Thanksgiving. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read or hear that word? Is it a day, a family meal, or perhaps a specific menu of foods? Is it an attitude that comes and goes based on how you feel? Or is it a way of life which flows from you regardless of your circumstances? These devotions I will be sharing this month were originally written throughout November 2019 and then edited/updated during the summer of 2020 for a 31 day devotional journal, “The Heart of Thanksgiving: Living a Life of Thankfulness”. I will be re-sharing them here this month to encourage each of us to pursue a greater spirit of thankfulness in all we do.
Here is day seventeen with an important reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should cause us to be thankful for the nations of the world.
Thankful For the Nations
“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!”
Psalm 47:1-2 (NIV)
Today I am thankful for a glimpse of the nations praising God. As I finish up some time at the International Conference on Missions, it has been a fun few days worshiping God together and talking with people from all around the world. I am thankful for those who have responded to God’s calling to take the good news of Jesus to the far off lands and to the nearby neighborhoods. I am thankful to be given a small part in encouraging and equipping others through the prayer ministry.
As has become a typical experience for me at these conventions, I once again had a number of the convention center workers ask if it was okay for them to take some of the prayer-based devotional books that I was giving away. I am thankful God has given me eyes that often notice the forgotten people. I often pray that God would make me even more observant so that I would see each person I encounter as a person. I am thankful that God has given me something to share that can help encourage people who want to seek after God’s heart.
While there are those ministries that seem to be highlighted every year at the conference, I am thankful for the many who faithfully do the work God has called them to while receiving little to no recognition. They do it because of God’s faithfulness to them and in obedience to His calling. I am thankful for young people I talked with who want to live with an awareness of God’s presence in whatever career path they may follow. I am thankful for the great diversity in God’s gifting to people so that His light and love can be spread into the diverse areas of darkness in this world.
How diverse is the group of people you spend the most time with? Are there people in your daily life which seem to be invisible to most of the world? Why? Are there people that you see, but don’t really see? What does it take for you to feel included in a group? Do you do those things to help people different from you feel included in the groups you are part of? Why?
As you pray, ask God to help you be thankful for the peoples of the world. Pray that you would be deliberate in accepting and interacting with people who are different from you. Pray that those who look, sound, and act differently would know of your thankfulness for them.
I pray that you and I would daily realize we are not alone when we praise and worship God. I pray that we would live with open eyes and obedient minds as we walk faithfully with our Lord.