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“Thanksgiving Is a Habit”

Thanksgiving is over, but we can still remember to thank God for blessings.

“Christians must have a habit of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a choice,” said a recent visitor to The Voice of the Martyrs. “You might be wealthy, but if you choose not to be thankful, you can be miserable. You may have little, but if you choose to be thankful, you can have joy.”

Do you agree? Can you think of a situation where it might be difficult to choose to be thankful?

The visitor who said, “Thanksgiving is a choice” was harshly persecuted in a country where Christian activity is restricted. “I learned to be thankful,” he said. He was thankful for cool breezes and sunshine. He thanked God for giving him faith. He was even grateful to God for teaching him gratitude! And his thankfulness brought him joy.

“As long as your heart is full of joy, you can endure,” the visitor said.

To Talk About
Did you think of a situation where it might be difficult to choose to be thankful? What are some blessings you could be thankful for in that situation?


Thanksgiving Riches

Sabina

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand and his wife, Sabina, were in prison in Romania because of their Christian activities. The prisons were miserable, dirty places. Guards fed them poorly and treated them harshly.

Sabina wrote about her prison experiences in a book called The Pastor’s Wife. She noted in her book that most of the other prisoners around her were unhappy and hopeless.
But Sabina was thankful. “Those of us who had faith realized for the first time how rich we were,” she said. “The youngest Christians and the weakest had more strength to call upon than the wealthiest ladies and the smartest ones. [People without faith] often seemed to dry up like indoor plants in the wind. Heart and mind were empty.”

One day, a professor’s wife came to Sabina in the prison and said, “How happy you must be to be able to think and keep your mind busy and pray!”

Sabina was very thankful for Bible verses she had memorized before she went to prison. She later wrote, “We had no Bible. We hungered for it more than bread. How I wished I’d learned more of it by heart! But we repeated daily the verses we knew. Other Christians, like me, had memorized long passages, knowing that soon their time would come for arrest.

“We brought riches to prison. While others quarreled and fought, we lay on our mattresses and repeated verses to ourselves through the long nights. We learned what newcomers brought and taught them what we knew. So an unwritten Bible circulated through all Romania’s prisons. After work, women came to Christian prisoners and asked, even begged, to be told something of what we remembered from the Bible. The words gave hope, comfort, and life.”

(Source: The Pastor’s Wife, by Sabina Wurmbrand. Edited for length, clarity, and reading level.)

To Talk About
• What were two things for which Sabina was thankful?
• Why had some prisoners memorized Bible verses before they went to prison?
• What were the “riches” the Christian prisoners brought to prison?


What Are You Thankful For?

Every year on Thanksgiving, we gratefully remember people, events, and things for which we are thankful. But what if we remembered to be grateful every day? The Bible says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, ESV).

Every day for 10 days, write down five things you are thankful for, using the suggestions below or creating your own categories. (If you have to skip any days, just start the next day where you left off.)

Day 1: Five people you are thankful for (past or present)

Day 2: Five places you are thankful for

Day 3: Five Bible truths or instructions you are thankful for

Day 4: Five enjoyable events you recall thankfully

Day 5: Five things God created that you are grateful for

Day 6: Five songs you are thankful for

Day 7: Five inventions you gratefully appreciate

Day 8: Five books you are thankful for

Day 9: Five gifts you have received that you are thankful for

Day 10: Five foods you are thankful for

Each day, think through that day’s list, remembering why you are thankful for each item. For example, if you listed a friend’s name on Day 1, think about reasons you are thankful for them. Review your lists often, and remember to thank God in prayer for your blessings!


Hello Day

World Hello Day is celebrated on November 21st. People who participate in the celebration greet 10 people during the day.

World Hello Day was not started as a Christian holiday, but Christians can participate. Can you greet 10 people you don’t usually greet on World Hello Day? Perhaps you will get the opportunity to talk with them about Jesus sometime.

Do you know anyone from another country you can greet? Some of the ways to greet people in other languages are shown below. The languages are spoken in countries where VOM works.

 

Vietnamese: Seen-chow
Azeri (spoken in Azerbaijan): Sah-LAHM
Spanish: OH-lah
Mandarin Chinese: Nee-how
Nepali (spoken in Nepal): Nah-MAHS-tay
Turkish: MEHR-hah-bah
Urdu (spoken in Pakistan and India): Sah-LAHM

 


Giving Thanks in All Circumstances

Richard Wurmbrand was in prison in Romania for his Christian activities. One day, the guards brought Richard and the other prisoners something they called soup. But it was more like pieces of rotten cabbage floating in scum. Richard drank it all. “How can you eat that horrible stuff?” another prisoner asked.

“It’s a Christian secret,” Richard replied to the man, who was not a Christian. “I think of the Apostle Paul’s words, ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice.’ There are people in America eating fried chicken tonight. I thank God with them as I take the first drink of soup. Then I rejoice with friends in England who are eating beef. I take another drink. I rejoice with those who rejoice. And I stay alive.”

Richard felt blessed to be able to share the words of the Bible with someone who was not a Christian.

To Talk About
Can you thank God for blessings He has given to others?