November 24, 2016
We Win … So Give Thanks!
Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever (Psalm 106:1, NIV).
Friend to Friend
In homes across America, friends and family will soon gather around beautifully decorated tables filled with warm, scrumptious food to give thanks. It’s Thanksgiving Day. However, this day will be nothing like holidays of the past for many people.
Lonely but committed soldiers covered in the dust of battle will patrol foreign borders, fighting for our freedom while their families back home long for word of their safety. The homeless will make their way to the nearest soup kitchen, hoping for a warm meal and a smiling face as so many celebrate this day of abundance. An empty place at the table will be a painful reminder of the loved one lost. A worried husband and dad will sit at the head of the table, wondering how he is going to tell his family that he just lost his job. The list of wounded hearts and unmet needs is brutal.
We convince ourselves that life will be better when we have more money, when we find the right mate, when we get the kids raised or build the right house. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we buy a nicer car, when we get that promotion, when we are able to go on our dream vacation or when we retire.
We keep trying to find joy, contentment and peace in lifeless places and useless things. Jesus Christ is life. He is Joy and He is Love.
We can give thanks when it seems like there is nothing for which to be thankful because Jesus Christ took our place on the cross. It always comes back to the cross.
One day, a man went to visit a church. He arrived early, parked his car, and got out. Another car pulled up near him. The driver rolled down his window and shouted, "I always park here. You took my place!" The visitor went inside for Sunday school, found an empty seat, and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, "That's my seat. You took my place." The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing.
After Sunday school, the visitor went into the church sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, "That's where I always sit. You took my place." The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still said nothing.
Later, as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood, and his appearance began to change. Horrible scars became visible on his hands and sandaled feet. Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, "What happened to you?" The visitor replied, "I took your place."
Yes, we live in a broken world. Life is filled with pain, challenges, dark times and trials. But today can still be a day of celebration because praise and thanksgiving have little to do with the Thanksgiving holiday and everything to do with our inner attitude toward God.
It really doesn’t matter how much we lose here, my friend. I have read the Book, and we win! We just need to take the time to remember … and give thanks.
Father, we come to You today, praising You for meeting our needs this year in ways that we may or may not have understood at the time. Looking back, we see Your hand of mercy and love. We recognize Your presence and your power, and we celebrate You. Today, we celebrate life.
In Jesus’ Name,
Sharon, Gwen and I want to wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, a day of remembering all that God is, all that God has and all that He wants to be in your life. We praise Him for allowing us to do life with you and with each other. We want you to know that we are with you, on the same journey, here for you,
Girlfriends in God.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Thursday, 24 November 2016.