Seven Thanksgiving Verses

Happy thanksgiving to all of  you!  Thank you for your prayers, for your encouragement, for your support and thanks be to God for His many blessings and His character of faithfulness and love!  I hope you enjoy these Thanksgiving verses as you celebrate this year!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever  (1 Chron. 16:34 NIV)

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Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

(Psalm 95:2 NASB)

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And in that day you will say,
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name.
Make known His deeds among the peoples;
Make them remember that His name is exalted.”
(Isaiah 12:4 NASB)

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I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And will glorify Your name forever.
(Psalm 86:12 NASB)

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Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
(Psalm 100:4 NASB)

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The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him.
(Psalm 28:7 NASB)
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I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your wonders.
Psalm 9:1 NASB

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!
To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Thanksgiving Devotions: Thank You For This Day

Every year, my daughters’ preschool teacher pulls the children aside individually and asks an important question:

What are you thankful for?

As a mom, I’ve grown accustomed to the tradition.  The week of Thanksgiving, I can check the bulletin board outside of the classroom and see what crazy thing popped out of my child’s mouth in that one moment with her teacher.

I think I’ve only ever had one year where a daughter was thankful for me.

Mostly, they’ve been thankful for loose teeth or funny things their dad does or some toy that I never see them actually play with.  This year, my girl was thankful for her stuffed animals.

Thanksgiving tends to highlight what’s important to us, usually family and friends more than toys, but still we’re motivated to be grateful at least one month, or week, or day out of the year.

Some of us start Thanksgiving journals and gratitude lists.  Others post daily Facebook status updates of what we’re thankful for this year (or sort of “daily updates,” more like once every few days with lots of catching up).

We’re sincerely excited to acknowledge the blessing and it’s beautiful in its season.

One of the things I love about my little girl, though, is that she isn’t just thankful for stuffed animals when the teacher pulls her aside for the annual preschool Thanksgiving assignment.

Every single time she prays, she begins with, “Dear God, thank You for this day.”

Mealtime prayers, bedtime prayers, prayers in June or in December, if it starts with “Dear God” and ends with “Amen,” she’s thankful for the day she’s had.  Time-outs, sadness, fights with her sisters, none of that can mar her thankful heart.

I’m reminded of Daniel, who prayed in a similar way in Babylon.  Despite exile far from his beloved Jerusalem and his family, despite political intrigue and plots against him, despite religious persecution and antisemitism, still Daniel prayed.

And he didn’t just plead and petition God for help in the midst of sorrow or stress.

He “knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10)

He prayed on his knees.  Three times a day.  Every day.  Not so everyone could see, but in a manner people could notice if they chose to look his way.

And he “gave thanks.”

That’s why King Darius knew there was hope for Daniel even after he was shut up in a darkened den of ravenous lions and locked in overnight.

The King trusted in the God “whom you serve continually” (Daniel 6:16, 6:20) and his trust was not misplaced.

Daniel’s faithful, day in and day out, no matter what the circumstances, continual determination to get down on his knees and give thanks to God was blessed in that moment.  God sent the angel to slam shut the jaws of the lions until Daniel could be lifted out of the pit unscathed.

It might seem that the miracle was the reason to give thanks, and that’s what King Darius did, issuing a proclamation of praise to the “Living God” of Daniel.

But Daniel had been giving thanks all along.

Thanksgiving is over this year.  We’ve feasted and visited family and friends.  We’ve probably thought and even shared what we’re thankful for this year.

But I don’t want to just be a once-a-year grateful girl.

I want to be thankful for this day and the next and the one after that, regardless of the circumstances or annoyances or even fears.

I want to make it a discipline and attitude and habit of mind and heart to give thanks to God, maybe three times a day, maybe 20 times a day.

I want people to refer to my God as the one “whom I serve continually,” not periodically, or seasonally, or around the holidays.

When they see the lions’ den, I want people to know my God can rescue and deliver.

Don’t you?

If that’s our true desire, then our first step is today.  When everyone else has finished the annual mantra of thanks and the turkey is reduced to leftovers and others have moved on to Christmas lists and shopping, we make a choice to be thankful.

Today we choose to pause and give praise, give specific thanks, notice God at work and drop our head for a whispered moment of gratefulness.  We choose to look past the obvious and the bothersome or scary, to see reasons to thank Him “for this day” every…single…day of the year to come.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

Thanksgiving Devotions: Bitter Ingredients and Pumpkin Pie

Almost all of my favorite Thanksgiving memories aren’t really of the feast itself, even though I still say it’s my favorite holiday.  Mostly I grow nostalgic for Thanksgiving Eve and the Wednesday night family baking sessions we had as a kid.

Some of our craziest family legends involve making the traditional chocolate meringue pie the night before the big day.

There’s something deeply relational about baking, whether it’s for someone or with someone.  I find myself even now telling stories as my daughters stir and imparting generational wisdom like: why the butter and sugar get creamed together first and how you have to pack down brown sugar when you measure it out.

Hugely important life lessons like that.

And maybe I learn something, too.

The last time we crowded around the table to make pumpkin pie, my oldest asked, “Mom, what does pumpkin taste like by itself?”

She thought it would be sweet heavenly golden goodness.  After all, this daughter and I share a passion for all things pumpkin—pies, breads, cookies and cupcakes.

But I knew the dark secret about pumpkin and I tried to warn her, “You can try it if you like, but just a small taste.  It’s bitter.”

She licked a tiny bit off her finger and made the appropriate “nasty” face.

How can something so incredibly delicious in everything we bake be so horrible on its own?

I pulled out the vanilla and she bravely tasted the tiniest droplet of that also, despite the grimace over the pumpkin.

Yup, vanilla doesn’t fair any better on its own.

She even smelled each of the spices before we measured them into the bowl.  It turns out that cloves, nutmeg and ginger are more potent than sweet and more pungent than enticing.

Photo courtesy of Viktor Janacek, picjumbo

Photo courtesy of Viktor Janacek, picjumbo

The eggs were runny, sticky and gross.

The salt was…well, salty.

All in all, it was utterly mystifying when we finished stirring and I handed her the spoon to lick, which she popped into her mouth with a muffled, “Yummmmm.”

The truth about baking is the truth about life.  We have a reason to be thankful for every ingredient, even the ones that seem too bitter or salty or potent to turn into anything mouth-watering and delicious.

As Christians, most of us have not only heard Romans 8:28 a million times, we’ve probably quoted it a few thousand times ourselves:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28 NKJV).

You may have even just skimmed through that verse just now because you’ve heard it so often and know it so well.

And yet, we tend to emphasize the “for good” part of this verse, which means we could be expecting instant pumpkin pie when life hands us a can of Libby’s pumpkin.

That job you lost, how can that be for good?

That time of sadness, that mourning, that separation and grief, the broken relationship and the conflict…..tastes so bitter.  It doesn’t seem possible for any of it to be “for good.”

Philosophically, we know the deal.  We’ve heard the sermons.  Maybe one day we’ll see how God turned these times of sadness and stress into blessing.  Maybe it won’t be until heaven, but at least then we’ll be able to see the good that came from the ugly.

It’s a long, hard lesson, realizing that “for good” doesn’t necessarily mean “right now” or “without pain.”

But it’s true, of course.  There are eternal perspectives and long-term visions that we just can’t see from our limited, finite looking glass on circumstances so up-close and personal.

There’s something about this verse that we often overlook, though.  God isn’t just working “for good,” He’s doing it so that “all things work together.” The good comes from the mixing of ingredients, the pooling together of the circumstances into one beautiful wholeness—His plan and will for Your life.

Rick Warren says it this way:

“The events in your life work together in God’s plan.  They are not isolated acts, but interdependent parts of the process to make you like Christ….If you will give God all your distasteful, unpleasant experiences, he will blend them together for good” (The Purpose Driven Life, p. 195).

I’ve had Thanksgivings where gratitude came easy, practically gushing out of me in response to blessing.

And there were years where thankfulness was a discipline of the soul, a determined trusting in God, a sacrifice of praise.

Regardless of whether this year is easy or harder for you, remember that the pumpkin, the eggs, the salt, the vanilla, the spices aren’t delicious on their own.  But trust–and give thanks–that God will bring everything together and it will be sweet and for your blessing and beyond what you could imagine.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

Thanksgiving Devotions: Secret Messages, Whispered Thanks

I wanted to write.
She wanted to paint together.
I sat down to answer emails.
She wanted to do puzzles together.
I vacuumed and washed and folded.
She dragged the Play-Doh bucket from the playroom so we could make pizza Play-Doh…together.

Writing projects, church projects, house projects, studying, filling out forms, answering emails, drafting letters, returning phone calls…I had my agenda.

And she had hers, as she handed me a game she couldn’t play on her own and asked for help.  Maybe we could do it together?

Somehow I managed to perform periodic cleaning sweeps through the house in between requests for “together” this or that.  We ate lunch at the school with her older sisters together (of course) and took a trip to the library after school with everyone.

Bedtime arrived and I kissed them all sweetly and patted their heads, read the book(s), prayed the prayer and tucked them into beds.  Then I flopped down into the chair, glad that somehow the house had ended the day clean-ish so I could work on other projects now in my “free time.”

One brief moment of peace passed before I heard the sounds of fighting, ending in screams and tears.

Following that, the post-fight therapy with daughters began, about whether they are loved as much as their sisters, and how come she gets away with this and didn’t I hear the mean things she said?1corinthians1-4

That’s when my tears began.  Because even the time that’s supposed to be free really isn’t when you’re a mom.  Sometimes the whole idea of achieving balance seems like dreaming the impossible dream.  When you’re truly responsible for other people, little people whom you love completely and utterly, you’ll be emptied out over and over again.  Where’s the balance in that?

The truth is life isn’t about balance at all.  It’s about putting people first.

I can’t say that I’m ending this day feeling very accomplished or on top of things, but then usually the most important things in life can’t be crossed off a to-do list.

Yet, as we sat there having lunch at the school, my three-year-old climbed up in my lap and curled up tight.  Her breathing slowed and drew in deeper and deeper until her head flopped forward into the crook of my arm.

I scooped her up, carried her to the car and then into the house after the drive.  If it’s possible for a tiny girl to coo, she did when I settled onto the sofa with her in my arms.

Then I whispered into her ear what I’ve said to my children hundreds of times since their birth: “I love you and I’m so thankful to God that He let me be Your mom.  You are God’s great gift to me.”

Sometimes I’m telling that to wiggly daughters who have zoomed by me in their dash from the kitchen to the bedroom.  I’ve reached out my hand, pulled them close and told them the secret message again and again.

Other times, I’m whispering it to sobbing girls, upset, angry, hurt or feeling unloved.

“I’m thankful to God for you.”

We all have people who need to hear those words from us: Teachers, friends, moms, sisters, dads, children, mentors, caregivers, coworkers, husbands….

Paul teaches us this in his letters to the churches.  He writes with encouragement and challenges, correction, doctrine, and personal testimony, but also with thanks for the very people reading these words.

To the Corinthians he wrote: “I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:4).

To the church at Thessalonica, he said: “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 1:2-3).

So often, we skim through the beginning and end of Paul’s letters, rushing through the personal notes so we can dig into meaty questions of doctrine and theology.

But people mattered to Paul. That’s clear when you actually read his thoughtful recounting of the service, ministry, teaching, faithfulness, and generosity of individual people and the church as a whole.

Even when he was tired out from ministry and abandoning his own plans or agenda in order to jot off a letter to a beloved church in need, Paul always took the time to say, “I thank God for you.”

During this week of Thanksgiving, don’t just post a Facebook status thanking God for your husband and kids.  Don’t be satisfied with saying just one word of gratitude before you pass the turkey and mashed potatoes.

Tell others how thankful you are for them here and now.  That’s more important than anything else on your agenda for the day.

Who needs to hear you say, “I’m thankful for you” today?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King