by Kathy Lay
This Week's Verse: Colossians 3:16 (NIV)-- Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
I remember walking out of Burlington Coat Factory last fall having had a successful shopping venture. Both my girls needed new winter coats and I wanted to be able to get them something that satisfied each of their unique styles, but that also provided maximum warmth and durability. Getting them at a good price would be a bonus.
Upon seeing a brown faux suede one with a funky tan fur trim, I knew which girl would love that—it just looked like her. Next I spotted a pink camouflage number and knew exactly who that looked like, too. Both coats were thick, well-insulated, machine-washable, and priced reasonably. A few clicks of the cash register later, I walked out of the store a woman satisfied from a flawless shopping experience.
As I often do after “droppin’ some coin” grocery shopping or whatever, I got into the car thanking God that he enabled me to provide what my family needed. But this time--I don’t know if it was because I could picture my girls huddling into these new coats on a blustery frigid day or what--as the words left my mouth, I was suddenly overcome with such a deep sense of gratitude that I began to cry.
The words of Proverbs 31:21 came to mind, “She has no fear of winter for her household because all of them have warm clothes”(NLT). All I could think was “Lord, thank you. Thank you so much for your provision, which allows me to just walk into a store and get what my family needs without having to worry about how to pay for it. I sure don't deserve it, but I sure am grateful for it. It’s only your grace that allows it and I don’t take that for granted.” My gratitude completely overwhelmed me that day.
I know some Old Testament folks who were probably even more overwhelmed with gratitude. My “Read the Bible in a Year” schedule has had me in Ezekiel lately. What an astonishing story and reminder of purification and grace! In Chapter 39, the Lord lays out his plan for restoring Israel after the exile: “Then my people will know that I am the LORD their God—responsible for sending them away to exile and responsible for bringing them home. I will leave none of my people behind. And I will never again turn my back on them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon them” (28-29).
Okay, so after being purged from their sin, God brings every last Israelite home again and in pouring out his Spirit, determines to continually be with them from that point on. His Lordship in their lives meant safety, provision, and inheritance. Hallelujah, Girls, it means the same for us! Like the warmth and comfort those new coats provide for my girls, we can also wrap ourselves in the comfort and peace of God’s promises to us. Isn’t that great reassurance something that we can be grateful for? In the midst of anything our mighty, mighty God will take care of us and keep his promises…A HAPPY THANKSGIVING, indeed! :-)
Father, it's times like this, when we count our blessings and find them too numerous to even begin to list, that the plea “Oh for a thousand tongues...” applies. I mean really, how can we put into mere words how utterly thankful we are to you for all that you are? I'm even thankful that in your omniscience, you already know our words fall short, but you know what's in our hearts. How infinitely awesome you are and yet you call us “friend.” Thank you, thank YOU, Lord. Amen.
Application: In the spirit of the holiday, click on “comments” below and give a public thanks to God for something that you're thankful for. As The Message puts it in Ephesians 5:4, let's make thanksgiving our dialect.
I Timothy 4:3,4 (MSG) They'll tell you not to eat this or that food—perfectly good food God created to be eaten heartily and with thanksgiving by believers who know better! Everything God created is good, and to be received with thanks. Nothing is to be sneered at and thrown out. God's Word and our prayers make every item in creation holy. *(What a great verse to remember around the Thanksgiving table--LOL!)
Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Colossians 3:16 (NIV)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
2 Corinthians 9:12 (MSG)
Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians. It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God. This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ. You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they'll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need. Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough!