• Jennifer

Pausing To Give Thanks

Give thanks with a grateful heart

Give thanks to the Holy One

Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, "I am strong"

Let the poor say, "I am rich

Because of what the Lord has done for us"

-Henri Smith

It’s been a hard year. We’ve experienced loss, isolation, and fear in the unknown. We’ve had to trust Him in the dark and walk in the light. It’s been strange. But hasn’t it been good?

Maybe not good in itself, but this year has given us an opportunity that the good times do not afford us. We’ve been called to the secret place of, “nothing is going right” and we’ve found God faithful there.

He’s always faithful.

With that knowledge, I’m turning my heart and mind toward thanksgiving (the action and the holiday). I’m pausing to remember that God’s provision runs deeper than my circumstances. He has given me everything I’ve ever needed in His Son, Jesus Christ. My future is secure.

There are hard times in this world and, as we know, the days before Christ’s return only get darker.

Oh but the grace that light has shone into darkness!!

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5 ESV

Let’s remember Him this week as we celebrate Thanksgiving. Whether you’re experiencing a joyful holiday or the hardest Thanksgiving of your life, let’s pause and give thanks.

If you’re experiencing pain this holiday season, I wrote a post just for you, “Lonely, Grieving, And Broken: 15 Verses For When The Holidays Are Hard.”

The One Who Gave Thanks

In Luke chapter 17, we read the story of a man who was once tortured by leprosy. Like many of us have experienced this year, he was isolated from the people and places he loved. Unlike most of us, this man was an outcast. Jesus hears the man, along with nine of his friends, as they cry out to Him for mercy.

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Luke 17:11-13 ESV

Jesus of course in his mercy answered their cries with his healing power.

When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed (vv. 14).

They obediently left to go show themselves to the priests and were healed as they went.

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan (vv. 15-16).

This man, recognizing he was healed, came back to give thanks. The sheer weight of what Jesus had done for him led the man to fall on his face at Jesus’ feet.

He was undone by the grace of it all and gave thanks.

Did he notice he was the only one?

Jesus did.

Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well (vs. 17-18).”

Pausing To Give Thanks

Today the invitation is to pause.

To remember.

To turn back.

And to give thanks.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love the food, my family, and of course the parade, but more than all of that I love the way Thanksgiving turns my heart toward gratitude.

It’s a stark reminder in an increasingly selfish world that every blessing is a gift.

When I choose to focus on the gifts I’ve been given, my heart always turns toward the Giver.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 136:1 ESV

More than the gifts I’ve been given, I have the sweetest gift of all in my relationship with God. He fills every need I have, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. Sure, there are things in my life that don’t seem “right.” Yes, I struggle to make sense of things. And of course, I wait for provision.

Yet, I have everything in Jesus.

He’s worthy of my thanks.

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100: 3-4 ESV

So, this week I’m going to be like the one leper and take some time to pause and give thanks to the Lord.

Y’all, His love truly does endure forever!

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you most thankful for this year?

Me? I’m thankful that God is on the throne and that Jesus is sitting at his right hand interceding for me. Oh, and coffee- always coffee. And Brownie Batter M&Ms.

Verses for Further Study

Colossians 3:15 ESV: And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:16 ESV: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3:18 ESV: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.