Psalm 95:1-2: “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”

Harvey Mackay once said:

“It’s only lonely at the top if you forget all the people you met along the way and fail to acknowledge their contributions to your success.”

Thankfulness obviously is not humanity’s natural ingredient. Humans aren’t exactly born grateful. We like to look at the things we lack and unwittingly diminish the value of everything we’ve already been given. Despite our natural tendencies, however, we need to sit back from time to time and count our blessings.

Put yourself in God’s shoes for a minute – strictly hypothetical of course since these are big shoes to fill – and imagine all the people talking to you only want your attention because they want something from you. How would that make you feel?

I’m sure God loves to be addressed when we are in need. Life is no joke. Bad things happen to good people. And yet, if prayer is used only in times of emergency, then we really don’t know God very well. The apostle Paul wrote in one of his letters (1 Thessalonians 5:17):

“Pray continually”

Praying continually means that God is a genuine part of our lives. Our prayers have extended beyond emergency situations, and we have an ongoing conversation with Him. As we go through the day we share our thoughts with Him, which is the good, the bad and the ugly. God is with us when we are at our worst, and He is with us when we at our best. He is the best Friend we will ever have, and for that it is easy to be thankful for.

As a happy side effect, thankfulness is a great way of combating negativity. It’s easy to get depressed in times of trouble. We tend to focus on the dark side when we have problems. Gratefulness snaps us out of this way of thinking and turns our eyes to the bright side.

We need some joie de vivre especially in tough times. For our own sake and most importantly for God’s sake let’s be thankful!

“Always look on the bright side of life” Eric Idle

Isaiah 25:1: “Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.”

Isaiah is stunned. Whatever happened in his life has put him in wonder and awe. He got a little glimpse of God’s workings behind the scene.

Maybe we haven’t realized until recently how God has His hand in current events. God has a great mind and things happening in our lives are premeditated. This is where it gets weird sometimes – if we expect something in particular, I can guarantee you, God does not necessarily act based on human input. He has His plan all along, which He will execute in His own good time. Another weird thing is to blame God for certain things that did or didn’t happen. I have long given up on the notion to see the devil behind every bush or to think everything is God’s doing.

We all wear blinders when it comes to the spiritual world. God is the One who opens our eyes so we can see more than just the physical world around us. He can move our hearts so we feel led to do something, or our minds open up and we have the answer to a riddle, or he opens a door for us that we haven’t been able to locate and a dream comes true, or He can make His presence known in such a way that it is tangible. All of that is based on God’s taking away the veil that is hanging right in front of our spiritual eyes. God helps us see. And that’s what got Isaiah excited. He saw something that God showed Him.

Whatever it is that God shows you, it’s a reason to celebrate. Thanking God for the wonderful things He does multiplies the blessings. And praising God, we are in good company: angels, prophets, not to mention Jesus who taught us in His prayer: “Hallowed be Thy name – may Your name be honored”.

Thanking God we honor Him, and honoring Him He honors us with His presence.

Whenever God shines His light on me, opens up my eyes so I can see! (Van Morrison)

Psalm 100:4-5: “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.”

There’s many a reason to be thankful. Thankful to be alive, thankful for our friends, thankful for any kind of material blessing, thankful for our health, these are just a few reasons coming to my mind. One major reason to be thankful is the Lord, hands down! Thanks to Him we’re here. Thanks to Him we know love. Describing God in a nutshell in the Book of Psalms, we’re looking at three major features (Psalm 100:5):

“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

The Lord is good. The Lord is Love. The Lord is faithful.

Speaking of His faithfulness: Yesterday I was practicing Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” on the piano. I was just going through the bridge of the song when something in his lyrics got my attention:

“What will it take till you believe in me the way that I believe in you?”

It suddenly occurred to me that believing in God is a two-way street. Have you ever thought about the fact that God believes in us? If He didn’t, I’m sure He would not lift a finger for us. Instead He has expressed His belief in us faithfully throughout human history.

Take Job’s story for instance. When Satan was badmouthing Job, God was undeterred in His belief that this man Job would not jump ship and abandon his faith after everything was taken from him – a truly fascinating story showcasing God’s faith in human beings! And what about all the sacrifices He made? What about Jesus, the Son of God who became the Son of Man? None of that would have happened without God’s undeterred belief in you and me.

What will it take until we believe in Him in the way that He believes in us?

Something to think about as we are going through the seasons of our lives – Happy Thanksgiving everybody!