“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God
a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess his name.”
Heb. 13:15 NIV
Thanksgiving! Oh, how we love our Thanksgiving feast. To fill our mouths with all yummy things. And fill our bellies full of goodness and delight.
But what if circumstances offer us no festive fare to fill our stomachs? What fills our mouths? Grumbling and complaining?
Oh, to have our spiritual bellies filled with goodness and delight that they overflow in praise and thanksgiving! Jesus said, “Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech.” (Luke 6:45b TLB)
So, what kind of speech slides off the tip of our tongues? The Bible says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” (Prov. 18:21 Msg)
Words kill, and we can even destroy ourselves with our own death-filled words. If you’ve never heard of or read the books written by Dr. Caroline Leaf (who is “a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology specializing in Neuropsychology,” or a brain specialist for short), you have missed some fascinating studies and facts. She has shown how words and thoughts negatively affect not only our minds but also our bodies.
When negativity fills our hearts and minds, we spew it out. Our negative thoughts and words can actually make us sick. Dr. Leaf says toxic thoughts “are real physical things that parasitically invade our minds, destroying everything in their path – spirit, soul and body – if they are not stopped.”
She says a “Change in your thinking is essential to detox the brain.” But the only way to do that is to replace the negative with the positive.
Therefore, as Scripture says, our words can also give Life. The Word of God gives Life. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We need thanksgiving therapy. We need to push out “foolish talk” with thanks, as Paul exhorted the Ephesian church, “neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” (Eph. 5:4 NKJV)
Are we feasting on God’s Word to fill our minds and spiritual bellies with His presence, with His Life? So that they overflow in mouthfuls of thanksgiving?
Thankfulness is not a denial of reality with its profusion of problems, its surplus of circumstances. Thankfulness focuses on the Lord, His blessings, and His working power in the midst of trials and tribulations.
Being in the midst of adversity or heartache, when your spiritual belly is empty, can be devastating and makes it difficult to praise and thank the Lord. That’s when it is a “sacrifice of praise.” We still praise Him, no matter what, as David did when in distress, “For I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God.” (Psalm 42:5 AMP)
Gratitude and thankfulness spring from a heart of love, not from a horde of circumstances. We give thanks to the Lord regardless of situations or feelings. We love on Him with our words of praise and thanksgiving;
God created us to glorify Him. Therefore, “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18 NKJV), “giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20 NKJV)
Gratitude is a choice, a choice that results in thanksgiving.
May your mouth be full of thanksgiving, and not just turkey!
May you and your families have a very blessed Thanksgiving!