It is a shame that the vast majority of Americans traditionally set aside the fourth Thursday of November to concentrate on being thankful. And even at that, for most, the Thanksgiving holiday means nothing more than serving up a meal in which we can live on the left-overs for weeks — and football, don't forget football.  

Why not use the Thanksgiving holidays as a springboard to commitment to a year-long lifestyle of thanksgiving? Genuine thanksgiving isn't just a holiday, a one-day ceremony or a kick-off to the most massive retail hauling of the year. Thanksgiving is a matter of the heart — genuine thanksgiving, that is.

As we always ask in most every article: What does scripture say?  

It says, we are to give thanks "in everything" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). No, the Bible doesn't advocate that one thanks God for illness, financial destitution, wayward children or declining neighborhoods. But we are to maintain a thankful spirit, even during the times of all the aforementioned catastrophes.

A thankful heart is able to look into those horrible events and be assured they are not a symptom of an indifferent God. God cares for you, even in the face of those things.  

It says we are to be thankful "continually" (Hebrews 13:15). "Let us offer the sacrifices of praise to God continually. . . "

Again, it's a lifestyle — you may call it a state of mind, but actually, it's a state of heart. It is a spirit, which should linger with you always.

It reveals that a truly thankful person can give thanks even before the deed or the provision, or the blessing. Thanks, in advance! That's what faith is — the supernatural assurance that your prayers are going to be answered in one way or the other — however God chooses to answer it.

And you may be assured His answer is by far the very best.

I have prayed and asked for things in my lifetime that I have prayed later and said, "Dear Father, thank you for not answering that prayer!"

Many have been the times when young men and young women asked God to let them marry a certain person, and years later, when it didn't happen, they realized that God's answer was far better.

I thought I wanted to marry a certain girl when I was still in high school. Years later, I learned she was in prison for killing her husband. God's answer to that prayer literally caused me to dodge a bullet!

You may think God isn't answering your prayer, but in due time, He gives an infinitely better answer.

Just prior to Jesus calling Lazarus back from the grave (John 11:41-42) He prayed, "Father, thank thee that thou hast heard me. . ." Jesus gave thanks before the blessing. You can, too!

So from our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoyed the turkey, the company and the football games — and remember the One Who makes it all possible and say, "Thank you Lord."