How easy it is to focus on the things we do not have in our lives instead of focusing on the things we do have!
I recently allowed my mind…once again…to wander to the things I don’t have in my life such as…
Not owning a home…Not driving a car with heat…Not having a kitchen with much counter space (especially when I love to cook!)…Not having family living close for help (the good Lord knows I need it with my 2 little precious yet energetic boys!)
Note Key Words: “I allowed” …Yes it is my choice as to what I choose to focus on. And it is your choice as well as to what you choose to focus on in life.
Do you tend to focus on the things you don’t have versus the things you do have in your life?
And so once again I realize that I take so much for granted the things I do have in my life and the importance of being thankful.
And just why is it that we need the Thanksgiving Holiday to remind us each year?
Thankfulness should be an “everyday” thing. Thankfulness should be a “Thankful-Daily” thing.
Why? Because God has given us all that we have and just as He has given, He can also take away! It’s like being reminded of the old saying “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”
We should show our thanks and gratitude to God…NOW…because we really don’t know how long we get to keep what we got!
And furthermore…We really need to know what we got!
We need to not only know what we got with our minds but know what we got with our hearts!
Knowing with our hearts results in true satisfaction and contentment. Our hearts determine what we feel…what we think…what we say…and what we do.
Above all else, guard thy heart; for out of it flows the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23 JB
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve. Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT
But even when many of us know what we got…we still choose to focus on what we don’t got! Don’t we???
And I am not just talking about material things and possessions…although we still should be thankful for the roof over our heads…the car that starts each morning…our jobs…our health…our families…and so much more!
How about being thankful for our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ who died the most horrible and painful death so we can have eternal life? For a God who is so gracious and merciful and doesn’t punish us as our sins deserve? For a God who is patient with us and gives us second chances…third chances…fourth chances…infinity chances…to get it right?
Are you thankful daily for your Savior Jesus Christ and the God who has given you all that you have…and not just all that you have…but made you all that you are?
We need to know what we have and stop focusing on what we don’t have. We should be so thankful…And we should build a personal altar of thanksgiving.
A personal altar of thanksgiving? Yes!
There are instances in the Bible…especially in the Old Testament…where altars were built for a number of reasons…and one reason being…for thanksgiving.
In order to better understand this personal altar of thanksgiving, we need to understand what exactly an altar is and what the altar represents in the Bible.
The Hebrew word translated “altar” is mizbeach which comes from the word zabach meaning “to slaughter” such as an animal. The Greek word translated “altar” is thusiasterion meaning “a place of sacrifice.”
The dictionary defines “altar” as a raised place or structure where sacrifices are offered and religious rites performed; any structure of earth or unwrought stone on which sacrifices were offered.
In the Bible, altars were generally erected in conspicuous places. The first altar we read of in the Bible is erected by Noah (Gen. 8:20). Altars were also erected by Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 13:4; 22:9)…Isaac (Gen. 26:25)…Jacob (33:20; 35:1, 3)…and Moses (Ex. 17:15) and many others.
The Altar is commonly a place where animal sacrifices were made…however the altar represents much more than “animal sacrifices” and has relevance for us today.
The Altar is a place for…
An Encounter with God. (Genesis 12:7)
Personal Sacrifice. (Genesis 22:7-9)
Dedication. (Exodus 30:1-8, Leviticus 6:12-13)
Forgiveness. (Leviticus 1:1-5)
Worship and Thanksgiving. (Genesis 8:20)
Now when I mention that we should be thankful daily and should build a personal altar of thanksgiving…I am not talking about building a physical altar as exemplified in the Bible.
Just as the altars in the Bible are a place of …encountering God…sacrifice…dedication… forgiveness…worship…and thanksgiving…so too is a personal altar.
A personal altar is a place where you meet God daily…a place of encountering God…personal sacrifice…dedication…forgiveness…worship…thanksgiving.
And personal altar of thanksgiving is just that…a daily time to be thankful and focus on God and his blessings in our lives.
God rejoices when we praise Him and thank Him! Even Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits…dwells…in our praises!
But you are holy, O you that inhabit the praises of Israel. AKJV
And thou art holy, thou that dwellest amid the praises of Israel. DBT
So as we celebrate this Thanksgiving Holiday…let’s make thankfulness a “thankful-daily” thing as we erect a personal altar of thanksgiving. Let’s enter into His gates with thanksgiving…everyday!
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4 NIV
When we praise God and thank Him for…all He has given us…all He has done for us…all He has done in us…all He has done through us…and all He will still do…we won’t have the room in our minds and hearts to focus on the things we do not have!
Gratitude has a way of changing our attitude…and our focus!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!