The year was 1863 and in the midst of a brutal Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared a national holiday designed specifically for the giving of thanks to God for all that he had done. In his declaration he listed numerous blessings that God had brought despite the devastating impact of the war. He mentioned that productivity was up. He noted that even though we were at war with ourselves, we were at peace with the other nations in the world. He pointed out that despite the many who died in the war, the population was growing. For all these reasons and more, he implored the people of America to take the last Thursday in November to thank the Lord for all He did.

That day of thanksgiving has since been overshadowed by the meal itself, with some people even calling it “Turkey Day.” With American retailers being the way they’ve been in recent days, Thanksgiving may soon be known only as “that day before Black Friday.” I hope that we can restore a spirit of thankfulness to God for all He has done during this Thanksgiving season.

With those thoughts in mind, I thought it would be good to list a few things for which I am thankful. Since God has been so good to me and our church, I would like to take from now until Thanksgiving to do so, listing one item a day.

Today I will simply thank God for Himself. His sustaining power and love has been enough for me during dark times, and His presence is most welcome during the worst kinds of loneliness. One of my favorite verses of late has been Isaiah 41:10, which states “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” I thank God for God, and will continue to thank Him for the other things in my life here on “First Things First.”