ABC’s of Thanksgiving – Letter G

Ephesians 5:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell me to always give thanks to God in all circumstances in Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua. Always being thankful no matter what my situation? Really? You’ve got to be kidding! But that’s God’s command to Christian and Messianic believers. So, just what does this mean???

I watched as the big black bird landed on the bird feeder. Sparrows went flying as the grackle took their place on the cup holding the sought-after seeds.

Not only did the little birds fly off but so did the seeds. I guess Mr. Greedy Grackle was particular in his diet. What he didn’t want flew to the ground.

Hmmm. That’s just like some people. I follow God’s instruction to do good works (Ephesians 2:10) – to be generous and willing to share (1 Timothy 6:18). And what does it get me?

My generousity is met with greed and grief. People take advantage of me. They take my willingness to share as something owed them. The sacrifices I have to make in order to do God’s will is unappreciated.

It’s not that I am resentful in wanting to please God (Colossians 1:10), but how can I be grateful in such shabby treatment?

Looking again at the bird feeder, I notice the sparrows on the ground. They are eating the seeds flung out of the cup by the grackle. To my chagrin, I am reminded of two things:

1) I do good works to reveal and glorify God (1 Peter 2:15), not me;

2)I follow in Jesus’ footsteps. He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) who laid down His life for me. The ultimate sacrifice! What are my sacrifices compared to that?

Even when I am taken advantage of and not appreciated, I can be thankful. I honor God by following His name, Giver of Good Gifts (Matthew 7:11).

My thankful spirit shows the work of God Who Breaks the Teeth of the Wicked (Psalm 3:7). Their response to my good deeds have no consequences – no bite – on me. I don’t do it for people. I do it for God. I live in His name, Good to All (Psalm 145:9).

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ABC’s of Thanksgiving – Letter D

Ephesians 5:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell me to always give thanks to God in all circumstances in Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua. Always being thankful no matter what my situation? No way! But that’s God’s command to believers. So, just what does this mean?

It was during a tour of a cave that, with warning, the guide turned off the lights. We were engulfed in total blackness. Immediately my mind explored how we would get out if the lights didn’t come on again.

Maybe feel for the electrical cord and hand-over-hand follow it. But that wasn’t a guarantee that it would lead us outside and into daylight. Besides, what if we couldn’t find the cord? The only safe place was exactly where we were standing. A move in any direction could cause us bodily harm, or even our lives.

Same is true for some serious life situations I encounter. I might just as well be standing in the black cave, because I can see no way out. Maybe that’s why God said, “Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). When I didn’t know which way to turn to end an abusive relationship, I stood still and waited for God to shine His light, showing me the path to take.

I can’t see in the darkness, but God can. Day and night are the same to Him (Psalm 139:12). I am most thankful for that knowledge and reliance. God’s name is Absence of Darkness ((1 John 1:5 implied).

ABC’s of Thanksgiving – Letter C

Ephesians 5:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell me to always give thanks to God in all circumstances in Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua. Always being thankful no matter what? Really? But that’s God’s command to believers. So, just what does this mean?

~Cancer is a curse. How can I be thankful when I see my mother suffering?

~Change that is unexpected seems like a curse. How can I accept that with gratitude?

~Divorce is unwanted and so destructive. How can I find anything good in such a curse as this?

God, You commanded me to always give thanks in all circumstances. Why would you say that? You are All-Knowing/Omniscient (Isaiah 46:10 implied). Surely You know things that happen to me aren’t all blessings. If that were true, being thankful would be easy. But life isn’t all good. Bad things happen. How can I obey Your command in those situations? I don’t understand.

Child,

My commands are light to your eyes (Psalm 19:8; verse 9 Tanakh). They reveal how I work, and what I expect from you. They are a yardstick measuring your devotion and loyalty – even when you don’t understand.

I am God Who Turns Curses into Blessings (Nehemiah 13:2). I delight in showing you how easily I do that. Can gets people’s attention like nothing else. I want them to draw close to Me that otherwise wouldn’t happen. Disease is a curse. Seeking My help and will turns the curse into a blessing.

I am Chief Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6; Psalm 118:22). Change is a tool I use to move you from one path to another. A new path to travel that will provide blessings never found on the old one.

I Comfort with a Rod and Staff (Psalm 23:4). These are shepherd tools used to keep sheep from straying into enemy territory. I removed you from your abusive home in order to keep you safe.

Child, practice looking beyond the “curse” situations. That’s where you will see Me. Be thankful that I see the other side of the curse – its blessing!

Love,

God

Champion of the Poor and Needy (Psalm 140:12 implied; verse 13 Tanakh)