From the Pastor….

Give Thanks

“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with jubilation; come before Him with rejoicing.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courtyards with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.”

We really do have so much for which to be thankful! As we make our way towards Thanksgiving, we are reminded that gratitude is not something that comes naturally. We need to be reminded to give thanks. We remember times of provision and joy, and we give thanks. We look ahead at the exciting promises of tomorrow, and we give thanks. We look around us at the beauty and consistency of creation, and we give thanks.

You and I experience blessing in abundance. This is truth. This is a reality on which we can depend. But there are times when we allow (whether advertently or not) our focus to become a bit muddled and we lose sight of our blessings and this has consequences.

When we are focused on our blessings, when we are aware of the ways that God is at work in us and in the world around us, we are overwhelmed with gratitude and we cannot help but to be grateful. This gratitude then results in our inability to contain our praise. And in this we are drawn into God, and our relationship with God deepens and is strengthened. 

Our gratitude is not simply something that we owe God, or something that God demands or requires of us. Our gratitude is a necessary component to our relationship with the divine.  It is through the awareness of our blessings and through our gratitude that our ability to love as we are called to love develops and is then enacted.

It is also through this awareness of our blessings and through our gratitude that we are able to respond to the call to be joyful, always. Gratitude cultivates joy and I think we could all use a little more joy. Joy, remember, is that deep sense of thankfulness and peace in Christ that we receive through Jesus. It is the peace that surpasses all understanding. Joy is not happiness but rather what we experience regardless of circumstance. It is the joy of deep transformation and a life that is focused on the hope we have in Christ. Gratitude brings us to this place of joy in the Lord.

May you receive the joy of Christ,