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Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2008

November 27, 2008, Wheaton, Illinois

Thanksgiving Day, American Holiday

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Luke 17:11-19, NIV

Question: Am I expressing gratitude right now?

There are many things we can bring into our lives, some good and some bad. Our choices range from the darkest thoughts of the human soul, to substance abuse, to Christ and the Word of God. But what we bring into our lives we also bring into the lives of those around us, our families, our friends, our colleagues. We can introduce lustful thoughts to our social environment, or painful betrayals, anger, animosity, bitterness, or we can introduce love, joy, peace, things associated with the Spirit.

Of all the things we can allow into our hearts and introduce into our surroundings, gratitude is one of the most beneficial. A grateful person stands out from others as positive, encouraging, hopeful, always looking on the bright side. When you need someone to brighten your outlook and to give you that spark of inspiration that there is a way out of a problem, you go to a grateful person, not to a complainer. Grateful people enjoy not only a better outlook in all of life for themselves, but they enjoy the privilege of making a positive impact on the world as a whole, especially among other believers. Gratitude is not only a duty to perform but it is faith expressed, that as God has been good to us in the past, so he will bless us in the future.

Gratitude is not something we can plan to do, we must do it in the present tense. Are you grateful right now for what God has done for you? Have you expressed it to him and shared it with others? Have you stopped to say “Thank you” to family and friends and for those who have made a difference in your life. I am not speaking of just the social courtesy we express to one another, but do you truly mean it? Someone has helped you lately and they did it unselfishly and are probably not expecting you to do anything for them, but a simple expression of your gratitude would mean so much to them.

The ratio today is probably about the same as in Jesus’ day, only one in ten stop to say “Thanks”. But you and I can be part of that ten percent, who stop to thank God and others, who pass on a blessing of hope and grace. Thanksgiving is not only a duty to perform but it is faith expressed, that as God has helped us in the past, he will help us in the future.

Lord, we are grateful to you for your goodness and how you have met and continue to meet our physical and emotional needs. And greater still, you bless us spiritually with your presence in our lives, with your truth in our minds, and with your hope in our hearts. We thank you for these, and more, for friends, family, provision, forgiveness, hope, restoration, protection, Your Word to instruct us, our Christian heritage, our national leaders, and most of all for Christ Jesus. We trust that we have not just been lucky but blessed, and believe you will continue to be faithful to us. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Evening Devotionals