Sunday, November 22, 2009

Being Thankful is a Decision

On Monday, November 23, I will be the guest blogger over at Eternity Cafe. Susan has felt led of the Lord to encourage other Christian's to have "40 Days of Focus" on Jesus, of course! This is to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Jesus' birth, as well as prepare our hearts for His triumphant return.

Three days from now we are going to celebrate Thanksgiving. The holiday set up by the pilgrims to celebrate the planting of a new colony here in America. With six children, we've read the Thanksgiving story many, many times. One thing is clear, they were thankful - but not because it had been easy for them.

When they came to America, they didn't expect extreme hardships. They were hoping to find fame and fortune and religious freedom. If they knew the hardships that they would have faced that first year, do you think they would have volunteered to come? They experienced famine, sickness, death, hostile Indians - just to name a few! They were cold and unprepared for what they were faced with. But, they had one thing that got them through - FAITH IN GOD!

No matter what was going on, they made sure that they were at church and learning about the Bible and their God. They prayed and believed, and when loved ones started dying, their faith remained. I'm in awe that they chose to celebrate that first year in America. I have to admit that at first glance, it didn't seem so successful, or victorious.

So how did they celebrate and give thanks with pure hearts after suffering such loss and trauma? They knew the Bible! Here's what one verse says:

1Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

This is only one of many, many scritpures on giving thanks. 

So what is going on in your life this year?  I know that for me, 2009 has been a year of great trials and great pain.  My beloved father stepped into heaven (unexpectedly) in August, just to share one trial my family has been through.  Now I have a choice to make.  I can allow myself to fall in to a pattern of sadness with negative feelings, or I can focus on scriptures and let God teach me how to have a thankful heart. 

I am convinced that the only way to get through the pain of life is to break forth with praises and rejoicing to the God who is always faithful and who never sleeps or forsakes His children.  Stay focused on the scriptures, dig into them daily, and you will find the strength to have a grateful heart this Holiday Season.

James 1:2-3  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

Philippians 4:6  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Hebrews 13:15  Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise.


Heckety said...

Your title says it all for me- 'Being Thankful is a Decision'. I'm so glad I found your Thankful Thursdays through Kat, because it has helped me greatly to work on my mental health, and to be a better example to my family and in school. I'm grateful to you for hosting it and your own attitude. You make a difference!

Janet said...

Thank you for this encouraging word. I'm thankful I stopped by!

Mary said...

You are so right, Sonya, being thankful is a decision. There are so many difficult trials in this fallen world that being discouraged about life would come naturally, but seeing God's plan and being thankful through hardship is spiritual, not natural. I agree...God has given His Word, the bible, to light our path, and the verses that you've posted give us His assurance that He's there in the midst of any and all aspects of our lives.

We had a horrific trial 3 years ago when our daughter broke her leg...I didn't think I'd get through it, but we did, she's healed, with only a slight limp, but my husband and I were brought through a tunnel of darkness into a light filled awareness of God's faithfulness and purpose. I was not thankful at first, but when I stopped to "praise Him in all things", my perspective began to change, and we felt His presence through it all.

Thanks for a great post...I don't always visit, but when I do, my heart is uplifted and I find great wisdom.

God bless you and yours!

Nancy M. said...

It can be hard to be thankful in the midst of trials and struggles, but if we can be, we are rewarded in the end.

Charlotte said...

Thank you, Sonya, for the insight you have shared with us here today. After touring New England last month, I have a better appreciation for the pilgrims and what they went through. I enjoyed reading your post. I'm glad you shared it with us.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week.

Debbie said...

This was such a good post, full of wonderful truths that you have presented soo well. It is impossible in the fallen world we live in to muster up the strength to be thankful for all our problems and strife outside of the strength of our God. It is hard for us to even remember to do so. And yet the Bible is very clear on WHY we are to do so. And again, it is for our own benefit. So you are soo right, it is our CHOICE and our DECISION to do so. Thank God we have His strength to lean and rely on to get us those thankful hearts. Thank you for sharing all this, it really blessed me. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Debbie

Kelly Combs said...

What a wonderful post Sonya! It is a decision. And it is a decision we need to make daily. I'm thankful for God's word.

Ginger said...

I enjoyed your post today. Thank-you so much the wonderful scriptures that you shared today they touched my heart.
God Bless,

Denise said...

Very inspiring.

Pattie L. said...

Hi, Sonya. You are so right. Praise God and keep focused on the good things in our lives. We in America have so much to be thankful for. No matter what our trials and hardships, God is still with us. The key is to see things from His perspective and not ours. Let's keep our eyes on Jesus, as the song says, and He will give us strength to persevere. Your dad is in a much better place and he will always be with you in your heart and mind. God bless you and your family this Thanksgiving with abundant peace and joy. Love, Patricia

Greg C said...

I too have had many trials and hardships this year but through it all I have managed to hold my head high and look toward Heaven. In hard times I have to focus on eternity and forget about the pain of today. Have a Blessed Thanksgiving,


Edie said...

I am choosing to focus on what there is to be thankful for more than the trials.

Have a very blessed Thanksgiving Sonya!