A Journey of Thanksgiving (Scholar’s Compass)

journey photo

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;

let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Psalm 95:2 (ESV)

Reflection

A journey.

A place to leave from.

A destination you are going to.

There is preparation, and there is a time of traveling by faith with the hope to arrive safely at the destination. As students who vacillate between leaving the security of post doc work to employment, or from employment to reentering the world of academia, there is anticipation and fear mostly because we question the journey. But in all things, including uncertainty and fear, we must give thanks.

Being thankful is a primary premise throughout the Bible. The actual first official ceremony of “Thanksgiving” is listed in Leviticus 7:11-12 (ESV).

11 And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings that one may offer to the Lord. 12 If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thanksgiving sacrifice unleavened loaves mixed with oil, unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and loaves of fine flour well mixed with oil.

God gave specific instructions on how to show gratitude because gratitude is a sacrificial door that opens to peace in our hearts. Giving thanks is the formula to peace because when we are thankful we are expressing our trust in Him.

How does this journey begin? In our world as scholars, it may begin with the application to school, or a grant, or an interview. But with God, the journey begins with trust, trust and the willingness to know God. By the time I received my Ph.D. I was married and with my first child. I could see what was ahead of me as wife, mother, and scholar and my success in all three. But I also knew that the journey, and my success in that journey, was simply dependent upon my trust in God—the one who had ordered my steps in the first place. The decision to give thanks should be innate; however, it is our choice to do so.

In Psalm 95:2, David offers the invitation, “Come.” We can choose to come and to give thanks in worship and in prayer. In choosing, we must decide to surrender our time and turn off our cell phones, pagers, computers, and iPods to focus on giving thanks to our Lord for all He is and for all He has done.

A thankful life is a prayerful life, but a prayerful life is a dangerous life. As we move forward in our journey, we move into a new territory called hearing the voice of God. We have to not be afraid to be in silence for it is in this silence that we begin to hear how God just wants to love us.

Let’s thank God that through Jesus Christ we have been set free. A heart full of thanksgiving improves our mental health. The joy of living comes from such a heart. We can be free from sin, guilt, and worry. We are at peace with God. We have hope that does not fail.

Giving thanks every day is our final destination! In our next entry, we will discover how thankfulness leads to a life of expecting the unexpected.

Questions

  • What are you thankful for in your journey of life?
  • How has being thankful transformed your mind, body, soul and spirit?

Prayer

Lord, as we journey in thanksgiving, help us to grow in trust for You. Help that trust to produce peace and love and all the gifts of Your Spirit in our lives. Thank You for being completely and utterly trustworthy. Thank You for loving us beyond what we can fathom. Amen.


Photo courtesy of JayMantri at Pixabay.

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Alice Brown-Collins

Alice R. Brown-Collins, Ph.D., is an ordained Minister and licensed Evangelist. Presently, she is the Associate Regional Director of Graduate and Faculty Ministries (GFM), Northeast and the area director for Black Scholars and Professionals (BSAP), InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. In the past she has been director for Black Campus Ministry, InterVarsity, New England, undergraduates. In addition, she is co-pastor at New Hope Christian Ministries, Framingham, MA, with her husband, Rev. Boris Collins. In the past, she has been interim protestant chaplain at Brandeis University as well as a member of the missions board; coordinator of the prayer warriors; coordinator of women’s ministries; and a teacher for the discipleship class of the Sunday School. Dr. Brown-Collins has a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is a social psychologist and has held positions as assistant professor at Brown University (Black Studies) and Wellesley College (Africana Studies), as well as adjunct professor at Brandeis University. A lecturer, teacher, and preacher, she has conducted numerous seminars and workshops on families, married couples, missions, discipleship, college ministries, prayer, multiethnicity, race relations, and women as well as participated in the Veritas Forum at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In addition, she has missions experience in Ghana; Guyana, South America; Kenya; and Australia. She has participated in the urban missions project, Springfield, MA, 2013. Rev. Dr. ABC loves the Lord! She is the spouse of Rev. Boris E. Collins and they have two children; Jamal, 35 years old and Kateri, 26 years old, a daughter-in-law, Marisha, and, a bundle of joy, grandson, Shamar.

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