A Heart of Thanksgiving
New Hope For Adopted International Kids
A Heart of Thanksgiving
The harvest is full and the day of Thanksgiving is coming soon. This
is a special time when we can celebrate together as families for all
the blessings we have enjoyed over the last year. In the Bible we are
told to have hearts of thanksgiving all through the year. “Enter into
his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be
thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Ps 100:4. Thanksgiving and
praise in our hearts is a key to victorious Christian living.
Thanksgiving is released from a heart filled with praise to God,
trusting every situation unto Him. God loves a heart of thanksgiving
and warns about grumbling and fretting. Ps 37. Grumbling comes easily
while thanksgiving is difficult in hard times. Thanksgiving at times
require a sacrifice of praise. “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of
thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.” Ps 116:17.
Years ago our home had pipes break under the kitchen cabinet and it
flooded the whole downstairs. We cleaned up the mess, and walked
through getting it all back together again over a three month period
of time. A few months later, during the night, I awoke to hear water
running downstairs. I stepped off the last stair into our living room
flooded. Feeling overwhelmed I raised my hands in the air to Jesus and
began to praise him. As I did that the heavy burden of the situation
was lifted and I had the victory. Heb 13:15. God uses trials of praise
to mold us into mature Christians.
The sign of a heart of thanksgiving is to have true gratitude in all
situations. I Thess 5:18. The Bible in James 1:2 commands that we
should “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various
trials.” Paul says in Romans 5:3 that “we exult in our tribulations.”
There is an interesting fact to note, you cannot complain and rejoice
at the same time, but you can rejoice and give thanks at the same time.
For some who have lost loved ones Thanksgiving Day can be a
challenge. Our oldest son passed away three years ago; very close to
Thanksgiving Day. As we approach this Thanksgiving Day my heart misses
him, yet I am thankful that our son Nathan is enjoying Heaven with
Jesus. Our great loss is Heaven’s great gain. It is not always easy to
give thanks, but this is what we must to do in order for God to work
in our lives.
Our forefathers knew the value of a thankful heart. In July of 1623,
the first colonists who came to America were critically low on food.
For months they had been expecting a ship with supplies and additional
settlers to arrive. They were discouraged, and their joy turned into
mourning. They prayed and fasted and their answer came when Captain
Myles Standish returned from the north with the good news; the
supplies and new colonists were safe, and on their way. They all
rejoiced and gave thanks to God.
The first winter at the small settlement in Plymouth was harsh.
William Bradford was chosen to take Carver’s place as governor after
his death. Bradford wrote, “Forty seven out of the 102 that had left
England that previous September were now dead” including Bradford’s
wife. Almost half of the Mayflower’s crew of 50 had also died.” The
first Thanksgiving Day was begun with a prayer service and every
Sunday they continued to meet to give thanks to God, even in the worst
times. The pilgrims carried hearts of Thanksgiving to America.
Even earlier than the colonists we find a call to all lands to thank
God in Psalms 100. “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the lands!
Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we
are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with
thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him, bless
his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.”
It is God who has made us, and not we ourselves, and He that made us
maintains us, and gives us all good things richly to enjoy. Above all
the nations on earth, America has been richly blessed. As we walk the
path of the upward call, let our mouths speak thanksgiving and praise
to release the fragrant aroma of Jesus Christ to the lost souls around us.
In England, The Duke of Wellington, the great British military leader
who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo stated that he missed learning the
secret of praise during his lifetime. It is a great accomplishment to
learn to praise God in all situations and to release thanksgiving in
In 1999 when arrest seemed close in China, I praised, fasted, prayed
and wrestled with God, “Lord, if I am arrested I possibly will never
see my family again, nor my homeland, nor be able to complete the
mission I thought you sent me to China for; which was the adoption of
a special little girl.” Quietly I drew near to Jesus, and I saw in His
word, Hebrew 13:5-6, “I will never leave you nor forsake you…The Lord
is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
Early the next morning as I prayed the milling of the police around
our area cleared, and a few days later I found the little girl God
sent me to China to find. Because of special help from believers I was
able to begin the adoption process to bring her home, even before
Returning in November that year from China Thanksgiving Day took on
new meaning for me. Never again would I take for granted the gift of
living in a land where we are free to worship and believe in God. That
experience gave me an appreciation for the original colonists and
their input into this country. I was and still am thankful for that
great gift in my life.
A thankful heart is a key to your life. It turns impossible
situations and walks you into the possible. It changes you, your
outlook, and your outward look. There is great power that can be
released through a thankful heart. “And let the peace of God rule in
your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye
thankful.” Col 3:15 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks
in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thess 5:16-18. He gives us the victory through praise!