The Treasure of Thrown Away Food
Lysa TerKeurst

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)

If there was ever a secret for unleashing God's powerful peace in a situation, it's developing a heart of true thanksgiving. My son, Jackson, knows this. I came to understand how powerfully he knows this when editing a paper he wrote recently. Jackson hasn't always lived in the safety and security of our home. For the first 13 years of his life, he lived in a forgotten orphanage in the third world country of Liberia, Africa.

Jackson's paper was about the corruption and greed that caused the civil war in his native land. He did a great job recounting the facts of the story. But the difference between Jackson and most other kids explaining a historical event, is before we adopted him - he lived in the midst of the horrific conditions of this war.

During one part of the paper, he described what it felt like to be naked digging through the trash looking for the treasure of thrown away food.

The treasure of thrown away food.

I can hardly type those words without crying. This is my son.

And yet, despite the horrific conditions of his childhood there was an unexplainable thread of peace woven through his recollection of the story. A powerful peace centered in the awareness of God's presence.

The truly thankful person is a truly peaceful person. They have made a habit no matter what to notice, pause and choose.

Noticing something for which to be thankful no matter what circumstance they're in.

Pausing to acknowledge this something as a reminder of God's presence.

Choosing to focus on God's presence until His powerful peace is unleashed.

I doubt any of us will find our treasure in thrown away food today. But will we be a noticer, a pauser, a chooser - a person of thanksgiving no matter what circumstance we're facing? I find this truth about the power of thanksgiving over and over in Scripture. What was the prayer Daniel prayed right before being thrown in the lion's den and witnessing God miraculously shutting the lion's mouths? Thanksgiving.

After three days in the belly of a fish, what was the cry of Jonah's heart right before he was finally delivered onto dry land? Thanksgiving.

How are we instructed to pray in Philippians 4:6 when we feel anxious? With thanksgiving.

And what is the outcome of each of these situations where thanksgiving is proclaimed? Peace.

Powerful, unexplainable, uncontainable peace.

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus," (Philippians 4:7, NIV).

One of Webster's official definitions of thanksgiving is: "a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness."

I wonder how we might celebrate God's divine goodness today?

I wonder what might happen if we decide in the midst of our circumstances today to notice, pause, and choose something for which we can truly be thankful….

Dear Lord, will You help me to notice things for which I can be thankful in each circumstance I face today? Will You help me remember to pause and acknowledge this as evidence of Your presence? And will You help me to remember to choose to focus on Your presence until Your powerful peace rushes into my heart and helps me see everything more clearly? Thank You for the reality that being thankful truly changes everything. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
We are writing a thankful journal on my blog today. You can get there by clicking here. Be sure to visit and write down some things for which you are thankful and it will automatically enter you to win a signed copy of my latest book, Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl.

I’m speaking in over 40 cities this year and would love to meet you! To check for a city near you, click here.

Get a copy of my latest book, "Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl" by clicking here.

The accompanying DVD teaching series can be found by clicking here. It contains 6 sessions lasting 15-20 minutes each on one DVD for only $24.99! Perfect for your Bible study group or as a neighborhood Book Club. The Bible Study workbook can be found by clicking here.

Application Steps:
Start a thankful journal where you daily list five things each day for which you are thankful. Do this for the next 30 days and see how much more peaceful your mindset about life becomes.

What makes you grumpy and steals your propensity to be thankful?

Think of someone in your sphere of influence who is really thankful. Despite the circumstances they face, are they more peaceful? How does this inspire you?

Power Verses:
1 Chronicles 16:34, "Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." (NKJ)

1 Chronicles 23: 30, "They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening." (NIV)

© 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Lysa!! I will definitely start the "thankful" diary.. God bless you and your family!

Blogger Emily Kane said...

I am so thankful for the peace that passes all understanding. The "uncontainable" peace of God. I am thankful for the worry and stress that God's peace takes out of my heart and mind. This is a new skill as I was raised to b a worrier - I often laugh at myself when I find myself thinking "I should b worried about 'x' " but then allowing my thoughts to go to God's peace at which point I am quickly reminded as to why I am not worried about "x" God's peace has become the best day spa I know of!!! Today I am thankul for my children and how God has used their birth and the events leading up to it to bring me closer to him. I am thankful fir my husband who provides for us financially so I can stay home and keep the home fires burning.

Blogger The Good Tale said...

It is written: A woman shall compass a man and create a new thing in the earth (Jer 31:22), the man is Satan(Isa 14:16), the new thing is turning the hearts of the fathers to the children. Satan has deceived the whole world (Rev 12:7), until the heel of time(Gen 3:15). See the website that is bruising Satan at

Blogger Laurie Wallin said...

Such a precious reminder! I have four amazing daughters, and two are adopted from foster care and have bipolar, sensory issues and behavior problems. I actually am one of those people who is thankful for "the treasure of thrown-away food" in my own way. My friends always laugh at me when I say things like, "Well, I'm just grateful it was her bedroom door she broke (in a rage) instead of our front door!" Life with mental illness definitely changes one's perspective! And your post reminds me to ever look for the good, the treasure in the moment!



Anonymous Carlette said...


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