, my grandmother taught me this chorus, which forms part of a hymn, and it goes like this:
“When upon life’s billows (a large undulating mass of something, usually cloud, waves etc.)
You are tempest tossed (pounded, hit repeatedly by storms or adversity)
When you are discouraged thinking, all is lost,
Count your many blessings.,
Name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings and you will see what God has done.
Count your blessing, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done....”
(Johnson Oatman 1897)
There is more to this hymn, but this is what I was taught, and I have often sung it when I have felt pounded by circumstances and sometimes people. I normally sing it aloud, so be glad you are not around when I do!
Why do I sing this aloud? Often, it is to build my faith and my courage to keep my eyes on Jesus and to be practising thanksgiving.
The Psalmists’ mostly, were so quick to state how many times we can practise God in thanksgiving when writing the Psalms.
Look at two of them:
Ps 31:19 (NIV) ‘how abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.”
Ps 31:24 (NIV) “be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
These are but two of many Psalms, but honestly, it is hard to be thankful when you are battling through physically, mentally, spiritually, and with this in mind, I thought to see what an acronym would look like using the word “Thanksgiving.”
T The Lord
Ps 136:1 “oh give thanks to The Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” (NIV)
H Holy Spirit
John 16:13 – 15 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (NIV)
1 John 2:27 “As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit – just as it has taught you, remain in Him.” (NIV)
Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.
Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV)
Psalm 103:11 – 13 “For as high as the heavens are above earth, so great is His steadfast love towards those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a Father shows compassion to His children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him.” (NIV)
Romans 12:6a “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” (NIV)
I Invest in the Word
2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does to need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (NIV)
1 John 5:4 “for everyone born of God overcomes the world.” (NIV)
Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!” (NIV)
N Nurture your love for God
Matthew 22:37 “Jesus replied, “love the Lord your God with all your heart and all with all your soul and with all your mind.” (NIV)
He is the greatest and the most impressive and when we understand how much He loves us and all that He has done for us – we respond with Thanksgiving.
Folks, let us remember that in every circumstance, every trial, every victory, God knows you, sees you and loves you, and that should leave us always with Thanksgiving in our hearts, and prayer and praise on our lips.
Women of Reverence welcomes Nadine Judge as a contributor for our blog this month.