Many of us in the U.S. are preparing for Thanksgiving Day (a holiday where we celebrate “faith, family, sharing, and freedom”). But I wonder how many of us prepare our hearts for Thanks Living now and throughout the year. “For everything God created is good. Nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5).
Thanksgiving Day is something we prepare for by shopping, cooking, and looking at all that needs to be done. We prepare the food, setting the table(s) and cleaning the house for the festivities. But do we prepare, set and make sure our HEARTS are clean before the Lord?
- We prepare our homes by cleaning them. But do we prayer-walk throughout each room so that whoever enters will sense the cleanness of God’s love and peace?
- We often serve fruit with our Thanksgiving meal (pumpkin, cranberries and such). But do we look for ways to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit? We’re talking about living out “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.“
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise —the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:15).
- We often serve bread or rolls of some type. But what about being intentional in presenting Jesus, the “Bread of Life” (John 6:35 and John 6:48-58)? We can do this by communicating the gospel in how we interact with our spouse and others. (If you don’t have family or friends that will allow you to present the gospel with words, then ask God to show you how to do so without words by His leading. Make sure you give Him the opportunity draw them to Himself that way.)
Living Beyond Bread
As you take bread together, consider Jesus’ words: “Man does not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4).
“When you fully comprehend that there is more to life than just here and now, and you realize that life is just preparation for eternity, you will begin to live differently. You will start living in light of eternity. That will color how you handle every relationship task and circumstance” (Pastor Rick Warren).
And that includes holidays and every day. Live Christ; don’t be a distraction. Live in such a way that others can’t see His life within you. “For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world“ (John 6:33).
Ask God to show you how to be a Bible-LIVING Christian.
Remember what God says:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it —he will be blessed in what he does. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world“ (James 1:22-27).
So as you prepare for Thanksgiving Day and/or Thanks-living EVERY day, ask yourself: Am I allowing myself to be distracted from “living Christ”?
Sadly, Steve and I got caught up in the busyness of all that we had to do the last few days. We started arguing and running over each other’s feelings with unkind words and actions. Fortunately, God helped us each to recognize how wrong this was. It was a struggle (mainly within each of our hearts), but we repented, apologized, and re-grouped. We worked to fight the problems, rather than each other.
We pray you will do the same (even if your spouse won’t cooperate, you can do your part). And we pray we ALL will “be self-controlled and alert“ as we’re warned in 1 Peter 5:8. The enemy of our faith would love to get us to fight with each other. After-all, if we’re fighting with each other, we’re not fighting against him.
Keep in mind that if our attitude and words and actions stink, it affects everything and everyone around us.
- “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many“ (Hebrews 12:14-15).
- “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children. Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God“ (Ephesians 5:1-2).
- “Therefore, as God’s chosen people holy and loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
- Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:12-17).
Here’s something to consider:
“Thanksgiving breaks the power of the enemy. Whenever you give thanks to God, despite the most difficult circumstances, the enemy loses a big battle in your life. When you give thanks in the midst of difficulty, you bring pleasure to God’s heart. He is looking for Christians who live in a realm of praise and thanksgiving where the enemy no longer has an ability to hold or manipulate that person. Satan is defeated when we have a thankful heart. Thankfulness during difficulty is a sacrifice pleasing to God.” (Debbie Przybylski)
We pray that Thanksgiving and Thanks-living will a way of life for you.
Our prayer for you:
“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ALSO —
For those of you who are having a difficult time celebrating Thanksgiving and other holidays, please read:
• CELEBRATING THANKSGIVING WHEN IT’S HARD TO GIVE THANKS
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