A Heart of Thanksgiving

thanks·giv·ing | the expression of gratitude, esp. to God.

There is a holiday set aside for Thanksgiving. It is highly ironic to me that the country most known for its selfishness, is the only country with a specific day set aside for the complete opposite. We hurry through life and never really stop to focus on what we already have, rather than always trying to get. And it’s not like we are not aware of it. How many blogs, devotionals, TV shows, and episodes of Ellen do we need to read or watch to point out the reality that we all know it – we just don’t really know how to change it. BUT, what if we did?

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Pslam 100:4

“I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart” Psalm 138:1

“I will praise the Lord at all times.” Psalm 34:1

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God tells us how. In 2 Peter 1:3, God tells us that He has given us “everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him.” I believe that these three scriptures give us a road map of the steps we need to take. As we are a microwave nation – want it now and immediately – I know God knew this day would come. He knew that one day we would be too busy to read it all, but need to skim. Too busy to stop and be thankful always, so He set up circumstances that led to a holiday just for that. And now, we can use this holiday for what it is, to be thankful – but my prayer, is that these scriptures would be used by the Holy Spirit to move throughout our lives not just for a day – but for the rest of our lives.

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1. ENTER

He doesn’t say stay and sit. He uses an action verb to call out that something has to be done. There is an exchange. The Enter and Exit signs are meant to point out direction for the sake of traffic. Have you ever tried to go the wrong way, enter while everyone else is trying to exit? It is chaos. You are bumping and hitting people and getting awful looks because they all know you just didn’t follow the directions. It is that simple, but yet we are all that stubborn.

Enter His gates. Go into His presence. Seek Him out. Do not wait to be found when speaking in thanksgiving, it should be a daily – if not moment-by-moment – journey. You won’t be entering doors, but heavenly spiritual gates. You go to Him, and He promises He will come to you. (James 4:8)

2. GIVE

What is Thanksgiving and the holiday all about? Taking – no. Giving. How many ads and non-profits have you already seen advertising. I mean, December 3rd is #GivingTuesday. We are surrounded by it, but yet our hearts have a hard time actually getting it. Again, the irony – we set up holidays, but we don’t really understand it on a daily basis. We need a heart change. We need to exchange our hearts. So, we must GIVE our hearts to Him so He can GIVE us a new one. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

3. PRAISE

A heart of praise cannot co-exit with heart of selfishness. After you thank God, give Him your old heart for a new one, all that is left is to praise God for even the ability to make that exchange. He gave, so we could give. He died, so we could live. He paid the ultimate price and deserves the ultimate praise.

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These are simply, yet divine truths from the word of God. They are for now, for our generation. There comes a moment when we have to see how much we are truly blessed with. Most of us have homes, cars, jobs, friends, family, husbands, wives, and the list goes on and on. We are a nation so blessed, but so deceived. We thank that these ‘things’ are the true meaning of all we do every other day, besides Thanksgiving. But no – yes, they are nice and make life more comfortable –  but they are not the end all be all. Ever heard of a man named Job? He lost is all. Or Paul? Or Abraham? Or David? They gave up everything for the sake of THE Everything. 

This holiday season may there be a moment where in the midst of the stuffing of the turkey and the cutting of the pie you stop and reflect and thank God for all you have been given. More than anything, that you would ask Him to exchange your heart with, not just a day to be thankful, but a heart of thanksgiving.

I am truly blessed to live in a country where I am free to write about the passion of my heart and where I, as a woman, am free to vote – work – pray – and lead as much as I choose. A city that I love so dearly. A state that doesn’t have state taxes. A family that loves me for nothing that I own or do, but for who I am. Friends, who continually show me what it means in the scriptures that “a friend loves at all times.” And most of all, for this 24/25th year of life that has taught me more about love, destiny, faith, perseverance, and steadfastness than I ever thought possible.

I am truly thankful today, but my prayer is that this would only continue the other 364 days of the year.

Happy Thanksgiving All.

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