The Joy of Thanksgiving

The Lord has shown me over the last couple of months that THANKSGIVING CONQUERS DISAPPOINTMENT.  While waiting on certain things to come to pass, as I have thanked God in advance for them, old feelings of disappointment or discouragement have just not been able to stick, and I have found myself experiencing more and more joy from the Father’s heart.  Whenever disappointed, I have learned to say, “Thank You Jesus.  You knew this would happen, and You have so much redemption coming for me because of this.  I believe and love and trust You.  Thank You.”

 

Every time I have thanked Him for what He’s doing in spite of what I’m feeling, His joy has come.  I have learned that you can’t be depressed when you are thanking God because true thanksgiving leads to joy, and the JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH (Nehemiah 8:10).  When you realize how much He loves you and is for you personally, you will want to thank Him, and thanking and praising Him will make you strong.  If you want to get on the plane of joy and get closer to where God is actually wanting to take you, thanksgiving is the ticket!

 

“Be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.” – Nehemiah 8:10

“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love.  If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.  I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” – John 15:9-11

 

When you know how much God loves you and thank Him for it, you will experience joy that enables you to accept the season you’re in, and faith will rise up in your heart that He will bring all that He has promised to pass.  It is not your job to make things happen.  If you know you’re being obedient to His calling on your life every step of the way, even if you can’t see how you are going to get where He has said, you can know that He will move heaven and earth to get you there in His timing.  He is simply making you one with Him in the process…and that includes increasing you in His joy!

Thanking God in advance for the things He has said He will do will give you joy, because there is no question that He will do it.  The Bible says that the grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of God stands forever (1 Peter 1:24-25).  You can therefore know that every single thing He has spoken over your life, including every dream He has placed in your heart, He intends to fulfill according to His Word.

 

“So is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:11

 

The fact that He will be faithful to His Word means you can be thankful and joyful every single day, even if you don’t see His promises coming to pass yet…because they are coming.  Simply start thanking and praising Him for the fact that He is going to redeem every single disappointment and discouragement in your future, and EXPECT it.

 

“For we know that all things work together for the good of those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

 

God says that when we seek Him first, He will give us what we need, and He also says that He will give us the desires of our heart as we delight ourselves in Him (Matthew 6:33; Psalm 37:4).  That means that our needs and desires are fully taken care of when we put Him first.  We don’t have to worry about making things happen, other than being obedient to His will.  All that’s left for us to do is to DELIGHT ourselves in the Lord (thank and praise Him) with joy and hope!  The Amplified Bible describes hope as joyful and confident expectation, so if hope is the ability to trust so much in the promises of God that we can have a joyful and confident expectation of them before even seeing them, that means that joy is not just found in a promise fulfilled, but throughout the process of fulfillment!

 

Joy isn’t only found in an earthly promise fulfilled.  Joy is able to be found throughout the entire process of fulfillment because joy doesn’t just come from what we’re hoping for; it comes from Jesus!

 

If the moment dreams were fulfilled was the only time we could relax and feel at peace and fully satisfied, then every other season would have no meaning!  You can be absolutely, totally, 100%, completely at peace and rest, and satisfied right NOW before even a hint of fulfillment of anything you’re asking God for because joy is found in Jesus’ Presence, and Joy is truly Him!  He embodies it and He is Emmanuel, God with us and in us forever and always!

 

“In Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11

“He (HIS JOY) inhabits the praises of His people.” – Psalm 22:3 (parentheses mine)

 

Joy doesn’t just come from material things, relationships, or dreams fulfilled – although He desires those things for us.  It has always, only, ever come from Him.  Whether you thank Him because you see that your life is good, or you thank Him because you know that He is good, you will begin to experience the joy that comes with your thanksgiving.

 

“Go your way…with joy…and a cheerful heart [if you are righteous, wise, and in the hands of God], for God has already accepted your works.  Let your garments be always white [with purity], and let your head not lack [the] oil [of gladness].” – Ecclesiastes 9:7-8

 

I believe greatly that God wants us to experience His joy.  He does not want us to get caught in a cycle of discouragement just because things aren’t happening yet that He has PROMISED us.  If God has promised it, why should we be discouraged?  Instead, as we thank Him in advance for the fulfillment He has promised, we will experience His joy.  No matter how close we are, we can have a confident and joyful expectation of where we’re going – the land of milk and honey, strength and sweetness, and the land of promises fulfilled.  We don’t have to wait until we’re there to experience His joy!

 

Stay thankful, and you always will be joyful.

 

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:13-14

“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – Psalm 23:6

Blog Pic: Flying into Honduras for my first overseas mission trip (a specific promise God gave me nine years ago and fulfilled this summer!)

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