Thanksgiving: Dwell on These Things

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I can’t believe Thanksgiving is almost here! It’s crazy to think that I only have three more days of school until I get a four-day weekend. I’m so looking forward to it (I hope to do lots of reading and writing, and definitely a lot of nothing XD).

My pastor this morning gave a challenge for the church to take a few minutes each day this week to just meditate on a couple verses. He didn’t give a specific passage, but just encouraged the church to think through whatever it is we choose. The first chapter that came to my mind was Philippians 4 because Philippians is one of my absolute favorite books of the Bible, and chapter 4 is where my favorite verse is–Philippians 4:13. But I also like that chapter because of verse 8; I memorized it as a young child as the Missionette’s Code (I grew up in an Assembly of God church and was in the Missionette program for a number of years).

Philippians 4:8 in the HCSB version says this–“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise–dwell on these things.”

These things are what we should be focusing on and filling our minds with. There’s lots of things going on in our lives as we approach Thanksgiving, and especially as we get closer to Christmas. But we have to stop and “dwell on these things.” Maybe especially amid the chaos of the holiday season, we have to take every thought captive to obey Christ and allow Him to renew our minds. We have to “sow” good thoughts so that we may “reap” and display the fruits of the Spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Earlier in this passage (verses 4-7), Paul writes: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Paul tells the Philippians to rejoice always–twice! No matter your circumstances this Thanksgiving, you can make it your goal to rejoice in all things. We don’t have to dwell on the bad and the discouraging, but instead we can look to the Lord and see His goodness. If you are a redeemed child of God, then you have plenty to rejoice about!

So many things this time of year can stress us out or cause us to worry, but Paul says to not worry about anything. Worrying doesn’t add any time to our lives; it doesn’t add a cubit to our stature. Worrying doesn’t do anything good for us! Instead, we can take our troubles to God and let Him give us His peace. We are not in ultimate control of lives, and it’s when we realize that and let go of our circumstances that we have peace and security. As my pastor said during a sermon a couple weeks ago: “Security does not come from being safe. Security does not come from being in control. Security comes from the promise and presence of God.” This Thanksgiving, we can let go and let God be God no matter what is happening in our lives. We can have the peace that passes all understanding.

This Thanksgiving, let’s remember the goodness of our God and all that He’s done for us. Let’s take our worries and concerns to the foot of the cross, cast our cares on Him, and leave them there. Let’s abide in Him this week and live as thankful, joyful children of God. We can have His peace, rest, and security no matter what happens this holiday season.

I kind of like how the Message translation puts this particular passage: “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

Let’s dwell on the good in our lives, Church, and let God handle the rest. May God bless you as you seek Him this week ❤