Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I've often wondered why the Lord saw fit to put my birthday right in the middle of the dying of the year. November reminds me of a passage from the Book of Common Prayer: MAN that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up and is cut down like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow...
That'll sure cheer up the birthday boy! Even more ironic is the expectation to give thanks while crunchy leaves fall to the concrete and scuffle off to oblivion. The ground on my feet cools to that of a steel slab and the shadows of dusk sneak in before their appointment, only to overstay their welcome.

How do I break out of the seasonal blah? I remember the power of thanksgiving! Giving thanks to God is fitting, because it applies to Him, but also changes us. Check out just a few reasons to take your celebration seriously this year:

* Thanksgiving Magnifies the Lord
Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. (ESV)
By magnify, it doesn't mean trying to see something small, as though it were larger. I'm talking about seeing a great big God, who sometimes may seem far away - that is until you start to give him thanks! Thanksgiving is a telescope, not a microscope!

* Thanksgiving is the Protocol for Coming into God's Presence!
Psalm 95:2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! (ESV)
If you were visiting royalty, you would expect to follow a certain order and etiquette while in their presence. The correct procedure for entering God's presence, whether in the sanctuary during a worship service, or in your private prayer life, is with much boasting and bragging upon, celebrating, singing and giving thanks to the LORD God Almighty.

* There is a connection between thanksgiving and answered prayer!
John 11:41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
Jesus prayed this before the miracle happened! Jonah gave thanks to God for deliverance while he was still in the belly of the fish! Have you ever given thanks for a present before you received it? That would show the giver that you were putting quite a bit of confidence in them!

* Thanksgiving is a factor in receiving the peace of God!
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When I was younger my ears would sometimes seem to fill with fluid, which really annoyed me. I suppose this was allergy related. Someone once told me to hold my nose shut with my fingers and blow, as though blowing my nose, until I felt a pop in my ears. He said that by doing this I was forcing air into the area behind my ear drum, thereby displacing the fluid.

I'm not sure about the safety of such medical advice, but I do know that this passage is talking about displacing one sensation with another. When you're feeling anxious, worried, or just annoyed by life, sometimes you have to force something else into that anxious space. I believe thanksgiving is the key difference that leads to the peace of God. We can present our prayers and petitions to God with anxiety and worry. Or we can present those same prayers and requests to the same God, but change one simple attitude, and that makes all the difference!

Anxiety will breed more anxiety, while an attitude of gratitude will invite the peace of God to guard your heart and your mind.

[Photographs by John Whittington ©2009, DailyWhitt]

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