Giving Thanks with a Faithful Heart

This is the last week of November and although we continue our theme of faith it would be remiss not to tie thanks into this special week as we celebrate Thanksgiving on this Thursday, in the United States. As we consider all we have thanks for there are many who feel the burden of life so overwhelming that they cannot seem to find any thanks to voice. It is from this thought pattern that we address and challenge ourselves to remember that the giving of thanks comes from our hearts on the inside and not our outside circumstances. This is what faith and trust truly is and gives us hope for the future. To help put this in perspective we chose as our Bible focus verse this week, Habakkuk 3:17 ”“ 18;

 ”Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines;

even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren;

even though the flocks die in the field, and the cattle barns are empty,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. (NLT)

These two verses are near the end of the prayer of Habakkuk as he has realized that God always comes through on his promises. This prophet was upset over the way things were going in the land as his world had turned upside down and it was going from bad to worse. He was beginning to struggle with his own doubts and was losing hope because the situation was worsening and evil seemed rampant. He cried out to God for answers and God answered him with reminders of exactly who He is, what He has promised, and who is in control, these facts, all of which leads to hope. We join Habakkuk as he respectfully prays sanctifying God’s holiness and total control of the situation. Habakkuk is thankful not for the destruction and hardships he is enduring but he is thankful that God is in control and Habakkuk is faithful that God is going to set things right in his own time. He is joyful because God is giving him strength and hope.

It is important that we stop and realize that God’s answer was reminding Habakkuk that He makes good on His promises. This is as important for us to remember today as it was for Habakkuk in 500 B.C. God had already promised all of this destruction was going to occur, warned were the people  but they did not listen and return to God. These particular predictions of our focus verses are in Jeremiah 5:17; Joel 1:10 ”“ 12; and Amos 4:9. God said these things were going to happen and they did. We should take comfort in that because it teaches us that God will make good on His promises. The Bible is full of God making good on His promises so we should not doubt today because His past is irrefutable. This is the lesson He gave Habakkuk, not only had what He said occurred but He also said it would not last forever and eventually things would and did get better. This is the realization that Habakkuk has come to in his prayer and it gives him joy.

Joy from God’s strength for the faithful is throughout the Bible. If you want joy trust God. We see this in Psalm 97:12, Isaiah 12:2, Luke 1:47 and Paul sums it up leaving no room for complaining as he writes while he was in prison in Philippians 4:4;

 ”Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again, rejoice.” (NLT)

So our focus as we go into this Thanksgiving week is to remember that our inner attitude should not reflect our outside circumstances. No matter what life situations we find ourselves in we have many things to still be thankful to God for. So even if we find ourselves like Habakkuk with no fruit on the vine, no signs of even a blossom, our cupboards bare and all life seemingly in desolation we can still rejoice because one day we will join God in eternity where He will make good on his promises to the faithful. Our attitude, like Habakkuk, is dependent upon the perspective that we see from.

So rejoice my friends and be thankful to God by not allowing events to control your life but your life to be controlled by your faith.

I pray all of you have a most blessed and Happy Thanksgiving.

Love in Christ,

E. J.


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