Joy and Thanksgiving

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever.

1 Chronicles 16:34

Give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices and announce his works with shouts of joy.

Psalm 107:22

I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

Philippians 1:3-5

Joy and gratitude are cousins.

That is, whenever I feel joy because of my blessings, I find myself feeling grateful to God. Thank you, Lord!

When we find ourselves experiencing joy, we should take a quick moment to pause and offer thanksgiving to God for what gives us joy. Because, as James 1:17 puts it, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 

Not only that, but when I intentionally stop to thank God for the many blessings in my life, joy often wells up in my heart. If I want to experience more joy, then I ought to take time, as the hymn says, to “count my blessings.”

After I spent time praying this morning, it’s this joy-thanksgiving connection that came to my mind. One leads to the other; they are two sides of the same coin.

For me, as for many of you, my biggest joy in this life is my family. When I stop and give thanks to God for my wife, two sons, and daughter, I experience joy. Or whenever I find myself feeling joyful because of my family, I should stop and give thanks to God.

Because truthfully my family is a gift. They are signposts of God’s love and grace in my life. I have no idea what my life would be like without them. I don’t even want to think about that.

Instead, I receive what God has given with joy. I give thanks to him for he is good.

Like I said, joy and thanksgiving are cousins.

What gives you joy? What are you thankful for? Take time out to reflect on these things. Allow the blessings of your life to direct your heart to the one who poured them out on you.

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