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 twenty-nine with an important reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should cause us to be thankful for the family of God.
Thankful For God’s Family
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:14-19 (NIV)
Today I am thankful for a family which derives its name and purpose from our heavenly Father. I am thankful for the family of God that I have been adopted into, but am especially thankful for the godly immediate family that I am part of. I am thankful that we continue to learn how to work together so that each part of the family benefits. I am thankful for shared interests that give each of us joy as we search out the beauty of creation to photograph. I am thankful for the power of God to help us endure the times of difficult health with the knowledge that God is with us in the midst of it.
I am thankful that I grew up in a family that did life together as it taught me much that I use even today. Yes, we worked hard growing up on a farm but we worked hard together. I also have very fond memories of the times we played together both on the farm and on family trips and vacations. No, we didn’t always get along or even recognize what we had, but we were given no option but to endure and overcome whatever difficulties we faced — and especially the ones we created.
I am thankful that I carry these lessons forward and have slowly learned over the years just how much my parents patiently endured as we did life together. I am thankful that God gives us families where we can work on learning to value each part of His family. I am thankful that my family is a reminder that we are never alone and that God will never leave or forsake us.
As you pray, ask God to help you live as a member of His family. Pray that you would find both comfort and joy in living as a member of God’s family. Pray for a greater understanding of how God would have His family to act in the way they treat one another. Pray that God would open your eyes to see, and care for, those family members who tend to be overlooked or neglected. Pray that you would learn patient endurance while you grow in God’s family, even as you recognize God’s ongoing patience with you.
I pray that you and I would continue to become the family member God created us to be — both within our physical family and within the family of God. I pray that we would know and experience the power of God as He fills us with the full measure of His Spirit.