The True Meaning of Thanksgiving

Dad Nov 2013-003In this culture of gathering and accumulating things, has Thanksgiving become just “the day before “black Friday”? Has the mind-set of human nature in general settled in onĀ  simply an inward drive to gather and accumulate physical and tangible things?

Having been reared in an actual, but not realized, poverty circumstance with nine siblings, it is very easy for me to “Give Thanks” from the depths of my heart and soul, even to this day. When my Daddy “said the blessing” at the meal table, the sincerity of his words touched deeply all who were around the large table in those days towards the end of World War One.

Regardless of our “upbringing”, we are taught from Scripture to “..give thanks in all things.” What does that teaching mean to you? This writing is an attempt to make that teaching become a living and practiced reality in your life ..everyday of the year, not just a special Thursday in late November.

This is primarily a challenge to my current family of brothers and sisters in Christ and to anyone who has an interest in His teachings, though maybe not a believer in Him.

1 Cor. 4:7 asks an intriguing question, “what do you have that you did not receive?” When I came across that question today in my bible study, my mind settled on the thought and I could not get it off my mind. That usually prompts a flood of ideas and thoughts that just have to be put into writing.

My next thought was, “You may think that you earned, gathered, or accumulated the things or wealth you have, but according to scripture you do not have anything that was not given to you by our Lord or anything that He has not allowed you to have. It is all His.

In the Old Testament Job acknowledged, “…the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” God owns it all. Everything on and in this Earth and even the Earth belongs to Him. You do not have anything that you did not receive. Give Thanks!!

Allow me to share with you some things I have known and you have probably known all your life, but have just not come to the point in your life of putting them to practice in your daily walk with the Lord. As you know it is not what we know but what we live.

The word self-discipline sounds harsh, but it really isn’t. I have found it to be a truly gentle word. I found this definition in the dictionary, “Self-discipline refers to the training that one gives oneself to accomplish a certain task or to adopt a particular pattern of behavior, even if one would rather be doing something else.”

The most meaningful part of that definition to me is, “to adopt a particular pattern of behavior”. That’s where we begin. Getting into the pattern of somehow finding “a quiet time” to be alone with The Lord.

When you begin to get into this pattern of finding this special time with Him, start each time by examining your heart before Him, If there is any sin in your life, confess and forsake and ask forgiveness. That restores the sweet fellowship of knowing Him. Continue your time with a mind and heart filled with thankfulness. As you do this you will find it easy to become aware of His very presence, because He loves a heart of gratitude.

If the thankful attitude doesn’t come right away, start by focusing on His love for you. Claim His promises of His love for you, He will never leave you, and nothing in Heaven or Earth can separate you from His love. That kind of thinking will build a solid foundation of gratitude, which is a foundation no circumstances will shake.

Now that you have that attitude of thanksgiving you will be able to go throughout each day of your life with something that will take the “sting” out of adversity. That is why He has instructed you to give thanks “in everything”.

If you will discipline yourself to be obedient to this ONE teaching of Scripture, you will Forest road. Landscape.become aware of tiny “treasures” coming your way throughout each day. I repeat, remember that Christ loves you and He wants to brighten your life so that you will, “let His light so shine in you” that it will glorify the Giver of the light.

As you use His power you can demonstrate His presence in your life, when you choose to “give thanks in all things”, regardless of your feelings. Living the life instead of just talking the life. That is a spiritual act of obedience, which you alone are not capable.

To anyone who has not grown to an intimate knowledge of Christ, it can seem irrational or even impossible that one could thank Him for heartrending hardships, heartaches in the loss of a loved one, or a complete reversal of what you thought to be the perfect plan.

Nonetheless, when one disciplines himself/herself to become obedient to His way you will become invariably blessed, even though you may have to continue to live with those circumstances in which He has chosen to be best for you.

Since the Lord chose to bring my wife Home two years ago, I have learned that nothing opens my heart to the awareness of His presence more than total gratitude to Him for all that He has provided and allowed to come about in my life Shear Joy comes to my heart and the “sting” of adversity disappears as though another brighter light has been switched on in the room

When your mind is occupied with thanking Him, you have no time for worry and complaining. A constant focus on adverse circumstances will bring about defeat in your walk with Him.

Neglect of the daily “along the way” practice of Thanksgiving will darken your mind. What a sad situation that will be completely reversed with complete obedience to one lesson clearly given in The Bible, “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20

Thank You for reading. May it be a blessing to you as you seek to please Him.

Dan Snow

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