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Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15 NIV)

Do you have days, sometimes weeks, months, even years, when you find it hard to be thankful? …times when life’s disappointments and burdens weigh you down and you find yourself dwelling and stewing over them? It seems unpatriotic or sacrilegious to mention such a thing now, one day before Thanksgiving, but for many it is reality. Thanksgiving and Christmas bring with them great expectations of family celebrations and traditions… and disappointment over unmet expectations.

I suggest Colossians 3:16 may offer some insight to how we can rise above these situations and cultivate a spirit of thankfulness. If we cultivate the peace of Christ in our hearts, and if we make it a matter of will to keep our eyes on Jesus, we will feel his presence lifting us up even in our disappointments. The Bible often mentions a “sacrifice of praise.” This happens when we praise God in spite of our disappointments, even daring to praise him for the things that cause us grief. In my own experience, it has been the hard times that brought me closer to God. What I would have missed if life had always gone my way – what a spoiled brat I would have become.

Make your Bible your favorite book. A good concordance may help you find scriptures to meet your particular needs for the day. The Psalms are a great place to go when your spirit needs a lift. Spend time in prayer, and sing praises to God. If you listen to Christian music, especially scripture and praise songs, you bring in the assistance of those recorded voices to lift your spirit. Be pro-active in your praise and sing with them. God isn’t concerned over how well you sing, but he loves the sound of your voice when it is praising him. If you feel like crying, then cry your heart out to God. Remember that the shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept.” He cares about your grief. Keep the music playing until you have cried it through, and let the praise songs lift you up into his presence.

A song that brings out how God blesses us through our trials is entitled, Through it All. Click the link and listen to the version I found on YouTube by The Booth Brothers. I hope these words bless you like they do me.

Father God, help us to truly be thankful to you as we experience the Thanksgiving holiday this year. Bless the needy out of your bounty so they can see your face and feel your peace.

© 2009 by Janice D. Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Colossians 1:15-20 Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

 These verses shed much light on who Jesus is, yet unfortunately, this kind of thinking is are “outside the box” for many Christians. I suspect if these verses were made into a true-false test there would be many church-goers who would miss many of them. Let’s give it a try. Answer each of the following statements as true or false. 

_____ Jesus is the image of God who is invisible.
_____ Jesus is the firstborn of all of creation.
_____ Jesus created the heavens, the earth, and everything in it.
_____ Jesus created the powers and authorities in the spiritual realms.
_____ Jesus holds all of life and all of creation together.
_____ Jesus is the head of the body called the church.
_____ Jesus is the beginning and the firstborn from the dead.
_____ Jesus is supreme over everything.
_____ All of the fullness of God dwells in Jesus.
_____ All things in heaven and earth may be reconciled to Jesus through his blood shed on the cross.

Every one of the above statements are true according to Colossians 1:15-20. Doesn’t this stretch your mind in wonderful ways? The better we get our minds around what these verses are saying, the easier it should be for us to bubble over in praise to Jesus and to God the Father.

Jesus, how we stand in awe of who you are. There is nothing in this universe that you haven’t touched, in fact you hold it all together. Thank you for coming down to earth and putting up with the indignities that the people inflicted on you during your earthly lifetime, even death on the cross, that we might be joined with you in heaven. You are so awesome. Amen.

I encourage my readers to either copy the above questions or print out the attached file and give it to the members of your Sunday school class. Then come back and leave a comment on this post to share how they scored.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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