"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

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In all circumstances! This comes as a surprise when one considers the vicissitudes of human life. Sickness and health, poverty and wealth, joy and sorrow — are all ingredients of the cup placed to human lips — so all must come within the scope of thanksgiving. Why be thankful for everything? Because God causes everything to work together for good to those who love Him.

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A godly farmer was asked to dine with a well-known gentleman. While there, he asked a blessing at the table as he was accustomed to do at home. His host said jeeringly, "That is old fashioned; it is not customary nowadays for well-educated people to pray before they eat."

The farmer answered that with him it was customary — but that some of those on his farm never thanked God their food.

"Ah, then," said the gentleman, "they are sensible and enlightened! Who are they?"

"My pigs!" the farmer answered.

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Charles Dickens said that we are somewhat mixed up here in America. He told an audience that instead of having one Thanksgiving Day each year, we should have 364. "Use that one day just for complaining and griping," he said. "Use the other 364 days to thank God each day for the many blessings He has showered upon you!"

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Some years ago an old black woman was put up at auction at a slave-market. She was distressed lest she might be sold to a cruel master. A godly man bought her and set her free at once. But she would not leave him who had set her free — and insisted upon going into his household and working for him. Now when she could do what she pleased — she would not go anywhere but to him. She would say: "He saved me! He saved me!"
This is how we ought to feel toward Him who died for us and set us free.

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"A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues."

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"Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted, all that God has given us."

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"None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy."

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"When we have an attitude of being thankful — we never take anything we have for granted. We are blessed in so many ways."

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Do you not teach your children to say "Thank you" for what they receive? Even the baby, before it can speak, is made to utter a "ta" — an expression of gratitude for what it is given. Well, we are the children of God, and He demands of us that we shall not take anything He gives us as a matter of course, but in a spirit of thankfulness.

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"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15

For Christ who came from Heaven above,
For the cross and His redeeming love,
For His mighty power to seek and save,
For His glorious triumph o'er the grave.
For the lovely mansions in the sky,
For His blessed coming bye and bye—
I give Thee humble thanks.

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"Let us be thankful!" Hebrews 12:28

"Overflowing with thankfulness!" Colossians 2:7

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For further reading: J.R. Miller's practical three page article, "The Thanksgiving Habit".