As it has been for many of you, 2020 has been a difficult year for Nanci and me for many reasons. But the more difficult the year, the more we need to take time to focus on giving thanks and praising our God of grace. Proverbs 19:21 declares, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” We should thank God no matter what, trusting in His wisdom, goodness, and love.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes, “The person who has chosen to make gratitude his or her mindset and lifestyle can view anything—anything!—through the eyes of thankfulness. The whole world looks different when we do.”
A year ago Nanci was in the hospital having her first lung surgery, and I was able to bring her home Thanksgiving night. We are grateful beyond words for the three encouraging test results we got in the past week. “The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him” (Psalm 28:7).
Like some of you, it’s also tough for us not to be with some of our family in this season, though we’re grateful we can be with those who live nearby. I remind myself God has multiple purposes for COVID and the restrictions, as He does everything. And He truly will work it altogether for our good and His glory, just as He promises in Romans 8:28-29. So thankful for that!
As the stresses of life and our unique situations and losses press on us, here are eternal words to ponder and treasure that outweigh all temporary losses: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Hope you enjoy the following excerpt from my book It’s All About Jesus. God bless you, and may you have a Happy, gratitude-filled Thanksgiving.
Trusting our Sovereign King with heartfelt gratitude,
Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20 NIV
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:16-17 NIV
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
When we learn to read the story of Jesus and see it as the story of the love of God, doing for us what we could not do for ourselves—that insight produces, again and again, a sense of astonished gratitude which is very near the heart of authentic Christian experience. N.T. Wright
Our names are written in Heaven not because we were smart and strong and moral. Rather, “because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). In other words, Jesus became for us, and remains for us, what we could never be for ourselves. And that should overwhelm us with unending gratitude. Randy Alcorn
God is calling us to receive with thankful joy our Savior. He is calling us to join in the heavenly celebration, that we might be happy as he is glorified. God has come to us in Christ to bring glory to himself in the highest as he grants us peace here in our lives. What can we do but rejoice? Nancy Guthrie
Scripture commands us, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). Who is more excellent and worthy of praise than Jesus Christ? We should trace all secondary joys and pleasures back to him as we’d trace a sunbeam back to the sun. We should thank him and worship him, so that when we ponder and delight in every good thing he gives us, we’ll be thinking of and delighting in Jesus. Randy Alcorn
Jesus went without comfort so that you might have it. He postponed joy so that you might share in it. He willingly chose isolation so that you might never be alone in your hurt and sorrow. He had no real fellowship so that fellowship might be yours, this moment. This alone is enough cause for great gratitude! Joni Eareckson Tada
Just get to know Jesus… not who you want Him to be or who other people say He is. Get to know Him through the power of the Spirit as you study the Word. The more you get to know Him the more thankful you will be for Him. Deb Wolf
Help us not only to receive him but to walk in him,
depend upon him,
commune with him,
follow him as dear children,
imperfect, but still pressing forward,
not complaining of labour, but valuing rest,
not murmuring under trials, but thankful for our state. The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions
I am continuously grateful to Jesus, the Creator and Master Builder, who has paid the price of redemption and will one day completely fix all that’s broken and bring into full flower the New Heavens and New Earth, the home of relentless and unending happiness. Randy Alcorn