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Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy: Gratitude is timeless for Christians
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Larry Sheehy - photo by Special

    Thanksgiving is more than a single day — it is an attitude about everything in life. Life is made up of past, present and future. The perspective we have on each helps determine our happiness and effectiveness. So, Christians can be grateful for ...
    The past. We can be thankful for those who’ve gone before, as well as past experiences, in every area of life. We can’t fully understand today unless we know something of yesterday. It’s vital to maintain a sense of balance about the past.
    The present. Some live on their memories — the “good ol’ days”; others are impatient for the future. Both are neglecting the present. Here is a scriptural principle: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psa. 118:24). Your joy today isn’t dependent on your circumstances, but on the knowledge of God’s love for us. The apostle Paul wrote, “... I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).
    The future. The shepherd David’s view of the future, expressed so beautifully in the familiar Psalm 23, is typical of those dependent on the Lord. To the world, this is unrealistic and superstitious. But Jesus gives hope the world can’t fathom. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” As instructed by God, Aaron the high priest blessed the people of Israel: “... the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Num. 6:26, NIV).
    Our view of the future depends on our relationship with God. Paul wrote, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). John encouraged his readers by saying, “... abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28).
    The Christian is instructed throughout scripture to joyfully give thanks to the Lord for everything: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
    So, whether past, present or future, we can live faithfully, gratefully and joyfully because we are blessed by God in Christ.