1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (HCSB)
1 Chronicles 16:34 – Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. (HCSB)
I was having coffee with my friends and listening to them tell about their plans for Thanksgiving. The thought came to me that when most people think of Thanksgiving, they think of weeks of preparation that concludes with a day of the family gathering to eat too much. Thanksgiving should be more than a day of eating; it should be a life of giving thanks with true gratitude. So many times “giving thanks” is a term used to describe a rote prayer said before meals, words recited quickly without meaning. My father prayed before every meal – to this day I have no clue as to what he said! True thanksgiving is true gratitude, and gratitude is actually good for us! Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy of Duke University, is quoted as saying “If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system.” I read that researchers at Baylor University found that gratitude leads directly to feelings of satisfaction and wellbeing. I take that to mean that I need to wake up every morning being thankful, not that my life is perfect by earthly standards, not that I own more than enough possessions, not that I have all that I think I need but because I have decided to live out 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Focusing on what I don’t have leads to self-pity, resentment, and bitterness. Focusing on the blessings in my life leads to contentment, joy, and gratitude. I think of the Pilgrims and their hardships, yet they chose to give thanks. I heard someone say that we should not focus on the glass being half empty or half full; we should be thankful that we have a glass at all. Practicing gratitude doesn’t cost me anything but can make such a difference in my life. John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” Father, I just want to stop and say “thank You.” I pray that I will live out the gratitude I have to You and to others. Lord, I sincerely give thanks for all that I have and especially for the love You show to me every day.
Colossians 2:8 – Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powersof this world, rather than from Christ.
My husband and I were recently on the receiving end of a hard sales presentation. Our salesman knew A LOT of words, and he liked using as many as possible each time he spoke. It seemed that every time one of us asked him a question, he would talk for at least two minutes and never come close to giving an answer. I started asking questions that I really had no interest in the answer; I just wanted to see him maneuver around an actual answer! He was very good at empty answers. He knew a lot of words. He knew a lot of high-sounding words. He knew how to take his great collection of high-sounding words and arrange them in a way to actually say nothing. People can sometimes get in situations like that and get caught up because the words are high sounding. They get captured in a riptide of words and, before they realize what is happening, they are carried away. Paul said the Colossians were being captured with high sounding words that had no substance. There are well known pastors today that use a lot of words, a lot of high-sounding words. What they say sounds good, but they never actually say anything of substance. They, like our salesman, use a lot of words to say nothing. Someone very close to me is an avid follower of a celebrity minister who, in my opinion, uses a lot of high-sounding words to say nothing. In a discussion one night, I made the comment that he uses pretty words just to make the listener feel good. Her comeback was “Sometimes you just want to hear pretty words to make you feel good.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 says “For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new.They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.” (HCSB) John F. Kennedy is quoted as saying, “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.” We know that people are listening to the high-sounding, pretty words to give them comfort, but C.S. Lewis said “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” Lord, You know that we live in a world of people looking for comfort and ending up with despair. The world needs truth, not just pretty words that bring self-satisfied comfort. Lord, I pray for the people who are trading Your words for high-sounding words and myths. Lord, I pray for Your people that we would share Your words, words not from human thinking but from Christ.