I recently had the privilege of speaking to a group of amazing women at the annual Baptist Women’s Banquet. This ministry takes the love of Jesus to some of the poorest regions of the United States through their Backpack Ministry and their Shoebox Ministry and I am thankful to have been invited to be a part of their annual fundraiser event. ￼
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought we would pause in our “Lessons From Jonah” study and take a moment to think about what it means to be thankful. It’s true, we should give thanks every day for every blessing, but many of us just don’t.
“Season of Thanks” was first published on my blog in 2010. A lot has happened in our world over these past five years; a lot has happened in my life and I would imagine you could say the same. While I’ve dusted off and made a few tweaks to the original post, the message hasn’t changed. That’s one of the things I love about God’s word, no matter how our world or our lives change, we can count on His word, His message to remain the same. Reading this article again has given me a lot to think about as I prepare for the holiday, I pray you will find some inspiration from it as well.
Season of Thanks
yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. (Habakkuk 3:18-19)
The above verses are called “A Hymn of Faith.” As I read the words of this scripture, I feel proud that I can claim them as my own testimony faith. Do I rejoice in the Lord? Of course I do! Do I take joy in the God of my salvation? You bet! I believe that God is my strength, that He makes me sure-footed and makes me walk on the high places. So, I guess my faith is in pretty good shape, pretty solid. I imagine that most of you would read these verses and join me as I proclaim “amen and praise the Lord”. But, to borrow a phrase from Paul Harvey we have “the rest of the story”; or should I say “the first of the story?”
We need to back up just a bit, back to verse 17. You see, Habakkuk begins his Hymn with these word –
” For though the fig-tree shall not flourish, Neither shall fruit be in the vines; The labor of the olive shall fail, And the fields shall yield no food; The flock shall be cut off from the fold, And there shall be no herd in the stalls:”
Hmmm. Question. If we include verse 17, can we still claim verses 18 and 19 as our testimony? Do we really praise the LORD when there is no fruit on our vines, no food in our fields? How about when we get a bad report from the doctor or a pink slip from our boss? What if our marriage is struggling or our child is rebelling? During those hard days and dark nights, do we find our joy in the God of our salvation? Do we still proclaim “I will rejoice in the LORD”? If we’re honest with ourselves, probably not, however rejoice is just what God wants us to do. When we’re living in verse 17 and struggling to believe verse 18 God asks us to trust Him to fulfill verse 19.
The LORD wants us to learn that our joy doesn’t come from our blessings, our joy IS our blessing. As we enter into this season of thanksgiving and as we focus on the many blessings God has bestowed upon our lives, let us remember that even if all that we give thanks for were to be taken away, we still have cause to rejoice. He is I AM and no matter what comes against us – God is able. He is our strength. He has planted our feet on the Solid Rock of Calvary and because of Him, you and I can freely say “Amen and Praise The Lord!”
Until next time,