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Archive for thanksgiving

Maintaining a thankful heart

Maintaining a thankful heart

 

Scriptures (Romans8:18; Psalms 107:1; Psalms 103:1-4;2Chronicles 20; Philippians 4:4-6; 1John 1:9)

 

One of the things that I remember in my first days as a Christian was how services opened. After congregational prayer, there was what was called “testimony time”.   People stood up and waited their turn to give thanks to God for what he had done for them over the course of a day. In classical Pentecostal circles, this was a custom. Some would thank God for a raise in salary at work. Others would thank God for help at school, while another would thank God for that new mode of transportation.

 

More often than not, the testimonies given were offerings of thanks for the goodness of God in terms of life, health, strength, food, shelter and most important being given the title of a child of the King. I wondered  as a new born babe in Christ at the faces of those who stood up with that ‘basic’ testimony. What struck me was that in spite of problems at home with difficult spouses, raising children all by themselves in some cases as single parents, pressures at work and ostracism by  society due to gender and race they still stood up to give God thanks anyway.  This scene was not just played out in the local Church I attended years ago, but in storefronts, house churches, and other places in Christendom, especially in inner city areas.

 

Sometimes, the format of a testimony service did not go as planned. Some believers would use it as an opportunity to vent at a way word spouse, a rebellious child, or what they thought was wrong with the church world as a whole. Today, the testimony service has given way to the tabernacle of David style service of praise, worship and even  liturgical dance.

 

For all the faults of the testimony time format, it served a point to me that God was one to be thanked and that in the midst of the overwhelming problems many of my precious brothers and sisters faced they still saw God as good God; the giver of life, health and strength who would soon come and make things right. And the fact that he was still God stirred them on to live in the midst of some hellish circumstances.

 

We watch the news of the day and look at our personal lives and wonder to ourselves, “How will things ever be made right?”  If we are honest with ourselves as Christians we can view more things which are wrong than right. We look at a world which is wrought with peril socially, morally and economically and we wonder, “How will things ever be made right”?  We look at the church in its’ struggles and at times losing its’ moral compass and wonder, “how will things ever be made right”?

 

This morning, I thought about the older saints I saw “testify” at church years ago when I was a babe in Christ and soaked everything in.  Many of these souls served God for decades and witnessed wars, discrimination, and personal heartache, yet they kept speaking about the goodness of God. I can see in the midst of facial wrinkles and gray hair weather-beaten by trials and tests a sparkle in the eyes of these ‘missionaries’, deacons, elders, and saints which proclaimed victory and maturity through it all.

 

Perhaps life  as you viewed it hasn’t panned out according to what you have envisioned. The vision which God has placed in your heart for ministry, business, or family looks more dead than alive.  Yet in all of these things there is a God who is ever present and is good regardless.  And that the sufferings of this present time are not  worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18). God being who he is, is  still worth celebrating over even in the midst of the problems and ‘disappointments’ of life

 

 

If for nothing else that you have your life, health and strength you have much to thank God for.  As you woke up this morning after a night of sleep you have much to be thankful for. If you are surrounded with love from a spouse, a child, and a wonderful God, you have something (and much) to be thankful for. If you are not bound in a hospital or an asylum; you have much to be thankful for.  Just to be a member of the royal household and partake of the bounty of God’s table with the rest of his kids is much to be thankful for (Ephesians2; 2Samuel 9).

 

During this time of difficulty for many of us, let us learn those lessons from prior generations of saints who went through their own times of hardship yet stood with hearts of thanksgiving and praise to the King of Kings.  I believe that God’s ear is open to hear a sound of thanksgiving and craving for him in this hour from his children so that he can manifest himself upon the earth through his church.

 

Has complaining, faultfinding, or negativity found it’s way into your heart and your mouth? Let’s repent together. God is so gracious, he is yearning over you and I with great joy and he is faithful and just to forgive.  Let us allow Papa God the opportunity to open our eyes to not only what he is about to do, but what he is doing, be it great or small