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Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thess 5:18)

Someone has said, “The most intense moments of thankfulness are not found in times of plenty, but when difficulties abound.” It was that attitude that led Abraham Lincoln to proclaim the first official Thanksgiving Day in the midst of our country’s civil war.

Some people simply do not know how to give thanks.  The London Times reported this story several years ago:

Thousands of letters sent each year to God end up in a sorting office in Jerusalem. According to the Associated Press, the letters arrive from all over the world in the city’s undeliverable mail department. “We have hundreds of thousands of letters sent either to God or Jesus Christ, and for some reason they come to Jerusalem,” said post office spokesman Yitzak Rabihiya.

In one letter an Israeli man asked God for 5,000 shekels ($1,000), to ease his poverty. Postal workers were so moved that they sent him 4,300 shekels.

“After a month, the same person wrote again to God,” Mr. Rabihiya explained, “but this time he wrote, ‘Thank you, God, for the contribution, but next time please don’t send it through those postmen. They’re thieves; they stole 700 shekels’.”

In the classic story, “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” the Grinch expects cries and wailings after he steals all the village gifts and even food.  Instead he hears them singing a Christmas carol.  And he learns, “Christmas resides not in things but in the heart which is thankful.  He could not steal their gratitude.”1

In Joe Batten’s book, Tough Minded Leadership, he says that gratitude is “highest form of mental and spiritual health.”   It creates humility.  I defy you to maintain pride while thanking God.  It also produces generosity and overcomes discouragement.

But most of all it leads to praise which honors God.  In the last book of the Bible when God’s great plan is coming to its conclusion these word reverberate through all creation: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.”  (Rev. 11:17)

My prayer for you and me is for a grateful heart.

1Brett Blair, http://www.eSermons.com, November, 2003

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