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Here in the United States, we are blessed to have Thanksgiving as a national holiday to thank God and honor Him for all He has given us. In reality, as Christians we have something to celebrate in Jesus Christ every day of the year.
Here in the United States, we are blessed to have Thanksgiving as a national holiday to thank God and honor Him for all He has given us. In reality, as Christians we have something to celebrate in Jesus Christ every day of the year.

The foundation of all our thanksgiving to God is the New Covenant. In that covenant are protection, strength, and the power of God as a Father to His children. It's His desire that we remember everything that covenant means to us.

God established many feasts of thanksgivings in the Old Covenant. He told the people to shout and dance, rejoice and praise Him. And that's what they did—they celebrated their covenant with God, thanking Him for blessing them.

Deuteronomy 8:18 says,
But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for it is he that giveth thee power to get great wealth….
In the New Testament, Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). Now that's something for us to shout about! When was the last time you praised God and thanked Jesus for the abundant life He's provided for us?

It's well worth the effort. Thanksgiving and praise to God will bring deliverance and freedom. Psalm 8:2 says, "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger" (NIV).

Give Thanks and Honor
The part of Thanksgiving that most believers have missed is the element of honor. Malachi 1:6 says,
A son honoureth this father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? And if I be a master, where is my fear? Saith the Lord of hosts unto you....
(Mal. 1:6)
To honor someone, you have to delegate authority to that person. We fear, reverence, or highly honor God by living the life He directs.

To honor also means "to value, to esteem, to prize highly." When you honor someone, you respect him or her for who they are, what they are, and what they have done.

First Samuel 2:30 declares,
For them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
(1 Sam. 2:30)
In biblical language, if you fail to honor something or someone, you despise them.

Does God deserve to be honored? He created the heavens and the earth. He's Almighty God, Master of all things. He sent His only Son, Jesus, who gave Himself to keep us from going to hell.

God deserves honor.

Giving thanks and honoring God is powerful. When you honor Him, He will honor you and take up your part.

Squanto "Sent of God"
The Thanksgiving Day celebration as we know it actually began with an American Indian named Tisquantum or "Squanto" and Potlatch, an Indian covenant ceremony that involved feasting and the giving of precious gifts to one another in honor and covenant.

Squanto was from the Patuxet tribe, who lived at the place which later became known as Plymouth. In 1605, he was captured by an explorer and taken to England where he learned to speak English. Several years later, Captain John Smith brought him back to New England.

Not long after returning, he was kidnapped with a number of other Indians who were taken to Spain to be sold as slaves. Local friars rescued them, taught them to read and write, and introduced them to Christianity. Squanto eventually traveled to England and in 1619 was able to return to his home.

When Squanto reached his village, he discovered his entire tribe had been killed by a plague. Being the only survivor, he went to live with a neighboring tribe, the Wampanoag.

I've heard it said, and I believe, that Squanto was a strong Christian and a Bible scholar who started a great revival among the Indians and taught them the New Testament. He also eventually taught the settlers who would soon live at the place where his village once stood.

In November 1620, after enduring more than two months of difficult conditions on board the Mayflower and being blown off course, the Pilgrims landed at Cape Cod. They had planned to settle north of the Virginia Colony, but instead found themselves in a desolate wilderness.

Small shelters were hurriedly constructed, but they were unprepared for the harsh New England winter and scarcity of food. Before spring, nearly half died from disease and starvation.

In his book "Of Plymouth Plantation," William Bradford recounted how God intervened in the spring of 1621:
About the 16th of March, a certain Indian came boldly amongst them and spoke to them in broken English.... His name was Samoset. He told them also of another Indian whose name was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in England and could speak better English than himself...about four or five days after, came...the aforesaid Squanto....

Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn, trap game and find fish. He also helped negotiate a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and surrounding Indian tribes. According to William Bradford, "Squanto...was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation."

The harvest brought enough food for the winter, and Governor Bradford called for a day of thanksgiving. Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag and 90 of his men came and stayed for three days of feasting and entertainment.
Although Thanksgiving services have been held before in America, this was the first Thanksgiving festival with both the settlers and Indians participating in the event. They came together over Potlatch and gave thanks for the harvest.

The Nation Gives Thanks
President George Washington declared America's first national Thanksgiving in 1789:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor....

Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789...that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.
It was not until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday of November as an annual national day of thanksgiving:
We often forget the Source from which the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies come....No human wisdom hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God....

I therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United observe the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.
In 1941, Congress established the fourth Thursday of November as a permanent national Thanksgiving holiday.

This Thanksgiving, spend time thanking and praising God for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the new covenant. Give Him honor and praise for all the blessings He has given us.

Note: November is National American Indian Heritage Month. Please join us in honoring Native Americans for the vital contributions they have made to this nation. At pivotal times, they have been instrumental in determining the future of America. In the early days, Squanto and others like him helped settlers survive the nation's critical beginnings. During World Wars I and II, Code Talkers from at least 17 tribes helped this country and our allies secure victory by relaying secret messages using their native languages.

No mistake in transmission was ever made, and their codes were never broken. Their efforts helped turn the tide in both wars. We thank God for the selfless efforts of these brave Native Americans and many others who changed the course of history in America.

Excerpt permission granted by
Eagle Mountain International Church, Inc.
aka:  Kenneth Copeland Ministries

Author Biography

Kenneth Copeland
Web site: Kenneth Copeland Ministries
For the last 50 years Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have been passionately teaching Christians all over the world how to apply the principles of faith found in God’s WORD to their lives.

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