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God has an amazing way of changing our plans and pointing us in the direction He wants us to go — if we are willing and open to Him.  Even though it is Thanksgiving weekend, I hadn’t planned on writing a post about gratitude and thanksgiving – I was actually planning to talk about a Christmas song as we are heading into that season.  But my plans aren’t always God’s plans and He had another idea…….

I was listening to my church service this morning and the topic was on gratitude toward God and thanking Him for his blessings – for the good blessings and the darker things in our lives.  I was cruising along with the service, nodding at each point, confident I had been thanking God for these areas in my life – in fact, I had thanked God in my prayers last night for these very things – family, faith, friends, daily provision (new job), health and healing, my salvation, and His strength to get through the hard times.  This was the good blessing section of the sermon.

Then the pastor moved on to thanking Him for the darker things — “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”  Ephesians 5:20  and that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  I felt like I was still on track – I mean I had thanked Him for my challenges over the summer after I was laid off and my job was eliminated because I knew He had a greater purpose for me and He would “give me a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).  I knew God was growing my faith and a new depth in my relationship with Him during the challenging time.  So check.

But then whammy!  The pastor started talking about a verse we normally consider during the Lord’s Supper (and typically more around Easter).

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As the pastor talked about this verse and Jesus’ suffering, God broke me right there.  The Holy Spirit touched my soul and I just wept.  When Jesus was talking to His disciples during the Lord’s Supper, He knew the depth of the suffering He was going to be facing and He knew He was going to make that sacrifice to pay the debt of sin that we all carry.  I know this — I have known this for all of my life — but today, with the touch of the Holy Spirit, it took on a fresh significance.

Remember the 3 hours of total darkness that descended when Jesus hung on the cross?   Jesus was in hell — he was separated from His Father and suffering the torments of the damned for us — for me.  He suffered an eternity in hell for our sins — for my sin.  I am so humbled and so grateful that Jesus would do that for me.  I am about to start weeping again as I write this.

There have been many times in my life where I have felt unworthy, unattractive, and even unloved — but Jesus, My Savior, loved me so much that he suffered and died so that I could join God’s family and be with Him for eternity.  “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be  holy and without fault in His eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ”  Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT.  

As I was thanking God with tears flowing down my face because of what He gave to me, I thought about a song that I used to sing as part of the worship group.  We don’t sing this song much anymore in the churches I have attended or visited but it sums up what I was feeling and how my heart was overflowing with gratitude.   I hope you can sing along and praise the Lord God for His many blessings.

I wasn’t planning to write a post about thanksgiving — but how could I not write about my thankfulness for Jesus’ sacrifice?  How could I not overflow with gratitude that the God of the universe so loved the world (me) that He gave His one and only Son so that I would not perish but would spend eternity with Him (John 3:16)?

I did weep.  I did feel my salvation again in a fresh way.  I am so thankful for the many blessings God has provided.  My prayer is that you also know Jesus’ salvation and His provision and feel God’s loving touch on your life — in the good times and the bad.

Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart…..