Overflowing With Gratitude

November 20, 2021

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” (Colossians 2:6-7, NASB) I love that phrase, “overflowing with gratitude.”  What a lovely image!  As God fills up the cup of our lives with blessing after blessing, the natural result should be a life that overflows with thanksgiving.

Oh, how the Lord has blessed us!  When I think about the gifts God has graciously poured out, I think of the blessings of family.  I think of the blessings of having a warm place to live, and more than enough food to eat.  I think of the church, the spiritual family of God, in which we can find love and encouragement from one another.  And most of all, I think about what God has done for us through His Son.  I think about the forgiveness we have, the grace that He has lavished upon us, and the eternal home that He has prepared for us.  In all of this, how could we not overflow with gratitude? 

Of course, to overflow with gratitude is to overflow with feelings of thankfulness, but it is more than that.  It is also to express our thankfulness to our loving Father.  When is the last time you have approached God simply to pour out your heart in thankfulness to Him?  Heartfelt thanksgiving is a form of worship that touches God’s heart!  I encourage you to do this in your private prayers, and I encourage you in the coming week, as you gather with your family for Thanksgiving, to pause and offer thanks together for all the blessings He has given.

— Scott Colvin

Thanks in All Circumstances

November 22, 2019

This has easily been the toughest year of my life. A couple of falls on the ice last winter left me with severe back pain. During that time, my Mother died. I spent eight days in the hospital with sepsis. Although I got better, we knew that I also had a heart infection. This eventually led to open heart surgery where my aortic valve was replaced, my mitral valve repaired, and my pacemaker and wiring removed. And of course, what lay behind my infections was my low immune system due to multiple myeloma, so I’m also under treatment for cancer.

I’m glad that we face life one day at a time, one moment at time. Otherwise, this past year would have been overwhelming. Somehow, I’ve managed my way through it. I suspect that I should replace “somehow” in the previous sentence to “with lots of prayer.” I’ve recounted this past year to say that in the midst of all of this, I always found reasons to be thankful.

It is a wonderful discovery. We don’t have to have everything going right to be thankful. Maybe our thanksgiving in troubled times is just a bit sweeter because of the contrast. It may be that times of trouble also bring clarity about what is most important. I am thankful for waking up each day and having a new day to work, love, and serve.

I am thankful for my family. I had visits. Things I needed were brought to me. We had some wonderful shared meals especially meals where the food came from outside the hospital. My wife Kathy bore the burden of visits. It is exhausting having someone in the hospital. My family was there for me.

I am thankful for my church family. Again, there were many encouraging visits. I received a ton of get well cards. I had people praying for me in many different places.

I am thankful for simple things. I would be awakened early in the morning for vitals, and when I was well enough, I would just get up. I would enjoy a cup of coffee, read my Bible, and watch the encroaching rays of the rising sun on the buildings outside my window. It was peaceful and satisfying.

I am thankful for my spiritual blessings. As the hymn says, “Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling…” God has saved through the atoning death of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for God’s grace and mercy. And I have experienced God’s blessings, his providential care.

Thanksgiving is important. Thanksgiving can occur even in troubled times. I appreciate this saying: “It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.”

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 ESV)

— Russ Holden