Thanksgiving 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.
— WILLIAM ARTHUR WARD

In our consumer-driven culture, it is so easy to become fixated on all that we feel we lack.

  • Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day. 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day.
  • 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty.
  • 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat.
  • More than 750 million people lack adequate access to clean drinking water. Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842,000 people every year globally, or approximately 2,300 people per day.
  • 1/4 of all humans live without electricity
  • Oxfam estimates that it would take $60 billion annually to end extreme global poverty. Americans spent $655.8 billion on Black Friday last year. This Friday, estimated sales are expected to reach $682.0 billion.

It’s only in America that we can have a day set aside to celebrate all that we have and then run out after dinner to stand in line to buy things we don’t.

Today, I want to help remind us how rich we really are and how much we have to be thankful for.

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.
— RALPH WALDO EMERSON

We're Thankful For...

1. God's Enduring Love

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. -Psalm 107:1
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39

It gives us great confidence and hope to know that the love of our Heavenly Father is never-ending.

2. God's Provision

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. -James 1:17

When we fail to recognize God’s provision, we will struggle with contentment. We’ll be tempted to short-circuit the work God is trying to do in our life.

3. God's Sovereignty

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! -Psalm 95:1-6

Control is something that American’s have a love/hate relationship with. We love to be in control and hate when we’re not! Yet, there comes a time in our lives when our worlds seemed flipped upside down. It should fill us with gratitude and confidence that our God is bigger than our situations.

4. God's Good News

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones! -Psalm 105:1-6

When we think about spreading the Good News of God and what He has done for us, it is important to reflect on the story of the Bible and the many promises God made to His people from the beginning of time – and the marvelous ways He kept those promises by sending Jesus.

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! -Romans 5:8

Our Response

"...addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" -Ephesians 5:19-20

Ephesians 5 provides a beautiful picture for how we should celebrate Thanksgiving! As we gather and give thanks with our family and friends, let’s also remember to give thanks to God. God is in everything, all the time – and we can give thanks to Him always and for everything!