Thanksgiving #1 Thanksgiving Thieves
It seems every year around this time social media
gets flooded with lists of what people are thankful for. Some folks even take up that challenge of
posting one thing they are thankful for each day of the month. Nice.
Helps you count your blessings.
Facebook with all its tricky ways of tracking your
posts made a list of the top ten things that people are thankful for. Friends, family, health, family and friends,
job, husband, children, the roof over my head, life, and music are the top ten
in order. Facebook also tracked the number one answer for each state,
California was most thankful for YouTube.
[https://research.fb.com/blog/2014/11/what-are-we-most-thankful-for/] I like YouTube, we even have our very own
channel on YouTube, HBCC Life where you will find our video teachings archived
for your reference.
Check it out, hit the like and subscribe buttons.
Have you ever been in that awkward situation where
around the Thanksgiving table you’re asked what are you thankful for and you’re
really hard-pressed to say something meaningful? You come up with something obligatory that
sounds good and will be generally accepted by all. In Oregon, you may have said
“yoga.” In Michigan, you may have said
“electricity.” Idaho, Colorado, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South
Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia you most likely would
find people thankful for something spiritual: forgiveness, mercy, salvation,
God’s love, and God’s word. What’s on
your top ten list? Do you have ten things
that you are truly thankful for?
There are Thanksgiving thieves. There are thoughts about events that will
take Thanksgiving right out of your heart.
We’re going to shine a light on them and then see what we can do to
overcome them. We can be truly thankful.
1 Thessalonians 5:15-23 (NIV)
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong,
but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always;
pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for
you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the
Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on
to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
Give thanks in and under all circumstances that’s
what God wants you to do. Not for the circumstances but in them. This is very
hard for people tangled up in spiritual conflict, entitlement, resentment,
fear, or guilt. These five inner
turmoil’s make giving thanks really difficult.
They steal thanksgiving away.
best way to change wrong thoughts is to replace them with right thoughts. And
the Word of God is the perfect replacement. Simply put, in order to get wrong
thoughts out, you need to put right thoughts in.”
(Karen Jensen Salisbury)
A spiritual conflict occurs within us when we experience
a disconnect between faith and experience.
When what we have read, have had preached to us, taught to us, believed,
doesn’t seem to align with what we are living through we are tempted to
conclude that all we have learned is a lie.
When you feel that you have been lied to it chokes out your voice of
Amid a spiritual conflict go to the scripture, let
the Word change your thinking.
Psalms 103:2-5 (MSG)
O my soul, bless God, don't forget a single
blessing! He forgives your sins—every
one. He heals your diseases—every
one. He redeems you from hell—saves your
life! He crowns you with love and
mercy—a paradise crown. He wraps you in
goodness—beauty eternal. He renews your youth—you're
always young in his presence.
Entitlement is when you feel you deserve more,
that you deserve better, that you are owed.
You rate the best, that’s what is due you; head-of-the-line, first-class,
the biggest piece of the pie, VIP treatment all because you’re you. The rules for the “sheepole and humvines”
don’t apply to you. When this becomes
the prevailing attitude of your heart you suffocate thanksgiving.
When you are feeling entitled go to the scripture,
let the Word change your thinking.
Romans 12:3 (NIV) & Hebrews 12:28-29 (MSG)
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you
ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment…”
Do you see what we've got? An unshakable kingdom!
And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful but brimming with
worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander.
29 He's actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won't
quit until it's all cleansed.
Resentment is when you feel you’ve been
cheated. Maybe you feel that God hasn’t
been true to His promises. You’ve worked
hard to do good but have not been rewarded.
Any time you feel that you have been treated unfairly, and then allow
this idea to become the way you look at life, that chip on your shoulder will
keep you from thanksgiving. Holding a
grudge will strangle thanksgiving.
Bad things happen to good people, when you feel
resentment go to the scripture, let the Word change your thinking.
Mark 9:33-35 & John 13:16-17 (MSG)
"What were you discussing on the road?"
The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among
them was greatest. He sat down and summoned the Twelve. "So you want first
place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all." “I'm only pointing out the obvious. A servant
is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn't give orders to the
employer. If you understand what I'm telling you, act like it—and live a
Fear prophesies catastrophe. Something bad is going to happen. You’re
living as if Murphy’s Law is reality: “Anything
that can go wrong will go wrong at the worst possible time.” If you are anticipating danger and disaster, you
paint your entire world with pessimism. You
are waiting for the proverbial hammer to fall. This type of prognostication
When you a feeling fear, go to the scripture, let
the Word change your thinking.
Isaiah 38:17-19 (MSG)
It seems it was good for me to go through all
those troubles. Throughout them all you held tight to my lifeline. You never
let me tumble over the edge into nothing. But my sins you let go of, threw them
over your shoulder—good riddance! The dead don't thank you, and choirs don't
sing praises from the morgue. Those buried six feet under don't witness to your
faithful ways. It's the living—live men,
live women—who thank you, just as I'm doing right now.
Guilt is a moral emotion. Regret, over what you have done or what you
have failed to do, brings embarrassment and shame. Guilt is a good emotion when it's used to
correct behavior and make amends. When
guilt becomes the lenses through which you view the world, everything is your
fault. You believe that you deserve to
be punished. Convinced of your
culpability, self-condemnation throttles thanksgiving.
When you are feeling guilt, go to the scripture,
let the Word change your thinking.
Psalms 32:5 & 1 John 1:9 (MSG)
"I'll make a clean breast of my failures to
God." Suddenly the pressure was
gone—my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared.
“…if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won't let us down;
he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all
Additionally, spiritual conflict, entitlement,
resentment, fear, or guilt can manifest not only in thanklessness, but also in depression,
anxiety, and anger. We may conclude that
thanksgiving is impossible when a person is engulfed in depression or anxiety
or anger. We may also conclude that the ability to experience thanksgiving is a
sign of righteous spiritual health. God
wants you spiritually healthy and the ability to feel thanks is an indication
that you are.
The way you banish spiritual conflict, resentment,
fear, entitlement, and guilt is by changing the way you think.
“Change your thoughts and you change your
(Norman Vincent Peale)
Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this
world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able
to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
“I think therefore I feel and do.” If you change
your thinking you will change your behavior.
To bring about the change you must first discover what you are thinking.
Now that we have recognized these five
thanksgiving asphyxiators call them out.
You are bringing them out of the darkness of the subconscious into the
light of consciousness.
The feeling will lead you to the trigger, the
trigger leads you to the thought that requires transformation, the distorted
thought leads to the event or events that created it. The event exposed allows you to change your
interpretation of what occurred.
Changing your interpretation will change the way you think about it, which
once accomplished will change your behavior and you will feel thankful.
of the greatest truths in life: It’s not what happens to you (your past,
present, or future circumstances) or what people do or say to you that cause
your emotions. Your emotions come from what you think about after things happen
to you! You control all of your emotions by what you think. Emotions are simply
data telling you what you have been thinking.” Six
Biblical Steps to Transform Your Mind (elishasmantle.com)
your why? When you know why you do what
you do, even the
days become easier>”
These five thanksgiving killers can gang up on
you. Suppose God doesn’t respond the way
you want to your prayer request. You’ve
done everything you know how to ask God to intercede. You’ve prayed, you’ve fasted, you’ve asked
the spiritually mature to pray, you’ve looked up every scripture on God helping
in times of trouble, you’ve made your case and whatever it was you needed,
wanted, begged for, didn’t come to pass.
Now so much depends on the quality of relationship you share with
God. Some people just take it all in
stride and actualize the Holy Spirit's power to keep on keeping on. There have
been times in my life when I was not “some people.”
When my request was denied I interpreted it as God
not keeping His promises. I made a list,
this scripture says you’ll do this and you didn’t, that scripture says you’ll
come through and you didn’t. This
creates instant spiritual conflict. When
you feel someone has let you down it's hard to be thankful. I felt let down because I’m a good person,
well, an OK person, well… anyway I am me and therefore deserve to get what I
ask for. When someone doesn’t receive the service they think they are entitled
to they are not very thankful. Because I didn’t get what I wanted I felt
resentment. God, you could have but you
didn’t. Doesn’t it seem dangerous to
have a bone to pick with God? Consider
God’s answer to Job. Resentment creates spiritual paralysis. You’ve heard that country-western song—If
you’re going through hell keep on going.
You can’t keep ongoing if you are paralyzed, you’re stuck. It’s hard to give thanks when you feel like
you are in hell. What’s worse you’ll
lose ground if you’re not moving forward. In that paralysis you begin to fear,
fear that maybe what you have believed all along isn’t true. You can’t be thankful when you’re plagued
with doubts. Then comes the heavy guilt
trip, it’s like you hear that parental voice “After all I have done for you,
this is how you repay me.”
Each one of the five thanksgiving assassins is
defeated the same way, even if they gang up.
Examine your interpretation of events.
Ask yourself why you are feeling the way you do? Why are you thinking the way you are. Why do I feel conflicted? Why do I feel entitled? Why do I feel resentment? Why do I feel
afraid? Why do I feel guilty? There are triggers that set those feelings off
and sent you off course. Keep digging
and you will find an answer. You will
then be able to examine your answer and then proceed to submit that thought to
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
“…we take captive every thought to make it
obedient to Christ”
you think you become.]
In my battle against the five thanksgiving
murderers, I found help in Lamentations.
Lamentations is written by the prophet Jeremiah, lamenting the
destruction of Israel at the hand of the Babylonians.
Lamentations 3:21-26 (NIV)
I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we
are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in
him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of
is a powerful prayer. You get more from God by thanking him than by begging
him. And thanking him in advance for something he has promised but not yet
given is a profound statement of faith.”
The Holy Spirit will help you discover your
distorted thought, assumption, or idea and then you can choose to reinterpret
the event, changing your thinking about it.
Defeat the thanksgiving stealers and you will be able to truly give
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