Thanksgiving week is upon us, Thanksgiving is an American
tradition where we acknowledge all that we’re thankful for.
It’s become a tradition that many people don’t
realize that it was natural in the days of the Pilgrims to have a day of
Thanksgiving after a harvest, it was a custom to give thanks to GOD for their
blessings. So much was it custom for people to recognize where their bounty
came from that during the Civil war, Abraham Lincoln instituted Thanksgiving as
national holiday. Below is part of the Proclamation that President Lincoln wrote when he issued our national observation of Thanksgiving day:
"The year that is drawing towards its close,
has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To
these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the
source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so
extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the
heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out
these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who,
while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered
mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly,
reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the
whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part
of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are
sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of
November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who
dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the
ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings,
they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and
disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows,
orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are
unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty
Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be
consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony,
tranquillity and Union."
What I love about Thanksgiving, is so many people publicly
acknowledge what they are thankful for, even on Facebook, people have been
posting everyday a different reason for their thanks. Being thankful is so
important, when we stop and give thanks we are no longer focusing on our
problems, situations, issues or anything negative that we are experiencing.
Instead our focus is now on, what we have received as a blessing, and when your
focus is on the positive your heart is able to be enlarged.
When we give thanks, we allow our hearts to soften and not
harden. If you’ve read my devotions before, you've read about the dangers of hardening your
I quoted my Pastor on my
Facebook page, Stir Me Up Lord
, "When you have confidence in GOD, you
focus on the potential and not the problem". When we focus
on GOD; our thanksgiving will increase, when we acknowledge GOD as our source,
when we give HIM all the praise and thanksgiving that HE deserves, that’s how and when
everything falls into place. I love the Message translation of 2 Corinthians
9:8-9, “God can pour on the blessings in
astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than
just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws
caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His
right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.”
“Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.”
(Psalm 107:21-22 NLT).Here the Bible tells us to offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, a
sacrifice means giving up something of value. The ‘value’ means that our
thanksgiving is of ‘value’ to HIM. The fact that we are ‘giving up’ something
is the part where it’s not easy on our part, which makes it all the more valuable
to GOD. When we stop and give thanks to GOD, we are acknowledging HIM, we are
putting our focus on HIM, and we are giving our time to HIM.
When our hearts are hardened we are no longer able to give
thanks, we begin to have the mindset that everything we have is of our own
merit and our own hard work.
is negative, unable to see the light in any situation. We begin to become
callous and stiff, unable to see the good, instead we start focusing on the bad
and develop a poor attitude towards life and everyone around. We think we are owed;
that we deserve this or that, to the point where giving anything, much less offering
thanks becomes almost impossible.
There is only one incurable condition in the whole Bible; that is the heart
that has become so hardened that it will no longer listen, it is full of rebellion,
stubbornness, and self-righteousness. Pharaoh was a good example of a man so
full of himself and his pride; he refused to listen to any wisdom or counsel.
How many plagues were set upon Egypt and he kept his heart hardened, Exodus
8:15 “But when Pharaoh saw that there was
relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the Lord had said
Each time a plague was delivered, Pharaoh would tell Moses that he would let
his people go if GOD would stop the plague, GOD would end the plague and
Pharaoh would forget the ‘source’ of his relief and go back on his word.
Pharaoh was seeing miracles, he would even admit that the events were from GOD
himself, and yet he would stiffen his neck, rebel against all that he saw and believed, yet still he refused to obey GOD.
This constant hardening of his heart, led to
Pharaoh’s destruction, “He who is often
rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without
(Proverbs 29:1 NKJV)
The key to being tenderhearted is thanksgiving, if we are
continually thanking GOD we are keeping our hearts pliable, moldable, and we
are able to enlarge our hearts for GOD. “Therefore,
let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming
our allegiance to his name.” (Hebrews 13:15) I’ve written before on this
verse and the act of sacrifice, but right now I just want to point out that we
are to ‘continually’ offer thanksgiving of praise to GOD. Continually, means we are always offering thanksgiving,
not just once a year, or even just at meal times (saying grace).
A good start to continually
giving thanksgiving, is to practice this, Psalm 119:164 (MSG), “Seven times each day I stop and shout
praises for the way you keep everything running right.”
My pastor’s wife, said when she started doing
this, at first it wasn’t natural to her to do this seven times a day, but after
a while it became habit and just second nature for her.
Today is my first day to undertake this task,
they say after 21 days most people are able to form a habit from a routine, so
hopefully I will be posting that in 21 days the results of my new ‘habit’. If
you are not in the habit of always thanking GOD (not just when things are going
right, but during the typical day to day activities, and even the tougher
times), would you consider joining me in giving thanksgiving to the Lord seven
times a day?