During my reading/coloring time the past few weeks, I focused on Paul's letter to the Colossians. I LOVE this book! After I finished, I went back and highlighted the phrases about being thankful...
"We give thanks to God..." 1:3
"...giving thanks to the Father..." 1:12
"...and overflowing with gratitude." 2:7
"...and be thankful." 3:15
"...with thanksgiving in your hearts to God." 3:16
"...giving thanks through Him to God the Father." 3:17
"...with an attitude of thanksgiving." 4:2
I think it's super cool that the God who created us knew that our bodies, minds and emotions work better when we express thanks! He made us that way! After reading a bit on current studies that prove the health benefits of being thankful, I chuckled to think that scientists are now discovering what our God knew, and revealed to the writers of His Word, from the beginning of time!
So, what has God been teaching me personally about having a heart of thanksgiving lately? For some reason, for which I am truly grateful, I often wake up and my first thoughts are to Him. "Thank You, God! Thank You for who You are! Thank You for choosing me, forgiving me, reconciling me to You! Thank You for making Your home in me! Thank You for giving me my family! Thank You that You are working Your will in all of our lives." As my love for, dependence on, trust in Jesus Christ grows, thanking Him has become a habit. Then, as I share with Him my thankfulness, I love, depend on and trust Him even more! A very un-vicious cycle. A happy cycle! And, an act of Divinity, as this all happens before my very large, very strong cup of coffee! :-) (And then there are those days when this doesn't happen at all...Yep.)
When I hear about people sincerely trying to determine God's will for their lives, these few verses usually come to my mind: "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."~I Thes. 5:16-19. For us who are in Christ, it's clear! Rejoice, pray, give thanks! God's will! Cool, huh?!
Nick, Ali and Greg, I love how you three have such thankful hearts! I'm thankful that you know intimately the One to thank! I love how all three of you are learning to thank God in good times and in hard times! In times of great surfing in Nicaragua! In times of sitting on the beach with a swollen knee in Nicaragua! In times of celebrating, showers, weddings! In times of no sleep due to middle-of-the-night airplane flights to New York and South Carolina! In times of being here in Encinitas, hanging out with your family! In times of coffee shop study sessions, out in Loma Linda, for finals and dental boards!
And, I thank God for you!