Be Real. Give Thanks.

One of my favorite passages is in 1Thessalonians 5. I’ll never forget the summer I spent as a camp counselor at Camp Peniel, where these verses were spoken over me. They were chosen for me as a representation of who I was. It is humbling to think my life might ever represent these verses, as the verses not only represent this holiday of Thanksgiving, but they represent the way we should live.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

I love thanksgiving because it demonstrates so many realities. First, when we are thankful, there must be an object of that thanksgiving. Only One is worthy of thanksgiving, and that is the Creator, the Lord, the Father of us all, Jehovah.

Second, thanksgiving comes from a heart that understands Who God Is. Because God is good, faithful, loving, kind, patient, holy, and more, we can always be thankful. And, as we often cry out that we want to know what God’s will is for our lives, it is so lovely that He tells us in 1Thessalonians: to be joyful always; to pray continually; and to give thanks in all circumstances.

Let’s be real. When we aren’t thankful we are looking God full on in the face and telling Him that He messed up.

In Psalm 95 the psalmist recognizes this as he invites the worshiper to come to the Lord with thanksgiving.

God is great.

God is the great King above all gods.

He holds all things in His hands.

He is our maker.

He is our shepherd and we are His sheep.

He will care for us.

He speaks to us.

And, when we aren’t thankful, when we don’t listen to His voice and heed His call, then we strive and cannot enter His rest. Why not? Because we are refusing His gifts. We are telling Him He lied to us and isn’t good.

Thankfulness is the secret to life. Thankfulness, and all that flows through it, puts us in that place of living the God life. With thankful hearts to God we can trust Him with everything and live in the reality of experiencing God. With thankful hearts we place our faith in the Living and Loving God and He makes our way straight and smooth. When we realize that Christ truly finished the work so that we have no work to do but to rest in His great work at the Cross, then we have life and the secret to being content. Philippians 4:11-13.

We trust. We rest. And we are filled with an abundant and joyful life that overflows with more life for those around us who are still striving and longing to know that rest. I love it.

1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
       let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

 2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
       and extol him with music and song.

 3 For the LORD is the great God,
       the great King above all gods.

 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
       and the mountain peaks belong to him.

 5 The sea is his, for he made it,
       and his hands formed the dry land.

 6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
       let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;

 7 for he is our God
       and we are the people of his pasture,
       the flock under his care.
       Today, if you hear his voice,

 8 do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
       as you did that day at Massah in the desert,

 9 where your fathers tested and tried me,
       though they had seen what I did.

 10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
       I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray,
       and they have not known my ways.”

 11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
       “They shall never enter my rest.”

Psalm 95.

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