When life around is falling apart, the most natural thing to do is rant, ramble, fuss, complain, and spew vile words across the lips. But when we are in Christ, He teaches us a new way of doing things.
You see, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are in this world, but not of it. We are part of the Kingdom of God.
Therefore, when things around us spiral out of control, we are to learn a new response.
We are to enter God’s presence with thanksgiving and praise.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4 NLT).
When we have a need, we are to take it to the Lord in prayer. However, there is a protocol to approaching the throne of God. We find that Philippians 4:6:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (NLT).
When we pray, we are to give thanksgiving for all that He has done. We are to praise Him and remember that every good thing we have is from the Father. (James 1:17)
When we remember His goodness in our past, then we have confident trust that He will take care of our future. Regardless of how dire it looks in the present.
Six weeks after my son’s arrest, I traveled to a writers and speakers conference I had already booked. At that time, being around people was the last thing I wanted. I would have preferred to hide in a cave.
But God spoke to me through one of the main speakers at that event. Ann Voscamp spoke on her book, One Thousand Gifts, and issued a challenge to recognized the gifts in life and record one-thousand of them in a journal.
After returning home from the conference, I found a journal that a friend gifted to me. I began my record of thanks.
I intentionally forced myself to write down things to be thankful when a negative thought popped up.
At first, I wrote down the obvious—my husband, my children, and all my family members. But there were some days I was so desperate to find something to be thankful for as my mind went to dark places. I’d write “the fly on the wall I can see.” Or “the chair I’m sitting in.”
As I gave thanks to God for the things we often take for granted, the Lord began to free my mind from depression and despair.
When we come to Him with thanksgiving and praise, He comes to us and stays with us.
Let’s not misunderstand, God promises to never leave us or forsake us. He is always near. However, when we praise Him and give Him thanks, His presence abides with us.
God presence with me changed my perspective though my son is still incarcerated. As I’m reorganizing after moving four times in the past six years, I came across the One-Thousand Thanks journal I started that summer after my son’s arrest. I confess, I only made it to 408.
I confidently know this about the Lord—He is faithful and true to His Word. Enter into His presence with thanksgiving and He will reside with you regardless of your situation.
Share in the comments things you are thankful for today.
© 2017 Shonda Savage Whitworth