Week 4: Thanksgiving

For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you. Indeed, everything is for your benefit so that, as grace extends through more and more people, it may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God. Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.

2 Corinthians 4:14-17

Devotional

This week, we will look at the “T” in “ACTS,” which stands for Thanksgiving. This is when you thank God for what He has done. Like adoration, thanksgiving helps to remind you of the things that God has done for you. It pleases God when you thank Him for the blessings He gives you. During thanksgiving, you show that you are attentive to the work that God is doing in your life, and that you are grateful. The below story will help you see what it means to be thankful.

A man named Patrick was born March 16, 1990 with a rare disorder that affected his brain as well as his body. In the hospital, the doctor told his parents that he wouldn’t live longer than six months. Unsatisfied with this diagnose, they sought another opinion. Another doctor found in Patrick’s body a healthy heart so he didn’t want them to worry about the deformities but rather be thankful for his strong heart. As time went on, His parents were very aware this could be his last day but they continued to thank God for what they called “Miracle Moments”.

Sometimes he went for days unable to keep food down but his mom would thank God that at least he didn’t have a fever. Patrick was unable to use words but his parents thanked God that he would make a grunt or a moan.  Some of the best moments were when he formed his lips into a slight smile. His parents thanked God so much for Patrick’s life that they didn’t dwell on his possible death. They kept an attitude of thanksgiving knowing when God called him home, he would be whole in His presence.

In the above passage from 2 Corinthians, Paul was under mental and physical persecution, trial, and suffering because of his faith in Jesus. However, he knew that it was temporary and helping to spread the gospel to more and more people. The way he endured encouraged others to be thankful. Paul knew that his physical body was going to die, but it didn’t matter since his inner being was growing in Christ. His outlook toward his conditions changed because his mind was focused on things eternal rather than temporal. Just as Christ was raised from the dead, he too would be raised into His presence when he died. As believers we can be thankful that this life is not our home, these trials will one day end, and in the presence of Christ we will eventually stand.

Paul continually teaches us that one surprising aspect of thanksgiving is that it’s for all circumstances, not just one big meal a year. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Giving thanks in all circumstances is especially difficult while undergoing suffering. So how can we be thankful when there’s something that hurts so much? We can give thanks in the midst of suffering because it is meant to enlarge our faith in God.


Discussion Questions

  • How can you live life differently in light of the story we read above?

  • What are some ways you are thankful to God today?


Prayer

Lord, help us to be thankful during the hard times and give us the grace to recognize the miracle moments where you are at work in our lives. Allow our thanksgiving to be a witness of the power of the resurrected Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you for what you have already done in our lives. Thank you for your faithfulness in keeping promises in our lives. Help us live with a thankful heart. Amen.


Song

My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness
by Keith and Kristyn Getty


My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain;
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again;
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me in His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With pow’r upon my heart.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside;
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly;
Whose ev’ry promise is enough
For ev’ry step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace,
Whose ev’ry thought is love.
For ev’ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow him.

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