By Dr. Billy Holland
As we prepare for Thanksgiving, we are grateful for all that God has done and aware that He has provided abundant blessings throughout the year. Even though our concept of worship is usually built around the idea of church music, we are discovering that giving thanks and expressing our adoration to God goes far beyond singing songs; it is how we live each moment. When obedience and appreciation becomes a state of mind, we will begin to abandon our thoughts and be more connected with His. Embracing this level of personal intimacy with our Creator establishes a beautiful communication exchange which evolves into a demonstration of loving Him with all of our strength and soul. It will take serious dedication to learn how to discipline our minds to concentrate on how worthy He is of our worship! “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3).
If our thoughts about Thanksgiving are only based on Pilgrims and Indians, we have missed the point entirely. Besides, it seems the stories we learned in school were not exactly accurate when describing the reality of what actually happened and confirms that praising and thanking God for all that He gives is more of a lifestyle than an annual feast. Every song that has ever been played and every book that has been written can only scratch the surface in describing God’s glorious Majesty. Brother Lawrence, whose seventeenth century work, “The Practice of the Presence of God,” details his determination to re-train his mind in order to become so discerning that he might consider everything as an opportunity to serve Christ. By allowing our thinking to be transformed, we not only have an opportunity but a responsibility to develop a higher level of spiritual maturity. We are learning that the Christian life is about establishing and maintaining a bond of holy devotion with the Lord as we allow our heart to be changed into a reflection of His image. The goal is not just about the world watching us worship Jesus; it is about them sensing God’s presence in our daily lives! People are weary of hearing about religion; they long to witness the love of heaven! It is true, the most powerful sermons are not always spoken.
Those who desire a deeper relationship with God, must choose to deliberately pursue Him! As we become more serious in our interest about Him, worshipping who He is will become as natural as breathing. We come to know Him by spending time with Him, and this is exactly what He desires from us. It is enlightening to discover that bringing our thoughts and concerns to God is not limited to traditions or rituals, but simply being honest and sincere with Him. One day when we stand before Him, the amount of our conscience we allowed Him to occupy will reveal what meant the most to us. Jesus can truly become our Lord when we decide that His will is much more important than ours. This is when we realize that knowing and loving Him is the true meaning of life. “Give unto the Lord, O ye kindred’s of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His Name: bring an offering, and come into His courts. O worship The Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him, all the earth” (Psalm 96:7-9).
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this special day, a time set aside to remember your goodness toward us. We thank you for a roof over our heads, our health, and more than enough food to eat. We appreciate the relationship we have with you and the love we share with our family and friends. We are grateful for your comforting presence that has helped us through the difficult times we’ve had this year. Thank you for our blessings and for always loving us and taking care of us. Thank you Jesus for going to the cross and providing the glorious gift of eternal salvation. We love you, amen.”
Dr. Holland lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian author, outreach minister and community chaplain. To learn more visit: billyhollandministries.com