During this month of November we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the United States.  It’s a custom handed down to us from the first Pilgrims who settled America.  But what about the rest of the year, is that the only day we are thankful to God for the grace given us, and maybe not even on that one single day?
   It’s no secret that every person has their own trials to bear.  In fact, ever since sin showed its ugly head in the affairs of mankind, the world has been full of problems.  There’s no escaping evil as long as we’re in this world.  But what we do when evil tries to have its way with us is what I’d like to focus on today.  It is written in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  Quench not the Spirit.  Despise not prophesyings.  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.
   So there we see it, right in the middle of whatever is going on in your life right now, give thanks.  Does that mean you’re to give thanks for the evil the devil is bringing into your life?  No, of course not, but it DOES mean to give thanks unto God even DURING the evil times, because He is your way out of evil.  Nobody in their right mind would thank God for cancer, yet when I had cancer, I thanked God during that awful time because His Word said in Psalm 103:2-3 said, Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases.  I literally thanked my way out of cancer, worshipping God for all His mercy, for the cancer was not His plan for me, but rather His healing.
    Far too many times we take the blessings of God for granted, maybe even thinking we’ve earned them.  But the heart that loves the LORD, not because He is the source of our blessing, but rather because He is God Almighty and He is worthy to be loved, that is the one that will be flooded with God’s blessings.  You know, it’s easy to love someone who is always doing something nice for you, and anyone can do that.  But what about loving the ungrateful?  Are you good at doing that?  I’m not as good at it as I should be, but God sure is.
   Looking back on my life, I can think of many times I’ve not been very lovable or thankful, yet God in all His mercy heaped His love and blessings upon me.  And day by day I’m learning to be more thankful.  Of course I’m thankful for the blood of Jesus that was shed for me that bought  my salvation and healing.  It’s the little, sometimes not real evident things I’m trying to be more thankful in, like having a wife that doesn’t hit me upside the head with a frying pan, though I’m sure she has felt like it sometimes.
   For example, are we thankful to have all our fingers and toes?  I know people who don’t have.  Are we thankful to be be able to stand, walk, and move freely?  Again, there are many who can’t do that.  Are we thankful to be living in freedom, and being able to travel where we please?  There are many places in the world where evil abounds and people do not have the freedom to do so.  We have so very much to be thankful for if we just stop to think about it.  Have you ever had to live homeless?  I did years ago, and it gave me a real appreciation for having a roof over my head today.
   And, I’m thankful for things people have done for me, like the soldiers in our Armed Forces who protect our freedom, and to the multitudes who have died to help keep our Nation free.  I’m thankful to those soldiers wounded in battle who defend us from evil, and to our Police and Firemen who risk their lives daily to serve and protect us. 
Most of all, I’m thankful to God for all He does for us every day, though we don’t deserve it, nor do we give Him the thanks and worship He is truly worthy of.  I’ve seen some really hard times in my lifetime, and yet the LORD in His tender mercy has helped me more times than I can count, and probably many times I’m not even aware He did anything.
   I’d really like to invite you to sit down today and quietly consider all the things you have to be thankful for.  In the daily rush of life, it’s easy to overlook the blessings we have been given, even to the point of taking them for granted.  And while you’re at it, earnestly thank the Lord Jesus for going to that cross for you.  I can’t even imagine the agony He had to suffer in order to pay for our sins, it’s more than I can wrap my little mind around.  The next time you’re the star guest at your own pity party when something goes wrong, instead of whining and complaining, start thanking God for everything you DO have that you DO want, and for the things you DON’T have that you DON’T want.  The reality of that will snap you out of “What about ME?”, and into the joy of the LORD.  It will give you an attitude of gratitude, everytime.
   And if you’re still lacking a thankful attitude for some reason, just think….you could be the Thanksgiving turkey!