"Thankful Thursday" is one thing that God is using to remind people of how much He loves them and how truly blessed they are. I will now be including it in my regular blogging as a way for me to focus on the goodness of God and how amazingly blessed my life is. The Bible tells us that EVERY good and perfect thing comes down from the Father. Here are just a few of the things I'm thankful for today:
- After 16 years, my husband still loves me and shows it in so many visible ways.
- My 7 beautiful and bright children that I get the blessing of watching them grow and discover the gifts that God has blessed them with
- All the friends, some new, some old, that have enriched my life in ways too many to recount
- Parents who loved me, raised me to know God, and are now loving my children
- A church family that embraces grace and freedom...in particular, our cell group family
- Our homeschool group, for the fun, friendships, and awesome opportunities it has provided over the years
- Good neighbors, a safe, beautiful community, and a well-built, cozy house to call home
- God's love....He doesn't love me because I'm good, He loves me because I'm HIS. Because of His love and forgiveness, I'm free not only from the bondage of sin, but free to love others and do the good things my Father has set before me.
Thankfulness for all that I've been blessed with is more than just something warm and fuzzy to write about on my blog. Thankfulness is POWERFUL! In the 6th chapter of Erwin Raphael McManus' book UPRISING, A REVOLUTION OF THE SOUL, he writes about wholeness, forgiveness, and gratitude. He stresses that gratitude and forgiveness are inseparable because when we admit that we are sinners, and then receive God's forgiveness for our failings, gratitude will be a natural result. And as we are grateful to God for His forgiveness, then we'll be free to forgive others. Here is part of what he has to say on the matter:
"Again, even as gratitude and forgiveness are inseparable, so are ungratefulness and bitterness. When we are grateful, we see and experience life with a healthy optimism. When we lack gratitude, we move toward pessimism and even cynicism. An ungrateful heart always sees what's wrong with life. The longer we live without gratitude, the more embittered we become. The more embittered we become, the more we find ourselves overwhelmed with depression. Bitterness in the end leads to hopelessness. IF we are to enjoy lives of gratitude, we must break free from the gravitational pull of bitterness. For in the same way that gratitude leads to wholeness, bitterness will leave us shattered and broken. In this condition we will find ourselves unable to experience the life God dreams for us, and at the same time we will leave others ct and bleeding as they press against our sharp edges.
Bitterness creates an illusion of control and power. Bitterness is a form of hate. It is anger facing backwards. When we are embittered toward someone, we hold him prisoner to an experience or action in the past. In our minds our bitterness holds him captive and does not allow him to move forward. The reality is that our bitterness traps no one but ourselves. IF the offender genuinely seeks forgiveness, even when you are unwilling to give it, he or she is made free. The only person you keep trapped in yesterday when you are unwilling to forgive is yourself. If you remain bitter long enough, you will eventually move to despair. Bitterness requires that you live in the past; hope requires that you live for tomorrow. Gratitude not only allows you to enjoy the present, but keeps you looking forward to the future."
WOW! That's good stuff. I praise and thank my God that He didn't let me stay in my bitterness over past hurt. I thank Him that He cared enough about me to show me the better way...the way of our precious Lord Jesus. He set the ultimate example when He hung on the cross, tortured and rejected, and was able to say "Father, forgive them."
Thank you, thank you, thank you, sweet, loving Lord. You have blessed me over and abundantly.
God is good, ALL the time, even when I forget it!
To participate in "Thankful Thursday", visit this website: http://www.eph2810.com/