“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalm 100:4
As we enter into the Thanksgiving season we have so much to be thankful for. We could spend all of our time thanking Him for His mercy and saving grace. But not only has Christ saved us, He loads His blessings on us every day. We can say with David, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation…” (Psalm 68:19) God has blessed our homes, our churches, and God has blessed our nation. We have religious freedom and modern conveniences that make life easier. Our travel, communication, and even food preparation is faster than ever. We need to take time to thank Him and praise Him for all He has done for us, not only during this holiday season, but everyday of our lives, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Ephesians 5:20)
2. Be Thankful And Pay Your Vows
“Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:” Psalms 50:14
Today is the Lord’s Day. There is no better day to “offer unto God thanksgiving”. Take time in your worship today to give thanks to God and to praise Him for all His blessings. Then, think back on your life and remember your vows to God. Have you made promises to Him that you have failed to keep? Have you neglected to serve Him like you vowed to do? Today would be a good day to pay those vows to God. The next verse gives a promise from God, “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” God has delivered us again and again in our days of trouble. We should continually give unto Him all our praise, and thanks, and glorify His name.
3. Thanks Be To God For Salvation
“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” II Corinthians 9:15
What is the gift of God? We read in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” God’s unspeakable gift is salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. And today, I want to thank Him for His gift. Romans 10:9 & 10 gives the simple truth, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Salvation is free to all who believe. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) I am so thankful that about 35 years ago the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart with conviction and Jesus saved me. I am also thankful that His saving power is still at work today. Two weeks ago, a young man was saved at our church in the Sunday morning worship service. This Sunday, another man received God’s free gift of salvation. Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Trust Him today if you don’t have that assurance that He lives within your soul. And if you are a Christian, be sure you take time to thank Him for His wonderful gift.
4. Be Thankful That Jesus Was Without Sin
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-15
We can be thankful today that Jesus understands. We can read in Luke 4 how the devil tempted Jesus. “Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” (Luke 4:2-4) Jesus used the scriptures to overcome temptation. We can also hide the Word of God in our hearts and be helped in times of temptation. “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:5-8) I am so thankful that Jesus didn’t fall to temptation. We would be forever lost in our sins if Jesus had not been the spotless, sinless Lamb and paid the debt for our sin. The writer of Hebrews tells us that we can “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” And we can be sure that the devil will tempt us. Luke 4:13 tells us, “And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.” We must keep on the whole armor of God. The devil may depart for a season, but you can be sure that he will be back. Turn to Jesus and be thankful that He is always there.
5. Be Thankful That Christ Can Use Even You
“And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.” Luke 8:3
There are many things in this world that only the rich and famous can experience. There are places that I will never be able to visit and people that I will never meet. But I am so thankful that one day I met the Savior. And I am thankful that He has a purpose for me on earth and a place for me in heaven. These women ministered unto Jesus with what they had. We can all use what we have to serve Him. Some may say, “Well if Jesus were here today, of course I would give Him the best of anything I have.” Jesus said, “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:34-40) Use what you have to be the best Christian you can be.
6. Thank God We Can Stand For What’s Right
“Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” I Kings 19:18
This answer from God was in reply to what Elijah said in verse 10. “And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” God gave great victory to Elijah on Mount Carmel against the prophets of Baal in I Kings 18. But when Jezebel threatened his life, he felt defeated. He felt like he was the only person left that was still true to God. But God told him there were 7,000 that had not bowed to Baal. Sometimes in America Christians are made to feel like such a minority. There are so many well-known people who are out-spoken against the things of God. But I am thankful that there are Christians in America who have not bowed to Baal. Back in 2004, I saw part of the election coverage on television and I kept hearing over and over that the main reason people voted for President Bush was because of moral issues. It was also said that Kerry and his people underestimated the strength of the churchgoers. Hallelujah! I felt like God was saying to America just as He had said to Elijah, that we are not alone. There are still Christian people in America who are willing to stand and be counted in the beliefs on which this country was founded. Stand up for what’s right! And be thankful that you still have that privilege.
7. Oh That Men Would Praise The Lord!
“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.” Psalm 107:21&22
This Psalm tells of many wonderful works God has done for His people. It begins, “O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;” (Psalm 107:1&2) The chapter tells of many of the struggles the children of Israel faced as they wandered in the wilderness. The Psalmist reminds the children of Israel how the Lord fed them and delivered them from their enemies and calmed the storms. With each hardship we read, “Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.” We read this again and again in verses 6, 13, 19, and 28. In response each time, we read, “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Verses 8, 15, 21, and 31). The writer seems to be begging us to shout aloud in praise for the goodness of God. How many times has God delivered you out of your distresses? Take every opportunity you have to declare the goodness of God. Rejoice and be thankful unto Him.
8. Thank God For The Morning
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:3
I was outside early one morning this week and saw a patch of morning glories in bloom. The weather is getting cooler and the days are getting shorter, but these wild flowers that came up in the corner of the yard reminded me to thank God for the mornings. Sometimes we go through trials that seem dark as night, but we can say with David, “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:4&5) Did you lift your voice up in praise to God this morning? Take time each morning to thank God for letting the sun brighten your life once again, and don’t forget to thank Him for His Son bringing the Light into your life.
9. He Took Bread And Gave Thanks
“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19
Our scripture reference took place during the last Passover. Jesus asked Peter and John to prepare the Passover and He has tried to prepare them, for his death. In verses 15 & 16 He says, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” He knows what is coming. Judas and the multitude do not surprise Him. He knew what was about to take place. Yet, He gave thanks. Do you take time to give Him thanks? When you are going through trials and tribulations, it may be hard to give thanks, but remember what Jesus did for you. He knew of the sufferings, and He still gave thanks, and died for us.
10. Hannah Thanked God For Answered Prayer
“And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.”
I Samuel 2:1 & 2
As the book of I Samuel begins, we read of a man named Elkanah who had two wives. Peninnah had children but Hannah had no children. Each year they went to the house of the Lord to offer the yearly sacrifice and Peninnah provoked Hannah because she had no children. I Samuel 1:10 tells of Hannah, “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.” Hannah vowed that if God would hear her prayer and give her a child, she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life. “Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.” (I Samuel 1:20) She kept her vow and took Samuel to the house of God. “And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.” (I Samuel 1:26-28) Then Hannah rejoiced in the Lord and praised His name. And the Lord blessed her and gave her more children. Have you ever prayed earnestly to the Lord? Did you make vows and promises to the Lord? Did you keep those vows? As we look forward to Thanksgiving, have you given thanks and praise to the Lord? Remember to always thank God for answering prayer in your life.
11. Daniel Thanked God For Wisdom
“Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his… I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.” Daniel 2:20 & 23
King Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream and he called all the wise men of his kingdom to interpret his dream. The problem was, he could not remember the dream. When the wise men could not tell him the dream and what it meant, he demanded that all of them be killed. But Daniel and his friends prayed to God for mercy, that God would reveal the secret so they would not be killed with the wise men of Babylon. Verse 19 says, “Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” God answered their prayer. God showed Daniel the dream and the interpretation and Daniel praised God and thanked Him. We read in James 1:5 & 6, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” Sometimes we just don’t know what to do in certain situations. There have been many times that I have prayed for wisdom. Daniel praised God, “…for wisdom and might are his…” and then he thanked God “…who hast given me wisdom and might…” We should do the same.
12. Jesus Gave Thanks For The Loaves And The Fishes
“And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.” John 6:11
Most children who attend Sunday School have heard the story of how Jesus fed 5000 men, plus the women and children with the lunch from a small boy. He took the five barley loaves, and two small fish and broke them and multiplied them to feed the multitude. But first of all He gave thanks. The other gospels say that Jesus looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Many children are taught to “ask the blessing” before they eat. When I was young, I learned the simple prayer, “God is great, God is good, Let us thank Him, for our food. By His hands we all are fed, Give us Lord our daily bread. Amen.” Through the years I have noticed that many drop the habit of praying before they eat as they get older. It is not common any more to see people bow their heads and thank God for their food in restaurants. The television shows and movies of today do not show families praying together before they begin eating. But praying before we eat is a small token of appreciation we can give to God. Jesus said, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26) Don’t be ashamed of Christ. Give thanks for your food and let that be a small witness to others that you are a Christian.
13. Veteran’s Day
“And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul: And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies…Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.” II Samuel 22:1-4 & 50
Today is Veteran’s Day and we need to show our thanks to all those who have fought for the freedom we enjoy. David sang praises to God in thanksgiving for deliverance over his enemies. David knew his source of strength and deliverance. “He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.” (verse 18) “For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God? God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.” (verses 32 & 33) We live in a great land. And we need to give thanks to God and to the men and women who fought to make our land great. And keep praying… “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4)
14. Anna Gave Thanks For The Redeemer
“And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age,… And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” Luke 2:36-38
After Jesus was born Mary and Joseph took Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord and offer a sacrifice according to the law. Luke 2 tells us of two people at the temple who knew who the Lord Jesus was. We read of Simeon, “Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” (Luke 2:28-32) Anna also knew that this small child was the promised Redeemer and she spread the word that He had come. As we begin to enter into the Christmas season we too, can give thanks for the Christ Child, who is the Light, not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles and “whosoever”. But just as the people of that day did not know the Lord, there are multitudes today who don’t know our Savior. Anna not only gave thanks for the Savior, but she told others. This Christmas, be sure to thank God for sending His Son to die in your place, and don’t forget to tell others so they too can know that “Jesus is the reason for the season”.
15. Where Are The Nine?
“And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” Luke 17:12-18
We have been thinking about people that gave thanks to God. In our scripture today, we see a Samaritan who gave thanks, but we see nine lepers that did not take time to thank the Lord for healing. We often teach our children to say, “Please” and “Thank you!” but as we grow older we often forget. Jesus said the “stranger”, the Samaritan, was the only one to give thanks. I have noticed that sometimes people will be nice and more polite to strangers they meet in a store than they are to their own family members out in the parking lot. Don’t lose the habit of good manners. Keep saying, “Please” and “Thank you!” and keep giving God the glory and praise for all the things He has done in your life. The last verse in our story continues, “And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Luke 17:19) The one who returned to give Jesus thanks received full healing and salvation. How long has it been since you said, “Thank you”?
16. Personal Thanksgiving
“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ”
I Corinthians 1:4
If you were sick and the teacher of your Sunday School Class brought you a fruit basket and you said, “Please tell everyone ‘Thank you’ for me”, the teacher would go back and give thanks on your behalf. It would be considerate of you to also thank the class for the fruit basket when you were able to be back with them. In our society it is even customary for someone to write a personal “Thank you” note to show appreciation for gifts or kind deeds. Paul told the Corinthian believers, “I thank my God always on your behalf”. This is commendable of Paul. We should thank God for our fellow church members. But, we should not depend on others to do all our thanksgiving for us. Today is the Lord’s Day. When you got up this morning, did you thank God for giving you health and strength to get up another day? Did you go to God’s house and thank Him for the freedom to worship and serve Him? When you sat down to eat did you thank Him for the food and blessings He gives to you daily? If you are invited to a birthday party and you spend a great deal of time searching for the perfect gift, you expect the recipient to thank you. I have seen the parents of a child give each one thanks as the gifts are opened. But it means a whole lot more if the child takes the time to express thanks for the presents. Is someone else giving thanks on your behalf? Make sure you take time today to give thanks to the God who loves you and watches over you always.
17. Continue In Prayer
“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;” Colossians 4:2
We begin our Christian lives in prayer. We pray to God and ask Him to save us and cleanse us from our sins. He saves us by His mercy and grace and as we go along we experience storms and trials that discourage us and toss us about. What are we to do then? “Continue in prayer.” And how are we instructed to pray? “With thanksgiving.” We don’t always understand why things happen in our lives. A serious car accident or illness could change our lives in an instant. What can we do? Many times the only thing we can do is pray and claim Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God is good. And God is still in control. When things happen that we don’t understand, be assured that God knows all about it. Trust in the Lord… pray… and give thanks to God.
18. Come Before His Presence With Singing
“I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:6
Not only can we watch and pray with thanksgiving, we can also sing with thanksgiving. As Christians, we can keep a song in our heart. Psalm 100:1 & 2 tell us to “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” Don’t let others rob you of your joy. Over and over in the Psalms we are exhorted to sing unto the Lord. Christ can give you a new song in your heart. “O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.” (Psalm 96:1-4) We serve a great God who has given us salvation and blessed us bountifully. You can be a witness to others by singing His praises. You can sing “Amazing Grace” while waiting in a checkout line or walking through a grocery store. You don’t have to wait until you go to church to sing. You can keep a song in your heart and sing praises to God all through the week, everywhere you go.
19. Let Us Bow Down Before Our Maker
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.” Psalm 95:1-6
We serve a wonderful, awesome God. We can give Him thanks in our prayers and songs, but there are times when we need to “worship and bow down” and “kneel before the Lord our maker”. We read of His creation in Genesis and we see His creation all around us. When we see Him in all His glory, and how great God really is, we bow in humbleness because we see how really small we are. Many great men in the Bible bowed before God. “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face:…” (Genesis 17:1-3) In the book of Nehemiah 7:66 & 67 we read that “The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore, Beside their manservants and their maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing women.” And chapter 8 begins, “And all the people gathered themselves together as one man unto the street…” (vs 1) “And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” (Nehemiah 8:6) But that is not all… “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11) We are all going to bow before God. Now is a good time to start… bow to Him with thankfulness of heart.
20. The Sacrifice Of Praise
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Hebrews 13:15 & 16
The men and women of the Old Testament had to offer sacrifices at appointed times. Christ died on the cross and became our sacrifice once and for all and we are no more under the law, but we are under grace. But we are to give thanks and offer the sacrifice of praise. Our verse tells us to offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually. We also read in Psalm 34:1 & 2, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” When we praise the Lord, we humble ourselves and give thanks to Him. The writer of Hebrews also reminds us that we sometimes make sacrifices by doing good to others. And he says, “…for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
“And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves, and worshipped. Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped. Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the LORD, come near and bring sacrifices and thank-offerings into the house of the LORD. And the congregation brought in sacrifices and thank-offerings; and as many as were of a free heart burnt-offerings.” II Chronicles 29:29-31
In these verses we see many of the ways we have talked about in showing thanks to God. The people bowed and worshipped, they sang praises with gladness, and they also brought thank-offerings into the house of God. We can look all the way back to Leviticus 7:12 and find the laws of offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving. God is pleased when we give our tithes and offerings unto the Lord. Luke 21:1-4 tells us of Jesus in the temple, “And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.” Jesus praised this widow for giving all she had to God. We may not have much and we may feel that our small gift would not even be noticed, but God knows our heart and He is pleased when we give in thankfulness to Him.
22. Be Faithful
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Romans 1:8
Paul thanked God for the faithfulness of the Roman believers. We need to be faithful. We can show our love and thanks to God through our faithfulness. Are you faithful in your attendance to the house of God? Are you faithful in your prayer life? Do you faithfully read your Bible and seek God’s will for your life? In all the scriptures, God never says that we are to be successful, or rich and famous. But God does tell us that we are to be faithful. “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” (I Corinthians 4:2) In Luke 12:42-44 we read, “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.” Jesus is our Lord. He has promised to return and take us home to heaven. We need to keep the faith. Keep trusting in His Word. Stand up for right. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)
23. Thank God For Victory Through Our Lord Jesus Christ
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:57 & 58
Thank God for victory! There are so many things in this life that can make you feel defeated. When you stand true to God and uphold your integrity in the workplace you may be left behind when it comes time for promotions. Your superiors may think you don’t “have what it takes” to make it to the top. Your priorities for God and strong convictions may cause you to be left out of school parties, and leave you sitting alone in your dorm. The way you live and dress may cause you to get ridiculed by others. You may miss ball games and shopping trips with your peers by going to church on Sunday. But you can still have the victory through Jesus Christ! Don’t let the things of the world get you down. I want to encourage you to stay true to your convictions. Paul says to be steadfast and unmovable, and stay busy in the Lord’s work. You may not see the rewards of your work now, but your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
24. Praise The Lord For Strength
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.” Psalm 28:7 & 8
We go to church on Sunday and rejoice in the victory we have through our Lord Jesus Christ. We sing praises to our God and hear the teaching and preaching of His Word. Then we get up on Monday morning and must once again face the world. We wonder where the weekend went and pray for strength to make it through another day and another week. In our verse above David said, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped...” When you awaken tired and just don’t feel like going to class, or going to work, pray for God to give you strength. There are many mornings I ask the Lord to go with me through the day and bow in humility acknowledging to Him that I can’t do anything on my own. I like what Moses prayed in Exodus 33:14, “And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” Moses was chosen to lead the children of Israel to the Promised Land, but if God were not going to go with them, he didn’t even want to go. When you need strength, turn to God and ask Him to go with you and trust in His Word. Moses learned this well and when the time came for Joshua to take the leadership we read in Deuteronomy 31:7 & 8, “And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.” Thank God for saving strength and sustaining strength.
25. Thank God For The Light
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:2
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12
I once heard a story that went something like this… There was a man who had three sons. He told them that he would give all that he had to the son that could fill the barn to the fullest. The first son thought he was very wise and he filled the barn with cows. He put as many into the barn as could possibly fit. The next day it was time for the second son and he filled the barn with hay. He stacked the bales as high as they could possibly go. He was sure that he had won the inheritance. As soon as the barn was emptied of the hay, it was time for the third son to take his turn. He waited for darkness to fall and then he carried a lantern into the center of the barn and light filled the barn, shining all the way to the rafters. Because of his wisdom, he gained the inheritance. When the Light shines in our lives, there is no place for the darkness. Jesus is the Light and we can walk in that Light each day. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105) We are not to follow the path of the wicked in darkness, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Proverbs 4:18) Can others see the Light shine through your life each day? Be thankful for the Light. And walk in the Light. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (I John 1:5-7)
26. Be Thankful You Are Called
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
This verse is known and quoted by many. When a friend has a problem we are often quick to quote this verse to them and tell them that “all things work together for good to them that love God…” But how easy is it for me to say it when something doesn’t go my way? Can you still claim the verse with the same assurance when you have a flat tire, or get caught in the rain without an umbrella, or drop your books in a puddle? The verse doesn’t say that all things are good. But it says that “all things work together for good”. We can’t see tomorrow, much less farther down the road. We may not know why we have been asked to move to another city for our job, or why we didn’t get the job or promotion we tried to get. But just as we can look back at our past and see how things worked together for a purpose, God sees our future and works them out “…according to his purpose”, which brings me to the end of the verse. Aren’t you glad you were called? We are saved because Jesus came to us, and the Holy Spirit sent conviction to our soul and God called us to accept Him. I thank my God and Savior and the Holy Ghost for the work they have done to save me. And finally, I have to look at the purpose. It’s not about me. My purpose here on earth is not to lift myself up to the highest obtainable goal. My purpose here is to glorify my God and Savior and lift up His name.
27. Thanksgiving Day
“For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God.” Nehemiah 12:46
When we think of the first Thanksgiving, we think of the early settlers, Pilgrims, and Indians sharing their feast in giving thanks to God for their harvest. In 1782 George Washington made Thanksgiving an official holiday with the Thanksgiving Proclamation.
"It being the indispensable duty of all Nations, not only to offer up their supplications to ALMIGHTY GOD, the giver of all good, for His gracious assistance in a time of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner to give Him praise for His goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of His providence in their behalf. They do further recommend to all ranks, to testify to their gratitude to GOD for His goodness, by a cheerful obedience of His laws, and by promoting, each in His station, and by His influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness."
--George Washington, 1782
But thanksgiving goes back even farther than that. Our scripture tells us that in the days of King David there were songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. We can go back even farther in time, all the way back to Leviticus 7:11-13 and read of thanksgiving. “And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace-offerings, which he shall offer unto the LORD. If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried. Beside the cakes, he shall offer for his offering leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace-offerings.” We have more to be thankful for than any other people in any other time in history. Make sure you take time today to give God thanks for all He has done for you.
28. Thank God For The Resurrection
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” I Corinthians 15:19-22
I read recently that many people fall into deep depression during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There were several reasons listed that can cause this depression, during a time which should bring joy and comfort. One reason that can affect all ages and people from all courses of life comes from the “family circle” being broken. The first Thanksgiving and Christmas after the death of a loved one is very painful because you remember all the seasons past that you spent together. Death is not the only reason families may be separated. We should be constantly in prayer for those who are serving in the military at this time. Not only for the men and women serving overseas, but also for their families here who miss them. Marriage and in-laws may pull families in different directions causing hard feelings, and divorce can tear families apart and have a negative effect, especially on the children involved. People who were raised in families that celebrated the holidays together may find it depressing when some grow older and move away. As Christians, we can be thankful that, thanks to Jesus and the power of the resurrection, we can have that blessed hope of being together in heaven. There is an emptiness when the family is all together and someone else is sitting in Dad’s chair, and someone else is asking the blessing in Dad’s place. But I know that one day I will see him again, and we can walk the streets of gold together.
29. Give Thanks At The Remembrance Of His Holiness
“Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” Psalm 97:12
We serve a holy God. He spoke to Moses out of the midst of the burning bush, “And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:4) Again in Joshua 5:15, “And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” We can find references to the God’s holiness all through the scriptures. When we come to the book of Revelation we find beasts before the throne. “And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:9-11) This should give us a glimpse of the holiness of God. We should remember that He is holy, and give thanks for His holiness. But we also read in Leviticus 11:44, “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy…” and in I Peter 1:15 & 16, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” God does not tell us that we can be all knowing, or all-powerful, but He does tell us to be holy. As we hurry about this holiday season with our shopping and gift giving, it would be good for all of us to take our shoes off our feet and bow on our knees and humble ourselves before our great God, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” “Give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.”
30. I Am Thankful For My Family
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." III John 1:4
When our children were small I looked forward to each passing milestone. I was happy and thankful when they were all out of diapers, and eating at the table. I cried a mother's tears when they all started school, and rejoiced with tears when they graduated. I rejoiced at each of their births, and found greater joy when they asked the Lord to save them. Since they are all married and starting their own little families, our house sometimes seems so quiet but in my heart I know that they are following God's plans for their lives. Michael and I enjoy visits with them and especially with our precious grandchildren. We were honored to be present when our youngest granddaughter, Madison, was dedicated at church Sunday. It is such a joy to see our children bring their children up in church and pray for God's blessing on their lives. I am so thankful for our family and hope to see them soon around our table.
31. I Am Thankful For A Song In My Heart
"The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation." Psalm 118:14
Mom and my daughter, Susanna, helped me paint the ceiling in my garage last Monday. Later in the week Mom was going to help me with the walls, but we quickly realized that we were going to have to use a primer first. Saturday afternoon I began putting the primer on the wall. After just a short while I told Michael that it was a mistake to start painting the walls and it was going to take forever. I was getting so discouraged, thinking about painting the whole garage twice. I asked him if he could get me some Christmas music to listen to while I worked, and he did. The work was much more enjoyable as I listened to "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Silent Night". I praised the Lord with "How Many Kings?" and "In The Midst Bleak Winter". I climbed up and down the ladder, painting as far as I could reach each time, and started inching my way around the garage. And when it began to get too dark to see, I climbed off the ladder and looked at what I had accomplished, and I said to myself, "This is going to take forever." But, it was so much easier to paint with a song in my heart. And Christmas songs are the best songs! I am thankful for Jesus, the source of my strength and song, and my salvation!
32. I Am Thankful That God Is Still On His Throne
"Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;" (Deuteronomy 4:39 and 7:9)
I sat at my computer last night and prepared the devotional for today, but I am changing my direction. During the night as I thought about this election, God gave me peace that He is still in control. I am so thankful that I serve the living God, the only true God, who made this universe and although man has gone away from His statutes and lifted himself up against our Holy and Righteous God, God is still God and God is still on His throne. I have prayed, I have voted, and I believe that there is a remnant of people who want God to rule in the hearts and lives of our elected rulers. God tells us through His Word that sin and evil will get worse in the last days, and I believe that we are getting closer and closer to the end of time. But, God is our faithful God, and we can put all our trust in Him. No matter the outcome of the election, we can put all our hope, and faith, and trust, and confidence in our God!
33. Continue In Prayer
"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;" Colossians 4:2
With the access we have to the internet we can be continually aware of all that is going on around us. I have never seen people calling out to Christians to pray as much as I have seen in the months preceding this election. I believe the constant reminders that we need to call on God to hear our prayers and heal our nation have helped Christians to take a stand for what's right and fall on our knees to our holy God. But our country has a long way to go to get back to God. What do we do? "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;" Keep praying, just as we read in II Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." And as we keep praying, remember to thank God for all He has done.
34. Thank God For The Light
"Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;... "And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it." Revelation 21:11, 23 & 24"
My Mother in Law, Betty Key, gave me several Christmas village houses and the cabinet she had them in. Standing it in the corner of the living room, I saw a small light in the top but I could see no lights in the bottom half. I put the churches and houses in the cabinet and turned on the light. As I backed up to look at it, I smiled at how beautiful it looked. The shelves are glass and the light shines through, and there is a mirror in the back that reflects the light. Our Sunday School lesson on Sunday was about the New Jerusalem. God is the Light and there is no need of the sun and moon. Verse 18 describes the wall. "And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass." We see in verse 21, "the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." Chapter 22 begins, "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." We see that God is the Light and His Light will shine through the city and be reflected to lighten the whole city. I am thankful for the Light of God. Jesus said, "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." (John 12:46) I am so thankful that Jesus came to me and showed me the Light so that I could live forever in His Light!
35. It Is Well With My Soul
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14
With Mom's help I finished painting my garage last week. I twisted and turned, and leaned and stretched, perched on a tall ladder, going up and down for four or five hours last Tuesday. Wednesday morning I could feel it in my lower back, but I moved all the stuff back into the garage while Michael was at work. By church time I could hardly move. That was a week ago, and it still doesn't feel well. Today my Pastor's wife, Linette Tripp, shared a familiar song on facebook and I just had to praise the Lord. "It Is Well With My Soul" has been such an encouragement to me and I thank the Lord Jesus for the truth of those words that never grow old. Things may not be well in the world. My physical body may not feel well at the moment. And we don't know what the new year will bring. But, praise the Lord, I have so much to be thankful for, and "It Is Well With My Soul!" Here are some of the words, written by Haratio G. Spafford, in 1873.
"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul."
36. Be Thankful God Hears Our Prayers
“For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.” Psalm 38:15
I was getting ready for bed Monday night and I decided to see if there were any new posts on facebook that I might want to see, and I was quickly brought to tears. I went to Gatlinburg, TN and Pigeon Forge with some of our family for the first time two years ago, and hoped to go again sometime soon. As I looked at the videos people were posting of the burning mountain it grieved my heart. So, I pray. I pray that God will help the firefighters and those working in the area. I pray that God will send more rain to help put out the fires. I pray for friends that live an hour away from the fire, that God will keep the fire contained and not let it go their way. God is their only hope. I know that God is in control, and I am thankful that He hears and answers our prayers. I don't know what tomorrow will bring for those towns. We never know what a day will bring. But I am so thankful that I know the One who brings the day!