Do you find it tough to find something to be thankful for this year?

If we remember that the Pilgrims suffered through a lot of hardship, making seven times more graves than homes, we too can practice the attitude of gratitude. Thankfulness is a choice.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 reminds us “to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” That means that it’s not only possible, but in fact, if we want to follow God’s will, then it’s necessary to give thanks. If we pause to think, we’ll have cause to thank. Here are my “Top 10 Reasons to Be Thankful” this Thanksgiving season.

10.  I’m thankful that the men and women who founded our nation did so on their knees and with a sense of divine calling. I’m thankful for the freedoms we have to worship when believers from some countries face relentless persecution.

9.  Though I’m a cheesehead from Wisconsin, I can think of no place I’d rather live than the Quad Cities (we’ve been here for five months now). 

8. I’m especially grateful for how our church is partnering with a group of other churches to rebuild a church made up of refugees from six countries in Africa.

7.  I’m thankful to minister alongside a stellar group of other pastors and leaders at Edgewood Baptist Church and for the privilege of following a man who ministered faithfully in one place for 44 years.

6.  I’m thankful that God has always met my needs for food, clothing and shelter as I’ve tried to put Him first in my life (Matthew 6:33).

5.  I’m thankful for life itself, recognizing that every breath I take is a gift from God. This keeps me humble and mindful that I must live in order to leave a legacy.

4.  I’m thankful for a church that is filled with people who take both the Great Commandment (loving God and others) and the Great Commission (telling others the Gospel) seriously. I’m especially thankful that most of them stay awake during my sermons.

3.  I’m thankful for four beautiful daughters who have their mother’s good looks and personality. I’m thankful that they treat me like a hero even when I act like a zero.

2.  I’m thankful that God has allowed me to be married to my best friend. I still marvel that she said, “yes” to me. I’m thankful that she knows me better than anyone else, and yet still loves me. 

1.  I’m thankful for my college roommate who had the courage to challenge my beliefs and point me to the cross. I’m thankful for the relentless love and grace of Jesus Christ, who continues to shower His blessings on me. I’m thankful that Christ saved me from my sins and that I’ll spend eternity with Him, not because I deserve it but because I don’t. I’m thankful that He loves me just the way I am but loves me too much to let me stay that way.

More than 250 years ago, the famous Bible scholar Matthew Henry wrote these words in his diary after he was robbed of all the money he had:

Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, let me be thankful that although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed.

We can always find something to be thankful for, if we simply count our blessings. What’s on your top 10 list? Happy Thanksgiving!

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