How the Pilgrims suffered until they adopted private property rights – Thanksgiving Meals to Nebraska Veterans: ‘It Means a Lot’- Capitalism is the Ultimate Form of Humanism

By Hans Bader How the Pilgrims suffered until they adopted private property rightsImage: GDJ/Pixabay

“Today is Thanksgiving, and there is much to be thankful. One lesson of the holiday that we should try not to forget is how the Pilgrims were saved from starvation and misery by adopting a system of private property rights,” notes law professor Ilya Somin in the Washington Post.

The Pilgrims’ reversal of fortune is described by economist Benjamin Powell:

Many people believe that after suffering through a severe winter, the Pilgrims’ food shortages were resolved the following spring when the Native Americans taught them to plant corn and a Thanksgiving celebration resulted. In fact, the pilgrims continued to face chronic food shortages for three years until the harvest of 1623. Bad weather or lack of farming knowledge did not cause the pilgrims’ shortages. Bad economic incentives did.

In 1620 Plymouth Plantation was founded with a system of communal property rights. Food and supplies were held in common and then distributed based on equality and need as determined by Plantation officials. People received the same rations whether or not they contributed to producing the food, and residents were forbidden from producing their own food. Governor William Bradford, in his 1647 history, Of Plymouth Plantation, wrote that this system was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. The problem was that “young men, that were most able and fit for labour, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense.” Because of the poor incentives, little food was produced.

Faced with potential starvation in the spring of 1623, the colony decided to implement a new economic system. Every family was assigned a private parcel of land. They could then keep all they grew for themselves….

This change, Bradford wrote, had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. Giving people economic incentives changed their behavior….

Once the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Plantation abandoned their communal economic system and adopted one with greater individual property rights, they never again faced the starvation and food shortages of the first three years.

A 1999 article by the Hoover Institution’s Tom Bethell provides a more detailed account.

Gary Sinise Gifts Thanksgiving Meals to Nebraska Veterans: ‘It Means a Lot’

Actor Gary Sinise looks on before an NBA basketball game between the Washington Wizards and the Dallas Mavericks, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
AP Photo/Jim Cowsert


Actor Gary Sinise, who played double-amputee Lt. Dan in Robert Zemeckis’s 1994 film Forrest Gump, donated Thanksgiving meals to veterans at a VA campus in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Sinise ensured 78 veterans living at the Victory Park apartment complex received a Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday, the Lincoln Journal Star reports. Veterans ranged from the age of 22-74 and served in several different conflicts and wars.

Though Sinise was not in attendance for the festivities, veterans were grateful for his thoughtful offering, according to Property Manager Samantha Garcia.

“It means a lot that he is recognizing them. They sometimes feel forgotten, especially as they get older,” she said, per the Lincoln Journal Star. “With Gary being active with veterans himself, it means a lot coming from him.”

Emil Jacobson serves in the U.S. Air Force and volunteered to help out in Lincoln on Wednesday, according to NTV.

“I myself am in the service, I just feel like its really important to give back to those who come before us and pay homage and help these guys out,” Jacobson said.

“It’s very important, especially with all of the Holidays coming up we have to make sure everyone knows we are here for each other,” Jacobsen added. 

Hy-Vee catered the meals which were served to the veterans by Gold Star Mothers and Blue Star Mothers.

“It’s so important to remember that these people are here and remember what they’ve done for us,” Garcia said, per the Lincoln Journal Star. 

Sinise also donated meals to veterans who reside at a VA in Omaha, NTV reports.

The Apollo 13 star has a long history of assisting veterans. His nonprofit, The Gary Sinise Foundation, recently provided a marine, who was severely wounded in Afghanistan, with a smart home, Breitbart News reported.

“At the Gary Sinise Foundation, we serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need,” the foundation’s mission statement reads. “We do this by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.”

Doug Ross: Capitalism is the Ultimate Form of Humanism

By Joe Hoft November 26, 2021

Doug Ross released another great read from the Private Journal of Doug Ross.  This one explains the difference between capitalism and communism from a simple and yet powerful perspective.

The Private Journal of Doug Ross shared a post with me yesterday on Thanksgiving that was outstanding, so decided to share in part here:

Ross shares about parenthood and how our children love to be affirmed.  This in innate in our nature:

You’ll find that your child seeks, no… craves, attention, affirmation and connection with other human beings.

At 14 months, your child wants to hear your applause as an unsteady stumble turns into a first unassisted walk.

At 10 years old, your child will be on the diving board at the local pool waving arms and shouting, “Look at me, Mom! Look at me!”

At 24, your child will beam as you congratulate them on their first promotion at work.

Human beings desire attention, confirmation and validation from other humans, from their earliest days to their last.

Next Ross notes that capitalism is humanism where efforts are recognized.

Capitalism has succeeded where all other economic arrangements have failed because it recognizes the basic needs of humanity.

Someone who has masterful woodworking skills can secure a living creating cabinetry and custom furniture. They enjoy the beauty of their creations and simultaneously the kudos they receive.

“Look at me, Mom!”

Another person might find a special talent in computer programming, another in writing books, and still another in plumbing and HVAC.

Then Ross compares capitalism to Marxism and it’s clear why the latter fails:

Marxism rejects the unique human need for attention, recognition and achievement.

Each individual is unique in G-d’s eyes. Marxism rejects individuality and places control in the hands of a planning elite that can never organize individuals as well as they can organize themselves.

“Look at me, Mom!”

Marxism tells the 10-year old on the diving board to shut up, get off the diving board and follow orders.

Marxism is an anti-human system of government and should be treated as a poison among all educated peoples.

What an excellent analysis.  Well done Mr. Ross.

The True Story Of The First Thanksgiving

  • John Eidson November 25, 2021

[Millions of school children have been taught the revisionist history that the first Thanksgiving was about the Pilgrims giving thanks to their Indian neighbors for saving them from starvation. Around this time of year, an historically accurate account of the first Thanksgiving was told on national radio. A few years ago, I compiled a lightly-edited transcript of that account, which appears below. Please enjoy and share “The True Story of the First Thanksgiving,” as it was narrated each November by the late nationally-syndicated radio host, Rush Limbaugh.]

The story of the Pilgrims began in the early part of the seventeenth century. The Church of England under King James I was persecuting anyone who did not recognize its absolute authority. Those who demanded freedom of worship were hunted down, imprisoned, and sometimes executed for their beliefs. A small group of separatists fled to Holland, where they established an outpost.

A decade later, about forty of the separatists decided to embark on a perilous journey to the New World, where they could live and worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England carrying a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up a contract that established laws that would govern the new settlement. The values and principles set forth in the Mayflower Compact were derived from the Bible.

Because of an unshakable belief in Divine Providence, the Pilgrims never doubted that their bold experiment would succeed. But their journey to the New World was long and arduous. When they landed in America, they found, according to Bradford’s detailed journal, a cold and desolate wilderness. There were no friends to greet them, he wrote, or houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could find temporary lodging and no trading posts where they could buy food and other necessities. The numerous hardships they would encounter in the name of religious freedom were just beginning.

During the first winter, half of the Pilgrims, including Bradford’s wife, perished from starvation, sickness or exposure. When spring came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats. Life improved on the margins, but the colony was still a long way from assured survival.

The original contract the Pilgrims entered into with their merchant sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, with each member of the settlement entitled to one common share. All land they cleared and all houses they built belonged to the community. The plan was to distribute everything equally. No colony member owned anything beyond a proportionate share of the common output. Under this communal living arrangement, the colony’s most industrious members lacked incentive to produce as much as they could.     

Soon, it became obvious that the collectivist system was not yielding enough food. Faced with mass starvation, Bradford decided on bold action, and assigned each family its own plot of land. With private property rights and personal incentive in play, food production began to soar. The Pilgrims scrapped the collectivist system that almost led to their demise. What Bradford wrote about the colony’s near-disastrous experiment in communal living should be taught to every child in America:

“…. this community was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and to retard much employment that would otherwise have been to its benefit and comfort. Young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine [complain] that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without compensation.” 

Under the new arrangement, every family was permitted to sell its excess crops and other products. The result? “This had very good success,” wrote Bradford, “for it made all hands industrious, so more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.”  

With an abundance of food at hand, the Pilgrims set up trading posts and began to exchange goods with the Indians. The profits they earned enabled them to pay off their debts to their sponsors. News of the settlement’s prosperity attracted other Europeans, and precipitated what came to be known as The Great Puritan Migration.   

Many of America’s schools incorrectly teach that the first Thanksgiving was an occasion where grateful Pilgrims thanked the Indians for saving them from starvation. But the true story of Thanksgiving is that of William Bradford giving thanks not to the Indians, but to God for the guidance and inspiration to establish a thriving colony, one that enabled the Pilgrims to generously share their plentiful bounty with their Indian neighbors at that first Thanksgiving.       

Omitted in many classrooms is the historical fact that it was not Indians who saved the Pilgrims. Rather, it was free enterprise capitalism and Scripture, the latter of which was acknowledged on October 3, 1789 by America’s first president in his Thanksgiving Proclamation, a short historical document that every school child should read.

By John Eidson

A 1968 electrical engineering graduate of Georgia Teach and now retired, John Eidson is a freelance writer in Atlanta and a regular contributor to The Blue State Conservative.

Image by GDJ at Pixabay.


Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789

John L. Kachelman, Jr.: The Reality and Requisite of a National Thanksgiving

By Joe Hoft November 25, 2021

Guest post by John L. Kachelman, Jr.

The Reality and Requisite of a National Thanksgiving

The fourth Thursday in November is my favorite day of the year. It is “Thanksgiving Day.” Ironically my favorite day of the year follows my least favorite day (Halloween). Thanksgiving Day celebrates the heartfelt and happy acknowledgment that the Almighty God has providentially blessed us. Halloween celebrates all that is evil, selfish and ungodly. These two calendar events frame the constant battle in civilization’s history. I prefer the celebration of good rather than the celebration of evil.

One has well asked, “Why is it that mankind chooses to celebrate thanksgiving to the Almighty only on one day, and focus on gripes, grumbles, and complaints the remaining 364 days?” The answer to this query is an indictment of society—mankind is more concerned with self than with the Almighty God.

A celebration of Thanksgiving is a high-valued target in today’s ungodly society. Any action, celebration, moral compass, lifestyle choices, etc, that places the Judeo-Christian ethos as the governing parameters, is instantly damned in brutal verbiage. To acknowledge Thanksgiving is to acknowledge the Almighty God. In today’s culture, God is not acknowledged—He is erased.

The practical consequence of erasing God is an embracing of socialism. Socialism advocates that communal thought is the source of all power; the State is the ultimate arbitrator in even the most personal choices. One is thankful to the State because God is erased. Such an ungodly position ultimately leads to blind submission: “The State knows better how to spend the private citizen’s money than the private citizens.” Or, “The State knows better what your children need to learn.” Or, “The State knows better how to raise your children—it takes a village to raise a child because parents cannot raise their own children!” This is a power struggle—the power of evil seeks to erase the power of good.

However, there is a major problem in the socialistic erasure of the Almighty God. The prophet summarizes this issue as he describes the socio-religious conditions of his day, “There is oath-taking, denial, murder, stealing, and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore, the land mourns, and everyone who lives in it languishes along with the animals of the field and the birds of the sky, and even the fish of the sea disappear.” And what is the cause of this catastrophic environment? “For there is no faithfulness, nor loyalty, nor knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1-3).

Please do not miss the obvious truth! The failure to be thankful to the Almighty God impacts every aspect of man’s civilization and environment. Even the “ecosystem” is destroyed by the unthankful attitude toward the Almighty God! Do you want to cure the ecosystem’s disintegration (climate change or global warming or whatever it is termed today)? Then foster a thankful attitude toward the Almighty God. Do you want to cure the criminal cancers destroying civility? Then cultivate a knowledge that will cause you to be thankful to the Almighty God. Then cultivate a knowledge that leads to a thankful attitude. It is a simple fix. But this simple fix is fought “tooth-and-nail” by the unthankful heart.

The conscience and strength of our nation is being dismantled brick by brick. The deconstruction of our nation has already removed much of our heritage that made us a world power. The heroes have been painted as the villains and the personalities that have fueled hate and instigated anger are memorialized as “saints” and recently even as the Christ!

Reliance on God’s providence was a hallmark of the early colonists but is a never taught historical fact in our schools. God’s providence is a blasphemous belief according to our politically correct speech. God’s providence is a faded memory in the minds of older Americans. The Judeo-Christian foundation of our morality, governing, and freedoms are being attacked and removed piece by piece. We have lost so much of our national conscience that Hosea’s characterization of his society reads like today’s news briefs.

Our nation has long been in an ideological war. Many dismissed the surrender of freedoms and the encroaching governmental “mandates” as inconsequential. But, ideas have consequences. When ungodly, uncivil ideas are permitted unrestricted advocacy, they become a cancer that metastases and brings ruin to every part of society.

Our national day of “Thanksgiving” brings an uncomfortable focus to this war. Two striking points are considered as illustrative of those intent on dismantling our great Republic who attack Thanksgiving Day.

First, there is an effort to rewrite history so the Pilgrim’s first Thanksgiving becomes a myth. Illustrating this are a number of articles from those claiming to have “discovered the truth” regarding the Thanksgiving holiday celebrated in the USA.

Our educational centers are teaching the “inventing” of Thanksgiving. The holiday is purported to be founded upon a legend. Here is one of many such propaganda pieces deconstructing our national heritage, revising our history and contorting truth. All is an effort to erase the Almighty God and encourage the State’s surrender to socialism.

“The legend of the American Thanksgiving holiday is said to have been based on a feast of thanksgiving in the early days of the American colonies almost 400 years ago. The tale as it is told in grade schools is a legend, a mythologized version that downplays some of the bleaker history of how Thanksgiving became an American national holiday…The holiday continued…not with a feast and family, but rather with rowdy drunken men who went door to door begging for treats. That’s how many of the original American holidays were celebrated: Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Day, Washington’s birthday, the 4th of July…By the mid-18th century, the rowdy behavior had become a carnivalesque misrule that was closer to what we think of as Halloween or Mardi Gras today. An established mummer’s parade made up of cross-dressing men, known as the Fantasticals, began by the 1780s: it was considered a more acceptable behavior than the drunken rowdiness. It could be said that these two institutions are still part of Thanksgiving Day celebrations: rowdy men (Thanksgiving Day football games, established in 1876), and elaborate mummer parades (Macy’s Parade, established in 1924).”

In stark contrast to the idiocy of the revisionist’s attempts to rewrite facts regarding documented facts, we note this historical account:

“In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies…In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith…Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from a member of the Abenaki tribe who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe…Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years…In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving.”

Much of what we know about what happened at the first Thanksgiving comes from Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow, who wrote:

“Our harvest being gotten in…we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors…many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted…And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want.”

The second point focuses upon how the real Thanksgiving Day celebration demolishes the socialistic onslaught of our free entrepreneurial economy. This point is often eclipsed by the feast shared between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans, but it should be strongly emphasized today.

The first Thanksgiving exposes socialism as bereft of any value culturally, morally, civically, economically, and religiously! Any way one looks at socialism it is worthless—except to the elite who become richer and more aloof!

Let me suggest that you read several articles published in Forbes Magazine by Jerry Bowyer. Bowyer’s discussion on the real significance of Thanksgiving is rarely heard. His opening sentences read: “It’s wrong to say that American was founded by capitalists. In fact, America was founded by socialists who had the humility to learn from their initial mistakes and embrace freedom.”

Bowyer, in another article, exposes the emptiness of socialism’s promises. Socialism never produces abundance, energy, expansion, and improvements. As Bowyer notes, “I explained that the first Thanksgiving was a celebration of abundance after a period of socialism and starvation…Their Thanksgiving celebrated the triumph of the individual, private property, and incentive, over collectivism…For them, God, not Plato, knew best. Accepting the principles of private property and self-interest was God’s way of harnessing self-interest to the greater good. We know all of this because an elder and Governor of the Plymouth plantation, William Bradford, kept a journal and it survives today.” 

I appreciate such insight!

Thanksgiving Day is exceptional in many ways but these two points add emphasis to the reality of such a day celebrated in history and its requisite to a national ideology that succeeds by a bold individualism and a contained and controlled central governing!

The Bible says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). Perhaps we should add the thought “and whose citizenry remains thankful for the divine blessings.” The Bible says in Deuteronomy 28 that if we honor and obey God, we will enjoy blessings. If a nation dishonors and disobeys Him, it will reap curses (as Hosea observed).

I well remember the truisms once stressed by our political leaders: “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” And, “Once a nation removes God from its conscience, it becomes a god-less nation.”

This is the reality and requisite of our Thanksgiving Day!

VIDEO Thanksgiving on The War Room: Dr. Carol Swain Shares Her Incredible American Story and Johnny Cash Sings “A Thanksgiving Prayer”

By Jim Hoft November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!
The War Room ran a Thanksgiving Special earlier today to celebrate our great nation and our American family.

Dr. Carol Swain joined The War Room to offer this hopeful message: “The American Dream Is Not Dead!”

Dr. Swain told The War Room, “I have so much to be thankful for because I am a person that God clearly lifted up… I’ve enjoyed the success of America but the most important thing was my journey, my spiritual journey. I became a devout Christian believer and I can see the hand of God on my life.”

What a wonderful story!

The War Room played “A Thanksgiving Prayer” by the late great Johnny Cash to close out their morning show.
This was an excellent segment.

May we always be grateful for our many blessings on Thanksgiving and every day.

The Power of Thanksgiving

Kay Camenisch

It’s that season again, when we’re reminded to be thankful — and to express thankfulness. God has told us,

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)

Even though we know it’s God’s will, for most of us, a reminder is a good thing, because in the midst of busyness and challenges of life, we often forget to be grateful for our many blessings.

I always think of a particular incident when I think of giving thanks. Many years ago, our friend Paul noticed that his young daughter Susannah had a ritual with her bedtime prayers. She always prayed, “God, bless Mommy, and Daddy, and …” She went down her list, asking God for her all her wants.

At prayer time one night, he said, “Susannah, you have a lot to be thankful for. I’d like you to start your prayers with thanksgiving.” Susannah agreed, but Paul left on a trip the next morning and wasn’t able to reinforce his instruction.

When he returned, her prayers had not changed. He said, “Susannah, what did I ask you to do when you pray?”

She hesitated before answering. “Uhhh. Start my prayers with Halloween?”

She remembered the request—but didn’t understand what thanksgiving was and got mixed up with which holiday he had said.

Unlike Susannah, I understand what it means to give thanks and that it’s good to express appreciation, but I often get so busy that I don’t take note of what I’m grateful for, much less express it to others. I’ve resolved to do better after recently experiencing the blessing of being on the receiving end.

My husband is a pastor of a church of amazing people who regularly communicate their thanks. It makes it a joy to be part of them. However, we were recently showered with love and many expressions of appreciation. I must admit, it felt good. It deepened our love and our commitment to give more of ourselves. It also made me want to be more faithful in expressing my thanks.

But that was just the beginning of the day. After church and the dinner that followed, our home filled with out-of-town family who came to celebrate Dad’s 89th birthday. We visited, celebrated, and enjoyed being together. After the meal, while still around the table, I was once again struck with what an impact it makes to speak words of appreciation.

Robert’s youngest brother said, “Dad, at our house, we have a tradition that we do on birthdays, and we’d like to do it now.” He went on to explain that we wanted to each share something with Dad that we appreciated about him, starting with the youngest and moving up.

Seven-year-old Elena went first, and one at a time, each of ten people shared something they were grateful for, something Dad had done that had blessed his or her life. Most shared two or three things that had made an impact — and all sounded sincere.

At least once, Dad’s eyes filled with tears. Others were touched too. It was a precious time and a much bigger blessing than the simple gifts given earlier.

It was also powerful. Dad wasn’t the only one blessed. We all left the table encouraged, strengthened, and closer to one another because of words of gratefulness. All we did was say thanks — but we don’t make a point to do that often enough. I basked in the blessing and power of the time around the table for several days.

I wish we had practiced that tradition in our home as our children were growing up. In fact, I’m wondering how to stimulate more giving of thanks in other settings — of open, sincere, thoughtful expressions of appreciation. If you have ideas, I’m interested.

However, after some thought, I’ve decided that the best place to begin is with myself. I might not impact the whole community, but I could encourage some.

Meanwhile, I hope your Thanksgiving is blessed with gratefulness—and with thanksgiving.

Copyright © Kay Camenisch. Used by permission.

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VIDEO The REAL Story of Thanksgiving… Dead White Guys – Or – What Your History Books Never Told You

Nov 23, 2005

RUSH: From my second bestseller, “See, I Told You So, “”Chapter 6, “Dead White guys, or What the History Books Never Told You: The True Story of Thanksgiving.” The story of the Pilgrims begins in the early part of the seventeenth century (that’s the 1600s for those of you in Rio Linda, California). The Church of England under King James I was persecuting anyone and everyone who did not recognize its absolute civil and spiritual authority. Those who challenged ecclesiastical authority and those who believed strongly in freedom of worship were hunted down, imprisoned, and sometimes executed for their beliefs.

A group of separatists first fled to Holland and established a community. After eleven years, about forty of them agreed to make a perilous journey to the New World, where they would certainly face hardships, but could live and worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences.

On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible.

The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example. And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work.

But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford’s detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness. There were no friends to greet them, he wrote. There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves.

And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims – including Bradford’s own wife – died of either starvation, sickness or exposure. When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats. Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper!

This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives, rather than as a devout expression of gratitude grounded in the tradition of both the Old and New Testaments.

Here is the part that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well.

They were going to distribute it equally. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well. Nobody owned anything. They just had a share in it. It was a commune, folks. It was the forerunner to the communes we saw in the ’60s and ’70s out in California – and it was complete with organic vegetables, by the way.

Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives. He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of the marketplace.

That’s right. Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism. And what happened? It didn’t work! Surprise, surprise, huh? What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation!

But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years – trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it – the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently. What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild’s history lesson If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering in the future.

“The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years…that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God,” Bradford wrote. “For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense…that was thought injustice.”

Why should you work for other people when you can’t work for yourself? What’s the point?

Do you hear what he was saying, ladies and gentlemen? The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford’s community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result?

“This had very good success,” wrote Bradford, “for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.” Bradford doesn’t sound like much of a Clintonite, does he? Is it possible that supply-side economics could have existed before the 1980s? Yes. Read the story of Joseph and Pharaoh in Genesis 41. Following Joseph’s suggestion (Gen 41:34), Pharaoh reduced the tax on Egyptians to 20% during the “seven years of plenty” and the “Earth brought forth in heaps.” (Gen. 41:47)

In no time, the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves.

Now, this is where it gets really good, folks, if you’re laboring under the misconception that I was, as I was taught in school.

So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians. The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London. And the success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the “Great Puritan Migration.”

Now, you probably haven’t read this. You might have heard me read it to you over the previous years on this program, but I don’t think this lesson is still being taught to children — and if not, why not? I mean, is there a more important lesson one could derive from the Pilgrim experience than this? Thanksgiving, in other words, is not thanks to the Indians, and it’s not thanks to William Bradford. It’s not thanks to the merchants of London. Thanksgiving is thanks to God, pure and simple. Go read the first Thanksgiving proclamation from George Washington and you’ll get the point. The word “God” is mentioned in that first Thanksgiving proclamation more times… If you read it aloud to an ACLU member, you’ll get thrown in jail, but that’s what the first Thanksgiving was all about. Get it. I’m telling you, read it. Maybe we can find it and link to it: George Washington’s first Thanksgiving Proclamation. Folks, if you haven’t read that, you need to read it. It will tell you the true story of Thanksgiving. I’m happy to share it with you each and every year as a tradition on this program.

Jonathan Edwards On True Thanksgiving

Jonathan Edwards has a word for our time that could hardly be more pointed if he were living today. It has to do with the foundation of gratitude.

By Sermoncentral on Nov 21, 2020

Jonathan Edwards has a word for our time that could hardly be more pointed if he were living today. It has to do with the foundation of gratitude.

True gratitude or thankfulness to God for his kindness to us, arises from a foundation laid before, of love to God for what he is in himself; whereas a natural gratitude has no such antecedent foundation. The gracious stirrings of grateful affection to God, for kindness received, always are from a stock of love already in the heart, established in the first place on other grounds, viz. God’s own excellency.

In other words, gratitude that is pleasing to God is not first a delight in the benefits God gives (though that is part of it). True gratitude must be rooted in something else that comes first, namely, a delight in the beauty and excellency of God’s character. If this is not the foundation of our gratitude, then it is not above what the “natural man,” apart from the Spirit and the new nature in Christ, experiences. In that case “gratitude” to God is no more pleasing to God than all the other emotions which unbelievers have without delighting in him.

You would not be honored if I thanked you often for your gifts to me, but had no deep and spontaneous regard for you as a person. You would feel insulted, no matter how much I thanked you for your gifts. If your character and personality do not attract me or give me joy in being around you, then you will just feel used, like a tool or a machine to produce the things I really love.

So it is with God. If we are not captured by his personality and character, then all our declarations of thanksgiving are like the gratitude of a wife to a husband for the money she gets from him to use in her affair with another man. This is exactly the picture in James 4:3-4. James criticizes the motives of prayer that treats God like a cuckold: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?” Why does he call these praying people “adulteresses”? Because, even though praying, they are forsaking their husband (God) and going after a paramour (the world). And to make matters worse, they are asking their husband (in prayer) to fund the adultery.

Amazingly, this same flawed spiritual dynamic is sometimes true when people thank God for sending Christ to die for them. Perhaps you have heard people say how thankful we should be for the death of Christ because it shows how much value God puts upon us. What is the foundation of this gratitude?

Jonathan Edwards calls it the gratitude of hypocrites. Why? Because,

They first rejoice, and are elevated with the fact that they are made much of by God; and then on that ground, he seems in a sort, lovely to them. . . . They are pleased in the highest degree, in hearing how much God and Christ make of them. So that their joy is really a joy in themselves, and not in God.

It is a shocking thing to learn that one of today’s most common descriptions of how to respond to the cross may well be a description of natural self-love with no spiritual value.

We do well to listen to Jonathan Edwards. Does he not simply spell out for us the Biblical truth that we should do all things-including giving thanks-to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)? And God is not glorified if the foundation of our gratitude is the worth of the gift and not the excellency of the Giver. If gratitude is not rooted in the beauty of God before the gift, it is probably disguised idolatry. May God grant us a heart to delight in him for who he is so that all our gratitude for his gifts will be the echo of our joy in the excellency of the Giver!

Scriptures: 1 Corinthians, James 4, James 4:3-4

AUDIO Five Kernels Of Corn

By Rev Bill Woods

2 Corinthians 2:12-17 — When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.  But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”

Today many say at Thanksgiving time we need to be thankful.

–      They list thankful for food, health, friends, and the list goes on.

–      But just who do we thank?

–      To really be thankful you need somebody to thank.

–      You can’t be thankful for things unless you know who to thank!

I know!  Thank God, the Giver of all good gifts!


“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”

There’s a movement in our country trying to defame the key people who’ve given us our rich heritage.

They want to scandalize our founding Fathers.

–      They want to negate the accomplishments of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and all the great leaders who’ve sacrificed to build this Republic known as the United States the greatest nation on earth for 245  years.   

They’re claiming our Nation was built on “White Supremacy”

–      This movement wants to remove all the statues and monuments and do away with any holidays that remind of our rich heritage.

–      The push is towards Socialism and Marxism.

–      What a disaster it’ll be should they succeed!

We have major leaders in our Government in Washington D.C. that are stoking this fire with gasoline because they’re so power-hungry!

One of their targets is to get rid of the historical stories about the Pilgrims that left persecution in England to settle in America in order to enjoy Freedom of Worship and relief from tyranny.

The effort is being made to identify the Pilgrims as greedy, cruel and selfish people who came to steal the Indians’ land and enslave or kill the tribes that were here.

–      Nothing could be farther from the historical facts.

The first Thanksgiving was a time when the Pilgrims thanked someone — Almighty God!

–      Today we need to be reminded to thank God too!  

The Pilgrims fled England to Holland for religious freedom, but were afraid their children would lose their English heritage……..

Finally it was decided they’d charter a ship (the Mayflower) to go to the New World to live.

–      On Sept 16, 1620 two ships set sail from Plymouth England.

–      The Speedwell and the Mayflower.

The Speedwell encountered much difficulty as they began their journey springing many leaks. So when the 2 ships went to Port in Plymouth England, it was decided the Speedwell  go no further and 42 passengers from the Speedwell joined the 60 passengers and 30 crew members aboard the Mayflower.

–      Passengers and crew totaled 132 people on board (30 crew members and 102 passengers.)

The majority of the 102 passengers on board the Mayflower were devout Christians. They were coming to America to escape the bonds of the Church of England so they could worship God as they believed scriptures taught.

With great excitement and expectations they set sail for a new land… It wasn’t long before the trip became difficult for several reasons, as noted by William Bradford an historian on the Mayflower, who later became Governor of the colony for 33 years.

A storm-tossed, 65 day voyage across the wintry Atlantic Ocean in 1620, carried the small, slow merchant MAYFLOWER into an honored place in American history.

 That trip in itself had to be a nightmare.

–      The Mayflower was a 3-masted vessel of 180 tons.

–      It was approximately 100 feet long and its greatest width was 26 feet.

–      The stern rose 27 feet above the water when loaded.

–      2 decks ran the length of the ship.

There was just no room for all the people on board and their luggage and supplies.  Some reports say they brought some animals too!

Historians have wondered how 102 passengers found sleeping space.

–      There were just 2 cabins, a galley, and quarters for about 30 crewmen.

One writer guessed that if the officers gave up most of their cabin space, maybe 54 parents and children could sleep in tiers of double bunks there.

–      The single men and boys could bed down on pallets or hammocks between decks.

–      Their goods and supplies were stored in the hold.

There was no privacy! 

–      There were no sanitary facilities, and fresh water was too scarce to use for washing.

Many of the passengers became seasick as huge waves crashed over the deck of the ship…The smell in the crowded quarters must’ve been nearly unbearable!

Mainly cold food was served as there was very little cooking space.

–      The diets consisted of hard biscuits, cheese, and salted fish or beef.

With no fresh provisions many passengers got scurvy in the 65-day trip.

The nights were cold, damp and dark…they suffered exposure to bitter winds and icy water.  Remember, there was no indoor plumbing or electricity.

–      As storms tossed the ship, the caulking worked out of the upper seams letting in the freezing spray.

To make matters worse one of the crew, a very large man would constantly curse and abuse the sick… saying he was going to throw them overboard and steal all of their possessions…


                                                                                                                          But their problems were far from over, they encountered many fierce storms which shook the ship with tremendous force. So fierce that many times they couldn’t even keep the sail out — the force of the wind eventually cracked and buckled the main beam and repairs had to be made in mid-ocean when they had just passed the half way point across the Atlantic.

Although the passengers and crew wanted to turn back, Christopher Jones, the ship’s Master, assured all the vessel was “strong and firm under water.” He ordered the beam to be secured. It was hoisted into place by a great iron screw that, the Pilgrims brought out of Holland. And upon raising the beam, they “committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed.”

–      The ship averaged less than 2 miles per hour the whole trip.

These 102 people; cold, wet – on a wooden ship in the middle of the ocean — put their hope, trust and lives into the hands of God. The battered ship finally came within sight of Cape Cod on November 19, 1620.

Two had died at sea and two had given birth. The Pilgrims scanned the shoreline just to the west of them and described it as, “a goodly land wooded to the brink of the sea,”  William Bradford wrote, “AFTER LONG BEATINGS AT SEA THEY FELL WITH THAT LAND WHICH IS CALLED CAPE COD; AND THEY WERE NOT A LITTLE JOYFUL…”

Finally, they made it to land, but somehow a mistake had been made.

–      They’d intended to land in Virginia, where there would be help from others in an English colony.

–      Somehow, they were way north of their intended destination and landed in New England!

It was too late in the winter and too cold to try to sail for Virginia.

–      They must stay here in Plymouth.

Before going ashore they decided to write a document known as the Mayflower Compact.
At the heart of the Compact lay an undisputed conviction that God must be at the center of all law and order and the law without a moral base is really no law at all.

That day the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, according to William Bradford, “they came to anchor in the Bay, which was a good harbor…and they blessed the God of Heaven, who brought them over the fast and furious ocean… and a sea of trouble. And they read the following from the Geneva Bible (the Bible the Pilgrims used) “LET THEM, THEREFORE PRAISE THE LORD, BECAUSE HE IS GOOD AND HIS MERCIES ENDURE FOREVER.”

After many hardships they finally erected a small settlement in their new wild homeland.

During their first winter things didn’t get any better.

–      Supplies were short.

–      Starvation, cholera, and other diseases began to take their toll.

At one time that winter, only 6 pilgrims were able to find strength to get up and move around to wait on the others.

–      Their food supply fell so low that at one time they only had 5 kernels of the Indian corn they had found per person per day!

Imagine!  A daily ration of 5 kernels of corn!

–      That wouldn’t even make a country chicken dinner!  In fact, the chicken couldn’t live on that!

Later, when crops were good, the Pilgrims established the custom of placing 5 kernels of corn beside their plates as a memorial of those terrible days.

–      It was a way to thank God for His blessings.

Winter stretched on and one after another many pilgrims died.

–      They were buried at night in unmarked graves so the Indians wouldn’t know how bad the conditions were and attack.

–      By Spring 51 of the 102 people in Plymouth had died.

Finally, things began to break.

A friendly Indian by the name of Squanto came to the village and taught the men how to plant corn and find food.

In early Spring the Mayflower had to set sail back to England.

–      They offered the Pilgrims free passage back if they wanted to go.

–      Not one took advantage of the offer.

–      They’d all stay and do their part to establish a Christian land.

It must’ve been sad to watch the Mayflower sail out of sight knowing they’re now committed to this and with no hope to leave.

That Summer the pilgrims had a good harvest, laid in adequate supplies and that Fall decided to have a feast to thank God for His goodness.

–      They invited their Indian neighbors to the feast.

–      The Indians brought 5 deer to help with the groceries.

Remember, before we can be thankful for something, we must be thankful to someone.

–      The Pilgrims thanked God for His goodness to them.

Next Thursday most of us will celebrate Thanksgiving Day… Many will be busy cooking turkeys, making stuffing, baking pumpkin pies…. and watching football games — that is fun stuff – it’s important to join with loved ones… But that’s not what Thanksgiving is really about — it’s not about food and fun… it’s about giving thanks to God.
We usually picture the first Thanksgiving, as the time when Pilgrims and Indians got together for a great feast (though I don’t know how they could’ve eaten pumpkin pie without Cool Whip)!

I tend to look at that time when the sea-battered Mayflower anchored at Cape Cod, and the weary, worn men and women were on their knees praising God for bringing them safely through the treacherous sea to this new land, as the real first Thanksgiving.

I wonder how they’d react to see our Society today?

–      Would they be disappointed to see our Nation has forgotten God?

You might wonder, “How could they thank God for such difficult and impossible times?”



The Pilgrims knew that having Christ as their Savior and having  their sins forgiven was the most important thing they could do. Also, having religious freedom was worth whatever cost it would take.

By all indications, we’re facing some rough days ahead!  Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior?  Can you stand firm for Him in hard times?

Be like the Pilgrims—set your goal and let nothing deter you!

This Thanksgiving remember your great heritage!

Remember the examples set by the Pilgrims and Christians who decided to Trust God with their lives and help form the greatest Nation on earth!



The updated version of Rev Bill Woods’ book “There Is Still Power In The Blood” will be available soon.

Always Thankful

Steven Halter

In the stressful and troubled world in which we live, it can seem difficult for us to find something to be thankful for. When we listen to or read the news, it is mostly bad news that is reported. We hear of crime, terrorism, tragedies, and disasters. We rush about at a hectic pace day after day, trying to keep up with the demands of modern life. And the list of problems could go on and on.

Yet, it is precisely because of the problems around us that we need to devote ourselves to giving thanks. When darkness grows around us, we cannot afford to become neglectful in this spiritual practice. Instead, we need to renew our commitment to thankfulness. In fact, being thankful can be therapeutic. It can bring healing to a troubled heart. On the other hand, a lack of thankfulness can lead to depression as we focus on negative things. However, Paul the apostle wrote that we should not let our minds dwell on negative thoughts. Instead, we should dwell on those things that are pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). When we make a practice of thanking God for His many blessings, we will be focusing on the good things He has given us, and He can begin to bring healing and strength to us.

Always Being Thankful

There are some key points to keep in mind concerning giving thanks. The first is that we should always be thankful. We should be thankful every day, not just when we attend a church service or observe a special day of thanks. This is because there is always something to be grateful for.

We always have our spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. For example, we have been forgiven of our sins through Jesus’ death on the cross (Matthew 26:28). Despite our present imperfections, God has declared us to have right standing before Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). By God’s grace and mercy, we have been adopted as children of God (Romans 8:15). We are unconditionally loved by the Father, the Maker of heaven and earth (Romans 5:8).

In Old Testament times, the people of God would often sing something like this:

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 1 Chronicles 16:34 (NASB)

There are also the temporal blessings we receive from God. He sends us rain, sunshine, and provides us with natural resources. Many of us have abundant food and more than adequate shelter. These and many other blessings are often taken for granted, but we need to have hearts full of gratitude for all of the wonderful things he has given us, whether great or small.

In All Circumstances

As mentioned above, we live in a troubled world that can threaten to overwhelm us with the pervasiveness and magnitude of its troubles. It can affect us not just in our global outlook, but also in our individual lives. But no matter how bad our circumstances may be, we can always be thankful to God. Our circumstances themselves may not always inspire thankfulness, but if we turn our thoughts to God’s many blessings, both spiritual and temporal, our hearts will again be filled with thankfulness to Him. The Apostle Paul said:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NRSV)

Even in difficult circumstances, we should continually keep in mind that God desires to bring good out of the situation that we are in.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)

This does not mean that every situation is good in and of itself, or that every situation leads to something good by itself. On the contrary, it is when God actively works in a situation that good can come out of it — even in the darkest of situations.

Often the good that comes out of a situation may not be readily apparent. We shouldn’t expect God to turn every outward circumstance in our favor. Instead, God often works in situations to strengthen us inwardly by His Spirit and to mold us into the image of Christ. This is brought out clearly by the context in the following verse.

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:29 (NIV)

However, we need to be cooperative with what God desires to do in our hearts for the molding process to be the most effective.

The Extent of Our Thankfulness

A crucial issue for believers is the issue of how much we should be thankful for. An important verse to consider is the following:

“… always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20 (NIV)

So then, should we be thankful for every single thing, or only for every good thing? For many Christians, the answer to this question will be determined largely by their theological or church background. Nevertheless, when we carefully study this verse in the context of the whole Bible, it will be easier to determine what the best answer to that question is.

First, we need to recognize that the Bible contains many figures of speech. In this verse, Paul is not intending that we understand him to mean that we should give thanks for “everything without exception.” When we consider the context of the whole book of Ephesians, we see that Paul is referring to every blessing that comes from God. For in Ephesians, Paul speaks often of God’s blessings. In Ephesians, we find the word grace 12 times, the word love 14 times, and a reference to spiritual riches four times.

Clearly, Paul is not telling us to be thankful even for things that are evil. Can you imagine saying, “I give thanks to God the Father for this evil thing, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”? It would be unbiblical and ungodly. Paul elsewhere wrote, “Hate what is evil” (Romans 12:9). The psalmist wrote, “Let those who love the LORD hate evil” (Psalm 97:10). Hebrews says that Jesus Himself “hated wickedness” (Hebrews 1:9). These verses reveal that it is impossible to rightly understand Ephesians 5:20 as saying that we should be thankful for all things without exception. Evil is certainly an exception.

Seeing this one exception can help us to understand this verse better. It is better understood to mean that we should give thanks for every good thing, every blessing, or everything that is worthy of thanks. We don’t need to give thanks for evil, or for every adversity or difficulty. Those things that are of God we should be thankful for. But those things that are from Satan we should take spiritual authority against. And adversities that are a result of this fallen world we should pray about, and even take action to change them as we are led by the Word and the Spirit. We must beware of falling into the trap of passivity concerning those things that are not of God.

Summing It Up

How can we sum up all of these principles? Here is one suggestion concerning how we should align our hearts, words, and actions regarding thankfulness to God:

Always be thankful to God in all circumstances for all of His blessings.

Copyright © Steven Halter. Used by permission.

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Cultivating a Gratitude Mindset

Ken Boa

There’s a perfunctory, almost embarrassed prayer of thanks many of us offer up around Thanksgiving time because we’re not accustomed to gratitude as a habit. It’s foreign to our daily routine. We’ve become too much like the nine lepers who — unlike the lone, grateful Samaritan who returned to thank Jesus for healing him — take God’s blessings as our due; we’ve succumbed to an entitlement mindset. (Read the full story in Luke 17:11-21.)

Thanksgiving is what we really should be doing every day, all year long. Why don’t we?

Do Not Forget!

Moses described the lifestyle and mindset of gratitude God desired for the Israelites in Deuteronomy 8:11-14. He then reminded them that the Lord had cared for them in the desert place, providing for and protecting them (Deuteronomy 8:15-16a). All of this He did to humble them, with their good in mind (Deuteronomy 8:16). Then Moses warned them what would happen if they did forget God:

Otherwise, you may say in your heart, “My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.” (Deuteronomy 8:17)

If the Israelites forgot God, then rather than seeing God as the giver of everything, they would become either proud and presumptuous (if things appeared to be going well), or bitter and resentful (if things started going badly). Both of these attitudes — presumption and bitterness — are a result of ingratitude, which ultimately stems from forgetting God. 

How do we guard against ingratitude? We do so by remembering God for:

  1. His deliverance in the past, 
  2. His benefits in the present, and
  3. His promises for the future.

If we forget God in any one of these areas, ingratitude will slip in, leading to missed blessings and missed opportunities for growth. 

His Deliverance in the Past

The prophet Hosea relayed God’s perspective on Israel’s forgetfulness (see Hosea 13:4-6). He then detailed the terrible consequences of forgetting and ingratitude.

After coming through a period of drought and arriving at a point of satisfaction in our lives, it’s easy for us to become like the Israelites: taking our eyes off of God and letting a subtle sense of pride seep in. We begin to suppose we achieved our own success, through our own abilities. This is foolish! Not one of us sat around in a primordial cafeteria selecting the attributes we would have. 

God has the power to raise us up in a day and the power to bring us down in a day (see the stories of Joseph and King Nebuchadnezzar in the Bible); He has the power to give and the power to take away. Anything we possess, and any skill we have, is derivative (1 Corinthians 4:7) of the hand of the living God.

His Benefits in the Present

A gratitude mindset entails thanking God not only for His past provision but also for His blessings in the present. These benefits include His creation as well as personal blessings (material, relational, and spiritual).

Most of us default to a deficiency mindset — focusing on what we do not have — rather than a sufficiency mindset — focusing on what we do have. I don’t advocate a shallow philosophy of positive thinking, but I do know God is serious about 1 Thessalonians 5:18: we’re to acknowledge Him and give Him thanks in all things. We can even give Him thanks in and for difficult circumstances, recognizing our pain is never wasted and is often needful for our growth and development (sometimes called “the hard thanksgiving”).

His Promises for the Future

Finally, we’re to remember and thank God for His abundant promises for the future. One of these promises is that what He has planned for us is far beyond what we can imagine or think of on our own (Ephesians 3:20; 1 Corinthians 2:9). God has a better vision of our lives (both here on earth and beyond this life) than we do. And right now, His desire is to lavish the riches of His grace in acts of kindness toward us (Ephesians 2:4-7).

Practice It!

Gratitude, at root, is not a feeling. If we leave it to spontaneous experiences, the feelings will diminish. But if we see gratitude as a series of choices, the difference is huge.

Cultivating a gratitude mindset requires an intentional, daily effort to remember God’s faithfulness and goodness to us in the past, present, and future. I’ve developed exercises to help you get started. I invite you to practice one of these two samples for a week or longer, and see how they affect your life and relationships.

Copyright © 2018 Ken Boa, used with permission.