Choose to be Thankful


By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service  GROVE, OKLAHOMA —“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus”—Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT).

We have a standing invitation from our Heavenly Father. After we’ve accepted His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior and Lord, we are invited to tell Him of our daily needs. Philippians 4:6 tells us we don’t have to worry about anything. Instead, we are to pray about everything, tell God what we need “and thank Him for all He has done.”

Too many times, however, most of us focus on our needs (and wants), and we forget the source of our blessings. Being thankful in everything requires us to be intentional. Scripture tells us to be “thankful in everything, in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

In a devotional by Grace Fox, she writes about spending too much time telling God about her needs and too little time thanking Him for what He has done in her life. The result, she says, “Focusing on my concerns caused me to worry more. But things have changed since studying Jesus’ life.”

Citing the story of Lazarus’ death and resurrection, Fox writes, “Jesus knew He would call forth a man from the tomb who’d been dead for four days. He could have focused on the enormity of the task.”

Instead, what did Jesus do? He prayed before raising His friend from the dead. “Father, thank you for hearing me.” Then, the miracle happened (John 11:41-44).

How did Jesus face the problem of feeding the 5,000 hungry people? Even as His disciples worried about the situation, Jesus never panicked. In Luke 9:14-17, we read, that “Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up into the sky and gave thanks.”

After breaking off pieces for His disciples to hand out to the crowd, everyone ate their fill. The miracle? There were leftovers—12 baskets full of scraps.

God doesn’t leave us with His scraps. We’re blessed with the fullness of His promise to “never leave us or forsake us.” And we’ve been blessed with His best—the free gift of salvation and eternal life.

Author and pastor John MacArthur says, “A thankful heart is one of the primary identifying characteristics of a believer. It stands in stark contrast to pride, selfishness, and worry. And it helps fortify the believer’s trust in the Lord and reliance of His provision, even in the toughest times. No matter how choppy the seas become, a believer’s heart is buoyed by constant praise and gratefulness to the Lord.”

When we choose to thank our Creator about everything, even in the times we are lost in the wilderness of despair and hopelessness, we can praise God for who He is. As we approach Thanksgiving, let’s not forget it’s more than a holiday; it’s an attitude we choose to practice every day. Thankfulness is a choice.

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