Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Give Thanks to God

Thanksgiving is in the air and most of us are anxiously anticipating a traditional celebration. In today’s culture that celebration is defined by the three F’s: food, family, and football.

Earlier celebrations of Thanksgiving were defined by three F’s, too, but those F’s represented: food, fellowship and…the Father. God was a huge part of the day. According to www.earlyamerica.com: “A Thanksgiving Day two hundred years ago was a day set aside for prayer and fasting, not a day marked by plentiful food and drink as is today's custom.”

Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Instead of pigging out, they went without. Instead of gathering around a table laden with food, followed by a nap or staring at the tube, they focused their mind, mouth, and heart on their provider – God.

While it is wonderful that we continue the tradition of setting aside a day to (hopefully) give thanks, in actuality, God wants us to give thanks to Him daily. And we can even take that a step further to say that He wants our heart to be in a state of regular thankfulness throughout each day.

We don’t have to look far to see something to give thanks for: air, water, food, and clothes are good starters. However, as Americans we are blessed to have many types of assistance to cover our needs, such as The Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, local food pantries, unemployment checks, homeless shelters, and emergency hotlines. We often take this wonderful assistance for granted. It can be easy to forget that not all countries have such provisions for their citizens.

Two other privileges that we are blessed to have in this great country are freedom of speech and freedom of worship. Because of them both, I am able to freely write this column, a privilege that I don’t take lightly.

Having an attitude of gratitude is also the secret to a powerful prayer life. For Christians, being thankful lays the foundation for constant fellowship with the Lord. Actually, having a thankful heart is God’s will for us. In first Thessalonians 5:16-18, Paul writes: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Another added benefit to cultivating a thankful heart is inner peace and joy. When we continue to praise God, even when our circumstances are gray, God blesses us with incomprehensible peace. We are not denying the problem; we are simply not giving in to it. We are keeping our joy in the Lord and in the knowledge that He is in control of all things. He has our best interest at heart, and promises to work out all things for our good.

And that alone is something to be thankful for!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever (Psalm 118:1).

Thanksgiving Blessings to You and Yours,

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