Giving thanks begins with the Word
I remember as a pre-teen being challenged by my Mother to memorize scripture. It was something the whole family participated in. Maybe I should define what I mean by “challenged.” Here’s how it went down. “You kids have one week to memorize this chapter. If you succeed, you all get $5 each! If you don’t succeed, you get a whippin’!” (Spoken in Mom’s Texan drawl.) I want everyone to know that I was NEVER concerned about the whipping. I was excited about the $5!
So that is how the Word of God became a part of my daily life. One of the first chapters we were assigned to learn was Psalms 100, and I can still quote it today.
“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.”
Psalms 100:1-5 NKJV
It’s not about pilgrims and turkey
Music was always a part of my life. I started playing the piano when I was 5 years old. I always sang with my brothers and my sister. So reading phrases like, “come before His presence with singing,” or “enter His gates with Thanksgiving,” drew me in. Even when I didn’t understand “His presence” I knew a lot about singing.
We sang at church. We sang at home. I remember singing in the swing in my backyard. To me, the term “Thanksgiving” was a holiday in November, just a few weeks before Christmas. I didn’t understand what was being said. I had visions of pilgrims and turkeys. So memorizing this passage was just a way to get my $5. I had no idea that it would become the blueprint of my life. I would soon learn that Thanksgiving was more than a holiday.
As a teenager, the concept started taking shape as I began to discover the art of worship. An idea that would grow into a lifestyle and completely consume my life.
Come before His presence with singing. If I wanted anything, it was His presence, and singing could get me there. But before I could find Him, I had to find the gate; or the entrance. I would soon discover that a thankful heart would open the door, then I could sing my way right into His arms.
“On your feet now—applaud GOD! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into His presence.
Know this: GOD is God, and God, GOD. He made us; we didn’t make Him. We’re His people, His well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank Him. Worship Him. For GOD is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.”
Psalm 100:1-5 MSG
Being thankful will press open the gate. It will take you from the natural into the supernatural. I was determined to give thanks until I became thanks! The apostle Paul said:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV
THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS FOR YOU! I hear people ask me all the time, how can I discover the will of God for my life. What am I supposed to be? Who am I? What is the will of God for me? I want to stress to you that you can learn to hear the voice of God and get clarity on specific direction, but until you are able to do that, find His will in His Word.
Start somewhere. Give Thanks!
Paul said it so well, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God….” If you are lost and can’t find direction, you can still start somewhere! Give thanks!
Start by saying thank you when someone opens the door. Say thanks to your family and friends when they compliment you or give you a gift. Be grateful! Of course, we can always be thankful for the cross. For His shed blood. It takes Thanksgiving to get in the door, but it’s only by His blood that we are received. Give thanks!
On the night Jesus was betrayed, He gave thanks. He modeled for us how to be thankful even in our darkest hour. In the context of betrayal, He gave thanks.
Thanksgiving is not a gem until it comes out of the pressure of our pain. Maybe you feel betrayed by someone. Maybe you feel betrayed by God for not giving you the answer you desired. Give thanks! In everything give thanks. Even in the dark place, give thanks. Give thanks until you become thanks!
Thankful people attract breakthrough, so give thanks. Every answer to every question in life can be found in His presence, but you can’t even get close to Him without a thankful heart, so give thanks!