words of thanks

Tomorrow is a celebration. A day to give thanks for the many blessings in our lives: the ones we recognize and the ones we take for granted.

Thanksgiving is a time that I feel my words have little to add. Because it is not a time for reading as much as it is a time for speaking. It is a time to lift up our voices to the Maker of the Universe and praise His Holy Name. It is a time to share stories of what He has done and to rejoice with those in the community He has given us.

So today, instead of giving you my words, I will give you His. I will give you verses in the Bible that speak of Thanksgiving- verses that speak of why it is important and why we should be thankful. Use these words as a launching point to add your own words of praise.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. -Psalm 95:1-7

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. - Psalm 100

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. -    Psalm 136:1-3

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 4:6-7

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  –Colossians 3:17

“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” -Revelation 7:12

Want more reasons to count your blessings? Or an app that helps you do it? Check out BecauseThanksgivingisMorethanaHoliday.

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a good day

“Now THAT was a good day.” When do you utter those words?

For me, it is a day when I crossed lots of things off my to-do list. Add to that a day with nice weather, well-behaved children, a clean home, a workout, a cup of coffee, and chocolate, and I would call it GREAT.

In general, I have discovered that my standard of a good day is if it (a) makes me feel happy (b) is easy (c) gets me closer to a goal or (d) all of the above.

I wonder sometimes if I am using the wrong standard of evaluation. What if I used Philippians 2:1-4?

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make

my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Or maybe Romans 12:12-13?

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

If those verses are my standard of what a good day looks like, then…

  •  When I set aside my to-do list in order to help someone else, it is a good day.
  • When I invite someone into my somewhat messy home, elevating community over outward appearances, it is a good day.
  • When my children are throwing temper tantrums and I show them unconditional love, it is a good day.
  • When someone wrongs me, and I choose to forgive them, it is a good day.

I find hope when I use the words of the Bible as my standard of what a “good” day means. It still means the things listed at the top of this post are good. Because when those things happen, I am appreciating God’s blessings and who He made me to be. But it also means many other things are good as well- hard things that, in my own strength, I may have put in the "bad day" category.

It is hard to be patient with strong-willed children. It is hard to submit to a difficult boss. It is hard to get past something that has hurt us. It is hard to give up our agendas in order to follow through on something God has put on our hearts.

These things are hard. They make for hard days. However, an easy day and a good day are not necessarily the same thing. If easy is our standard of good, then our standard is too low. We are eternal beings created by a good God for a good purpose. Our days are gifts from that good God. Sometimes they are a gift for our present, and sometimes they are a gift for our future. When we can let go of our own agendas, and appreciate that truth, we can go to bed more often uttering the words,

 “Now THAT was a good day.”