What is happening to the celebration of Thanksgiving Day?
The holiday intended to celebrate God’s many blessings and to give Him thanks for all He has done has become a day to indulge ourselves in the blessings without truly appreciating them, or considering who they really came from, or to give the Giver thanks.
“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father,” James 1:17
How important is thanksgiving?
How does giving thanks to God affect our lives?
The word “thank” is found 165 times in the Bible. That includes thanks and thanksgiving. And the word “thankful” is found 10 times.
When I read through the verses that include these words it is very clear that God intends for us to be a thankful people.
I listened to an audio book, “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are” by Ann Voskamp, several years ago and it opened my eyes to the amazing opportunity we have to live fully aware of the very things that are right in front of us each day for which we are to be thankful for. Ann includes many scriptures that show miraculous things happen when thanksgiving is expressed to God.
If thanksgiving is so important and so powerful no wonder the enemy of our souls wants to rob it from us. Not only has Thanksgiving Day become a day of indulgence that crowds out the giving of thanks, but every day of the year has become so filled with busyness, cares, and worries that we rarely take the time to stop and truly appreciate what we have, what we are experiencing, and bow down before God and give Him thanks.
The story of Daniel in the lion’s den is an example to us that we must never allow the enemy to steal our thanksgiving.
Daniel’s faith in God and his obedience to God’s commands caused him to live a righteous life that brought favor from the king. The king’s favor lead to position and power. The other administrators became jealous of Daniel and looked for a fault to accuse him of.
But Daniel was faithful, responsible, and trustworthy in all his dealings, and so they decided that the only thing they could accuse him of would be something connected to the rules of his religion.
“So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius! We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions. And now, Your Majesty, issue and sign this law so it cannot be changed, an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.” So King Darius signed the law.” Daniel 6:4-9
The administrators’ jealousy plotted a scheme against Daniel. Either he would forsake his God or he would be killed in the lion’s den.
The enemy of God’s people continues to plot schemes intended to steal our prayer and kill our thanksgiving!
Those who have faith in God, who obey His commands, and live a righteous life have God’s favor upon them. God has crowned them with glory and honor intended to bring Him praise and thanksgiving that will produce miraculous works here on earth!
But as the administrators in Daniel’s day, we have an enemy who is jealous. The enemy knows the power of praise and thanksgiving and plots schemes meant to keep us in fear and busyness so that miraculous things won’t happen and God won’t be glorified.
Daniel gave us an example of how to respond to the schemes of the enemy.
“But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.” Daniel 6:10
The scheme of the administrators didn’t offend Daniel.
The king’s law that couldn’t be changed didn’t phase Daniel.
The threat of the lion’s den didn’t scare Daniel.
Daniel’s trust in God enabled him to pray and thank God as he did every day!
No threat of the enemy could steal Daniel’s prayer or kill his thanksgiving!
Of course Daniel’s enemies were right there to catch him in the act of praying. When they went and reported this to the king the king was deeply troubled, and tried to think of a way to save Daniel. But a signed law couldn’t be revoked and so the king ordered Daniel be thrown to the lions. But the king said to Daniel…
“May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.” Daniel 6:16
What did the king see in Daniel that caused him to speak words of hope into an impossible situation?
God’s favor brought a prophetic word even from an unbeliever!
Prayer and thanksgiving to God in the midst of persecution brings favor and protection from the One who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above and beyond anything imaginable!
God’s favor isn’t limited to the thoughts and ways of men. His favor goes beyond the possible, the probable, and into the supernatural!
And though he couldn’t do anything within his power to save Daniel, the king hoped the favor and power of Daniel’s God would be able to rescue Daniel.
“Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “Long live the king! My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.” The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.” Daniel 6:20-23
The ironic thing is that though Daniel’s prayer and thanksgiving had him thrown into the lion’s den, it was his prayer and thanksgiving that rescued him from the lion’s den!
I don’t know what would have happened if Daniel decided to stop praying for thirty days. I don’t know what would have happened if Daniel decided not to thank God for thirty days.
But I do know we wouldn’t have this story to learn from today.
We wouldn’t know of the power of prayer that enables God’s people to face the impossible. We wouldn’t know the power of thanksgiving that shuts the mouths of lions!
What scheme is the enemy using to keep you from prayer and thanksgiving?
I encourage you to look up verses about thanksgiving and be reminded of the importance and power it has in your life.
May this Thanksgiving Day be the day that you resist the schemes of the enemy to steal your prayer and kill your thanksgiving and choose to do as Daniel…
To kneel down every day in prayer and give thanks to God and watch for the miraculous to happen!