Life in Focus

Where following Jesus and Every Day Life Intersect

Grateful, Thankful, Blessed

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Preparing my heart for the upcoming Thanksgiving celebration, I’ve been reading through a familiar Psalm lately:

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth

Worship the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his;

we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100, NIV)

Although I’ve read it many times, a few things struck me in new ways (I love that about the Bible). Maybe some of these things will resonate with you too.

-It’s important to recognize truth about God’s character:

A big part of worshiping God and being thankful involves knowing who He is and what He’s done. Reminding ourselves of God’s attributes makes it possible for us to be even more thankful. The psalm reminds us of the foundation of our faith: He is good, His love endures forever and His faithfulness continues through all generations.

-It’s important to understand God’s superiority as well as His loving care:

The psalm points out that He is God, He made us, and we are His.   We are the sheep of His pasture, which means He watches over us and cares for us. Everything we have is from Him and we would not exist without Him.

-It’s important to approach God with a thankful heart:

Entering into God’s presence with a thankful heart enables us to draw near and praise Him. Sometimes I’m tempted to start my time alone with Him by asking Him to meet my needs first, but this psalm reminds me to start with praise and thanksgiving. Often when I do this, it gives me new perspective about what I need. Praising and thanking Him first puts both of us in our proper places- it elevates God and humbles me.

On my birthday last year my husband and sons gave me a throw pillow with the words “Grateful, Thankful, Blessed” printed on it. The pillow sits on my family room couch and reminds me daily to reject the attitude of entitlement that has infected our culture. When we believe we “deserve” things, we become self-centered and superior. Having a thankful heart requires humility. Seeing the words “Grateful, Thankful, Blessed” when I start my day encourages me not to take the many blessings I have for granted and to be grateful for all that God has done for me.

In light of this, I chose a few phrases from Psalm 100 that caught my attention and personalized them:

-God made me, which means He gave me my intellect, my gifts, my abilities, my body, and my personality. If I’m ever tempted to feel prideful or critical about any of these things, I have a distorted view of myself and am being ungrateful to God.

-I am His. I can find peace knowing that He holds me in His hands, even when I feel anxious or overwhelmed. He is with me and He is sovereign.

-His faithfulness continues through all generations. He was there with my parents and grandparents and He is there for my family now. He will be with my kids and their children after them. His faithfulness has no limitations and is not bound by time or place.

As you read Psalm 100, what phrases can you apply to your life? Can I encourage you to make it personal before you devote time to shopping, preparing food, or setting the table? Thanksgiving kicks off a holiday season of busyness, but don’t let the true meaning get buried under your “to do” list.

Here are a few ideas to think about before you pray your own psalm of thanksgiving:

What qualities of God’s character are you thankful for today?

What comforts you about knowing you are His?

How has he shown His faithfulness to you?

Is there anything you’ve been taking for granted that you can thank God for now?

For further inspiration, click on the link to hear Matt Redman’s song “10,000 Reasons.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Author: mmccullum

Marybeth McCullum enjoys writing and blogging about her Christian faith and how it intersects with everyday life. Her goal in every post is to encourage, challenge and inspire her readers. She is in her 10th year at CPC's Focused Living Women's Bible study and currently serves as Coordinator. She also writes a regular blog and speaks occasionally. You can find her page on Facebook at: Marybeth Mc Cullum- Author. Learn more about her other endeavors at marybethmccullum.com.

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