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Thanksgiving: A Choice

“But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.”1

The story of Daniel is one that we are more than likely familiar with. From the moment he was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar as an adolescent boy, Daniel was a perfect example of faithfulness, trust, and obedience to God. The Bible usually tells us the good and bad about important biblical figures… for example, Abraham agreed to have a son with Hagar trying to “help” God with his promise, David committed adultery and murder, and Moses was not able to enter Canaan because he struck the rock, but we have nothing on Daniel. In fact, when the administrators and high officers searched to find some fault in him, they found nothing which is why they convinced the king to make it illegal to worship God.

When Daniel heard that the king had signed this law, Daniel had a choice. He could have decided to stay out of trouble and simply submit to this law that had been established. However, Daniel chose the “road less traveled”. He had seen God’s faithfulness in action over the years, including the time that God saved his three friends in the fiery furnace! Therefore, Daniel goes on doing what he had always done… giving thanks to God through prayer. This choice not only leads to him being saved from the Lions, but we also see the ripple effect of praise that his decision created. In Daniel 6:25-27, we read King Darius’ message to all the people throughout the world. He decrees that everyone in the kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel, “For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” Now those are things to be thankful for!

We are surrounded by opposition in our world today. What is good is seen as bad, and what is bad is seen as good. Some days it feels like we are on a lonely island trying to uphold our beliefs, values, and what the Bible teaches to be true. But just like Daniel, we have a choice. We can choose to continue obeying God’s word and be thankful, despite what we are being told or what others are doing. God is faithful and will walk beside us regardless of the circumstances we face.

I am sure you have heard the saying, “A grateful heart is a happy heart”, and I would have to agree. When we choose to see what we have, instead of what we don’t have, choose to see all the things God has done in our lives including his love, forgiveness, compassion, provision, protection, grace and mercy to name a few, it starts changing the way we think and our perspective of life and others in general. You come to learn what really matters, and in turn can be content and thankful in the season we are in. I encourage you to take a moment today to make a list of all things you can be thankful for. Like so many things in life, gratitude is a choice. Let’s be a Daniel, choose to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord and have an attitude of gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, give me the courage to be like Daniel. May I seek to obey you despite the opposition and have a thankful heart in every circumstance. May others come to know you through the life I live. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

  1. Daniel 6:10 (NLT).

All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.