November 29, 2016

Read Colossians 3:15-16; 4:2

On a recent scuba diving expedition, I saw "the works of the Lord and His wonders in the deep." (Psalm 107:24) God's perfect creation lead me not only to worship, but to thanksgiving for a God Who loves beauty and variety. Being on vacation with lots of rest and good food makes it easy to be thankful, but what happens when I get back home? When 50 people show up for Thanksgiving dinner? When my 91-year old mother continues to deteriorate? When family members don't meet realistic expectations? How do I cultivate a heart of thanksgiving when strife in America continually increases?? 

Several years ago Ann Voscamp wrote a book called "1000 Gifts,” where she challenged her readers to thank God for 3 things every day. For those of us not in the habit, she gave suggestions for each day. After one year, a strong habit was formed and continued. But lately, I needed to take it to a deeper level, not just giving thanks for the good things, but adding thanks for difficult challenges. Colossians 4:2 says to devote myself to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And so, in my prayers, I began (again) the cultivating process of telling the Lord: 

Thank You that my house can hold 50 people. 
Thank You that Momma is with us this year.
Thank You that when others let me down, I have One Who never will.
Thank You for calling Christians to peace. May it rule also in my heart. (Colossians 3:15) 

As I practice cultivating thanksgiving in the hard things, with God's power, this too can become a daily habit. And I delight that, when I thank Him for everything, I am also following His will. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)