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The Power Of Giving Thanks
Thanksgiving is a powerful way to live!
Thanksgiving, like many of our holidays, has slowly lost its original meaning. When we truly understand what is behind living a life of thanksgiving there is a power released for us to enjoy. If you did a quick Google search on ‘gratitude’ or ‘being thankful’ you will discover various health sites providing medical proof that thankful people are healthier people. These benefits include: the ability to cope with stress, more mentally alert, a greater optimism about the future, overall improved physical health and a higher likability factor resulting in a wholesome social life.
A few keys to remember this Thanksgiving are:
1. Thanksgiving is GIVING THANKS.
It is intentionally releasing something we possess with a cheerful heart. The word thanks is an adverb that describes HOW we give. If we are thankful we willingly give, if we are ungrateful we take.
2. Giving thanks means we have to THINK.
It’s interesting to note that “think” and “thank” come from same Anglo-Saxon root word. It has been proven if a person takes time each day to write out 20 things they are thankful for, it will have a profound affect on their mental stability and release anxiety. This takes significant thought, but the rewards are amazing.3. Giving thanks takes EFFORT.
Complaining requires no training, but to develop an attitude of gratitude takes work. As a child when someone gave us a gift, most of our parents looked at us and said: “What do you say?”
It takes effort to think about God’s goodness and thank Him, or to think what someone has done for us and sincerely thank that person. A simple thank you note requires we sacrifice some time and a few dollars, but the benefits are huge.
As we read in Hebrews 13:15 sacrifice and giving thanks are connected: Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
4. Giving thanks means leaving the MOAN ZONE for the BLESSING ZONE.
We can learn from Israel and their trek out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Despite having God open up the sea, witnessing His cosmic GPS system, an instant water well, heavenly catering and of course freedom from the sting of the Egyptian whip, they were living in the MOAN ZONE.
We read in Numbers 21:4,5: Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient along the way, and they began to murmur against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this wretched manna!”
5. Giving thanks yields a heart of CONTENTMENT.
Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:6,7: But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
There is a YouTube clip of a comedian on the Conan O’Brien show entitled: “Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy.” During the interview they talk about the amazing technological marvels all around us, and yet people still complain and whine. At one point they mention how people always complain about their airplane flights. They complain their seat does not go back far enough, or having to sit on the runway waiting to take off. Despite the fact they are flying, sitting in a chair in the sky, traveling over thousands of miles in a few hours, they are not content.
The secret to being content in a world that offers so many amazing technological breakthroughs, is to simply step back and start giving thanks.
6. “Thanks” is your PASSWORD to log into God’s presence.
We all are familiar with using a password to gain access to an account or a website. Similarly to gain access into God’s presence, the Psalmist instructs us: “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving”. Not only does it make a difference on the way we enter into God’s presence, it makes a huge impact when we enter the presence or our spouse, family, friends, employer in that manner.
7. Thankfulness is a WEAPON that has a powerful affect in the spiritual realm.
Fear is a spiritual force, and one of the greatest weapons against it is an attitude of gratitude. A heart that expresses thanks will displace the fear of scarcity, break the power of worry, remove self-pity or the “woe is me” mindset, free the mind from thoughts of jealousy and deliver us from the “selfie” culture we live in.
As we approach our Canadian Thanksgiving holiday this weekend, it is important to remember that giving thanks is meant to be a way of life, not just a celebration once a year. The apostle Paul put it this way: in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.