SHE believed: Thanks

Here we are at the final principle in the SHE believed series on T.R.U.S.T. Well, almost. I will be posting S: Part 2 – Serve at the beginning of the New Year. It fits better there because it is a great time to evaluate our service, schedule and commitments. For now, we are going to end this year with T for Thanks.

As we are coming off our celebrations of Thanksgiving, what better time than to turn our attention to giving thanks to God. He reminded me clearly this time last year of the importance of being thankful when I received, not one, but two gratitude journals! Nothing like getting my attention in obvious ways. Haha!

I have a sign in my kitchen that says “Gratitude turns what we have into ENOUGH.” It is a reminder to me to live with an attitude of abundance rather than the fear of scarcity. One of the best ways to change perspective is by giving THANKS, having a heart of gratitude.

Studies have shown that gratitude increases our level of happiness, increases our optimism and gives us a better view of our life. It can even affect how much we exercise and our health. (Harvard University) Gratitude is powerful!

As I prepared for this devotional, I looked back at the previous principles in the SHE believed series: THINK on Truth, REMEMBER all God has done and REST in his goodness, UNLOAD our cares, and SING songs of praise. What I discovered is that as I practice each principle of developing trust, I can incorporate gratitude – THANKSgiving and praise – along the way.

This study began with the very foundation of our T.R.U.S.T. And, that is to THINK on truth. Believing the promises of God. Psalm 56:10 says “I praise God for what he has promised, yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?” God’s promises are his very words spoken to us. “For the word for the Lord holds true and we can trust everything he does.” Psalm 33:4 NLT 

A spirit of thanksgiving can start by simply thinking on his truth. Praising God for his promises. Do you remember the 100 Promises list that we used at the beginning of this study? If not, click HERE, Let’s take a look at it again. If we start at the top, our thanks can go something like this….

Thank you God that you fight for me

Thank you that your mercies are new every morning and you are faithful.

Thank you that you renew my strength.

Thank you that you are with me and never leave me nor forsake me.

Thank you that you help me and that you love me always.

Thank you that you have set me free from darkness.

Thank you for your forgiveness.

Thank you for your light and salvation.

Thank you for your grace and peace.

Do you see how we can claim God’s promises over our lives, we can think on truth, at the same time we are giving thanks to him? Seriously, as I was typing these statements of thanksgiving, my spirit was lifted and my trust was strengthened.

As we begin our quiet pause with him each day, while we REST in his goodness, it is good to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4 NLT

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7 NLT

As we build a foundation of trust, by thinking on truth, our faith will grow and thankfulness will overflow.

The next principle is to REMEMBER all that God has done. It is easy to give thanks when we remember all that God has done in our life.

In Luke 1:45, when Mary visited Elizabeth to share the news of her pregnancy. Do you recall in our first devotional what Elizabeth exclaimed?  “Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.” Mary had believed the promises of God. And, how did she respond? Let’s take a look.

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.

How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!

For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,

and from now on all generations will call me blessed.

For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me.”

Luke 1: 46-48

Mary praised the Lord as she remembers the great things God has done for her.

Scripture shows us this time and time again…how we are to remember and give thanks. Praising the Lord for all he has done for us.

“Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭105:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. ”Psalms 9:1 NIV

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.” Psalms 107:21

“I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people.” Psalm 52:9 NLT

As we build a foundation of trust by remembering, we can give thanks to God for all He has done.

We also can give thanks while we are UNLOADing our cares. Wait, what? How can we possibly give thanks then. Scripture is very clear.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

This last scripture has always been a favorite for me. It begins with instruction: “Do not be anxious”, don’t worry or fret. Then, it tells us what to do instead. In every circumstance, situation, everything. Present your requests, prayers, petitions. Tell him what you need. UNLOADing your cares. With THANKSgiving. Thanking him for all he has done, all he is doing in the middle of every circumstance, situation, every thing. The Message version says it beautifully:

“Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

As we build a foundation of trust by unloading our cares in prayer with thanksgiving, we can experience a peace that passes all understanding.

“Devote yourself to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” Colossians 4:2

Finally, we can thank God in song. Do you remember the story of Jehoshaphat from the last devotional? Do you remember how he and his army won the great battle that they were facing  in 2 Chronicles 20? It was by worshipping. They began to sing and praise the Lord. And, do you remember their song? It was simply this:

“Give THANKS to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever” 2 Chronicles 20:21

Not only did they worship the Lord in song, they stood and praised him. They praised him before the victory. And, scripture says “at the very moment they began to sing and give praise” the Lord set an ambush, throwing the enemy into confusion. After the victory, they gathered once again to praise and thank God in the place that became known as the Valley of Blessing. In a valley, facing a great battle, against a formidable enemy, they chose to worship, praise and thank God. And, there was victory.

Praise proceeds provision.

“Praise the Lord! For he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Psalm 28:7 NLT 

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a King above all gods.” Psalm 95:1-3 ESV

As we build a foundation of trust by singing, by choosing to worship, to give thanks in song, we too can fight our battles, confuse the enemy, and find victory. 

Many times our offering of praise and thanksgiving is limited to a short prayer before a meal. However, as we have seen throughout this devotional, giving thanks shouldn’t be limited to that time only. As we begin to incorporate thanks into our quiet pause each day, as we remember, as we pray and we unload our cares, even as we sing and worship and maybe fight a battle or two, gratitude will change our perspective. We will begin to experience peace, a better outlook, greater happiness, deeper trust and the ultimate victory in knowing God is working all things together for good.

“I will sacrifice a thank offering to you

and call on the name of the Lord.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭116:17‬ ‭NIV‬


Putting It Into Practice

  • I love how God gives the same message to several people at the same time. This morning our pastor, Eric Nichols, shared a message that fits perfectly with this devotional. Check back soon for LINK for this message.
  • Start incorporating a few minutes at the beginning of your quiet pause each day to give thanks. Consider purchasing a gratitude journal for prompts or take the 7-Up challenge. Pastor Eric challenged us today to list 7 new things that we are thankful for each day for 7 days! That’s a great way to start.
  • Pick a verse from the devotional that really spoke to you. Write it on a post-it note or in your journal. Think on it throughout the week.
  • Read Psalm 107. Notice after God has worked in each difficult situation, they gave thanks to the Lord.
  • Make a list of some things that God has done for you recently. Then, take a moment to give thanks for each one.
  • Before you unload a care in prayer, stop and give thanks. Here are some examples: If you are praying for a child, give thanks for him/her and all God has done in his/her life. If you are praying about a situation at work, stop and thank God for your job and that it provides income for you. If you are praying for healing of a friend, stop and thank God for what that person means to you.
  • Put on some worship music and give thanks in song. Here are a few to get you started: So Will I by Hillsong, Forever by Chris Tomlin, Thank You by Hillsong, Enter the Gates by Bryan and Katie Torwalt. Also, check out the worshiptogether.com or the worshiptogether YouTube channel for amazing songs of worship.
  • If you don’t already, consider sacrificing a thank offering or tithe to God. There is no better way to build trust than when we willingly give up part of our money. At the top of the month, with each pay check, even when you don’t know if you will have enough, trust God and tithe 10% – as a thanksgiving offering for all he has provided. It is a practice that we have done for the last 25 years. And, I can most assuredly say GOD IS FAITHFUL. He is Jehovah Jireh: God who provides. You will never be able to out give God.