Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Shepastor: "Determine to Take a 'Thanks Break'..."

O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.
4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.
5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.
6 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.
7 And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.
8 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
Psalm 107: 1-9 KJV

There is a popular phrase among some church goers, “Take a ‘Praise break!’” This phrase means that from time to time, one should stop whatever they are doing and begin to give God praise, glory and honor! The other day, I was inspired to commit to doing something similar…to take a “Thanks break.”

As I reached for my bible the other morning, it fell open to the verse, “Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.” Although I’ve read that verse many times, on this day, it impacted me differently. As I went throughout the day, contemplating, processing and musing…as I was tempted to complain, feel frustrated or discouraged, the Holy Spirit spoke… “Replace those thoughts instead with thanksgiving.”

All day long, when other issues tried to press in on me, I remembered the Holy Spirit’s prodding and sweet guidance to instead, take a “thanks break.”
Choosing thankfulness over frustration, anxiety, sadness and anger can be very empowering. Being thankful does not automatically erase the realities of struggle in whatever form, but it lifts your heart, mind and spirit above the fray. Thankfulness causes you to focus upon what God has already done, is doing and has assured us that he will do.

This truth was illustrated powerfully in the children’s Christmas story by Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Grinch was confident that if he stole all of the presents, decorations and special meals prepared in anticipation of Christmas morning, that the residents of “Whoville,” would be devastated, distraught and defeated. But to his GREAT surprise, as the morning dawned, the “Whos” gathered together in a large circle, hands linked together, heads held high, voices loud with joy-filled singing, “Fahoo Fores, Dahoo Dores, welcome, Christmas, Christmas day!” That day the Grinch was taught a powerful lesson. When love and gratefulness fills one’s heart, even the meanest spirit cannot steal its joy. Thankfulness strengthens and fortifies our hearts against even the meanest, ugliest circumstances life can throw at us.

Several years ago, after an unfortunate and extended illness my god-sister died. My godmother was elderly and very ill herself. The family asked if I would be the one to break the news to her. With much prayer and sensitivity, I went to speak with her. I shall never forget her response. When I told her, her immediate response, after tears and calling my god-sister’s name was, “Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus…thank you for my daughter. She was a good daughter. Thank you Jesus for my daughter.”

My godmother’s response spoke volumes to me. In that moment of tremendous grief, she chose to thank God for giving her the gift of her daughter for a season. Thankfulness is empowering. Thankfulness gives strength. Thankfulness sharpens focus. Thankfulness fills the heart. Thankfulness is a choice.

At least one day a week, determine to replace other responses with “Thank you Lord for…” You will be surprised at how your mood, perspective and overall life experiences and outlook changes for the better!

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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