Soon we will gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving.
I thought I would give you some practical ideas on how to give thanks.
1. The simple act of saying grace over a meal.
I love to see a family all bow their heads in a restaurant and say grace. You’re hungry, the meal is hot, but you just want to acknowledge God’s provision of it. (Just don’t pray for too long!)
Did you know that Jesus gave thanks? He did so in the feeding of the 4,000. “He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke
them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude” (Matthew 15:35–36 NKJV). We see that Jesus gave thanks for the necessities of life, like food. If Jesus did it, should we not do the same?
In the Lord’s Prayer, He taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This is an acknowledgement that all we have comes from God. God may have blessed you with great wealth.
Maybe you made some strategic investments or created a business. But remember, God gave you that ability! Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “Remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (NIV). It is also an acknowledgement that all we need must still come from God.
So give thanks today for the food in your stomach, the clothes on your back. Give thanks for your good health, if you are so fortunate to have it. Give thanks for your safety and that you live in this country.
2. Remembering the Lord with your faithful giving of finances.
Proverbs 3:9–10 tells us, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” (NIV).
When you separate a tenth of your paycheck, your income, and say, “This is the Lord’s!” that is putting Him first. Yet, this is an area we are very reluctant to turn over to God, not realizing the great joy there is in giving. “Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’ . . . Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God” (2 Corinthians 9:6–7, 11–12 NLT).
Most of us are Christians today, and enjoy a place of worship, because of the faithfulness of others. Others who invested in the future. Others who remembered the Lord in their giving, causing us to “give thanks”!
3. We should remember to take time each day for prayer and Bible study.
When you get up in the morning, make time for the study of Scripture. As Psalm 5:3 says, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (NIV).
4. We should also remember to give thanks when things are hard.
“But Greg, that makes no sense at all!”
It makes perfect sense. When a law was passed that no one could pray anymore, here is what Daniel did. “He went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always had done, giving thanks to his God” (Daniel 6:10 NKJV).
We cannot only give thanks when things are going well. We must give thanks because the Lord is good and He is working all things for good. Paul reminds us, “In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7 NKJV).
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