Happy Thanksgiving! This week, you will likely find yourself sitting around the table with your family pondering and sharing about all the things you’re each thankful for. Your house, freedom, friends, school, and pets may all be thrown out immediately as blessing for which to praise the Lord. But what about the things you’ve walked through that have been hard? Is it possible to still be thankful in the midst of those? Accept the challenge this year to think through how you can be thankful even through hard times because of God’s unchanging goodness.
MEMORY VERSE: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)__
Jeremiah was a prophet from Judah. God told Jeremiah to tell the people, his very own family and friends, to repent and turn from the sinful choices they were making and start obeying God. Well, they DID NOT LIKE WHAT HE HAD TO SAY! In fact, the Bible tells us that they laughed at and made fun of Jeremiah. Even though this was an awful time for Jeremiah, he had hope. Why? Well, even though it seemed like Jeremiah had so many reasons to not have hope, He actually had the best reason ever to have hope. He had hope because of who God is! From Lamentations 3, we learn that God is faithful, God is loving, and God is merciful. When Jeremiah remembered this, he was able to be thankful, even through hard times. Now, there’s another guy in the Bible named Paul. All kinds of crazy stuff happened to Paul. He was shipwrecked, beaten up, and put in prison. Yet, he was still thankful even through all these hard times, just like our memory verse for this month reminds us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). How is this even possible??? Well, thankfulness through hard times comes when we remember who God is.
READ LAMENTATIONS 3:14-26
*READ 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18
*What THREE things does Paul remind us that we need to do? (be joyful, pray, give thanks) How is Paul’s response like Jeremiah’s? (He knew he could thank God, no matter what was happening around him or to him.) This Thanksgiving week, talk about one thing that has been hard as a family this year. Were you, as a family, joyful, prayerful and thankful during this difficult circumstance? What did this situation teach you about being thankful even through hard times?
Got a lot of car time this week? Perhaps a trip to Grandma’s is in order? The car ride is a great time to refresh your memory on the books of the Bible and/or work on our memory verse for November (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Happy Travels!
When you are in the middle of something that’s really hard, do you have to pretend to be happy or is it ok to be sad? (It’s ok to be sad.) Why do you say that? (God created us with emotions. We can see different times in Scripture where God was emotional. Jesus was sad when Lazarus died and happy at a wedding. So, emotions are ok and are from God. You can still be sad and thankful at the same time.) What can you be thankful for even when you’re sad or struggling? Pray and ask God to give you a grateful heart in your current situation.
How is your Thankfulness Countdown Calendar going? If you haven’t started yet, no worries! Any time is a great time to start. At the end of each day, write down at least one thing you are thankful for. On Thanksgiving, share your reasons for being thankful as a family and thank God for them!
Thank God that he is our rock in times of trouble and that we can be thankful and joyful even through hard times. Praise Him that He never changes, even if our circumstances change all of the time. Ask Him to help you remember to go to him in prayer first always!
Next week, we will continue looking at November's character trait, THANKFULNESS. We will learn to be thankful for what God has done.
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