Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I had an incredible time with family. This was the first Thanksgiving Al and I celebrated as husband and wife so that made it extra special. We went to church, relaxed at home, and later in the evening joined family and friends for great food. I had been praying not to look at this Thanksgiving as just a "normal" Thanksgiving, but to look at this day in a different way -- I wanted to go deeper in my gratitude and thanks unto the Lord. I wanted to see beyond the turkey, dressing and the food, I wanted to be able to see God this Thanksgiving and truly have a heart for Him.
God first began to respond to my prayer request the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Al, my mother and I lead a weekly noontime Bible study at a local homeless shelter in St. Louis.
Each week, different men and women come in to "break bread" and hear the bible lesson.
It's a great time to talk and get to know each other through the word of God. Many of these men and women live in vacant homes or sleep in overnight shelters and stop in for our weekly Bible study sessions on their way to get lunch or to check their mail at the drop-in center. Despite their circumstances, many of the Bible study attendees are faithful on fire for the Lord.
Instead of a regular lesson plan this week, Al led the discussion and we simply listed eight things we were grateful for. This was our way to reflect on the goodness of God and give Him thanks. As we wrote our list of gratitude we all commented that we could have used pages and pages to write down all the great things God has done in our lives. Can you imagine that? Men and women who were homeless, disconnected from their families, sleeping in vacant homes, unemployed and living in the streets commented on how they needed pages to detail the good things taking place in their lives through God's grace?
We then each went around the room and shared our list and afterward gave God praise.
There was no piano, organ or drum, in fact, the room was actually cold in temperature, but with the tears, laughter, and heads nodding in agreement of God's goodness, the atmosphere was warm, bright and full of love.
God was laying the groundwork in me for developing a heart of pure, gratitude unto Him this Thanksgiving.
He continued with the Inspired Overflow Radio Show, I asked Al to serve as my guest and we devoted the entire broadcast to share what we were grateful for. I shared how grateful I was that God had given me a husband to do God's work with, God has truly answered my prayers in this area and I am so grateful. My mom later called into the show to share how she is giving thanks unto God.
Then God moved further on a prayer line Thanksgiving morning.
My sister in Christ, Sharmee began to pray about having a heart of Thanksgiving for the blood of Jesus Christ -- and then everything clicked! This is what God had desired for me to see, and grab ahold of: the blood of Jesus! For so long I have been grateful to God for the things -- the house, car, job, friends, family (all wonderful things to be grateful for by the way) but this year, I wanted to go deeper, I wanted to go beyond the tradition of Thanksgiving and really, connect with the Lord....and God made it so clear by reminding me to give thanks for the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross.
I almost want to say "Duh!" about the importance of this revelation once it hit me, but, instead, I now will just nod my head at God and thank Him for reminding me that this is truly something as a believer to be grateful for. As Sharmee prayed on the prayer line, I thought about the blood of Jesus and how His blood shed for me on Calvary has made a complete difference in my life.
Because of the blood of Jesus I and we have been:
* Healed from every emotional, mental and physical pain
* Saved from eternal death and have eternal life with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
* Delivered from the hands of the enemy. Satan thought He had you and me bound forever, but the blood of Jesus required Satan to lose his grip and set us free.
* Washed and cleansed. Our sins have been forgiven and when God sees us, He sees us white as snow
* Restoration. The blood of Jesus has restored me and you. Hallelujah! Where we once were broken, confused, scattered mentally, physically and emotionally; the blood of Jesus has made us whole.
Whew! Thinking about the blood of Jesus you can't help but to give thanks. Below are scriptures that talk in essence about the power of the blood of Jesus. While reading, give thanks to God for the blood of Jesus!
The Power of the Blood:
It allows us to Approach God Confidently. Hebrews 10:19 - "Therefore, brothers, since we have the confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus."
Brings us Close to Jesus. Ephesians 2:13 - "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far way have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Redeems us from Sin. Ephesians 1:7 "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace."
Cleanses our Thoughts. Hebrews 9:14 "How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death so that we may serve the living God!"
Cleans Us Up. Hebrews 13:12. "And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood."
The Blood of Jesus Defeats the Devil. Revelation 12:11a "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony."
After reading aren't you grateful for the blood of Jesus? I pray you will continue to give God thanks for all the wonderful things He has done and is doing in your life, never forgetting the blood shed by Jesus that makes everything possible.
Kacie Starr Long is an author, talk show host and the proud wife of Alfred T. Long Sr. When not writing, Kacie enjoys sewing. She is the founder of Sew Hope, a sewing school for previously incarcerated men and women. Connect with Kacie at www.InspiredOverflow.com and via her YouTube page for more inspiration and encouragement.