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Being Thankful In Rocky Times

Yesterday, the vast majority of us sat down to eating way more food then we had any business eating, watched a ball game on the tube, fellowshipped with family and friends, and – for the most part – pretended nothing else was going on in the world. After all, it was Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Day – a day when we focus on what we are thankful for, realize how many things we have been blessed with, the head out at midnight or 5 AM the next morning to spend all the money you were thankful for having on “Black Friday” deals.

My question is…what are you thankful for…today? “But wait, we just did that yesterday,” you say. “We even said prayers to tell God all that we are thankful for!” In today’s financial woes, political “bailouts”, and other rocks in our path – it is easy for us to slip away from the thankfulness we should have and, instead, focus on the problems we are facing.

Psalm 100 (Amplified Bible)

1 MAKE A joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!

2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before
His presence with singing!

3 Know (perceive, recognize, and understand
with approval) that the Lord is God! It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves
[and we are His]! We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a
thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him,
bless and affectionately praise His name!

5 For the Lord is good; His mercy and
loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all

I love the way “The Message” puts verse 4:

4 Enter with the password: “Thank you!”

Make yourselves at home, talking praise.

Thank him. Worship him.

I am blessed to have a pastor who has been leading our church in a series called “Thriving In A Bear Market”. Recently, my pastor shed light on just how “wealthy” we are. Wanna be leveled? If you’re reading this blog…I can pretty much guarantee you that you, my friend, richer monetarily than 96% of the rest of the world.

The problem facing most folks who are now hit hard with economic crisis as individuals is that we can’t seem to separate needs from wants. We “need” shelter….but we don’t “need” the bonus rooms, two car garage, swimming pool, and all the extra square footage. We “need” have fellowship and communication with others…but we don’t “need” a cell phone in order to do it with. The problem comes when we start viewing all the little extras in life as “needs” and when finances get to the point that we have to cut a cell phone out of a plan or make some other cut in spending – we balk and say “but I need that.” As long as our perspective is geared in this direction – we may never see what we have to be thankful for.

Thank you, God that I may be struggling to make ends meet…that I am at a point in my life where I am selling stuff on eBay to bring in some much needed income…and all the while, when I strip it all away…never have you let me lay my head down to sleep without a roof being over my head…never has there been a day that I have done without food and water….and never has there been a day when you weren’t watching over me.

It’s the day after Thanksgiving…and we ALL have an abundance of things to be thankful for – regardless of the economic positions we are in.

Recently, I posed a question to some of my friends. The question was simple:

“If your time on earth were over today and you were standing before God, aside from thanking Him for His Son, what would be the first thing you would thank Him for and why?”

Here are a few of the responses…

Kyle Goen
Executive Pastor – FBCSmyrna : Smyrna, TN

“I would thank God for:
1. Thank Him for choosing me before the foundation of the world
2. For my wife and children
3. For placing in the home He chose me to grow up in
4. For giving me His Word so I could know Him and His ways more clearly.”

Kyle Campos
Worship Pastor – Life Connection Church : Pheonix, AZ

“Grace. In all it’s forms, grace has given me everything, my family, my breath, my salvation. All that is good in my life is a product of God’s grace.”

Micah Huebner
Worship Leader – FBCSmyrna : Smyrna, TN

“Well after my wife of course, it would have to be that we actually get to be a part of His plan on earth. He doesn’t just save us and leave us alone. He saves us and allows us to actually have the privilege of serving Him while we are still here. I love that.”

So what do YOU have to be thankful for? Make each and everyday “thanksgiving” … and enter his courts with praise!