Monday, November 24, 2008

Planting a Thanks-Living Tree

Based on Psalm 71

Quick, name 10 things you are thankful for—


Was it easy? Difficult? Was ten a stretch? Or can you keep on going?

The problem with celebrating Thanksgiving one day a year is that the fourth Thursday of November catches us at a different place in life each year. Some years things are going great, some years life has taken a nasty turn. That’s life.

It’s easy to praise God, to give thanks, to have a thankful heart, when things are going well. But what about when things aren’t going well? How easy is it for you to give thanks when things don’t look good?

Jesus gave thanks to God even when there wasn’t much to give thanks for—a very small amount of food to feed a very large amount of people—

And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.—Matthew 14:19

Where do you feel like you don’t have very much to be thankful for? What is the “little bit” that you can thank God for?

A danger of ignoring God’s basic gifts and not thanking Him is that this kind of lifestyle results in clouded, futile thinking and causes people to become fools—

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…
—Romans 1:20-22

Where have you stopped giving God credit for your life and the gifts He has given you? How has that affected your thinking and attitude?

Thanking God even in the midst of anxiety allows God’s peace to transform our perspective—

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:4-7

What difference do you think focusing on thanksgiving when you are anxious could make in your life?

What are you anxious about? What do you want God to do about these things? What can—and will—you thank Him for in this situation?

The Next Step is easy—begin a practice of thanking God as a way of life. Use the Scriptures above and the categories Jeff suggested in the worship celebration to guide you.

Each day, thank God for—
Who you are
What He has done for you
What He is doing for you moment-by-moment

As you read Scripture—
• Look for descriptions of God’s character and thank Him for who He is. Look for His promises and thank Him that His promises are true and dependable.
• Look for descriptions of His power and thank Him that His power is more than enough to meet your needs.
• Look for instances of His protection and care for His people and thank Him that He protects, sustains, and cares for you in ways of which you may be unaware.
• Thank Him that all that He is, He is for you.

Allow this habit of thanksgiving to transform your life into thanks-living, 24/7/365.

Why not start now by continuing that list you started earlier?

To view the Worship Celebration related to this study, click

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