Thanksgiving Day, like so many things in our world today, is not immune from the controversies of the day. Perhaps, we can argue about the origins of this special day or purport to know what lay in the hearts of those who gathered on that first Thanksgiving. However, we can not argue that thankfulness is a principle that not only expands beyond any cultural and societal boundaries, but that is good for the human soul. There is simply something wise about having a thankful heart.
In the midst of a Civil War that threatened to rip the young nation of America apart, President Abraham Lincoln understood the value and wisdom of gratitude and thankfulness. While leading a country during a tumultuous storm, Lincoln decided to pause and give thanks.
Whatever storm you are facing today, don’t let it steal your heart of thankfulness. Without gratitude, we allow dangerous room for bitterness. Without thankfulness, we give way to envies and animosities.
In the Bible, God has a lot to say about the value and wisdom of thankfulness. Here are 7 verses that highlight thankfulness.
1. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
2. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 (ESV)
3. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and as, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28 (NIV)
4. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV)
5. Devote yourselves to prayer, with an alert mind and thankful heart. Colossians 4:3 (NLT)
6. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:4-5 (ESV)
7. Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1 (NIV)
The proclamation below, by President Abraham Lincoln, designates the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
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 Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. 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.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
How about you? What are you THANKFUL for this year?
May the Lord shine His favor on you. I pray your time with family and friends this Thanksgiving is overflowing with joy!
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The Devotional Guy™