Real Thanksgiving (revised)

The Doorway to the Presence of God

Psalm 95:1-8

1O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

2Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

3For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

4In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.

5The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.

6O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

7For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,

8Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:


It’s just a word, or at least for a lot of people… that’s what it’s become. On the forth Thursday of November, many of us will visit with family or have them come over. There’ll be a big dinner, a lot of turkey and ham, and who knows what else going along with it. For the women folk, the talk will center on who makes the best dressing or cake, and who’s going to fix what. For the men, it’s “football” and whose team is the best. Somewhere, thrown in with all that’s going on… there may be a few short words about God. The person that’s given the job of saying them might even be looked at sideways if they get longwinded and take too much time. All across America, in just about every house in every state… this picture is thanksgiving… especially in the eyes of our young people.

While this may be fine for a lot of people… it’s really not the thanksgiving taught in the Bible.


Thanksgiving Requires Being Grateful

1 Chronicles 16:8 Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.


It’s a word that’s made up of two words… Thanks and Giving. Another way of putting it is like this; it’s the act of giving thanks… something we certainly weren’t born with doing. If it were left up to us we’d probably never do it. Everybody can remember a mother, grandmother, aunt, or somebody who had a mean look on their face, asking us “what are you going to say.” Saying “Thank You”, had to be drilled into us. We had to learn when and how to say it, and to this day many of us only say it because we think it’s the polite thing to do.

When we say the words “Thank You” we do so usually because something has been done to us or for us. The thing is, somehow we often feel as if it was suppose to have been done. Somewhere in our minds we get the notion that we deserved the act or thing being done.

  • Deep down inside all of us is a factory that runs around the clock… 24 – 7.
  • It makes only one product, and it makes it all the time.
  • That product is called “PRIDE” and we find ourselves being full of it.
  • It’s a byproduct of our fallen sinful nature and we’re born with it.
  • Pride is an inherited trait that causes us to be vain, arrogant, and selfish. Tendencies that create a character that’s in direct opposition to the nature of God, making us His enemy.

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.


For the unsaved, giving thanks is not a natural act and without some intervention it won’t happen. For those of us who are saved, thanksgiving is a supernatural act that we are called to do… even so it is a choice that we must learn to perform. What that means is simply this… just learning when and how to say “Thank You” is not enough. Remember those questions we were taught in school, the ones that help us form a full and clear understanding. You know the ones… who, what, when, where, why, and how; questions that give us the full picture. As it relates to “Thanksgiving” our understanding comes up a little short. There are quite a few puzzle pieces missing. Consider these scripture excerpts that ask the missing questions.

Who - is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high, (Psalm 113:5)

What - can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done. (Ecc. 2:12)

Where - is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? (Hosea 13:10)

Why - do ye not believe me? (John 8:46)


Our scripture passages come from a Psalm written by King David, a man after God’s own heart. From them we can get a picture of what that heart looks like. He is speaking prophetically and has recorded the basic truth about what it is to give thanks to God. In our broken, rebellious, and sinful state there is nothing that we have ever done or will ever do that makes us deserving of anything God has done for us. We are His enemies… God has no real reason to like us, let alone love us. We could never in our right minds think that He is suppose to bless us with anything. Yet, because of His divine nature, we have the benefit of His loving grace and mercy on our sinful souls. For that alone we should forever be thankful.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

That’s a pretty strong reason to consider Him worthy and deserving of our giving thanks.

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

For the faithful followers of Christ, those who are believers… thanksgiving is acknowledgment of who we are, and a submission to who He is to us.


Every day, on your way to the bus stop, you pass the same house like you’ve done since you can’t remember. Inside the gates, on the steps sits an old man… he’s always there. Every day you see him and then you don’t see him, you take no notice… in your mind it’s just not important. One day you’re presented with a piece of information and suddenly everything changes. At that moment a switch is turned on and your life, the way you look at things, nothing will ever be the same. You find out that this old man, the one you’re always passing by is the person that saved your grandfathers life in the war. In an instant you understand that because of him, your grandfather came home. Without his being there, your grandfather would never have gotten married… if not for him, your father and eventually you would never have been born. Overnight this old man has become the most important person on the planet. Now you might not make the bus… you might even be late for work and you really don’t care. For you the only thing that matters is that you show this old man how grateful you are, and there’s only one thing you want to do…

Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Thank You

Turn On The Switch

The switch was turned on for the person in our story, but the real question is has it been turned on for us? In our comings and goings to church on Sunday, our attendance at Bible study, and our private meditation in the Word of God; has the switch come on… has God become important in a personal way to you? Everything we have, the whole of creation, and even our very lives we owe to God. As scripture says… “He has done great things” and we have never deserved any of it. Nobody will ever do what He has already done, and nobody will ever beat God in giving. Thanksgiving is not a date on the calendar. It’s not some commercial gimmick to sell turkeys and ham, plane tickets and bus fares. Thanksgiving is certainly not the trumpet that brings in “Black Friday” and the start of the Christmas shopping sprees. Thanksgiving… real thanksgiving is the expression of gratitude we give willingly and freely to the only one who will ever deserve it… God Almighty. If we allow ourselves to buy into the hoop-la of this secular world we will have missed the opportunity to not only understand what thanksgiving is, but to also use it for our best benefit. When done right, thanksgiving is the vehicle that allows us a chance to do a very important thing.

Give acknowledgment of who we are to God, and submission to who He is to us.

It places us under “His Will” and “Authority”, creating the circumstance for further blessings.

Psalm 22:3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Psalm 35:27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

Praising God for what He has done invites His presence… it puts you close to where He is. On the other hand, favoring His righteous cause, or finding reason to praise and promote what He does; the act of giving to the undeserving and less fortunate creates a channel for continued blessings. Thanksgiving is a learned behavior and a choice. It’s something we can’t afford not to get right. The simple truth of the matter is this…

Thanksgiving is…

The Doorway to the Presence of God.



Comments 11 comments

genaea 4 years ago

Thanksgiving is on the way. For sure, it is time to tell the world what it should mean. Happy holidays!

mattmilamii profile image

mattmilamii 4 years ago from Chicago - Be A Blessing... Become A Hand Of God Author

Dear genaea,

I would like to believe that on some level we do know what it should mean, but still...

We need the reminder.

Thanks for stopping by with encouragement, and God blessing for you and your family as well.

Drtruthman profile image

Drtruthman 4 years ago from Brownsville, Texas

Truer words were never spoken. If you didn't preach this, you certainly should. A great message. You and I are for the most part on the same page. I enjoy everything you write. Keep it coming. I voted Up. useful, interesting, awesome and beautiful.

mattmilamii profile image

mattmilamii 4 years ago from Chicago - Be A Blessing... Become A Hand Of God Author

Dear Drtruthman,

As a matter of fact I delivered this message before two different church congregations. From what I could tell it was well received. Being on the same page is easy enough, especially when you start with a page from God’s Word. I think the key is in asking His direction and developing enough of a personal relationship to understand when the answer is not from Him. In any event, I’m thankful that my cup runneth over with enough of His blessings for those who are willing to receive it.


Itiphany profile image

Itiphany 2 years ago from Minnesota

Thanksgiving means to show appreciation. We all appreciate something in our lives; whether it be our families, our possessions, or just simply being alive, and we use Thanksgiving Day as a time to show our appreciation. Many view Thanksgiving as a day to eat good food and spend time with loved ones. Others actually take it to a deeper level and understand that it is more than a day to eat, but to appreciate and show appreciation in some way. But to the Christian, or at least it should be, every day is a day of Thanksgiving. But what should we be appreciating?

No matter if you are unsaved or a Christian, when we appreciate something, we appreciate the good things in our lives. You will never hear a man say, I am thankful for being ignorant, depressed, stressed out, helpless, confused, broke, and broken. No way. When a man appreciates, he appreciates knowledge not ignorance; joy not depression; peace not stress; strength not helplessness; wisdom not confusion, etc. Many people focus on who or what that helped bring about all the things to be thankful for, and use Thanksgiving Day as the time to show appreciation to the who and the what.

But to the Believer, we should understand that all good comes from God the father. It is not the who and the what we should appreciate, but the One who is good and gives good to all the world.

But of course it is deeper than this, because we all should know that we are not deserving of such good things, so why?

As you stated, mattmilamii, God first loved us. He loved us so much that he gave his son to the world to die for us. This is the greatest love of all.

And it is because of this love that we live. The sacrifice on the cross delivered us from the evil and gave us eternal life. Without Jesus, we will surely die.

Jesus came so that we may have life more abundantly. Jesus came to deliver us from death, to mend broken hearts, to give us peace, joy, etc. Jesus came to save us, and to give us all the things in life that we are thankful for.

So for Christians, Thanksgiving is a time to show appreciation to God the father for loving us so much to sacrifice his son, and to the Son, Jesus, our savior, for promising us all the good things in life we can enjoy because of Him.

Thanksgiving, what does it mean?

Thanks: to be thankful for our creator and our savior

Giving: to show that appreciation by giving back to, and building up the kingdom of God.

The day is approaching. Let us use this as a reminder of what it really is. And remember, every day is a day of Thanksgiving.

mattmilamii profile image

mattmilamii 2 years ago from Chicago - Be A Blessing... Become A Hand Of God Author

Dear Itiphany,

First... let me say welcome, I'm glad to see you finally creating a page here with us Hubbers.

Second... It warms my heart to read some of my own thoughts coming from your hand.

And Finally... Thank You.

You've brought a smile to Our Heavenly Father...

as well as to the one a little closer to home.


Romeos Quill profile image

Romeos Quill 2 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

A great Hub.

Your words, " ..... God has no real reason to like us, let alone love us. We could never in our right minds think that He is suppose to bless us with anything. Yet, because of His divine nature, we have the benefit of His loving grace and mercy on our sinful souls. For that alone we should forever be thankful. " , speak volumes. Grace, from start to finish.

Thank you, and pleased to make your acquaintance through your work in this mysterious HP town.

With Kind Regards,


mattmilamii profile image

mattmilamii 2 years ago from Chicago - Be A Blessing... Become A Hand Of God Author

Dear Romeos Quill,

I'm the one who stands in benefit from your visit and words of encouragement... just another reason to be "Thankful." Somehow, I get the feeling that this casual start will become something more. The door is always open in my neck of the woods.


Romeos Quill profile image

Romeos Quill 2 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

Dear mattmilamii ( Yes; I think I have typed your name correctly this time - apologies for spelling it wrong first time round on Faith Reaper's question ).

Thank you indeed for making me feel welcome; your message which I've read so far is full of experiential knowledge and drove one straight to the heart of what it means to give thanks to God, and give Him His glory, A relevant and timely message brought to the fore through your perceptive and true article.

I hope that life is going well for you and your kin, and any uplifting and encouraging write which glorifies God through Christ Jesus, in Truth, with love, tempered with a dash of humour has got to make for happy and hopeful times ahead through such holy faith.

I'm still a ' work in progress ' lol! ( but I guess we all still are, to a greater or lesser extent ), so thank you once again for your generosity and fine attitude. It would be a pleasure to follow in order to keep up with your Hubs and hopefully learn more from what you may offer in the future. Thank you for your blessings, for which I trust an abundance will be poured into your lap with overflowing, and certainly look forward to reading more of your insightful work.

With Kind Regards,


mattmilamii profile image

mattmilamii 2 years ago from Chicago - Be A Blessing... Become A Hand Of God Author

Dear R.Q.,

Here's a little trick... it should help you and others to remember the spelling.

Matt Milam II = matt milam ii = mattmilamii

P.S. It's definitely going to be something more.

Continued Blessings

Romeos Quill profile image

Romeos Quill 2 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

So the ' ii ' actually reads ' the second ', or are they the last two vowel letters of your surname? This is where I was unsure. Maybe I'm splitting hairs but I sure hate to to be disrespectful and get someone's proper name wrong. I won't expect a reply as you must be very busy and wouldn't want to encroach upon time which you could spend more productively.

Many thanks,


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