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November 26, 2019

THE GEORGIA THANKSGIVING DEVOTIONAL - 26 November 2019

Thanksgiving Day is an integral competent of the express culture and life of the American people. Of course, for Christians, one day a year to give thanksgiving to God for all his blessings is far from satisfactory. Scripture exhorts every Christian to make music in his or her heart, “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Eph 5:19-20).

Always giving thanks is a distinctly Christian standard for living. The reason is that the word “thanksgiving” is literally the idea of the good grace (Gk. eucharistia) of God. The natural person is void of the grace of God, and consequently does not honor God or give thanks to Him (Rom 1:21). Having experienced the free and sovereign regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, the Christian expresses faith in Christ and repentance to God, and lives as one enraptured with a life of gratitude and humility by “always giving thanks” to God. A life of thanksgiving is truly exalting of God, or literally “giving thanks . . . to God, even the Father.”

The Christian life is that of thinking and thanking. “To think” in the old Anglo-Saxon language was seen also in thanks; literally, thinkfulness is thankfulness. A life of thanksgiving is always a witness to the saving work of Christ. Thanks to God is given “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Christians are only able to approach God boldly because of the redemptive work of Christ on their behalf.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the crowning thought of thanksgiving. Genuine thanksgiving is confession, and living with Jesus Christ as Lord of one’s life. Living a life “always giving thanks” demands the Christian “be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:15-16). Scripture exhorts every believer to give thanks “for all things.”

The days of this life are filled with dangers and deceptions; therefore, God’s people need to rely upon divine wisdom and use time wisely (Eph 5:15-16). The will of the Lord is for his people to live carefully and cautiously by living consistently with the wisdom of his Word (5:17). As opposed to being “drunk” (which would include any drugs that stupefy), the Christian is to “be filled with the Spirit” (5:18; cf. Col 3:16). The believer determines the will of God, and how to obey and serve the Lord by the Holy Spirit’s enablement.

Ephesians 5:19-21 indicate four participles — “speaking,” “making melody” (music), “giving thanks,” and being “subject” (submitting) — that modify the verb “be filled” in verse 18. The first two participles suggest the important of Scripture and music to be filled with (or by) the Holy Spirit. A thankful attitude is the third characteristic of being filled, and the final characteristic is submission (obedience and respect) to authorities, whether internally-earned authority (Gk. dunamis) or an externally-conferred authority (Gk. exousia) (cf. 5:33; 1 Pet 3:1-6).

As one lets the Word of God dwell richly with him or her (Acts 13:52; Eph 5:18; Col 3:16), he or she understands the will of God. The Holy Spirit applies God’s truth to one’s life, and as the believer is yielded in obedient stewardship, allowing his or her life to be governed by the truth, he or she experiences God’s empowerment and enablement. Whatever experiences life may bring, the grace of God compels believers to express hearts and minds filled with thanksgiving. As the old hymn teaches: “Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done; Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

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