Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11

Seeds of the Kingdom

Giving Thanks

by Malcolm Wood

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV

A few weeks ago, my wife and I celebrated a significant milestone in our marriage. Due to the current restrictions on normal activities, we were unable to celebrate in the way we had hoped, but nevertheless we were richly blessed by the many messages, cards and gifts we received from so many of our friends and family. What a blessing ZOOM has been in recent days!

As we thought back over the years and reflected on the experiences we had shared together, some good, some challenging, in them all we could identify something of God’s hand of mercy and grace on our lives. We were able to look back with sincere thankfulness for the past years and be grateful for the way God has led, guided, provided, and protected us, our marriage and our family.

All this made me realise how easy it is to be get on with the busyness of life, not making time to stop and reflect on the past and give thanks to God. Memories can be painful, but what God has allowed us to experience and how He has helped us handle it, have made us who we are today. Let’s move on and allow God to use our present circumstances to continue making us into the person He wants us to become.

One of my favourite hymns is ‘Lord for the Years’ by Timothy Dudley-Smith. In the first verse it expresses thankfulness for the many ways in which God’s love has touched us. God’s love has guided and inspired us. It has kept us and provided for us. The second verse expresses praise for God’s word. His word not only sets our soul ablaze, but teaches, trains, rebukes and inspires us. The hymn goes on to bring prayers for the spiritual condition of our land, our generation, and the world, including the oppressed, the helpless, the hungry and those lost without Christ. The final verse is about submitting to the power and will of Christ, that He may remake us, as we put self on the cross and Him upon the throne of our lives.

So, whatever our past has been like, we can look to Jesus and thank Him that He doesn’t change. He’s the same yesterday today and forever. He is worthy of all praise, glory and honour. We all have something to be thankful for, so let us keep our eyes on Jesus and be thankful in all circumstances. Let us maintain an ‘attitude of gratitude’. Paul’s advice to the Christians at Philippi was, ‘Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done’ (Philippians 4:6).

Perhaps you might like to pray the following prayer if it is relevant to your situation.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I am sorry for the times I have taken You for granted and not thanked You as I should. Please forgive me. Help me to be more appreciative of You and all You do for me. Help me to trust that, even when things happen to me that I don’t understand, You always have my best interests at heart. Amen.

Malcolm Wood and his wife Anna became part of the Ellel family as House Managers at Ellel Grange in 1990. Since then they have been involved with many aspects of the developing Ministry. From 2001 until 2015 they were Directors of Ellel Scotland where they hosted several International Schools and Operation Blairmore and helped pioneer the exciting Creative Inspiration Weeks. They have three sons.

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