This past Thursday millions of Americans gathered together with their friends and families and part took of massive turkeys, hams, and other delicious goodies.  Some have traditions that before they partake of that tasty meal to go around the table/room and mention the things for which they are thankful.  My first Thanksgiving here in Iowa was the 1st time I had the opportunity partake in this type of tradition and in memory of that, I would like to offer a few things for which I am thankful for.
I thank God for each and every wonderful spiritual blessing he has bestowed upon me.  I am thankful for his tender mercy in pardoning my worthless soul.  I am thankful that he was willing to forgive me for all the things I have done wrong in my life.  I am thankful for the fact that he allowed Jesus to live for me and to die for me.  And I am thankful that these blessing are not just extended to me, but also unto my family.  I am thankful that though my children will come to know the pains of sin that God is waiting there with open arms ready to forgive them.  I am thankful that they too have the hope of eternity waiting for them.
I thank God for each and every physical blessing he has given us in this land of plenty.  Talking to those that have lived, preached, etc overseas it reminds me of how well off we actually are here in the United States.  We often talk of how rough things are and how much uncertainty exists in our economy, but things could be much worse.  We could be living in shacks where typhoons are commonplace.  We could be living in caves, cardboard boxes, etc.  We could be living in a land where preventable and curable diseases are constantly taking the lives of our loved ones because health care does not exist.  I thank God that I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, and clothes on my back.  I thank him for granting these same privileges to my family and friends.
I also thank God for the church here in Grinnell.  This bulletin marks the end of the 3rd volume.  I have never created a 4th volume to any bulletin I have written.  I thank each of you of encouraging me (often times daily) to continue the good work.  I thank each of you for working with me (not against me or watching me work).  I thank you for being important to my wife and my kids.  And I thank both you  and God for allowing me to begin a 4th year with you beginning next Lord’s day.
And I thank God for the churches that support the work which we are doing here.  5 different churches besides the church here in Grinnell have supported me as I labor here among you.  I thank God that they have helped me not just financially, but by giving me the peace of mind that comes with knowing your bills are paid and your children do not go without. 
But most of all I thank God for reminding me daily of all these wonderful blessings.  If we are only thanking God once a year I promise you it is not enough.  If you can only think of things to be thankful for when a special holiday which bears that name rolls around, you have to be blinded to the great blessings that God has poured forth upon you.  It is interesting that Paul stated in Phil. 4:6 that in all our prayers where we ask God for aid, forgiveness, help, etc it is to include thanksgiving. 
“Be anxious for nothing, but  supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Brethren, God is not a genie.  We don’t rub a magic lamp and say, “Our Heavenly Father, hallowed be thy name” and automatically get what we want.  He is not to be addressed to just fill all of our wants and wishes.  Sadly, I think this is exactly what most people think of when it comes to our prayers.  And partly I understand.  We are frail creatures that are in dire need of his healing hand, we all face times of uncertainty and we want God to guide us through it, we all want the forgiveness of sins, etc.  In fact, if we were to give God a list of all our needs I am certain that it would be rather extensive.  But likewise, our list of thanksgiving ought to be equally extensive.
While we do not sing it often, there is a song in our song books entitled “Count Your Blessings.”  In this song it encourages you to name your blessings, one by one.  When we sing this song we encourage one another to do this.  Have you?  Have you named them one by one?  If not, then why not start today.  Go home, make a list of the things of which God has blessed you.  Then, spend the night thanking him for everything.
Brethren in seasons of distress and grief our souls can often find relief in focusing upon the blessings that God has blessed us with.  Brethren, genuine happiness (which blessed means) is a state of mind.  The blessed man focuses upon his blessings, not upon the trials and tribulations.             - WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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The Light
Volume 3 Issue 51   November 25, 2012