Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
On the last Thursday in November, some people will travel far and near to gather around the dining room table to have Thanksgiving dinner with family members and close friends.
This year Thanksgiving will not be as in years past. Because of COVID-19, life has changed for everyone. Truly, things are not like they used to be. During the last year and a half, many people have lost family members and friends. Therefore, some people might claim they have little or nothing at all to be thankful for.
In years past, people have mentioned they were thankful for their family, friends, jobs, and other good things that have happened to and for them during the year. Even though tragedies and hardships have impacted many families this year, the Bible teaches that there are still things to thank God for.
1. Thank God for Grace
You can and should always thank God for His grace.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Paul prayed three times for a thorn to be removed from his flesh. After God refused to remove the thorn, Paul came to the following conclusion concerning God's grace.
“And he said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
God's grace is still available for all of us just as it was available for Paul. We might recognize God's grace when things are going great in our lives. Let it be known that God's grace is still available even when we can't see any evidence of it. God is behind the scene working it out for our good.
2. Thank God for Good Plans
Thank God for the good plans designed just for you. Learn what the prophet Jeremiah knew.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
Apostle Paul knew that everything that happened to him was working together for his good according to God's purpose. We should know that as well if we love God and are called according to His purpose.
" And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
3. Thank God for His Presence
God reminded us many times throughout the Bible that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
In the Old Testament, God spoke encouraging words that He will always be with us.
"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." (Deuteronomy 31:6)
"And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed." (Deuteronomy 31:8)
That comforting reminder is also stated in the New Testament.
"Be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)
4. Thank God for His Joy
The Bible never said we will not have trouble. What it does say is that we can have joy, and we should thank God for it.
"For the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5)
"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." (John 15:11)
“We can have joy even in our troubles because we know that these troubles produce endurance. And endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” (Romans 5:3-4)
5. Thank God for His Inheritance
We might think about an inheritance from a family member. However, we do not often think about our inheritance from God.
The most precious gift of all is the priceless gift of eternal life that God has reserved for us.
"In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish." (1 Peter 1:3-4)
Jesus lets us know we don't have to wait for a place to stay.
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2-3)
Jesus gives us a very important invitation:
"Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)
There is always something to be thankful for no matter how bad things seem to be. We must hold onto our faith and hope for a better future.
No matter what we have lost in the past, we still have enough things left to be thankful for. They include, but are not limited to the following:
- God's grace
- God's plans for us
- God's presence that is always with us
- The joy of the Lord
- God's inheritance