October 4, 2017
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NIV)
A few years ago, my son Jackson wrote a paper about the corruption and greed that caused the civil war in his native land. But Jackson wasn’t just explaining a historical event — he and his brother Mark lived in the midst of the horrific conditions of this war. You see, for the early years of their lives, my sons lived in a forgotten orphanage in the third world country of Liberia, Africa.
During one part of the paper, Jackson described what it felt like to be naked digging through the trash, looking for the treasure of thrown-away food.
The treasure of thrown-away food.
I can hardly type those words without crying. This is my son.
And yet, despite the horrific conditions of his childhood, there was an unexplainable thread of peace woven through his recollection of the story. A powerful peace centered in the awareness of God’s presence.
The truly thankful person is a truly peaceful person. They’ve created a habit, no matter what, to notice, pause and choose.
Noticing something for which to be thankful, no matter their circumstance.
Pausing to acknowledge this something as a reminder of God’s presence.
Choosing to focus on God’s presence until His powerful peace is unleashed.
Will we be noticers? Pausers? Choosers? People of thanksgiving, no matter what circumstance we face?
I find this truth about the power of thanksgiving over and over in Scripture. What was the prayer Daniel prayed right before being thrown into the lions’ den and witnessing God miraculously shutting the lion’s mouths? Thanksgiving.
After three days in the belly of a fish, what was the cry of Jonah’s heart right before he was finally delivered onto dry land? Thanksgiving.
How are we instructed to pray in Philippians 4:6 when we feel anxious? With thanksgiving.
And what is the outcome of each of these situations where thanksgiving is proclaimed?
Powerful, unexplainable, uncontainable peace.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
One of Webster’s official dictionary definitions of thanksgiving is: “a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness.”
I wonder how we might celebrate God’s divine goodness today.
I wonder what might happen if we decide in the midst of our circumstances today to notice, pause and choose something for which we can truly be thankful.
Dear Lord, will You help me notice things for which I can be thankful in each circumstance I face today? To remember to pause and acknowledge this as evidence of Your presence? And please help me choose to focus on Your presence until Your powerful peace rushes into my heart and helps me see everything more clearly. Thank You for the reality that being thankful changes everything. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Chronicles 16:34, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (NKJV)
1 Chronicles 23:30, “They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening.” (NIV)
Psalm 103:1-2, “Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (NIV)
As the holidays are quickly approaching, Proverbs 31 Ministries has created “In Every Season: The 21-Day Gratitude Challenge” to take you on a journey toward cultivating gratitude in everyday life. This set of cards will have a beautifully designed verse on one side and space to respond to a daily prompt on the other side. Click here to learn more.
Once we have a faith in God, how should we be living, and where can we find the wisdom we need to live the way God has called us to live? During the next First 5 study, Living Faith: The Study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, James and 1, 2 & 3 John, you’ll learn not just what faith is, but how to live it out. The study starts October 23. Find out more and order your Experience Guide here!
Start your day with encouragement from Lysa TerKeurst and the First 5 writing team with our free First 5 app.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Be a noticer this week. Keep a daily list of five things for which you are thankful. Do this for the remainder of the month, and see how much more peaceful your mindset about life becomes.
© 2017 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Originally published Wednesday, 04 October 2017.