Thanksgiving, the holiday, is almost here. Hopefully, thanksgiving, the attitude of gratitude in our hearts and minds, is with us every day of the year. There are approximately 138 references in the scriptures concerning giving thanks and being thankful. Almost every verse directs our thanksgiving to God or Christ Jesus our Lord. We have so much for which to be thankful. First and foremost for Christians is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and His salvation for those who believe. Romans 7:25 tells us “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord,” and 1 Corinthians 15:57 says “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We are quick to add to our gratitude list family, jobs, home, food, freedom, relationships, church, health, and so many other people, things and situations. Feeling and expressing thankfulness is easy when our circumstances are positive and full of joy. However, how often do we thank God when life is full of trouble, heartache, grief and pain? Do we stop to consider that our burdens sometimes may be blessings in disguise? How often do we thank God for unanswered prayers or prayers that are answered in ways much differently than we had hoped?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul exhorts us to “give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Please note that he says IN everything, not FOR everything. The Hebrew word for IN used here means “in the middle of” or “during.” Some things we can thank God for, regardless of our circumstances are:
God’s goodness and His love that lasts forever. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever” 1 Chronicles 16:34
God’s amazing grace.
- It saves. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
- It sustains. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9.
- It strengthens. “And the God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10
God’s unconditional love. “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind.” Psalm 107:8
Other believers who encourage and support us. “I thank my God every time I remember you”. Philippians 1:3
I pray that each of you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, has a happy and blessed Thanksgiving all year long!