Every Thanksgiving, we are reminded to celebrate all we have to be thankful for in our lives.

But God doesn’t want us to just be especially thankful once a year. He longs for us to be thank-full every day, in every situation. Which can be a hard concept to grasp during the hard seasons of life.

You recall that verse “Give thanks in all circumstances” we always hear around Thanksgiving? There’s more to it, for it wasn’t meant to stand on its own!

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be cheerful no matter what: Being of good cheer is part choice, and part based upon how we handle the emergencies and hard situations we face. Responding with a smile or kind word even feeling stressed or burdened doesn’t mean you are not hurting. “Cheerful” also means light hearted, which we can become when we have given a heavy burden over into His hands! I believe this is how Jesus was able to remain so compassionate with the crowds the closer He walked to the cross, by continuously conversation with the Father and Holy Spirit’s guidance as to when to speak, when to stay silent, and when to heal.

Pray all the time: ALL the time. Pray out loud or in your mind everywhere you go, constantly bringing everything to Him right in the moment. Brother Lawrence lived his life this way, praying no matter what his task, as recorded in “The Practice of the Presence of God.” No matter what he was doing, he continually conversed with God.

And when we connect with Him as we choose to give Him our burdens and pray at all times? (We can) Give thanks in all circumstances.

Only when these three steps occur together does the last part of this verse make complete sense:

This (cheerfully praying with thanks every step of all we encounter) is the way God wants His Beloved to live….

  • Choosing joy regardless of circumstance.
  • Choosing to remain connected with Him.
  • Choosing to live our lives full of thanks.

This Thanksgiving season, take the time to thankfully look back on how God has been with you in every season, and what He has walked you through.

We are so extra blessed when we are part of God’s family! We are loved beyond measure by our Father. We belong. We are inheritors of the Kingdom, made whole and clean in Jesus. We are free. We have access to resources surpassing our comprehension through Holy Spirit. We are never alone.

Because God is fully with us through all things, we can always, and in all ways, have a reason to be thank-full.

And then these verses, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, become as they were intended by God in our lives: Thanks-living as we express how thank-full we are to Him!

~ Karla Lees

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Karla is a curly haired bespectacled gal who fell in love with both words and music at a very young age. Coming to know the Lord as a young adult, she dove into studying the Word at Tyndale University College before marrying her husband. Mom of two adult children and two young cats, Karla works in administration and social media. You can most often find her singing, reading, at coffee or tea with friends, walking, mentoring, or blogging over at karlalees.com.