Reading the title of this devotional, some of you might be truly confused as to why someone like me would be writing about a Thanksgiving recipe. Those who know me well realize with the exception of my mother’s meatballs and a limited number of other easy-to-prepare dishes, I am not exactly what you would call a cook. (Just ask my good friend Bonnie who will never let me forget about the time I somehow managed to put dish soap in my spaghetti sauce.) Praise God that I have an Italian sister-in-law who thrives in the kitchen and each year fills her home with food and family, serving up delicious straight-from-the-farm turkey.
Unlike all those cookbooks that line my wall that I believed would make me into a great chef, I have found that my Bible is loaded with foolproof recipes including a few with step by step instructions for stirring up a life of thanksgiving. Contrary to what some may think, a recipe of this nature does not require ingredients like pretending all is well, shutting down our emotions or acting like robots who have it all together. It does, on the other hand, begin with a heaping serving of honesty.
In Philippians 4, the Apostle Paul encourages us “not to be anxious (worried) about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, (to) present (our) requests to God.” Notably, in its original Greek language, the word used here for “thanksgiving” implies “a thankfulness for God’s grace working out what is good; grateful, which literally means ‘grace-ful (thankful) for God’s grace’ (what brings His eternal favor).”
Consequently, the authentic brand of thanksgiving spoken about in Philippians 4 is only possible with a true understanding of God’s love for us–a love so extraordinary that He sent His Son Jesus into the world to take on our punishment at Calvary’s cross for every wrong thing we’ve ever done. It is in coming to a personal understanding and acceptance of this love that gives us security both now and for all eternity.
It is therefore then from the place of amazing grace that we can thankfully bring all that weighs on our hearts before the throne of God with the confidence that “He Who did not spare His own Son will also, along with Him, graciously give us all things” (all that we need). (Romans 8:32). Through our position in Christ Jesus, God is and always will be “an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1).
In a day and age when so many are suffering from depression, anxiety, loneliness and despair, let us approach our tables with a renewed sense of the unshakeable hope that is ours through the love of God in Jesus. Let us bring all our hurts, disappointments and cares before Him in prayer, thankfully knowing that He is on our side. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard (our) hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7).
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