Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the good things in life and not the comparisons or perfections of a family. Not everyone has a picture-perfect life. Is that even possible?
No matter who is sitting at your table this year, it’s important to be grateful. God provides food, shelter, family, and friends. All, are a blessing of His creation, in His image.
More important than anything, thanksgiving reminds me to have an attitude of gratitude for a saving relationship with Jesus. It really sets the tone for my life. When I am walking with Jesus, starting my day with a pause, picking up the Word of God, I am finding more peace.
Being alone without Jesus brings more fear, anxiety, depression, and uncertainty. When I learn in scripture, I am not in control. I am glad to know God never sleeps and is in control I can find peace.
Being with Jesus helps me push aside the distractions of the world which include comparison. Instead, I must make time in the morning to meditate on the good things in my life, with no media or phone unless it inspires me to Jesus.
A deep breath before I step out of bed, arms outstretched to the sky, greeting the morning with a prayer of gratitude helps clear out the comparisons.
“Good morning Jesus, thank you for another day. Guide my steps, help me to put my selfish nature aside, and shine the light of Jesus through my words and actions.”
Ephesians 6 reminds me to put on the whole armor of God. It is as if I am gearing up for battle. It is a battle against good and evil, not against our families, friends, community but against our own flesh that wants its own way. I think family gatherings can bring up some garbage and perhaps a need to have a battle plan. We have to gain wisdom from our Creator. He will give us the ability to have self-control in His way.
Ephesians 6:10 – 18
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
What am I talking about, you ask? Ephesians 6:10-20 describes the parts of the armor of God. I will break down the purpose for each battle armor:
Helmet of Salvation: guards your mind against the lies of the enemy. It is placing this metaphorically on your head to block the false words and distractions instead, meditating on the truth of God.
Breastplate of Righteousness: this is the demonstration of putting on a guard over your heart for the purpose of right living with God. We must guard our hearts it sets the course for our life.
Belt of truth: wrap that object around your waist to keep you reminded of staying in truth, pure, excellent, life filling even if it is hard, truth. ( by the way, we can have sinned but Jesus washes away our sin and makes us pure when we ask.)
Shoes of peace: remember it’s a battle, of good over evil, it is exhausting however, we don’t walk alone. When we put on the body armor of God, we have Jesus fighting in us and with us.
Shield of faith: I don’t know about you, but sometimes it is hard to trust something we can’t see, such as the future, challenges can bring fear. Faith is unseen but fear is crippling. Choosing to hold the shield of faith against the fiery arrows that are shot at you by the devil is the best action. Faith over fear is the only answer.
Finally, The Sword is the Word of God, the Bible is the slayer of the fiery darts of the enemy. Claiming scriptures and their promises over the hard times is the way to snuff out the fire.
Praying in the Spirit always brings the power of God to the situation. Memorizing scripture can feel impossible but it is possible if you start with one at a time, such as:
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Psalm 23 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Write any of these on a post-it note and tack it to your mirror. Read these promises until they become a solid pearl of truth, meditate on them and they will come to your mind when you need them.
Consider reading Ephesians 6, before you step a foot out of the bed every morning. Say it out loud and within a month you will feel the full armor of God go with you as you are ready for the day.
Gratitude for the hope and promises in the Bible can steer the ship of your life. The alternative is grumbling and complaining. The old statement: If you can’t say anything positive say nothing at all, is true.
Happy Thanksgiving! It may not be a Norman Rockwell painting in your family or mine but hold onto the vision of being at the Lords’ table.
We are all misfits, broken yet made clean and loved by the head of the family, Jesus. Thank you Jesus for making each of us beautiful and unique.