“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
It’s not easy to stop and count our blessings. We live in a fast-paced world where it’s even tough to slow down on holidays. And for the sports fans, our holidays are packed with games that fight for our attention. The Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions will play their traditional Thanksgiving Day contests as usual this year, followed by another game Thursday night (and even another one Friday).
That makes it even more important for us to pause and thank God for the simple things, like sunshine coming through the window to give us warmth and light. As it gets dark early this evening, we should thank God for the opportunity to see stars in the sky. When we drive by fields where food is growing, we see proof of God’s love for us and should be grateful.
Though we have pains and problems, we should join the psalmist in thanking God for all He does for us. “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done” (Psalm 92:1-4).
We can also thank God for people who inspire us because life isn’t easy and we all need encouragement. Though Paul was strong and depended mainly upon God for strength, believers who worked alongside him with pleasant attitudes encouraged him to keep on serving the Lord in spite of obstacles. “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3).
Also thank God for people who work hard to establish our local churches, which provide us a physical place to worship God regularly, opportunities to fellowship while growing in the Christian faith, and spiritual instruction for our children, which serves them well for a lifetime. Many churches also distribute food and other items to needy people, especially this time of year, and often with the help of athletes. In a changing world, we need the stability of a local congregation. “Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:14-15).
Amid the hustle and bustle this week and this holiday season, be sure to also pause and count your blessings. You’ll discover you have more to be thankful for than you might imagine.
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia
If you would like to submit a devotional, please email all submissions to