For the times when we have selective perspectives, favoring the perspective that dwells on the negative.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV):“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
Psalms 75:1 (KJV): “Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.”
This week has been a challenging one. I mean challenging in every way. From the numerous phone calls I have had to make to my home college to the many nights I spent trying to reach the ear of God—it has been challenging. Like in the video above, I found myself wondering what I had to be thankful for. As I was walking home a few days ago I began to have a battle in my mind. The anger and frustrations in my heart was trying to push out the Scripture vibrating through my headphones. My heart was a ball of fury but I knew the truth of His Spirit knocking on the door of my soul was much more important than my angry rant. I reluctantly gave in, rolling my eyes as I let go of how upset I was and tried to provide open access for the Holy Spirit. The interesting thing was that the battle did not stop there. For about two minutes my flesh was fighting with His Spirit but then free will came in. I had the will to welcome Him so that I could have the mind of Christ OR I could be disobedient and act as if the world owed me something. I thought of the joy I had that very morning as I smiled looking to the sky while I skipped to the bus, 30 minutes ahead of time. I missed my joy. So I said this very thing, “Okay. I am angry but I will let You in because You have been too good to me. Again I repeat, I am angry. But I will let it go. I can think on You instead and give thanks for all that You have done in, through, and for me.” Within seconds my anger was somewhere beneath me and I turned my music up as I began looking to the sky and smiling at God once again. Before I even consciously thought about it a simple, “Thank You God” flew out of my mouth. Wait. When was the last time I told God thank you? I don’t mean after He answered a desperate prayer but simply because of who He is?
Philippians 4:6 (KJV): “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
Later that day my Mom called and before hanging up she said, “And cheer up. I hope next time we talk you are in better spirits.” I hadn’t thought to curb my attitude during our conversation. I wanted to hurry and hang up so that I could think more on my current unfortunate circumstances. I grudgingly said,” Well okay. I am just dealing with some things.” My Mother began to attempt to find out what was bothering me but my usual response to stress is to not share it unless it is necessary or if I become so weary that it runs out of my mouth before I catch it. While she was fishing for answers I put my iPad away from my face and thought: She is paying attention. 1 Chronicles 16:8 (KJV):“Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.” Am I going to give my joy away or am I going to give God thanks?
Ephesians 5:4 (KJV): “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.”
How is that we have better manners when dealing with individuals on Earth than we do with our Heavenly Father? I often find myself showering people with thank yous and excuse mes. Why was it a conscious effort to say to God? It was new for me to praise my way out of my fury because when I am upset I tend to get tunnel vision, only focusing on what rubbed me the wrong way. What a new beginning that was for me because no one likes to be angry. The issues that I faced are still relevant but I pray that I praise my way through the rest as well. I know for sure that the good outweighs the bad, no doubt about that.
Ephesians 5:20 (KJV): “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Today I found myself frustrated and deciding that I would go home early from school right after my doctor’s appointment but while sitting in the doctor’s office I had time to reflect. There I was sitting in the office with full insurance, playing on my iPad, thinking about the many options I would have for dinner, and looking down at my shoes and thinking that I want new ones although the current pair aren’t ruined….in summary still being unsatisfied. It really hit me when I saw a sickly man come out of the doctor’s office with a bunch of band aids covering the places where he had to get blood drawn. Within 10 minutes my blood was drawn, tested, and I was released to go home with perfectly normal levels. At that moment I had to thank God. There I was with perfect health and with every thing I have practically ever wanted sitting in my lap and I was aimlessly walking with a frown on my face. That was something to be checked. Sure, things in my life aren’t perfect but I rest assured knowing that there is no such thing. But even above health, finance, and other miscellaneous blessings (though people with poor health, shaky finances, and who have close to nothing to call their own can still be rich in Spirit) I can give thanks because I have salvation. If I were hospitalized with an estimated 2 weeks to live and accustomed to moving from place to place like a nomad without anyone to call friend or family I would still have a reason to say thank You to the Father. He is just that much of an almighty God.
Psalms 79:13 (KJV): “So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.”
We must not forget the greatest gift of all; salvation. Not even the world can forcefully take that away from us. I talked with a dear Sister in the Lord today and though our flesh would rather complain and look for pity, we asked for God to allow us to sharpen each other during our trying time. Our only answer was to take matters to the Lord as we swallowed anger and sadness so that we could open our mouths to pour out love, blessings, and praise. We must forever sing His praise! It is always easier to give thanks when things seem favorable in our eyes but the true test is when we are able to give thanks in the midst of trouble. Even if the world were to shatter before my eyes I pray that I hold on to my salvation as the most valuable thing that I possess. It is nothing that I worked for. It is nothing that I could demand. It is simply a gift from a Father who loved me when I didn’t love myself. I can only humbly accept, offering my body as a living sacrifice.
Lord, please give me a mind to give thanks to You at all times. Praising You because You are worthy. Praising You because You are bigger than our problems. Simply praising You for who You are.
Psalm 100:4 (KJV): ” 4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”