Nehemiah 4:6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.”

A unified workforce, a worthy goal, and a visionary leader that inspires passion in the heart of their followers can accomplish almost anything to which they set their minds.

Nehemiah asked God to be that man.

His heart was moved by more than just compassion, empathy, or pity. Nehemiah had a great patriotism that ran deep in him. He had a love for his nation that was rooted in his faith. Nehemiah knew that when Israel was secure, it was because God was lifted up, honored, worshipped, and glorified in her. 

Today, in the United States of America, we celebrate a national holiday – Thanksgiving. 

Many will gather with family and friends around a table of great bounty. We will share friendship and fellowship, eat and relax, and watch football. What is sadly missing throughout the general populous, is the acknowledgment of why we are gathering in the first place. 

Religious oppression and persecution caused a group of believers to set out on a journey to find a place where they could live in freedom. Those first pilgrims that landed at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts barely made it through the harsh winter, for many were ill-prepared for what they faced. 

It was through the providence of God in the form of an Indian who came among them and taught them how to hunt, trap, plant, cultivate, and harvest in preparation for the winters to come. 

Two Wampanoag Indians, Squanto, and Massasoit, their leader, came to these English pilgrims and made an alliance that laid the foundation for further exploration into what we now know as the USA. 

After that first winter, they had lost nearly half of those who had come with them to starvation and cold. When they learned the survival skills taught them by these Indians, they celebrated with a feast to honor the God of Heaven that had brought them a deliverer. 

That day was filled with heartfelt gratitude for the trials they had been through thus far. There may have been testimonies to honor the God of Heaven for showing them the survival skills through their newly made friends.

There may have been remembrances of those loved ones who were sadly missed around the table; stories told of the impact they made upon their lives, and memorials to those they vowed would not be forgotten. 

Today, Thanksgiving may be a day set aside as a national remembrance of the history of those Pilgrims who settled here so long ago. But what significance does it hold for us?

Many a sermon will be preached on the “Attitude of Gratitude” or “How to Have a Grateful Heart.” Unless we, who name the name of Jesus as Savior, become vocal in sincere thanks when it matters most, it will fall hollowly to the ground without making any impact whatsoever. 

If we took the time to think about it, for what are we truly grateful?

Some of us have lost loved ones this year. Others have suffered through a great trial. Still, others have been faced with such overwhelming challenges, and we didn’t think we would ever make through another day. Yet, here we are.

For those here in America who will be celebrating this national holiday, may we bring more than just an appetite to the gathering. May we always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us.

But today, may we purpose to be vocal in our thanks that come from the heart. For our host, for those that contributed, and even for those who we remember that cannot be with us. Ultimately, may it crescendo into praise for the One who made all of it possible; the Giver of life – our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

For those living outside of our country, we don’t need a national holiday to be grateful to God for the protection He gives, the provision, and the promises He proclaims to us, His children.

From those of us here at Daily Manna, we wish all you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

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