What To Do This Thanksgiving (Psalm 136) – PART 1
Psalm 136:1, “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”
Thanksgiving Day, made a national holiday in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln, celebrates the feast the Pilgrims held after their first successful corn harvest in 1621. What many Americans fail to remember is that Thanksgiving is not just about being thankful, it’s about being thankful to the one true God. One of the Pilgrims, Edward Winslow, wrote a letter before the feast to let a friend know of the successful harvest, and he had this to say: “These things I thought good to let you understand... that you might on our behalf give God thanks who had dealt so favourably with us.”
The Bible reiterates the importance of giving thanks all throughout Scripture. The goodness of God gives us many reasons to be thankful. Be thankful simply because He commands us to be. God, Who so loved us when we were yet in our sin, gives the command in Psalm 100 to, “Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” Not only does God command us to be grateful people, but He also condemns unthankfulness as sin that we will see in the last days. II Timothy 3:2, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.” We are clearly seeing unthankful spirits in America today, I pray we never fail to see the importance of being thankful. As you pray and give thanks to the Lord this season, ask Him for a renewed sense of thanksgiving.
I love Thanksgiving for many reasons, but perhaps the greatest is that it helps us schedule a day to do what we should be doing every day of the year, and that is giving thanks. Thanksgiving is more than a holiday; it is an action of thanks giving. Of course, everyone, saved and unsaved alike, has much to be thankful for. But those of us who know the Lord know who we are grateful to. We don’t simply “give thanks”; we “give thanks unto the Lord for He is good” (Psalm 136:1). So what do we give thanks to the Lord for? Everything. James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Psalm 100 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture for the Thanksgiving holiday. Consider the last two verses of this short but powerful chapter. Psalm 100:4–5, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” NOTICE: We can perform the instructions of thankfulness in Psalm 100:4 because of the attributes of God given in Psalm 100:5. We can be thankful, praise, and bless the Lord because He is eternally good, merciful, and true.
With that in mind consider these seven facts that you can be thankful for today.
1. Share with You Family Why You Are Thankful for Them.
Romans 1:8, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” When Paul expressed to people his thankfulness for them, he almost always followed with specific reasons. On Thanksgiving Day millions of Americans will enjoy and be thankful for a delicious meal. As we prepare to dig in to the turkey, dressing, and gravy, we may express our gratitude for family and friends. Don’t let this Thanksgiving pass without sharing with your family, spouse, your children, your parents specific reasons you are thankful for each of them. Perhaps we will go around the table and share specific things for which we are thankful. Truly, we are a blessed people living in a blessed land. There is an ongoing, deliberate attempt to secularize American holidays, so many of which were established with the sole purpose of praising our Lord and Saviour. This Thanksgiving, before we settle down to relax, let us be the beacon of light for our friends and families and remind everyone we know of the true reason for Thanksgiving. saying thank you to God for all the good things He has done for each and every one of us.
2. Write a Thank You note to Someone Who Wouldn’t Expect It, or Someone Who Is Hurting.
This will encourage you and the person you write to! Take a few moments to think of someone who has been an encouragement in your life, and simply write a note telling them specifically how they have blessed you. Parents should help and encourage your children to do this as well. Philippians 1:3, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” Thank the people the Lord has used in your life. Take some time today to express gratitude to others who God has used in your life; your family, friends, teachers, mentors. Thank them for their investment in you, and tell them specifically how God has used them to provide for, encourage, and strengthen you. Thanksgiving, at its best, is thanks giving. Give the Lord thanks! Psalm 107:8, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” Recognize and remember that one of the greatest ways you give thanks to God during times of trial is trusting that He knows more than us and has our best purposes at heart. However, there are many hurting people living in sorrowful circumstances. For them it may be difficult to see and list things that are easily appreciated. At times, life can be hard. We all have burdens, hardships, problems, and disappointments. Psalm 100:3–4, “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving…” Colossians 1:3, “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,”
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.