Why Should I Be Thankful?
Maybe you're having a really hard time right now. Or possibly you're just feeling kind of blah about life. Either way, you might be thinking, What do I have to be grateful for? Here are three devotionals written by students who've dug into God's Word and discovered good reasons to say, "Thank you, God!"
Always Give Thanks?
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
When bad things happen to me, my first reaction is not to be joyful. I don't feel like giving thanks when I'm hurt by a good friend, or when I fight with my parents or get a bad grade. I feel like saying, "If God really loved me, this wouldn't be happening!"
But then I look at all the ways God has blessed me. God gives me great, amazing gifts all the time, and I hardly ever remember to say, "Thank you." If I paid more attention to praising God and less attention to my problems, I'd be a lot more joyful person. —Chris
What about You?
1) Think back to a time when something bad happened. What were your prayers like then? 2) Start a list of the ways God has been good to you. Whenever you think of another reason to be thankful, add it to the list. 3) Offer God a prayer of pure thanksgiving, with no requests in it.
As he was going into a village, 10 men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourself to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. (Luke 17:12-16)
Last year, I went to Mexico on a short-term missions trip with my youth group. I really didn't like the housing conditions or the food we ate, and I complained a lot. But reading the story of the 10 lepers tells me that I need to always be thankful to God.
In the story, the only person who came back to thank Jesus was a Samaritan, a hated foreigner. He must have been nervous about talking to Jesus. He could have made excuses for not saying thank you. But he didn't.
I was a foreigner when I was in Mexico. I was out of my comfort zone, and I didn't like it. But I should have been thankful that I had any housing and food at all. And I should have been thankful that God gave me the opportunity to serve other people and tell them about Jesus. —Jesse
What about You?
1) How do you feel when someone forgets to thank you for something nice you did? How do you think your parents, grandparents, teachers or friends feel if you forget to thank them? How might God feel when you forget to thank him? 2) Purchase a package of thank-you cards and write short notes of appreciation and gratitude to several people. Send those cards until they're all gone. 3) Ask God to help you become a more grateful person.
Thanks for …Me!
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14)
I've been really short all my life, and I'm not exactly built for sports. Sometimes I feel very self-conscious at school, especially around people who are super-athletic. I'll look at them and think, Why did I have to be so small and weak? Or when I'm around people who are really popular, I feel like such a nerd. Lucky for me, God doesn't judge me by how handsome or strong I am. He doesn't care how well I play sports or how popular I am. He loves me for who I am, which is exactly the person he made me. And he's happy when he looks at my heart, because he sees a person who's fallen in love with Jesus.
So to anyone else who sometimes feels like a klutz or a nerd, I'd say, "God made you, and he loves you. Don't worry about who you aren't—praise God for who you are!" —Jonathan
What about You?
1) How do people at school judge who's "the best?" How does God judge? 2) Write down 10 things you like about the way God made you. 3) Praise God for creating you and loving you just the way you are.
For more Reasons to Say, "Thanks, God" here are some passages to read and study:
1. Genesis 9:12-17 He's the ultimate promise keeper
2. Deuteronomy 8:10 He takes care of our needs
3. 1 Chronicles 16:8-9 His wonderful acts
4. Psalm 7:17 His righteousness
5. Psalm 107:1 He's just plain good
6. Luke 2:10-11 For the gift of Jesus
7. John 14:26 For the gift of the Holy Spirit
8. Ephesians 2:8-9 For the gift of salvation
9. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 For victory over death
10. 1 Colossians 1:3 For Christian friends
Try This! Write about each passage in a journal or notebook. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- How does this passage help you appreciate God more? When has this passage's promise meant a lot in your life?
- What are three questions you have about the passage? Write down your answers, then ask a Christian friend or your youth leader how they would answer. Write down their answers.
- Write a poem, a song or a prayer that expresses your feelings about the passage.
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