Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8 NIV


The first Thanksgiving in 1621 was celebrated by the pilgrims in response to their first harvest in the New World. In 1863, Thanksgiving later became a federal holiday when President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday of every November to be a day set aside to declare “thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God.” One interesting note is that Lincoln made this declaration in spite of the fact that our nation was in the middle of a civil war.

Fast forward 156 years and we still celebrate Thanksgiving today. Most Americans have drifted away from giving thanks and praise to God and towards enjoying food, friends, and football. There is certainly nothing evil about food, friends, and football, but for those of us who follow Christ, I do believe we are missing a readymade opportunity.

Last week, Senior Pastor Marty Grubbs reminded us that “it is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

This week, by all means, enjoy all the external festivities Thanksgiving Day brings, but let me also encourage us all to spend some time giving thanks and praising God Almighty for the internal realities we are blessed with as Christ-followers.

If you are unsure where to start, let me suggest a few truths from God’s Word. Each day this week, choose a time to read these sections of Scripture. In doing so, I believe you will find plenty of gratitude and joy bubbling up from within.

  • You are a child of God. (John 1:12; Romans 8:14-15)
  • You are free from condemnation. (Romans 8:1)
  • You are someone Jesus considers a friend. (John 15:15)
  • You are a new creation, reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)
  • You are chosen of God, holy and dearly loved. (Colossians 3:12)
  • You have been given the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
  • You have been redeemed and forgiven. (Ephesians 1:6-8)



We confess to you that so often our self-worth comes from our own achievements or the way friends, family, and colleagues evaluate us. Lord, remind us daily our true identity is based not on our performance, but on the perfect performance of Jesus Christ. We receive your love and grace today with confidence, and pray you will open doors of opportunity for us to share your mercy and grace with others.

In Jesus’ name,


Jeff Stewart

Senior Associate Pastor


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