By Dr. David R. Reagan
Lamb & Lion Ministries
I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very blessed season of Thanksgiving!
During this Thanksgiving season are you counting your blessings? I hope so. We all need to be doing that. What do you consider to be your greatest blessing? Is it your health, your job, your family? What about spiritual blessings? Are you counting them? If so, what are they?
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year - a time of family, fellowship, and good food. I have many wonderful memories of family gatherings at Thanksgiving and I am sure you do, too. Personally, I believe that for a Christian every day of the year should be a day of thanksgiving. I have found over the years that a heart filled with thanksgiving is one of the best medicines for emotional and physical health.
Thankful for Material Blessings
I make it a point at least once a month if not more frequently to sit down and make a list of things in my prayer journal that I am thankful for. I sometimes spend as much as 30-45 minutes working on the list. And, in the process, I try to think about things that we tend to take for granted - things like pure water, electricity, air conditioning, a house to live in and a car to drive.
Did you know that 80% of all sickness in the world is attributable to unsafe drinking water? Did you know that if you keep food in a refrigerator, clothes in a closet, and sleep in a bed with a roof over your head, you are richer than 75% of the entire population of the world? Did you know that out of every 100 people in this world 18 struggle to live on less than one dollar a day and 53 struggle to live on two dollars a day?
We have so much to be thankful for in this country, and we tend to be so unthankful. We fret over the fact that we don't have a color TV set in every room, when most of the world lives without access to electricity. It's one of the reasons that I believe that every American teenager should be sent to live a couple of weeks in a third world country like Mexico just to see how most people in the world are involved in a daily struggle to merely survive. All of us in the United States should be living with an attitude of gratitude.
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Psalm 100 which is labeled with a superscription that says, "A Psalm of Thanksgiving." It is the only Psalm that bears such a label. And it says in part, "Shout joyfully to the Lord all the Earth, serve the Lord with gladness. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise." That is the attitude we should live with, even in tough times when things are not going smoothly for us.
Thankful for Salvation
The thing we should be most grateful for is the salvation that Jesus provided for us through His sacrifice on the cross for our sins. What a glorious gift! And, it is precisely that - a gift. The Bible teaches very clearly that the forgiveness of our sins is something that cannot be earned. It is a free gift of God through faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Have you ever thought about the fact that salvation by grace through faith is one of the things that sets Christianity apart from all other religions?
Every other religion in the world teaches the satanic concept of salvation through good works. Christianity alone teaches that one cannot be saved by good works. Our only hope is the righteousness of Jesus which is applied to us when we put our faith in Him. Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas has a wonderful way of putting it. He says, "Every religion in the world except Christianity is spelled 'D-O,' only Christianity is spelled 'D-O-N-E.'" In other words, Jesus did it all for us by sacrificing His perfect life for our sins.
Thankful for the Rapture
A second spiritual blessing I want to thank God for is one that is yet to take place. It is based upon a promise of God that can be found in John 14, 1 Corinthians 15, and 1 Thessalonians 4. It is called the Rapture of the Church. The apostle Paul describes the Rapture in detail in 1 Thessalonians 4 beginning with verse 13. When Paul finishes his explanation of it, he writes in verse 18, "Comfort one another with these words." The promise of the Rapture is supposed to be a source of great comfort to those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ.
Don't pass up this Thanksgiving season without accepting Jesus as your Savior. Remember to thank Him for His loving sacrifice on your behalf. Give praise for the great hope Jesus has given us, for we know that those who love Him will soon be gathered home to Heaven.
A theology of thanksgiving - WND (Greg Laurie)
How Complicated is Salvation? - BPB (Andy Woods)
A Thirsty world Needs Clean Water - Samaritan's Purse
What should be the focus of Christians on Thanksgiving? - GotQuestions.org
Rekindling the Gratitude - Grace to You (John MacArthur)