Milk and Honey Magazine give thanks this Thanksgiving and praise Jesus - He loves you!

In All Things, Give Thanks

Kelsey Lynn Alexander

Early one morning, I found myself flipping through Paul’s letters to the church. As I thumbed through his books, I noticed a pattern. In each introduction, he expressed praise to the Lord and extended thankfulness to everyone he addressed. See below:

  • “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.” Romans 1:8
  • “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:16
  • “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.” Philip. 1:3-4
  • “We always thank God for al of you and continually mention you in our prayers.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2
  • “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.” Philemon 1:7

Paul was the first to admit he wasn't the most over-the-top positive guy. He was intense and would tell it to you straight. While writing several of these letters, Paul was in jail for proclaiming the Word of God due to his harshness, still making his name known despite his situation. Paul was not looking for people to “like” him or grant him accolades. Instead, he was yearning for the truth of the Lord to be made known no matter what - which he knew started with the posture of one’s heart. Paul was actively concerned for God’s children, and the verses above are just several (of many) expressing a heart of gratitude and a thankfulness that runs deep because it is rooted in Christ.

One of the secrets to giving thanks is based on the alignment of our hearts. Our priorities tend to be a reflection of what we treasure most.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

I often take time to reflect on my life and distinguish where my priorities are. When the Lord is first, my heart is filled with warmth and strength - in each circumstance I can find a glimmer of hope. There are days that could have easily been more dramatic than necessary: I experience heartbreak and rejection, feel insecure about my abilities, have an argument with a loved one, or simply order an almond milk cappuccino that's much too heavy to be called a cappuccino (if you know me, it’s a much bigger deal than it should be). The list is endless concerning things in life that go wrong, but when we stop and take time to reflect, we find the silver lining in each situation.

There is beauty in everything. Somedays, it may take a little longer to find it. You know those days... when it’s tough to get out of bed, you're feeling sorry for yourself, and you act like a diva. But frankly, those are the exact times to step back and look at the grand scheme of things: We were all created for a purpose.

YOU were created by the God of the Universe who loves and cares for you. He has written YOUR name on His heart. YOU are His treasure, His prized possession. He has created this world and all things in it to share with YOU!

Take time this Thanksgiving to find the beauty in life:

Write a letter to a friend. Buy coffee for a stranger. Call a family member you haven’t talked to in a while. Go for a walk. Light some candles and take a bath. Serve. Thank God for your life!

There is much to be thankful for that we miss when we're only looking inward. We need to be constantly checking in with our hearts to make sure we are living and loving in a way that's bigger than ourselves.

Just within this past week alone, I could have thrown many pity parties for myself. Instead, I chose to choose Jesus each morning. That decision was not necessarily mine, but because of the Lord’s strength and continuous promise, I can trust His plan for my life is better than my own. Each morning, I actively choose to wear His love and call upon His strength.

Give thanks, choose love, and allow your light to be contagious to everyone you come across, dear heart.

Happy Thanksgiving!