18 June 2001

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday it is good that we give thanks to God for our many blessings. In the days of the Old Testament, lovers and worshipers of God gave thanks by offering up the firstfruits of their crops to Him that blessed their harvest. Today, let us offer up the "fruit" of our lips as we pause to thank the Lord for the bounty of another day. "Giving thanks" is a mental attitude. By the writings of the apostles we are encouraged to catch it and keep it by practicing it. Our holiday suggests it to a nation. Not only does giving thanks render praise unto the giver of every good and perfect gift, it is healthy to the soul. "Giving thanks" focuses our minds on the positive areas of our lives and keeps us from dwelling on the negative. In the days of the apostles, the warrior prepared himself for battle by putting on strap, a girdle, that helped to hold their posture as they wielded the sword in battle. By giving thanks, we do much the same as we put the girdle of thanksgiving on our mind: "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ"- 1 Peter 1:13. It is so easy to continually think negative thoughts, things that have not gone right, mistakes we have made, past memories that may haunt our souls, people who have injured us and forget any good thing or person that is around us. This can begin a downward spiral into a pit of depression that we can not enjoy the blessings we DO have. Giving thanks molds our minds into thinking good thoughts and genuinely becomes a blessing of praise and peace: a girdle for our mind. I am sure that many of God's children have hit the bottom of the pit because they have lost hope and forgotten their blessings by focusing their attention on their losses and failures. Some of God's children have gotten so low that they have taken their own lives in a hopeless moment. Let us not allow Satan to cloud out the good in our lives, blessings that we may have overlooked. Let us search every nook and corner of the people and things around us and find something to be thankful for and think on that. I remember the story of a mother who continually encouraged her daughter to look on the positive. Coming from a poor family she told her daughter, "If you dwell on the negative it will destroy you." The daughter loved her humble mother greatly and heeded her advice. The older she got, the more she realized the value of her mother's advice and the more she came to know her mother and the reason of her advice. Her mother had lived a life of abuse, neglect and other things that we will not mention in this article. Yet, by focusing on God and the blessings she did have, she became a loving, caring gentle mother of a wonderful family. The mother did not speak harshly of her past because she did not dwell on it. The daughter discovered it from others. Yes, the past could have destroyed her. She could have passed it down to the next generation by a continual life of complaint. She overcame it by giving thanks and thinking good thoughts. My friends, this is not psychology, it is genuine Christianity as we remember the source of our blessings "giving thanks": "By him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name"-Hebrews 13:15. Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, at Donaldson. Services begin at 10:30 each Sunday morning. By His mercy and grace,Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor