Big, juicy turkey. Mashed potatoes with lots of butter. Green bean casserole; crispy and runny. Hot sweet potatoes and the cranberry that plops out exactly like the shape of the can that it was stored in. Oh, and don't forget the hot apple pie and tender pumpkin pie. What a feast!
I am thankful for this great tradition and scrumptious food, but there is more to Thanksgiving than tradition and great food. . . much more!
Did you know the word "thanksgiving" is written 29 times in the scriptures? (According to the KJV version.)
The words "give thanks" is written 48 times in the scriptures? (According to the KJV version.)
I was always told if God repeats His words 2 or more times, then He is really trying to tell me something important. Having "thanksgiving" and "give thanks" saturate the scriptures, God is telling us something very important and we need to listen.
A.) We first need to exalt God; giving Him thanks for who He is and how He cares for our needs.
"You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 118:28-29 (NIV)
It's easy to complain. It's easy to whine about the things we don't have. I guarantee if you sat down and made a list of all the things you can be thankful about, you could easily list 50 things to be thankful about. (That's filling the front and back of a notebook paper).
List the small things that you look passed because you are too busy or too selfish. Things you take for granted, like: a working car, a warm home, indoor plumbing, furniture to sit on, love, health, a job, your spouse, your kids-- God's creation: flowers, trees, your dog or cat, the cool breeze, snow, sunshine and puffy clouds. Whatever it may be, you have so much to be thankful for.
You are forgiven. You are saved by grace. God has put a joy in your heart.
B.) We need to show thanksgiving towards our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. Encouraging them. Upholding them in prayer. Realizing together we are one body in Christ Jesus.
Paul wrote this heart-felt letter to the leaders and deacons of the church in Philippi:
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV)
Share the attitude of thanksgiving with those around you and you will become contagious. Let people be jealous about this wonderfully authentic joy you have in your life; drawing people to the realization that Jesus has transformed your heart and mind.
As verse 6 says, Jesus has started a new work in your heart and life. He is going to use you in great ways for His purpose. He is growing you. He is making you more and more like Him each day. That's something to be excited and thankful about!
"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world." Isaiah 12:4-5 (NIV)
May today be a wonderful day of celebration with family and friends. Give thanks to the Lord today and forever more.
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