How Current is Your Thankfulness?

current thankfulness

Thankfulness is good for the soul. And it’s especially fashionable to be thankful during the month of November.

But how far back do you have to go to find something to thank God for?

Do you find yourself casting back on old memories? Searching experiences from your childhood? From years ago? Or months or even weeks ago?

I love the practice some families have of filling a thanksgiving jar throughout the year. Family members add slips to the jar and then take turns reading the slips on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a wonderful way to rehearse God’s faithfulness and nurture thankfulness in both children and adults.

Although family members read slips written up to a year earlier, each recollection was current when it was written.

But what if we go days, weeks, or even months without recognizing something to be thankful for? What does this say about us?

It proclaims that we can’t see beyond our immediate physical circumstances. Negative events limit and shape our perspective. For example, a flat tire can be a disaster…or it can be the impetus for thankfulness I wasn’t injured, I had a spare tire in the trunk, or even thankfulness I have a car at all!

Additionally, in the absence of a current spirit of gratitude, I will become a bitter, resentful person who cultivates an overarching sense of entitlement. I’ll focus on my rights, my benefits, my priorities. I’ll fall into the trap of thinking anything good that happens to me is dependent solely on my own efforts. And if my rights, benefits, and priorities are shortchanged in any way, I’ll make sure the world hears about it.

Finally, the absence of a current spirit of thankfulness proclaims I am unaware of God’s active presence in my life moment by moment and day by day. Nurturing an awareness of God’s presence helps me be alert to the ways He is working in each day, providing me multiple reasons to be grateful.

If I have to think back weeks or months for something to thank God for, then something is terribly wrong. I want to be diligent to practice His presence now for a heightened awareness of His hand at work every day!

As the pages of our calendars and planners turn, the thankful themes of November will give way to the excitement and animation of December Christmas celebrations. Will you and I purpose to bring a current spirit of thanksgiving with us into the new month, the new year, and each new day of our life?

Do you have to cast back on old memories for reminders of how God has worked in your life?

How will you develop a current spirit of thanksgiving that will last far beyond the month of November?


Thanksgiving List

I’ve been posting something for which I’m thankful every day this month. Today, in honor of Thanksgiving, I offer you my list:

ThanksgivingA month of thankfulness:

Day 1 – Thankful for God’s sovereignty in the world…and in my life.
Day 2 – Thankful that God is faithful even when I am not (not proud of that last part!).
Day 3 – Thankful for Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice that redeemed my life. He did what I could not do for myself!
Day 4 – Thankful that the Lord is my shepherd, because this sheep definitely needs her shepherd!
Day 5 – Thankful for this great nation and for the privilege of voting. We may not be perfect, but whatever her problems, it’s still a blessing to live in the USA!
Day 6 – Thankful for the privilege of teaching God’s Word.
Day 7 – Thankful for encouraging words, smiles, and hugs!
Day 8 – Thankful that our salvation is not found in any political party. Regardless of who is in the White House, God is on His throne!
Day 9 – Thankful for food in the pantry, clothes in the closet, and a roof over my head. Jesus taught us to pray for our daily needs, but I have more than what I need just for today!
Day 10 – Thankful for God’s promise of the rainbow. Now we see it in part – someday we’ll see the whole glorious circle around the throne!
Day 11 – Thankful for those who fought and died to protect my liberty. Freedom is never free.
Day 12 – Thankful for the privilege of serving with women who love the Lord. Hearts with a shared purpose are hearts that bring joy!
Day 13 – Thankful for the gift of health. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Day 14 – Thankful for the gift of friendship – a gift to give and to cherish.
Day 15 – Thankful for the convenience of technology…even though it doesn’t always work and I don’t always understand it.
Day 16 – Thankful for the peace that passes all understanding in a world filled with anxiety and strife.
Day 17 – Thankful to be part of a church that preaches the gospel, encourages God’s people, and reaches out to the hurting. Also thankful for past pastors and churches who have blessed me with discipleship!
Day 18 – Thankful for the joy that comes from knowing I belong to the Lord. I can call God my heavenly Father because Jesus is my Savior.
Day 19 – Thankful for the gift of fellowship. Hearts knit together, minds of one accord, spirits united. It truly is a gift!
Day 20 – Thankful that Christmas is only five weeks away…and for the anticipation of celebrating the birth of the Savior!
Day 21 – Thankful for the freedom we have to worship the One from whom all blessings flow!
Day 22 – Thankful for my heavenly Father who knows my needs before I do and meets them with His abundant provision!
Day 23 – Thankful for the gift of forgiveness – a gift to give and receive.
Day 24 – Thankful my heavenly Father has more patience with me than I have with others. (Not proud of that one!)

Day 25 – Thankful for the power of a smile. No matter what language we speak, it’s something we all understand.
Day 26 – Thankful for my wonderful husband – whose birthday just happens to be today! God has used him in my life to demonstrate the reality of unconditional love.
Day 27 – Thankful that Christmas is only four weeks away. Four weeks to enjoy the music and decorations that commemorate the incredible Gift sent to us by the Father.
Day 28 – Thankful for the gift of sight…physical AND spiritual!
Day 29 – Thankful for the written Word…and the Living Word!
Day 30 – Thankful for grace – oceans of undeserved blessings!


Buck the Crowd – Give Thanks

We’ve all heard the advice:

Don’t buck the crowd.

Go along to get along.

Don’t rock the boat.

When I’m with a group of people, often the last thing I want to do is buck the crowd. Children are especially vulnerable to this feeling.

As a child, I was the “goody-two-shoes.” The one who always said please and thank you. The one of whom my friends’ parents would say, “You can go only if Ava goes.”

No kid wants that kind of reputation—to be the one who made everyone else look bad by comparison. Kids want to fit in, not stand out.

I wonder if that’s what the ten lepers were thinking. Remember the account in Luke 17? Ten lepers were healed by Jesus. In their joy at being healed, off they went, seemingly forgetting their Healer. But even if it weren’t a case of faulty recollections, I wonder if each of the ten was simply reluctant to break from the group.

Yet one man did buck the crowd. The most unlikely of the ten—a Samaritan—one who the Jews considered to be a pagan. This pagan returned to give thanks.Thank you 2That pagan man convicts me today. Like the other nine healed from leprosy, I am associated with the community of believers. I am a believer. I have a relationship with the living God through Jesus Christ, His Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Sadly though, also like those nine, I often ask God for things without going back to say thank you for answered prayer.

I don’t want to be like the nine. I want to be like the one. So as part of my prayer time, I added another list. A “Thank You” list. When God provides and blesses, I move that request to a “thank you” page. My goal is to thank God daily for as long as—or longer than—I was petitioning Him.

It’s time for me to leave the nine and join the one. How about you? Let’s buck the crowd…and give thanks.


A Month of Thanksgiving!

How many different things can you think of for which you are thankful? How easily do they occur to you?

For a second year, I’ve posted things I’m thankful for in daily Facebook posts throughout November. Today, I offer the complete list to you, in the hope of causing you to remember the things for which you are thankful, too.

Thanksgiving2

Here is my month of thanksgiving:

  • Day 1 – Thankful for God’s sovereignty in the world…and in my life.
  • Day 2 – Thankful that God is faithful even when I am not ( not proud of that last part!).
  • Day 3 – Thankful for Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice that redeemed my life. He did what I could not do for myself!
  • Day 4 – Thankful that the Lord is my shepherd, because this sheep definitely needs her shepherd!
  • Day 5 – Thankful for this great nation and for the privilege of voting. We may not be perfect, but whatever her problems, it’s still a blessing to live in the USA!
  • Day 6 – Thankful for the privilege of teaching God’s Word.
  • Day 7 – Thankful for encouraging words, smiles, and hugs!
  • Day 8 – Thankful that our salvation is not found in any political party. Regardless of who is in the White House, God is on His throne!
  • Day 9 – Thankful for food in the pantry, clothes in the closet, and a roof over my head. Jesus taught us to pray for our daily needs, but I have more than what I need just for today!
  • Day 10 – Thankful for God’s promise of the rainbow. Now we see it in part – someday we’ll see the whole glorious circle around the throne!
  • Day 11 – Thankful for those who fought and died to protect my liberty. Freedom is never free.
  • Day 12 – Thankful for the privilege of serving with women who love the Lord. Hearts with a shared purpose are hearts that bring joy!
  • Day 13 – Thankful for the gift of health. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
  • Day 14 – Thankful for the gift of friendship – a gift to give and to cherish.
  • Day 15 – Thankful for the convenience of technology…even though it doesn’t always work and I don’t always understand it.
  • Day 16 – Thankful for the peace that passes all understanding in a world filled with anxiety and strife.
  • Day 17 – Thankful to be part of a church that preaches the gospel, encourages God’s people, and reaches out to the hurting. Also thankful for past pastors and churches who have blessed me with discipleship!
  • Day 18 – Thankful for the joy that comes from knowing I belong to the Lord. I can call God my heavenly Father because Jesus is my Savior.
  • Day 19 – Thankful my heavenly Father has more patience with me than I have with others. (Not proud of that one!)
  • Day 20 – Thankful that Christmas is only five weeks away…and for the anticipation of celebrating the birth of the Savior!
  • Day 21 – Thankful for the freedom we have to worship the One from whom all blessings flow!
  • Day 22 – Thankful for the gift of forgiveness – a gift to give and receive.
  • Day 23 – Thankful for a heavenly Father who knows my needs before I do and meets them in His abundant provision!
  • Day 24 – Thankful for the gift of fellowship. Hearts knit together, minds of one accord, spirits united. Truly a gift!
  • Day 25 – Thankful for the power of a smile – no matter what language we speak, it’s something we all understand.
  • Day 26 – Thankful for my wonderful husband – whose birthday just happens to be today! God has used him in my life to demonstrate the reality of unconditional love.
  • Day 27 – Thankful that Christmas is only four weeks away. Four weeks to enjoy the music and decorations that commemorate the incredible Gift sent to us by the Father.
  • Day 28 – Thankful for the gift of sight…physical AND spiritual!
  • Day 29 – Thankful for the written Word…and the Living Word!
  • Day 30 – Thankful for grace – oceans of undeserved blessings!

So much to be thankful for – so little time!

What are you thankful for?