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Giving Thanks Always

Since our children won’t be with us this holiday season, I’ve been reminiscing about our favorite family traditions. I’m sad we aren’t together; but cherished memories fill my heart with joy and gratitude for the rich blessings of family. The Thanksgiving holiday sets aside just one day of the year for thinking about and thanking God for such things. It’s important to be thankful. It’s so important that the apostle Paul encouraged the churches to always be thankful in every situation (1 Thess 5).

Being thankful one day a year is doable; but maintaining an everyday practice of thankfulness can seem like more of a challenge. What if you’ve received notice you’re being laid off? Are we really to be thankful for this kind of news? Are we thankful for wars, death, sickness, or broken relationships? We need to remember God isn’t asking gratitude for our circumstances, but in our circumstances. In all things, give thanks to God.

The writers of the psalms specialized in giving thanks to the Lord. Their prayers of thanksgiving form one of the key themes of the book. As we engage with these prayers, they lead us to burst out in worship and gratitude for who God is and His goodness and faithfulness to all who call on His Name.

Both God’s Word and his Spirit call us to join the psalmists in the practice of giving thanks to Him. Psalm 95:1-7 is a great example. I invite you to take time to create a space for quiet meditation as you read the verses. Journal your thoughts of gratitude as your response to the psalmist’s prayer.

Is there a song of praise on your heart you can sing to God?

Praise God as your Rock of Salvation. What does this mean to you?

How does the writer describe God’s power and authority?

How does knowing God in this way help you in the circumstances you are facing today?

Express your thankfulness to God (make a written list or speak them to Him aloud).

How does God’s power and authority reassure you? How does the psalmist encourage you to express your thanks?

Worship and gratitude should flow from our hearts towards a great God who gives abundantly to His children. Take time this week, and every day, to express your gratitude to your Lord and Maker.

- Deneen McDonald (thankful US Director of COBI)

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