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THANKFUL FOR THE LEFTOVERS


Every Thanksgiving, people overcook and overeat; it seems as if it is the American tradition to do so and complain later about the weight gain, the fatigue, and the "oh what are we going to do with all this leftover food." I am choosing to be thankful for the leftovers this year and to change this tradition of man by grabbing the unhealthy thought patterns and holding them captive to God's word.


Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things [are] noble, whatever things [are] just, whatever things [are] pure, whatever things [are] lovely, whatever things [are] of good report, if [there is] any virtue and if [there is] anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. - Phl 4:8 NKJV


What a thought! Think about noble things, which mean things that are acceptable to God. These things are holy, honest, honorable, modest, friendly, and well-spoken of and this is the meaning of Paul's words in his letter to the Philippians as they were translated into English.


It is not always easy to think about good things or delight in the Lord during the holidays as we celebrate manmade traditions. There's a saying that states that you can never have enough of the good things, but I would say it depends on what you consider good.


I admit that my thoughts around the holidays have not been the best thoughts for several years, and I know when I enter October, my feelings will try to overrun God's word. I choose the battle when I choose to enjoy the leftovers instead of grumbling about them.


For almost a decade, my husband was in law enforcement, and he never had a Thanksgiving or Christmas day off in that entire time. Our traditions changed during that time. Because of his career and the choices others in our family made, the family gatherings were altered. I cannot say I handled it with the character of God, nor did the fruit of the Holy Spirit overrule my emotions in those early years all the time. Praise God I have been healed in many areas, and I continue to seek Jesus for His loving touch on the tender places of my heart that still need some help.


When my husband chose to give up his career in law enforcement to pastor full-time, we had an opening in our schedule, and the holidays were now free to be celebrated on the days they fell on, or so we thought. It turns out that didn't happen and may never happen again as others have developed their traditions around such days, and we get what is available. I can either wallow in self-pity and rejection or take the leftovers and enjoy every moment of them with those I am with. This behavior is called a renewed mindset and a choice to think as the Apostle recommended in his letter.


I remember in our early years of marriage our families were very different in how and when they gathered to celebrate special days. My family had tradition and my husbands did not. It takes energy and commitment to keep family together and when there are deep wounds and later scars, it may not be possible to continue in the “what once was” mindset. We must be flexible and that is also not always easy. Along the way, I have learned to simply submit to love, kindness, humility, and other characteristics of Jesus even if inside I am still struggling – I make the healthy choice.


A choice is an act, a right, a power, and an opportunity to do the right thing in challenging moments. God gave us power in the freedom to choose, and if we allow Him to direct our thoughts towards friendly, good, pure, and holy things, we will find peace in the right decision.


If you are like me, you probably have experienced some brokenness in your family and have struggled to find a healthy response. Today is a good day to remember to be thankful in all things, giving thanks for the hard stuff because they are forming your character, and being grateful in the easy things because you enter the Lord's rest in those seasons.


Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. - Mat 18:18 KJV


Whatsoever we think, we can bind as well. Whatever comes our way can be handled in the grace of God. If a thought is being perpetrated against us by the demonic realm, then we take our God-given authority over such things. Binding the things of hell and loosing the thoughts of Heaven is our assignment and the place we have victory. It is not easy, but we can know that when we do such things we are engaging with God's will and Heaven is fighting for us.


1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. - Rom 12:1-2 NKJV


Transformation begins with our thoughts. As we think, we become. We speak our thoughts, and then we act them out. Imagine thinking about good things and how to handle life's difficulties without the manifestation of the old man or woman. Peace would rule your heart if you could choose the things of God over the fleshly pain of the past or current situation. God is good all the time; despite us, He never varies. Let us practice the same.

 

Let's pray,

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word that is so powerful it can cut through my soul and spirit and help me see things according to Your heart. Thank You for the hard things that You have taken me through, and thank You for the easy stuff that allows me to rest and partake in Your presence. Help me this day as I choose thankfulness, purity, holiness, and make a good report instead of a grumbling one. I love You in Jesus' name. Amen




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