Tag Archives: Thankful

Why can we be thankful in 2021?

Hebrews 13 says, “Therefore let us offer, through Jesus, a continual sacrifice of praise to God proclaiming our allegiance to his name.”

A little boy was asked to say the prayer before a meal. He looked at the dish then said, “Lord, I don’t like the looks of it, but I’ll thank you anyway.” The little boy’s impression may have been that he wanted to “accidently” feed the dish to the cat, but he was thankful. We may not like the looks of life, but we still have reasons to be thankful.

Not liking the looks of life may especially hold true in 2021. There is no escaping that it has been a rough year. COVID19 has caused much difficulty. Its grip has caused anxiety, unsettled routines, financial hardships, and even worse – the pain of loss. Couple this with the usual cast of life’s seasons, and it has been a historically hard year. The looks of it may not be that appetizing. The original recipients of Hebrews could understand our perspective.

Hebrews was written to a group of Christians facing persecution. They were being told everything they heard and believed about Jesus was false. They needed to revert back to the Old Testament ways of worship. Heavy pressure was being applied in an attempt to force the believers away from Christianity. Life did not look appetizing for these folks, so the writer wanted to encourage them.

There are many reasons, the writer concludes, believers can continually be thankful. Notice the word continual. Thankfulness is not designed for just the good-looking seasons of life. It is also for the times that do not look good. There are always reasons to be thankful, even in 2021. Here are just a few.

Jesus is always the same.

Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever.” He is changeless.

  • The same Jesus who was with God the Father at creation is still with us.
  • The same Jesus who danced in the flames of the fiery furnace is still with us today.
  • The same Jesus who was willing to leave Heaven to help us is still helping us today.
  • The same Jesus that conquered sin and overpowered death still has his power today.
  • The same Jesus who was in control yesterday is still in control today, and he will be in control tomorrow.

Jesus is changeless. In an everchanging world, we can be thankful Jesus stays the same.

The Lord will not leave us.

No matter how bad things get the Lord will stay with us.

Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’ So, we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” God will always be there.

This applies to the easy times in life, and to the times when life looks grim. Perhaps a good place to see this is in Acts 7.

In its infancy, the church endured harsh persecution, and Stephen was one of those early martyrs. Acts 7 tells us Stephen was stoned because of his faith. More than that, it shows us where Jesus was during the stoning. Verses 55-56 say, “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to Heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see Heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Jesus wasn’t absent during Stephen’s stoning. He was present and encouraging Stephen.

This was a terrible time in Stephen’s life, and the Lord was there. He wasn’t absent or idlily watching from a distance. The Lord was right there – standing, encouraging, cheering, helping. In what can easily be considered the darkest moment in Stephen’s life, he could have confidence in the Lord. The Lord didn’t abandon him; the Lord was there with him.

There is not a great chance we will be stoned, but life can have some terrible moments. We can be thankful the Lord is there. He is there to bandage our spiritual wounds. He is there to help wipe our tears and heal our heartaches. So, we can say with confidence, “I will not fear. The Lord is my helper. Thankfully, he is always there.”

This life is only temporary.

Hebrews 13:14 reminds us this is not our permanent home. We are awaiting a world that is yet to come.

This verse serves as encouragement for us. No matter our current situation, we can truly say it is only temporary as this is not our permanent home. The struggles and difficulties this life brings do not last forever. They give way to something much better. They give way to Heaven.

While we don’t fully know what Heaven will be like, the Bible does tell us it will be a glorious place. There will be no pain, sorrow, or difficulty. Today’s struggles will be gone. There will be no pandemics or tensions caused by skin color. There will be no hurt or heartache. Rather, Scripture says there will be peace. The lame will walk, the deaf will hear, the blind will see. Heaven will be glorious.

Struggling today? Remember, this is not our permanent home. We are awaiting one that will be far better. And for this, we can truly be thankful.

We have life.

Finally, we can be thankful we have life. It may become messy at times, but the Lord has granted us life. “I have come that you may have life,” Jesus says in John 10:10, “and have it to the full.”

Someone has said, “Even though I clutch my blankets and groan when the alarm goes off, thank you for a new day. Even though I try to block out the light, thank you Lord that the sun rises. Even though I dread it, thanks God that I have the privilege of getting out of bed. Even though my family gets on my nerves, I’m thankful you blessed me with them.” We can be thankful the Lord has given us life.

Why are you thankful in 2021?

Someone has said, “Giving thanks is too often demoted to a secondary place in the prayers of Christ’s people. We are quick to make our requests and slow to thank God for his answers, because God so often answers our prayers, we come to expect it. We forget that it is only by his grace that we receive anything from him.” Why are you thankful this year?

2021 will undoubtedly be recorded as a hard year in world history, yet there are reasons we can give thanks. The Lord has blessed us in many ways, and for that, I am truly thankful. Why are you thankful in 2021?

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showing our thankfulness

Being thankful can display itself in many ways. Along with encouraging us to always offer thanksgiving, the writer of Hebrews suggests two ways we can show our thankfulness.

Hebrews 13:16 says, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others. For with such sacrifices, God is pleased.”

2 Ways to Illustrate Thankfulness

Doing Good

This is seeing how we can benefit the world around us and doing it. This is interjecting good in what we do every day.

In January 1925, a 6-year-old boy showed signs of Diphtheria. This signaled the possibility of an outbreak in the small town of Nome, Alaska. When the boy passed away a day later, Dr. Curtis Welch began immunizing children and adults with an experimental, but effective, vaccine. Dr. Welch’s supply was small and soon depleted. The nearest vaccine was located in Nenana. The towns were separated by 600 miles of frozen wilderness. A group of trappers and prospectors agreed to cover the distance with their dog teams running a relay from trading post and trapping station and beyond. One sled started from each town. Drivers ignoring the risk of frostbite, fatigue, and exhaustion. Braving the -50-degree winds for 120 hours, the relay team was able to deliver the vaccine to Nome. The result was the avoidance of a pandemic as only one other life was lost to the disease. The good deed of these individuals gave an entire town life.

To us, these men are heroes. To themselves, they may have just been doing what they did every day; braving the elements to accomplish the task at hand. Good comes in all shapes and sizes. It does not have to be headline grabbing to have a tremendous impact. What good can you do today?

Sharing with Others

Perhaps this is easier to picture. We have something that would benefit another person, so we share it with him or her. Money is obviously the first thing that comes to mind, but financially is not the only way we can share with one another.

One example of someone sharing what they have is the Hopkins family. The family has a Black Friday tradition of donating blood rather than shopping. “It’s a way to give back. I think a lot of times when we go shopping it’s for things that people want, but this something that obviously people need, so we feel privileged to be able to provide that,” said Mike Hopkins. The Hopkins family is sharing with their neighbors in a big way.

Doing good and sharing with others are just a couple ways we can live out our thankfulness to the Lord. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, what good can we do? What can we share with others? The Lord has been gracious to us, and we can illustrate our thankfulness through our actions.

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Giving Thanks

Many reasons to give thanks.

A husband had a habit of grumbling about the food his wife prepared for meals. He would grumble, then offer a prayer of thanksgiving. His pattern of grumbling then thanking was the same every day.

One day his young daughter asked, “Dad, does God hear our prayers?”

“Why yes,” the father replied.

The daughter continued, “Does God hear everything else we say?”

“Of course,” the dad said. He was bubbling with pride because he had inspired his child to ask spiritual questions.

His pride quickly turned to embarrassment and humility when the daughter asked, “Well, which one does he believe: your grumbling or thanksgiving?”

Blessings can come in all shapes and sizes, and Psalm 136 encourages us to give thanks to the Lord for all that he has done for us.

Verses 1-3 say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His faithful love endures forever.”

The Psalmist gives us some reasons to give thanks.

  • Give thanks for the mighty miracles God performs.
  • Give thanks for the beautiful creation surrounding us.
  • Give thanks to him for the freedom he brings.
  • Give thanks to him for the provisions he provides.
  • Give thanks to him for his past actions.
  • Give thanks to him for his present grace.
  • Give thanks to him for his grace and love. We are reminded 26 times the Lord’s faithful love endures forever.

With current events, it is easy to forget how many times we have been blessed, yet there is much for which we can be thankful.

Helen Keller said, “So much has been given to me that I have no time to ponder that which I don’t have.” There are many reasons we have to be grateful. Take time today to thank God for 10 of your blessings.

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What is on your grateful list?

Psalm 103 encourages gratefulness.

In the hustle of life, it is easy to forget the ways in which we are blessed. Good things might even become commonplace, so it is easy to forget to be grateful.

Not always, but sometimes in the busyness, you and I forget to be thankful for the good things in our lives.

Amid a storm, we also may forget. Everything around us is crumbling and falling, so it is hard to focus on what is good.

Psalm 103 encourages us to always be grateful.

David opens and closes the Psalm with this encouragement.

“Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me,” writes David in verses 1-2.

He says in verse 22, “Praise the Lord everything he has created, everything in all his kingdom. Let all that I am praise the Lord.”

Psalm 103 gives us some reasons to always be grateful.

We can all make a list of good things in our lives, and David offers a few suggestions for the list.

  1. The Lord’s forgiveness.
  2. The Lord’s help.
  3. The Lord’s dependable track record.
  4. The Lord’s character. Verses 8-11 say, “The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins. He does not deal harshly with us as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.”

Acting

What is on your list? Try making a list and giving thanks for it daily.

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Should we give thanks?

Psalm 92 reminds us it is good to give thanks.

Look around, and it is easy to find circumstances causing anxiety and fear. They seem to be everywhere; anxiety and fear seem to live on every street and lurk around every corner. It is easy to be consumed by circumstances.

Psalm 92 recommends we counterbalance our looks with thanksgiving.

“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High. Proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,” writes the Psalmist in verses 1-2.

Verses 4-5 go on, “For you make me glad by your deeds Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works Lord, how profound your thoughts?”

As we look around finding anxious and fearful circumstances, we can also find the marvelous work of the Lord.

  • The beauty and complexity of creation.
  • The Lord’s work in our own lives.
  • The promises we find in Scripture.

As we look around, it seems we have much for which to be thankful. We can awake each day assured of God’s love and go to bed each night thankful for his protection that day. It is good to give thanks.

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