“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4, NKJV).
Thanksgiving is more than simply a nationally recognized holiday, where the highlights are a feast fit for a king and a day of napping through football in the throes of an intense food coma; it is so much more. Thanksgiving is an expression of gratitude to God for all His many blessings and for what He has in store. God loves gratitude. He loves praise and thanksgiving; not because He is insecure or demands it for His own edification. He loves a cheerful heart willing to offer praise and thanksgiving, particularly in the dark seasons of life because it reflects an attitude of faith. And faith pleases God.
When someone is willing and able to smile and lift their eyes to Heaven in the midst of trouble, they are saying, in essence, “God, I know You love me, and this season will pass. I will be okay because You are there, and You will provide for me.” A thankful heart is a heart of faith that can move mountains or unlock prison doors.
Acts 16 records the account of the Apostle Paul and traveling companion, Silas, in prison; their feet in stocks; having been whipped and beaten, they lay in a cold, damp, musty prison cell. They have every reason to complain. “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were loosed.” (Acts 16:25-27, NKJV).
Everyone’s chains were loosed! Think of it. It would’ve been a notable miracle, had only Paul and Silas been freed, but all the other prisoners were released as well. Thanksgiving is contagious; it is a witness to others that something is different about you. Had they complained, their story certainly would’ve ended very differently.
“And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!’ (Numbers 14:2, NKJV). Perhaps you are familiar with the story of the twelve spies sent to spy out the land the Lord was giving to Israel. The spies went in and found their way around for forty days. They saw giants in the land and brought back some of the fruit that grew there. It was a place of abundance; a land flowing with milk and honey. But ten of those spies could only remember the giants. “We’re too small!” “They’ll crush us like bugs!” “Why did you bring us to die in this desert?” Sadly, all those who complained, including those who listened to the bad report never reached the Promised Land and died in the wilderness.
I encourage you today. Life could always be worse. Rather than complain out of fear that it won’t get better, give thanks to God that He has a better plan for you.
Thanksgiving is the key to your breakthrough!
Rob Granger and his wife, Becky, serve as Executive Pastors of Grace Church San Marcos under Senior Pastors Brian and Melissa Bauer. Located at 855 E. Barham Drive, San Marcos, Grace San Marcos meets at 10 a.m. Sundays and 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays with meetings for youth, children and other groups scheduled throughout the week. Visit www.gracesanmarcos.net for further information.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.