The following is a devotional article which I wrote for Ambassador International this month. It was made with Christians in mind, but it can be "food for thought" for anyone.
Words in black are scripture from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).
Words in red are Jesus' words from KJV.
By Allen Steadham
"IT IS A GOOD THING TO GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD, AND TO SING PRAISES UNTO THY NAME, O MOST HIGH: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep."
- Psalms 92: 1-5 (KJV)
November is well-known in the United States for the celebration of Thanksgiving. And while times, cultures and beliefs have changed since its humble beginnings, the original sentiment behind Thanksgiving has not...and neither has God. What I want to discuss is how every day should be Thanksgiving.
I’m not talking about expanding the existing holiday. Instead, I’m focusing on the meaning behind Thanksgiving: literally giving thanks to God for all the blessings He has bestowed on us throughout the year. It is wonderful that we have a special day to bring attention to this. But as Christians, shouldn’t we offer praise and thanks to Him daily?
I know holiday months are not a jolly time for everyone. Many face loneliness and depression while others are dealing with burdens, personal trials, illnesses, and even tragedies. We may feel alone. But we can be assured that we are not alone. The Lord is with us and He knows what we are going through. He helps us, even when we can’t see it. Our Savior did not promise we would never face challenges. He said He would go through them with us.
John 14: 18-21 (KJV) - "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."
John 14: 25-29 (KJV) - "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I."
Even if we are not going through hardships, I believe that we can still show gratitude every day to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Certainly, we could give thanks for our yet-spared lives and the Divine Gift of Salvation. Jesus is our solution to every problem. He has promised to be with us, no matter what we’re going through. He loves us and understands us. All we have to do is call upon Him. If we think about it, we should have plenty to praise Him about on any given day.
And yet, it is easy to get distracted. Whether it’s our schedules, our kids’ schedules, work, entertainment (including the internet, which I tend to use too much), paying bills, having a social life, politics or any number of other things, these take our attention away from what’s important: our Salvation. It is personal, individual and priceless.
Hebrews 2: 1-4 (KJV) - "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?"
We don’t just have distractions; it’s also easy to complain. We all do it occasionally (sometimes more than occasionally). Things and people’s actions impede us from accomplishing whatever it is that we need or want to do. It’s irritating. And it’s so simple to blow off some steam by grumbling about what bugs us. But the Bible warns us against it.
1 Corinthians 10: 10-13 (KJV) - "Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
If we knew all the things that God, Jesus and the heavenly angels do to shield us from harm (and sometimes our own selves), we would realize that our complaints are actually a sign of being ungrateful. We should be more content with our lives. Things truly could be so much worse than they are. We serve a good and Holy God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
November may be the month which contains the holiday of Thanksgiving in America. But we have reasons to celebrate all year long.
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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