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We happen to live in a country where, once a year in the fall, a day of "thanksgiving" is observed. It is appropriate that we have such a day to remind ourselves of how blessed we are. No nation has ever prospered as we have. And since we tend to forget our blessings and take them for granted, it is helpful to set aside a day to remember to be thankful.
But being thankful -- truly thankful -- is more than a matter of words. In both word and deed, we should be thankful for God's blessings. It should be apparent by the way we conduct our lives every day of the year that we appreciate God's goodness. Paul wrote, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Col. 3:17).
Are we thankful for our families? Let's show it by treating them more lovingly. Are we thankful for our material possessions? Let's be good stewards of them by using them in the Lord's work. Are we thankful for our city and state and nation? Let's do something about it by working as active citizens for the betterment of our communities and the preservation of our freedoms. Are we thankful for our friends? Let's demonstrate it by being a better friend to them. Are we thankful for the gospel? Let's prove it by sharing it with everybody around us.
Perhaps it is not going too far to say that every sin we commit is a failure of gratitude in one way or another. If we could properly keep in mind the blessings of our Creator and be adequately thankful for them, we would never want to violate His will.
Without a doubt, the greatest blessing God ever gave us was the gift of His Son. Lest we forget to be grateful, God has given us the Lord's Supper. Today, as we partake of the Supper -- and throughout this week -- let's meditate on God's grace in the giving of so many good things. May we be determined more than ever to give ourselves back to God in grateful obedience and service. Let's show that we mean what we say when we offer thanks, such that outsiders may look at us and be moved to say, "Now there is a thankful group of people!"
Monday: Hebrews 13:10-16
Key Idea: In Christ, thanksgiving and praise are the sacrifices we offer to God.
Questions for Family Growth: In vv.10-13, what comparison or analogy does the writer make? In v.15, what does the writer say we should "continually offer up" to God? How do we do that? According to v.16, what kind of sacrifices is God pleased with?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 14:33.
Tuesday: Romans 1:18-21
Key Idea: It is very dangerous to cease being thankful to God.
Questions for Family Growth: According to v.20, if people live in sin is it because they have no way of knowing about God at all? In v.21, what does Paul say sinners fail to do, even though they "know" God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 14:34.
Wednesday: Luke 17:11-19
Key Idea: We should remember to express our thankfulness, even if no one else does.
Questions for Family Growth: In this story, what miracle did Jesus perform? According to vv.15,16, what did one of the lepers do? What is the significance of the fact that this man was a Samaritan? Why do you think the others did not do what this man did?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 14:35.
Thursday: Matthew 18:21-35
Key Idea: Being thankful for God's forgiveness will make us more forgiving of others.
Questions for Family Growth: What question did Peter ask of the Lord, and what was Jesus' answer? Would you say that the servant who would not forgive his fellow servant was ungrateful to his master? Why so? What happened to him as a result?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:1,2.
Friday: 1 Corinthians 15:9,10
Key Idea: The more thankful we are, the more enthusiastically we will labor in the Lord's work.
Questions for Family Growth: Why was Paul especially thankful to be a Christian, a preacher, and an apostle? What did he say about God's patience in 1 Tim. 1:16? How did he show his gratitude for God's grace? What did Paul say that we should do in 1 Cor. 15:58?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:3.