Being thankful…when you don’t feel like being thankful.

Thanksgiving.

Bring on the turkey and football…

Thanksgiving is all about family, friends, food, football, and the end of fall.

Oh yeah, it’s also about giving thanks.

Chances are good that you haven’t had the “perfect year.”

And, you may be heading into this week feeling the weight of expectations, bad decisions, unemployment, busyness, broken relationships, personal failure, depression, tragedy, or any number of things that make you feel like anything but being thankful.

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It doesn’t have to be that way…

God doesn’t promise to make your life easy or take all of your problems away, but He does promise you His presence, and His peace.

He’s not hiding from you.  He’s not standing back watching you wrestle with life.

He’s right there next to you, saying, “No matter what happens…be thankful.”

(I Thessalonians 5:18)

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How is that even possible?

How can you be thankful when bad stuff happens?

How can you be thankful when you don’t feel like being thankful?

Here’s the short answer…

Choose joy.  Never stop praying.  No matter what happens…always be thankful.

Because when you do that, you will experience God’s peace.  You’ll know He’s right there with you.

And, that is something you can always be thankful for…even when you don’t feel like being thankful.

“Always be full of joy in the Lord.  I say it again-rejoice!  Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:4, 6-7)  (NLT)

Whatever.

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Whatever…

includes whenever, whoever, wherever, & however.

Why?

Because you might be the only glimpse of Jesus a person gets today.

So, make “whatever” count.

“And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”  (Colossians 3:17)  (NLT)

Who is your God?

God.

Ask 100 people the question, “Who is your God?” and you’d probably get 100 different answers.  You’d probably get a few blank stares too…

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The question is not “Who is God?”

The answer to that question is merely a generic definition or a description of a divine being.

“Who is your God?”

The answer to that question is personal…it reflects a person’s faith, experience, understanding, and relationship with that divine being.

Let me explain…

David had a pretty rough week.

His boss hated him so much that he wanted to kill him.  He even tried killing him more than once, but was never successful.  So, he convinced more people to try and kill David forcing David to run for his life and hide.

After barely escaping death from his boss and his co-workers, David wrote these words…

“I love you Lord.  You are my strength.  The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my Savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.  He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.”  (Psalms 18:1-2)  (NLT)

My Lord.

My strength.

My rock.

My fortress.

My Savior.

My protection.

My shield.

My power.

My place of safety.

If you asked David the question, “Who is your God?” he wouldn’t hesitate to give you an answer.  Because David had faith, experience, understanding, and a relationship with God.

His answer was personal.

What about you?

Who is your God?

Burned by a Fire Breather

Burned…again.

Careless words hurt.

“I was just joking…”

“Did you hear what _________ (insert name here) did?”

“She looks so funny…did you see what she did to her hair?”

“You’re so stupid…”

“That’s a dumb idea…”

Careless words burn and smolder long after they’ve been delivered.

Kind of like fire…

It turns out that our tongue is a “flame of fire,” and we’re all fire breathers.

And, sometimes our words burn others.  Sometimes, we just end up burning ourselves.

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The wounds of sticks and stones are obvious.

But, the hurt caused by careless words is hidden and deep.  It burns inside a person long after the words themselves have been spoken.

Burned yourself lately with your words?  Or, have you burned someone else?

Jesus once said, “…whatever is in your heart determines what you say.

It may be time to check your heart… and watch those careless words.

A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.  And, the tongue is a flame of fire.  It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life.  It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself.”  (James 3:5b-6)  (NLT)