Giving Thanks Is a Choice

I love a decisive verb, and when it appears in the setting of a solid, declarative sentence?   Well, so much the better.

When autumn rolls around my mind returns to the pronouncements in Isaiah 12, because I studied and memorized it in the season of bright leaves and stiff breezes.  The prophet’s bracing words stood up to the fading light here on the far edge of the Eastern Time Zone, and the chapter  begins with a pronouncement of the future words of God’s people:

You  will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
    for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
    that you might comfort me. 

“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust,  and will not be afraid;
For the LORD God is my strength and my song,
And He has become my salvation.”       Isaiah 12:1,2
 

By making the choice to praise God in my present circumstances, I participate in the fulfillment of biblical prophecy! Furthermore, if I need prompting, Isaiah provides plenty of basis for my gratitude:

  • In Christ, God’s wrath over my sin has been turned away;
  • I am given comfort and a basis for trust rather than fear;
  • I find that the LORD God Himself is “my strength and song.”  A search on Bible Gateway.com yielded four other occurrences of that melodious pairing, bringing to mind the song that Moses sang with the people of Israel when they were delivered from the Egyptians after the Red Sea crossing.

For the past four years, I have been trusting for grace everyday to write down three reasons for thanksgiving.  Before Thanksgiving Day, I expect that I will have recorded my five thousandth gift, but there are days when I need to dig into the promises of Scripture in order to put my pen on the line and write down a positive thought.  When I make the choice to be purposeful in my gratitude, I am receiving a gift that is offered to me through the Gospel.

Isaiah wrote about a salvation he did not yet see, and I, too, write about a deliverance that is incomplete.  In a world where young friends get cancer, where red tomatoes succumb to blight before harvest, and where my own harsh words cut the people I love, I pray for the coming of a kingdom where God’s will is done — perfectly.

In the meantime, by giving thanks today, I bring the bookends of already and not-yet just a little bit closer together in my world.  So when I read and struggle to memorize Isaiah’s words — getting the “in that day” in the right place and using the right conjunctions — part of my song is always a prayer:

“Oh, Lord, let today be THAT DAY in which I give thanks to you.
Yes — on earth as it is in heaven.
Today.”


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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for over 25 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

51 thoughts on “Giving Thanks Is a Choice”

  1. Hey Michele … I’ve got Isaiah 12 printed in great big bold font, hanging right above my desk here. Slowly, very slowly, I’m working on having these beautiful words sink deep into my soul.

    But it is SLOW going!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Isaiah is one of my favorite books in the Bible and there are so many meaningful and encouraging passages found there, like the one you’ve posted for us, Michele. Thanks for sharing your insights on this passage and for encouraging us to get into God’s word. It truly ministers and brings hope when we need it most!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like your analogy of the bookends of already and not yet!
    Indeed , giving thanks is a choice and there are always things for which we can be grateful. Thanks for highlighting this passage of Scripture and helping me focus on gratitude today.

    Like

  4. 4000 gifts? That’s awesome, Michele! What a beautiful way to testify to the goodness of God. I’m so glad you’re memorizing Isaiah 12 with us and that you shared this post at Do Not Depart. So encouraging! Blessings to you, friend.

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  5. I love what Isaiah 12:1-2 has to say; making the choice to praise the LORD no matter the circumstances is hugely significant. I know this to be true. When going through a very rough patch, I praised God instead of grumbling at Him and the difference in my heart was large. And, the peace and calm I felt even when deep in sorrow was huge too…the sorrow wasn’t burying me even though it easily could have.

    I love that everyday you have been writing down three reasons for you to be grateful. This is a tremendous gift you are giving yourself. I need to start this back up again; there is so much value in this habit.

    Thank you for sharing. It’s been insightful and motivational. Beautiful.

    Like

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m sorry that you have walked through such a hard season, but thankful with you that you are able to look back and see the hand of God in it all. Blessings as you begin recording gifts again on a daily basis!

      Like

  6. Giving thanks is very important for us. I love the daily discipline you have for it. During my prayer time, I have a time for thanksgiving right after my praise time. Very special. I’m reading in II Chronicles right now and have been so impacted by the kings who did what was right in the sight of the LOrd and those who did evil. His Word speaks to us so awesomely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts from your reading. It’s good that you can find food in II Chronicles! That line up of kings and their descendants can be pretty discouraging with its downward spiral. It’s good to be encouraged by your reading!

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  7. “In the meantime, by giving thanks today, I bring the bookends of already and not-yet just a little bit closer together in my world.” An apt word fitly spoken!! Thanks for the reminder Michele. I think what thanksgiving does is that it puts us on the same page as God who sees what is not yet as though it were already. When we thank Him without seeing we exercise the faith that so pleases Him.

    I too am working through this passage, slowly. And I’ve been ruminating long about this passage…what does it look like to draw water from the wells of salvation… How do we know we are doing just that? Joy. Thanksgiving. Recognition of how exalted and praiseworthy God is…these are signs of drinking at the right well. (I feel a blog post coming on ( : –Linda

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Linda, I hear a blog post in the making! Looking forward to reading it — actually, I think I’ve got one of your posts waiting for me. I had “sort of” memorized parts of Isaiah 12 in the past, but am really enjoying the process of putting it all together in my head now. I love your concept of “drinking at the right well.” I’m afraid that there are days when I’m swilling some pretty unhealthy thinking.

      Like

  8. Just this powerful testimony of counting gratitude and numbering His graces is the lift I needed today. Thank you for always being a solid and steady reminder of following His heart and sharing it openly. This is on my gratitude list today!
    Blessings,
    Dawn

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Michelle, Thanks so much for this thought-provoking post. I had never saw that verse in the way that you shed light on it.

    I agree, there can be times that it is hard to find something to be thankful for were it not for going to Scripture, but indeed, that is where we find ALL thanksgiving. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. It was a blessing to visit you today. 🙂

    Like

  10. The book of Isaiah is so powerful and each time I read it, I notice something different. We say three specific prayers with our children before bedtime and lately we were thinking of swapping one out for a new. I think Isaiah 12:2 is perfect! Thank you for sharing it! Blessings!

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  11. What a great and challenging word, Michelle!

    To choose to be thankful and to choose to be grateful. It does seem that so many verses to start with the words, “I WILL.” Maybe that is the key… willing ourselves into thankfulness mode.

    Whenever I finally get myself into that mode, it does seem that God changes my focus and my attitudes. Thanks for a great reminder to give thanks!

    Came over on Faith and Family link up.
    Hope you have a blessed weekend~
    Melanie

    Like

  12. I love your poetic line: “In the meantime, by giving thanks today, I bring the bookends of already and not-yet just a little bit closer together in my world.”

    I want each today to be the day I give thanks, too

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  13. Hi Michele, We were neighbors twice today! What a fun opportunity for me to visit you twice 🙂 This was a wonderful post. What an incredible goal you set for yourself to keep your thanksgiving fresh and your joy abundant! I love it!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

    Like

  14. Hi Michele,
    So true! I need to choose to be thankful each day, otherwise my natural inclination is to see my life through a negative lens. Thank you for this encouraging reminder. Visiting from Sunday Stillness.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Michele, what a beautiful inspiration for giving thanks: “bring the bookends of already and not-yet just a little bit closer together in my world.” I have been writing down three things I’m thankful for each day (though not nearly as long as you, Michele) and find giving thanks helps me focus on all the good in my life and keep my eyes on the Giver of all good gifts. : )

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you for reminding us that there is thankfulness for what we cannot see – gratitude for what we do not know and treasure in leaving the mystery to Him. Uniquely yours in Him, Chris~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Isaiah 12 has been my “project” for some time now — short enough to be possible, but rich in its call to praise and thanksgiving. I noticed yesterday that verse 6 is even a little push into thinking about advent . . .

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  17. Michele. A few minutes thinking about the opposite of gratefulness brings light into why it is God’s will we be “grateful” in all circumstances. Imagine meeting the “ungrateful” heart: Me: Hello! Hope you’re having a great day. – Them: Great! What so great about it. It’s going to rain today; I’m living in the same house my parents lived, and oh, by the way, I hate my job! – Me: Well, at least you have a job, a home and someone who left you something in life. – Sure! But you don’t understand. This isn’t what I wanted. I wanted more!…. No wonder they set up a day for thanksgiving, maybe that’s the only day the ungrateful find something to be grateful for….and then again maybe not. Just a thought. Soli Deo Gloria, Your Chris

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  18. God is so good. He blesses us, we give thanks, and then we still receive the greater blessing. Amazing. I can’t wrap my mind around it. This is definitely a lesson I would like to instill in my boys- I actually just wrote them a letter along these lines. Thank you for your post. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I am thankful to have stopped by from THE LOFT today. Your post is beautiful. My favorite quote, “by giving thanks today, I bring the bookends of already and not-yet just a little bit closer together in my world.” nicely said!

    Like

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