This devotional was inspired by a message our Pastor delivered last Sunday. As I was listening, I felt that it would be a great Thanksgiving devotional.
What does it mean to be “Thanks Giving”? Thanks (is a noun) Giving (is a verb). Thanks giving means to be giving praise to someone for something.
The word “Thanks” in the Greek is “יָדָה” (yadah), means: to give thanks, laud, praise. Praise as a result of blessing.
So the question comes, what are we thankful for, and to whom are we thankful for it? When we give thanks, we are praising the One whom all good things come from, God. James 1:16-17, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
There are people who love to praise God, dropping to their knees in the name of Jesus, and His sacrifice for them on the cross. These people are called the children of God, and love their Father.
Then there are others who say they don’t experience good things from God, that life is unfair, that they don’t feel His love, they do not like God, and are angry at Him.. so why should they be thankful to Him?
The reason why a person doesn’t feel thankfulness or love toward God is because they are out of fellowship with God. In order to give thanks, you have to have fellowship with that someone. The Greek word for “fellowship” is “κοινωνία“, meaning: what is shared in common as the basis of fellowship.
The common basis is love. If you lack love, you lack fellowship. Look back at Genesis chapter 1. In each of the 6 days of creation God says the same thing after He creates, “and God saw that it was good.” Why? Because God takes pleasure in what He creates. Look also at verse 27, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Why would God created us in His own image if He did not love us? 1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love“. 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”
And if this wasn’t enough, we didn’t even get 3 chapters into the first book of the Bible and we sin, choosing, power, selfishness, and trusting the devil (serpent), over God’s love. Sin in Greek is “ἁμαρτία” (hamartia), means: missing the mark, to be without a share in, wander from the path of uprightness and honour, an offense to God. Romans 3:23 says it well, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Have fallen short of what? God’s standard. God is perfect, so His standard is perfect. Perfection is not something we are capable of. Jesus is the only man who did not sin, lived a perfect life. How? Because He is God (incarnate – God in the flesh). John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” God is perfect, cannot sin. This is why Jesus was the only and perfect sacrifice in our place, to defeat death, raising from the grave. For those who repent of their sins, believe in Jesus, they are reconciled (restore friendly relations between) to God in/through Jesus.
So now tell me that God has no love for you. So not tell me that you don’t owe Him thanks, praise, and worship. How can you not love Him back? How can you not desire to be in fellowship with Him?
By the way, many people have a big issue with the word worship. For many it might sound scary, strange, does not sit right in their ears. The Greek word for “worship” is “σέβομαι” (sebó), means: to show reverence, personally esteem, to hold in the highest respect. To worship God means that He is first in your life, that you want to show Him your love and devotion, and how much He means to you. (Luke 10:27)
If you are not in fellowship with God, if you have no joy in God, if you are not thankful to Him, I pray you will have the desire to restore this relationship. To restore fellowship requires 3 parts: commemorate, thank, and praise. (1 Chronicles 16:4)
Commemorate: Greek “זָכַר” (zakar), means: to remember, recall, call to mind. This is what we did earlier in this post. We remembered 2 out of i’m sure many many many amazing things God has done in your life, your family, friends, stories you have heard. God created us, provides a way back to Him through Jesus, and does so much in between.
Thanks: Greek “יָדָה” (yadah), means: to give thanks. Giving thanks is to be grateful.
Praise: Greek “הָלַל” (halal), means: to praise, to boast. This means to make God popular. When you remember something God did, you share the story, you are bragging about what God did, making Him popular.
If you do not have fellowship with God, you have no joy, and you have no thanksgiving. This year when you celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving with family and friends, please remember that it is not about the food, nor the football, and especially not about the black Friday deals at the store the next day. Thanksgiving is to remember all God has done in your life, being thankful to Him for everything He has done, and praising Him in the name of Jesus. Thanksgiving is being in fellowship with the one who created you, loves you, and desires that none would perish, but all come to repentance. This Thanksgiving, if you are believer, restore your fellowship with God. If you have never trusted in Jesus, and Jesus alone for your salvation, I pray you would believe, repent, and begin your fellowship with God in the living Jesus.
A very Happy Thanksgiving!