Posted by: glorifyhim1 | November 25, 2014

On the Top of My Thanksgiving List

On the Top of My Thanksgiving List

This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. Every year at Thanksgiving I like to stop for a minute, take a little time to myself, and think about the many blessings of the year. Some years the thoughts just tumble forth and I am ecstatic with praise. Other years there may be one beautiful blessing or memory that dominates my thoughts. And then there are those years when something really difficult or painful seems to obscure all other thoughts.

Today, as I thought about these things, it occurred to me that there is always one constant in my thoughts of thanksgiving. It’s always there – right at the top. It’s there when the sweet blessings are too numerous to count and it’s there when I’m ready to go ahead and turn the calendar to a new year. And it was there this morning even as I thought about friends who are facing surgery, others who are battling cancer, still others who are struggling with loss or difficulty, and as I thought about our country that seems to be more and more broken as I read of the unrest in Ferguson.

What is on the top of my Thanksgiving list? God is with me! We usually think about Emmanuel, God with us, during the Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the One who came to save us. But in my own life, I have learned that this is the one thing that I can always cling to no matter what – God is with me! He’s with me when I am filled with joy, thanksgiving, and praise. He’s with me when my heart is broken and when I can’t even put my needs into words. He’s with me in my happiest moments and in my darkest of days. God is with me!

Jesus reminded His disciples of this fact before He departed from them to return to heaven. He first told them what to do and then He said: And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28: 20b). Jesus knew what His disciples didn’t. He knew the troubles, persecutions, and difficulties they would face. What better thing to leave them with than the assurance of His presence with them?

God’s presence makes a difference. Consider the following Scriptures.

  • God’s presence can give us courage, make us strong, and help us not to fear. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
  • God’s presence can bless us with contentment. (Hebrews 13:5).
  • God’s presence can give us rest. (Exodus 33:14)
  • God’s presence can refresh us. (Acts 3:19-20)
  • God’s presence can be a place of refuge for us. (Psalm 91:1-4)
  • God’s presence can give us great joy. (Psalm 16:11)
  • God’s presence rejoices over us and quiets us with His love. (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • God’s presence protects and shelters us. (Psalm 31:20)
  • God’s presence provides comfort. (Psalm 23:4)
  • God’s presence surrounds us with His steadfast love. (Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV)

We know God’s presence with us through the gift of the Holy Spirit whom we receive when we accept Jesus as our Savior. Jesus explained this as He talked with His disciples in John 14:16-17: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” What better reason to offer thanks than for the absolute wonder and privilege of having God with us forever?

This Thanksgiving I have so many things for which to give thanks to my Heavenly Father. I know that every good gift I have received has been straight from His gracious, merciful hand. I know that in every struggle or trial I’ve faced, I have not been alone for He is always with me. And as I look into the future with all its questions and uncertainties, I remember His promise: “And behold I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  What a precious gift to know that He is with me forever. I’m sure this gift will always remain at the top of my Thanksgiving list. Thank You, Jesus!

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