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Thanksgiving Expressed

Psalm 107:1, “Thank the Lord because he is good. His love continues forever.”

There are times in life you could easily express gratitude, especially when things are coming up roses. Then, you could probably name a time or two you simply felt the blahs or blues and found it hard to express gratitude.

There are so many people in life chasing happiness before they feel they'll have any time to be grateful. A better job, a better home or car, and so on. expressing gratitude should be easy like crossing the street, yet many find it hard to do.

When we take time to express thanks, it's like sprinkling miracle-grow on your gratitude. Our roots grow deep when we turn our fleeting emotions of gratitude into solid words of thankfulness and those moments of gratitude will be sealed in our hearts so we won't forget them. Psalm 105 helps us see what happens when we express our thanks to God in words, writing, prayers, and song. When we express gratitude we are fulfilling God's law to ‘do things without grumbling’ -Philippians 2:14, and ‘give thanks always for everything’- Ephesians 5:20.

If you feel the blahs or in the dumps and find it difficult to be thankful, take your camera and go for a walk. Take 5 to 10 photos that turn your gratitude. If you like the color green, take pictures of green in nature around you, or simply objects your path crosses. If you like flowers, take pictures if a bunch of flowers Add all kinds of angles or the clouds in the sky. Taking time to zoom into something around you takes the focus off of you and helps to change your perspective.

When you change your perception, you are able to really see the gifts you have been given. They may not all be physical tangible things, but they are gifts God blesses you with when you need them. For example, His comfort, His grace, His forgiveness. When we begin to express our gratitude God will begin to reveal His blessings in deeper ways and our heart will grow closer to Him. Psalm 145 is another chapter where we can learn of the many ways God has blessed us. When we begin listing all the gifts from God, we can learn more about Him as our giver and we can enjoy God's gifts even more.

Sometimes gratitude begins by looking back before we can look forward. “Reflecting on God's works invites us to give Him thanks. Thanks to God produces trust in God. Trust helps us see God's glory. The bigger God becomes in our minds the smaller our problems become.” They may still be scary but when we see that God is bigger than our circumstances, we can see our way through, giving us the confidence to face today or the future.

Looking back and seeing how God was good, reassures us that God is good now and will be again tomorrow and help us look forward in confident hope. Can you recall trials you've walked through in the past that you see God was still in control, and you experienced him in a deeper, more meaningful way? Share these times with praise and thanks of how God helped you through.

Let's look at one more way to express gratitude. The nitty gritty of thankfulness. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Always be joyful. 17 Pray continually, 18 and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.”

First, ask yourself, why is it hard to give thanks in trials or frustrating circumstances?

Giving thanks and trials does not mean we can't still feel pain, cry, grief, or be sad. The basis of giving things isn't gifts; It's God. It's not necessarily liking everything and being glad in both good and bad times. It's trusting that in whatever happens God knows best. In Psalm 28 and Psalm 35:17-18 we see David’s lament and giving thanks together.

A wounded heart can find healing in tears and hope in thanksgiving. Both shift our eyes off of our circumstances and onto God. So, when you're in the nitty gritty of your trials and don't feel like giving thanks turn to the Bible. Rest in God’s sovereign plan, cling to God's promises, look for God’s evident work, and trust in God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. “Thanksgiving is a trusting response that proclaims God is good and so are His ways. Even in hard things, God is faithful. He's with us and at work for us.” -David Crowe

Thanks isn't merely experienced; It's expressed. Tom Keller writes, “It's one thing to be grateful. It's another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.”

With a grateful heart we can be elevated into a powerful personal way. Giving thanks leads to knowing God, which leads to greater joy in God, and it will change us.

“it is good to give thanks to the Lord,”- Psalm 92:1. Thanksgiving is not merely a nod to the good stuff in our life but a time to recognize, praise, and honor God for who He is and what He does for us and through us. When we can bring Thanksgiving to a complete circle with God in the middle, that is when we truly will see blessings, and find that peace that passes all understanding!

I hope you have many things to be thankful this year and have many wonderful Thanksgiving plans with friends and family. May God continue to walk with you and bless you in the year to come. Also I hope you take time to continue to study God's Word daily as we continue with our verses on thanksgiving.

Matthew 26:26-27, “While they were eating, Jesus took some bread and thanked God for it and broke it. Then he gave it to his followers and said, “Take this bread and eat it; this is my body.” Then Jesus took a cup and thanked God for it and gave it to the followers. He said, “Every one of you drink this.”

Ephesians 5:4, “Also, there must be no evil talk among you, and you must not speak foolishly or tell evil jokes. These things are not right for you. Instead, you should be giving thanks to God.

Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks.”

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