Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise.  Give thanks to Him and praise His name. -Ps 100:4 NLT 

What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving?

Do you think of the pilgrims and that first Thanksgiving?

Maybe you think of a day where a beautiful holiday table is filled turkey and all the scrumptious fixin’s. Maybe like me, you spent hours as a child watching the Macy’s

Thanksgiving day parade marveling at all its big character balloons or  are you a  couch potato on that day watching all the football games on TV. Well, Thanksgiving is really not about all that.

How Thanksgiving Started

We all know, the primary purpose of Thanksgiving Day is to express gratitude to God for His many blessings. It was a day that was set aside by our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, in 1863. 

Here is a brief excerpt from that historic proclamation.

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.

I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. “

Unfortunately, this gets forgotten in our secular culture today.

The Bible says that in the last days people would be unthankful and the more we look around us, the more we see this spirit of unthankfulness.  (2 Tim 3:2)

You Are in Danger

What about us as Christians?

We are just as susceptible to this spirit of unthankfulness as the world is.  We as believers, need to be even more wary of this.

The enemy of our souls would like nothing more than to cause us to fall into the world’s traps.

One of the most unpleasant things to see is an unthankful Christian.

If you think about it, there are many reasons to thank God.

Most importantly is the fact that God deserves our gratitude… He created us in His image.

Really?

WOW!

Take a selah moment with that thought.

He sent His only Son to die on the cross so that we, wicked-hearted people, would be able to be reconciled to Him.

WOW.. another Selah moment.

Thank God for GRACE! His unmerited favor, that alone is worth a lifetime of thankfulness.  

Scripture calls us to be thankful. Read Ps 26:7, Ps 50:14, Ps 69:30, Ps 100:4 to start.

Search the scriptures, you will find many more scriptures that exhort us to be thankful.

My Difficult Story of Why I’m Thankful

This year, as many of you know, has been a hard year for my husband and I.

And during this time, I must admit, I have found it hard to be thankful sometimes.

Trials have a tendency to cause the focus to be on the circumstance instead of on the Lord.  

It says, “LOOK AT ME!” And at times we do lose focus.

But as I have sat before the Lord, as I began to put my focus on the things that He has done for us, for me, for my family, I couldn’t help but be thankful to Him.

  • He has kept all His promises.
  • He has provided for us in so many ways.
  • He has upheld us through even the darkest days.
  • He has gotten my husband through the cancer and the chemo treatments.
  • He delivered my son from drugs.
  • He has sustained by daughter through difficult times and drawn her close to Him.  He has saved my son in law!!!
  • He has taught me to praise Him in the midst of all situations.  I could go on and on.

When I take time to reflect on those things that God has done for me, I feel my heart softening. I feel my love for Him growing. I find my desire to be with Him increasing.

Why?

Because He is the only one who never tires of me, who never turns me away when I need Him, who is always there to hear me when I need a listening and compassionate ear.

When this gratitude saturates my heart, it leads me into sweet intimacy with the Lord.

It puts me on my knees as before Him as I realize I do not deserve any the favor He has so freely given me.  It puts a smile on my face and gives me real joy.

Having a thankful heart makes thanksgiving not only a holiday, but a way of life.  

The Benefits of a Thankful Heart

One thing I’ve’ve also found out is that people like being around someone who is thankful.  Gratitude has a positive impact upon others.

When you express your thankfulness to God to others, it makes them think about what they need to be thankful for too. Having a thankful heart also causes us to say thanks to people.

We can express our gratitude to those in our lives for who we are grateful for and who sometimes don’t get to hear this from us very much.

For example, if I’m thanking the Lord for my husband, and my children, doesn’t it make sense for me to tell them too? The  apostle Paul was always doing this.  He was always giving thanks for his fellow believers in the epistles.

 We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly. -1 Thess. 1:3

Imagine how you’d feel to hear this from someone important in your life.

It’s a wonderful thing to hear that someone is truly thankful for you, for the impact you have had on their lives. It’s one of the best feelings in life.

What You Should Do This Thanksgiving

So, this Thanksgiving, let us offer to the Lord the thanks He deserves. Let’s allow our thanks to draw us nearer to the heart of God.

May our thanks lead us into praise and draw us to into true adoration of our wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May this Thanksgiving be a time for you, not only to say “Thank You” to God and to enjoy His presence, but to say thank you to those people He has sent to bless your life.

May you begin to make thanksgiving more than a holiday, make it a way of life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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