Shalom and Thanksgiving

Shalom is about wholeness, when all the broken pieces are joined back together. Peace in this life is about having hope even when things aren’t what they ought to be right now. God promises His people peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7) in spite of their circumstances. But, how do we experience that type of peace or shalom?
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The opposite of shalom is brokenness, when the pieces are shattered and seem beyond repair. What do we do when we want to experience God’s peace but feel so broken?
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I believe the answer to that question is found in Philippians 4:6. “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (ESV) So, to experience peace we need to be anxious about nothing and bring our issues to God. But, not only are we to bring our anxieties and problems to God; we are called to do it with THANKSGIVING. Peace is the companion of thanksgiving.
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When we simultaneously offer our prayers and concerns to God and our praise and gratitude, the peace of God has a vehicle to reach our hearts. Our trust in God though our prayers and our thankfulness to Him for who He is even in the midst of hard and anxious times, open the door for the peace of God to flow. I would go as far to say that peace can not be experienced without thanksgiving.
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November is the perfect time, with the coming of the Thanksgiving holiday, to reevaluate our hearts to see where we are lacking in the areas of gratitude and thanksgiving. This is a time when we can learn to pray not only in desperation for our concerns to be addressed, but also with thanksgiving admitting that God “works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13, ESV) and knowing “that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, ESV)
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My challenge for you and for me this Thanksgiving season is to spend as much, if not more, time in prayer expressing our gratitude to God for all of his blessings as we do asking Him for things. I truly believe that if we can learn to be people of thanksgiving, we can be people of shalom this Advent season and beyond.

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