Because a Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

Hello again friends. Next Thursday is Thanksgiving, if you are not aware; and I have some things to say on the subject. I have no doubt you will be busy and so will I. Kids are out of school, your work still expects you to be there, dinner preparations, visiting family, plus the usual bills and drama with life; that I find it ironic that the last two months are the busiest and yet as a culture we try to incorporate being thankful and giving instead of receiving as a habit for the end of the year. In reality it makes us wish that it was over, not because these are bad but because we want to keep up with the hype of it all and it is almost impossible to make everyone happy and maintain the right attitude of the season because everything and everyone is pulling at us for these six weeks. To add to these stresses I personally have 4 important birthdays that happen in these weeks so I do understand that it is hard to keep God in the center and then to do it with a joyful and thankful heart is asking a lot. But it is asked of us Christians.
While do some brushing up on what the Bible tells us about thanksgiving I came across a tiny Psalm 100; “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” (NKJV) Being thankful is like a muscle if you do not practice, it becomes weak. It is easy to be thankful and sing with joy when all is good in your world but it becomes much harder during trying times, like the holidays. I am with C.S. Lewis on the holidays I find them commercialized and to hyped up to ever make them about what they really are. Yes, I have had fun during the holidays but in my personal and humble opinion I think this time would be better spent in meditation on the miracles that have occurred, or prayer, or a new devotion of faith because He is the reason for the season. If you are a family and live where people do not have the ability to visit you I recommend that you try a non commercialized approach to these next six weeks. I would be so proud if you wrote to me about that experience because I live next to all my family; it is a good thing but not so good with experimenting with ideas like this. No offense to my family we love seeing everyone, but I think children in general might be more level headed if we toned down this craziness that is the holidays.
But this post is not about what is wrong with the holidays, I actually do find a lot of good in them too like Thanksgiving opens the door to talk about being thankful for things you have, and the reason we need to be giving to others less fortunate than us. It is valuable to teach this while children are young so they can carry it with them through their adult years where they will be able to produce so much more then they can now. For instance, I have made my thank you notes for Christmas already, just the cards; and the Bean thought they were so pretty he wanted one and I told him well you have to give me a present to get one. So then he asked if he could have one now and get me a present later and I told him that’s not how it works. He said he will get me something and I said then you will get a thank you card.
We need to carry this heart of thanksgiving everyday in the good health as well as the bad, plenty and in barely, laughter and in sorrow. It says in Psalm 100 that the Lord is always good and I know I myself do not always see his goodness in my child’s fever or in being bullied. I also know that I do not understand why some of my friends struggle so hard and still get beat and I am so blessed. Why some get their karma and others get away squeaky clean. These circumstances are not addressed in having a thankful heart because they have no power in a thankful heart. You will be thankful or you will not; circumstance has nothing to do with it. The reason these bad and good things have no power is because of who we are in Christ Jesus and what he did to absolve God’s righteous judgment towards us. Our cries would fall on deaf ears if Jesus told the Father he was not going to come save us from going to Hell, and that was an option of His. He was not made to come and be a sacrifice. But He loved us and made us in His image that He felt compelled and persuaded by who He is in His goodness towards us knowing the full end result would be that we all need Him and put Him on the cross; so in true reality He went there willingly for you.
I know I do not deserve mercy or righteousness for example I wrote that piece called “Confessions of a Twenty Something” and I meant it and I am convicted of it and yet this past weekend I was with family literally all weekend and didn’t spend one minute in prayer Friday or Saturday. Not even a week later I have already failed to do one simple challenge I commissioned myself. But I am thankful I have convictions and lines in the sand where I will not tread; so the next step is to start again. But if Christ hadn’t come and died and rose from the dead then what would I do, just be a failure before the Lord and bear that cross that I failed again. This shows me that you have a reason all the time to be thankful in heart, mind, and soul because we also are no longer under condemnation; I am not giving you a free sin card for life; but when and you will screw up you ask for forgiveness and try again starting with walking or running away from what led you astray before.
The last thing I want to say about being thankful is this that we need to be thankful for other people and we need to show our thankfulness. We are all equal, I am not better than anyone of you; God also does not pick favorites. It’s hard to comprehend why others seem like they have a easier time then others and I have come to the conclusion that it has to do with prayer; I am where and as blessed as I am because my mother was a praying mom and maybe (I have no real way of knowing) some people I know that have suffered far more consequences for their actions didn’t have that valuable resource that my mother provided me. It is hard to be thankful for people they are easily put on the back burner and that makes it that much easier not to be thankful for people who are strangers. The Bible tells us to be thankful for everyone, we are the fallen and some have fallen more than others but they still need our real love. Betsie Ten Boom while in the concentration camp loved the Nazi soldiers, she felt sorry for them in their hatred and their unloveableness. That is how we need to be toward the homeless, the promiscuous, homosexuals, muslims, the sinners and the Christian alike. Everyone has a purpose weather they realize it or not and you encounter everyone you encounter because God said you are to encounter this person. Show them thankfulness by being pleasant, sending a gratitude note, praying for them, and any other way you have been taught or think of. Being thankful should be defined as love, and I am not saying you have to love the sin but you have to love the person; we are commanded to by Christ. If you don’t you are on a slippery slope to self destruction. I am also driven to say that you have to be thankful for yourself; I have high self esteem so I have a harder time relating to not valuing yourself but it is a very big problem where you live. More people hate who they are then anyone can really account for but if you don’t love yourself you never can truly love others, but there is grace for that need. Always remember where there is a need there is a Jesus.
I hope these words find you in excellent condition and that the Lord has prepared your heart to read them. Please send me some comments and keep the discussion going all week long. I am thankful for each and everyone who reads this blog I have derived a lot of joy from writing to y’all. Happy Thanksgiving!     Jamie*


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