A Thanksgiving Message:
The Thanks that Leads to Peace and Joy ~ Ray E Horton
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4).
Since we are now “temples of the Holy Spirit,” His “courts” are within our hearts. With praise and thanksgiving, we enter in this Thanksgiving Day, knowing that His great love has provided us with everything.
Thanks for Spiritual Blessing
There are many ways we could address thanksgiving, appreciating the many things He has given us. But to me, the spiritual blessings are the greatest. I am so thankful for Jesus and the fruit of the Spirit that develop in our lives because He dwells in us, the source of all fruit, the very vine that supplies the branches (us) with the wherewithal to bear fruit.
Do we want to experience the “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding”? For that we would be truly thankful. If you are not experiencing that peace, it is within reach. It is a fruit of the Spirit that we can all enjoy, and Phil. 4:4-8 tells us how.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men” (Vs.4-5a). Joy is another fruit of the Spirit. How can I have joy or show forth a gentle spirit if I don’t have peace? The end of verse 5 reminds us, “The Lord is at hand.” He is indeed, He is as near as our own hearts.
As we enter His courts in our hearts with praise and thanksgiving, by faith, counting our many blessings and looking past the challenges of life, something happens. We are able to “be anxious for nothing”
Therefore, as we enter His courts in our hearts with praise and thanksgiving, by faith, counting our many blessings and looking past the challenges of life, something happens. We are able to “be anxious for nothing” (Vs. 6a). We are able to rise above our worries and cares as we put our trust in Him. How is that? Well, as we “in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let [our] requests be made known to God; the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Wow! Not only does the peace of God feel good, and put us at ease, it “guards our hearts and minds.” What does a guard do? He keeps the evil out; he protects. In other words that peace provides mental/emotional protection, actually giving us reason to be “anxious for nothing.”
As is often said, the devil’s playground is our minds. But we have the life of Jesus and the name of Jesus within us and at our disposal. Prayer with thanksgiving keeps us in faith and predisposed to: cast down all mental “arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ“ (2 Cor. 10:5), knowing that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (Vs. 4).
We understand the spiritual aspect of fighting the enemy in our minds with spiritual weapons, the armor of God (“the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” “the shield of faith,” etc., as seen in Eph. 6:14-17), but I like the way the Amplified version of 2 Cor.10:5 also brings out natural aspects: “ [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”
Ephesians 6 also gives us some additional light on “prayer and supplication,” that we read about in Phil. 4. Eph. 6:18 tells us to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Two keys I see here: “always” and “in the Spirit.” We are told in Eph. 5:18 to “be being filled with the Spirit.” That is, continuously.
How do we pray always and stay filled? By praying in the Spirit.” As Jude tells us: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude1:20). So it is prayer in the Spirit that is most effective, along with thanksgiving, in bringing about that peace.
Going back to Phil. 4, we learn one more key to the joy of the Lord that brings “the peace of God” (as well as strength – Neh. 8). Vs. 8 tells us: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Having come to Him with prayer and thanksgiving, we can now focus our minds off the things that concern us, and meditate on good things
Having come to Him with prayer and thanksgiving, we can now focus our minds off the things that concern us, and meditate on good things, those that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report (admirable). In other words, we change the subject. We help our kids this way all the time – it is called diversion – helping them get their minds off what they want to do by enticing them to think of something good with a different activity.
So, this Thanksgiving Day, and hereafter, let us be thankful for all with which He has provided us, in fact purchased with His lifeblood on the cross, our salvation and all good things. And let us give thanks that our thanksgiving contributes to the peace of God in our lives, and experience the joy, by following these guidelines laid out in Phil. 4 and elsewhere in scripture. He is so good; He has given us His all. And, He has given us each other. I am thankful for all my Facebook friends. Praise His name! Thank you, Jesus.