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Sunday, November 23, 2014 other day's devotionals

Today's Devotional Reading
ThanksGiving

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Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1Thes.5:16-18, KJV).

“In everything give thanks.” The New International Version says it like this, “give thanks in all circumstances.” Our first question may be, “What does that mean exactly? Surely we are not expected to give thanks for the bad things too--are we?” As hard as that is to hear--yes--we are to give thanks IN everything and IN all circumstances.

Consider the pilgrims. When we think about them what things come to mind. I’m not sure about you, but I often think of the hardships they faced trying to build a home in a foreign and often hostile land. I think about how so many lost their lives to disease, and I think about how little they had. It was all they could do just to carve out a living, so I imagine they seldom sat around on Saturday wondering what they could do for fun.

Even so, they were thankful. The were grateful that God had brought them as far as He had. They were grateful that God had provided for their needs. They could have chosen to contemplate their hardships and blame God for what seemed to be difficult circumstances, yet they chose instead to throw a feast in God’s honor--A sincere demonstration of their gratitude for what God had given.

We have so much to be thankful for today. In most cases, we have more than enough. And if it was not for our desires for nice things, comfort and entertainment, we would probably have enough wealth left to support at least one more family, if not more. It would seem however, that most of us do not see ourselves as rich. Maybe not compared to millionaires. Yet shall we compare ourselves to the families in third-world nations who make do in small, one room shacks, who do not have luxuries of running water, sewer systems and electricity--things that we take for granted everyday. Compared to those people, we are very wealthy.

But what shall we do with our wealth? A rich young man came to Jesus and asked Him, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus talked with him briefly and then finally said to the man, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The scripture explains further that, “When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God’" (Matthew 19:16-26).

It is a strange but often true occurrence, that those who seem to have very little are truly thankful for what they have and rejoice in knowing that God will provide their needs; while those who seem to have much often take for granted what they do have, want even more, and somehow forget that God is able to meet our needs. It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven--but not impossible. To whom much is given much is required, so we should consider that God has more for us to do with what we have than to pocket it and feel content that we do not have to go without.

True gratitude is something that will lead us to further action. For as give thanks to God for what we have, we may discover that we want to give back. Maybe even throw a feast and invite others to share in our bounty, to understand God’s blessing and to experience the true meaning of ThanksGiving.

Are we truly thankful? Or do we allow the desires of ‘more’ from this world consume us to where we are not grateful for what we have? One the other hand, perhaps we are truly grateful. If so, how do we show our gratitude to God?

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' "Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Matthew 25:35-40).

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