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Nov 25, 2018

We Give Thanks

We Give Thanks

Passage: Philippians 4:4-9

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Category: thankful, kindness

Keywords: blessings, thankful, thanksgiving

Pastor Chris shares some of the things he is thankful for. What are you thankful for?

Scripture:

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Philippians 4:6-7 (NRSV)

Devotional:

This Sunday in worship we celebrated Thanksgiving with all kinds of ways many of us are thankful. I remember a time in my life when I encountered this Scripture passage from Philippians. It struck me so deeply that I decided to ask God a few questions that went something like this: “God, if I share my worries with you in prayer, will my worries actually go away?” “God, how can I experience peace that is beyond my understanding?”  What I have learned over the years from my faith journey, is that usually when I ask God a question, my heart is open to change. God always answers my questions in some way, and I experience peace that is truly beyond my understanding. However, my mindset is usually always in need of change in order for me to grow in understanding. I have become more aware that my peace stems from a thankful heart. So, here are three ideas for you about cultivating thankfulness.

First, I chose the term ‘cultivate’ because it means I must ‘do something’ and take action if I desire a more thankful heart. I have discovered that thankfulness begins by choosing to be more thankful. One of the ways I have chosen to be more thankful is to keep a journal as many days as I can of all the good in my life. Most days, my journaling happens in the morning and I must confess that I am not a very good ‘morning’ person. Yet, I find that I can give thanks almost immediately, simply for that fresh cup of coffee that awaits me (thank you Chris Durbin), as I begin my journaling. For those who are not morning people like me, I know for sure you appreciate my thankfulness over coffee that helps to wake me up and begin the day!

Second, I have learned that cultivating a spirit of thankfulness does not mean I am experiencing joyful circumstances every day. Arriving at this realization in my faith journey has taken some time and maturity. Quite simply, it’s easy to give thanks in times of abundance. As all of you have, I have experienced the loss of loved ones. So, this time of year can be a challenge to remember to be thankful. My maturity in navigating thankfulness in the midst of loss has been to remember all I have learned from those I have loved but are no longer on this earth. Not only to remember all I have learned but to put it into practice and to share it in community. Being thankful for the life of another has been a significant area of growth for me and I hope and believe it has been a valuable asset in the communities in which I live and work.

Third, and on a more practical basis, experts in the field of health and psychology tell us that cultivating thankfulness leads to better health and less stress. Studies show that our relationships with others are healthier and life becomes more rewarding when our thankfulness is shared with others. I believe this to be true as I ponder the ways I have grown in cultivating a spirit of thankfulness. Those experts also say it takes a minimum of 21 days to make something become a habit. So, I encourage you to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness for 21 days. I will be interested to hear from you and what you begin to experience on the journey towards cultivating a spirit of thankfulness.

Prayer:

Holy God, with a spirit of thankfulness, help us to see Your mercies that are new every morning and enable our hearts to see each day as a gift; and may the peace of God that is beyond our human understanding guard our hearts and our minds. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ who is light for all people. Amen.

Written by Tianna Durbin. Tianna is the Minister of Worship and Arts at Arcola Church. She recently and joyfully completed a Master of Arts at Wesley Theological Seminary. Outside her work at Arcola she and her husband Chris stay busy keeping up with their two teenagers.