Wednesday, November 24, 2010

enter His gates with thanksgiving

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, give thanks
to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindess is everlasting
and His faithfulness to all generations."
- Psalm 100:4-5

In a day and age when depressing is what sells newspapers and where complaining is easier in conversation than a positive outlook, it is so easy to forget the apostle Paul's encouragement to "give thanks in everything" (1 Thess. 5:18).

As Christians, I think we often quote scriptures such as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 without truly applying it to our daily lives. I wish that I could say that my attitude was one of continuous thanksgiving.

If you think you are a thankful person, I challenge you to sit down and write out 10 things you are thankful for. It seems simple enough, but it definitely humbled me as I sat and tried to identify things that I was thankful for. What are you thankful for? What should you be thankful for? What has God done for you this year?

I'm thankful for...

  • My Savior - How amazing that even in my lowest moments, when I didn’t deserve to be brought out, all I had to do was cry out to Him to rescue me. So many things could have gone wrong, so many more mistakes could have been made, but in grace He reached down and opened my eyes. Thank You, God, for sending Your Son to take my place. Thank You for saving me.

  • Family - We've been through quite a lot this year and are still pushing through. My parents have been a constant, always guiding us with their love and faith, showing us with their actions what it means to trust God. Each of my siblings has been to me the best friends that I could ever ask for. Honestly, I am so thankful to God for each member of the family and am truly blessed to be a Moonen.

  • Friendships/ LOCC family – After reaching a point in church where my heart for serving became no longer a response of love to God but turned into a matter of obligation, He was faithful to give me a fresh start with encouraging friends. It is such a blessing to have found a group of people who live out their beliefs and encourage me to do the same. I am so thankful for this group of people!

  • Graduation/ Time at USCB – The four years that led up to my graduation in May were four of the most amazing years of my life so far. God brought so many opportunities my way and there is nothing that I regret. I was able to achieve so much in my time at USCB, and I am so thankful for the support of the faculty and staff that I received while in school and on graduation.

  • No student loans – This goes along with graduation, but I am so thankful to God for His provision for me in my time at school. I was so blessed with scholarships and stipends that I was able to work my way through college without taking any loans.

  • My job – I have been given so much favor at the university, that at times it is overwhelming. Although this is not where I feel I will be long-term, I know that God has provided me with this job and I am thankful for it. I feel blessed to be able to say that I had a full-time position open for me after graduation.

  • The worship team – Yes, at times there was confusion and hurt, but looking back I can say that I am thankful for the opportunity to be on the team. Although I have so much more to learn musically, I am glad that God allowed me to be there for the time that I was. I loved it and it was a great experience.

  • SGM – In some of the dry times and the trying times, Sovereign Grace Ministries was only a few clicks away. Whether with a sermon from CJ Mahaney to challenge me, or just the right worship music to encourage me, SGM has always remained a pivotal piece of my spiritual walk. I'm thankful I grew up with such a solid background and that the pastors there are still able to encourage me.

  • Elya – I planned on keeping this post as anonymous as possible, but I am so thankful for my best friend. Although I’ve only seen her once or twice in the past 5 years, she is always there with the perfect encouragement when it is needed. I am so thankful to God that He not only gave me her friendship but that He has continued our friendship through the years and distance. I would not trade her for the world!

  • Constant provision – This is the only way to effectively sum up the fact that I’ve made it through this year in one piece, always with more than enough. Even in the moments when it seemed like things would fall apart, I can see that I had no reason to worry because God was always there, providing for me, lifting me up, and taking me forward. There were days this year when it seemed like life slapped me in the face with questions and situations that inevitably let to “why me” moments. Even in those moments, my Savior was by my side, holding me up. I can truly say that I am blessed.