I have received and sent several Thanksgiving greetings so far this morning and it got me to thinking...
Am I truly thankful every day of the year, or just on days that have the word "thanks" in them?
I just hung up with my mom. I am so very thankful for her. She lives a few hours away and I plan to visit this weekend. But today, I think for the first time, I will spend Thanksgiving in a non-family member's home. I have been invited to the home of my youngest son's best friend's family, and I happily accepted.
If I know anything, nothing stays the same. The good and the bad, nothing lasts forever. What once was a noisy, bustling home, is now mostly quiet except for the occasional dog bark or cat meow and I needed something different this year.
Am I content in my kitchen alone this morning, or do I need more?
I asked what I could bring. The answer: Green Bean Casserole. Done. In fact, I just finished preparing the dish; it's covered in tinfoil in the fridge; waiting its turn in the oven. It's Thanksgiving. And it does not matter the day, I am thankful.
Are you thankful no matter what? Billy Graham asked that question and then invited us to look at the story of a man who had every right to be bitter—but wasn’t.
"The next footsteps in the corridor, he knew, might be those of the guards taking him away to his execution. His only bed was the hard, cold stone floor of the dank, cramped prison cell. Not an hour passed when he was free from the constant irritation of the chains and the pain of the iron manacles cutting into his wrists and legs.
Separated from friends, unjustly accused, brutally treated—if ever a person had a right to complain, it was this man, languishing almost forgotten in a harsh Roman prison. But instead of complaints, his lips rang with words of praise and thanksgiving!
The man was the Apostle Paul—a man who had learned the meaning of true thanksgiving, even in the midst of great adversity. Earlier, when he had been imprisoned in Rome, Paul wrote, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV).
Think of it: Always giving thanks for everything—no matter the circumstances!
Thanksgiving for the Apostle Paul was not a once-a-year celebration, but a daily reality that changed his life and made him a joyful person in every situation.
Thanksgiving—the giving of thanks—to God for all His blessings should be one of the most distinctive marks of the believer in Jesus Christ. We must not allow a spirit of ingratitude to harden our heart and chill our relationship with God and with others.
“Thanksgiving—the giving of thanks—to God for all His blessings should be one of the most distinctive marks of the believer in Jesus Christ.”
Nothing turns us into bitter, selfish, dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. And nothing will do more to restore contentment and the joy of our salvation than a true spirit of thankfulness."...
From one end of the Bible to the other, we are commanded to be thankful. In fact, thankfulness is the natural outflowing of a heart that is attuned to God. The psalmist declared, “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving” (Psalm 147:7, NIV). Paul wrote, “Be thankful”
(Colossians 3:15, NIV). A spirit of thanksgiving is always the mark of a joyous Christian.
Years ago Billy Graham visited a man who was wealthy and successful. He was the envy of all his friends and business associates. But as we talked, he broke down in tears, confessing that he was miserable inside. Wealth had not been able to fill the empty place in his heart.
Mr. Graham went on to say this:
"A few hours later I visited another man only a short distance away. His cottage was humble, and he had almost nothing in the way of this world’s possessions. And yet his face was radiant as he told me about the work he was doing for Christ and how Christ had filled his life with meaning and purpose. I am convinced that the second man was really the rich man. Although he didn’t have much, he had learned to be thankful for everything that God had given him.
Paul declared, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12, NIV). A spirit of thankfulness makes all the difference." (Source: billygraham.org)
Most of all, thank Jesus Christ, who died on the cross and rose again so that we can know Him personally and spend eternity with Him in heaven.
"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15 NKJV
by Jeanette Stark - Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24, 2022