Nov. 28, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

In his letter to the church of Thessalonica, the apostle Paul wrote, “In every thing, give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” This exhortation tells us that every day is Thanksgiving. We live our lives in a very hazardous place when we neglect to give God credit for everything big and small in our lives!

We have a lot for which to be thankful. They say that hindsight is 20/20, and someday when we look back at this life we lived, we will really realize how much we had to be thankful for. The psalmist said, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.”

You’re going to have problems in this life. You’re going to have trauma. You’re going to have trying situations. But don’t forget that in every situation, you can find peace.

We celebrate Thanksgiving, and in the very next breath, it’s Black Friday mayhem. On Thursday, we’re giving thanks, and on Friday, we’re fighting over the limited supply of deals — biting, kicking, and even sending folks to the hospital hurt. When the smoke clears from Black Friday, millions of Americans will have hit the malls in a mad dash to get their hands on holiday deals at rock-bottom prices. Folks that had just celebrated a day of thanks for what they had will now act like animals fighting and ravaging for more.

On Black Friday in 2012, the Los Angeles Police Department deployed hundreds of extra officers and even handed out leaflets with shopping safety tips in local malls. At midnight, when the gate went up, a crowd poured into a Victoria’s Secret in Tulsa, Okla., all wanting a pink, shiny gift bag filled with perfume and lotions. Some shoppers were left lying on the ground hurt after being pushed and shoved out of the way. All this and other deals had Black Friday shoppers in a frenzy.

When pre-paid cell phones in a Walmart in Georgia were unveiled, the crowd pounced like a pack of wolves. One woman is shown on video biting another man who put his hand in her face to shove her. A scramble for DVDs at another Walmart in San Diego and a rush on a Rue 21 left people injured.

In Massachusetts a toddler was loaded into an ambulance after police say he was left in a parked car at 1:30 a.m. His caregiver had gone hopping in Kmart for a 51-inch TV, caught a ride home with a friend and left the toddler asleep in the car. In San Antonio, police say a man tried to punch his way to the front of a line at a Sears, prompting another man to pull a gun.

There should never be a day in our lives that is not a day of thanksgiving. Every day is Thanksgiving! We should quit looking at what we don’t have and thank God for what we do have. Jesus told the parable of the prodigal son, who squandered all his inheritance on a sinful lifestyle. He spent everything he had. When he finally came back, he found the father had been looking for him every day. The father brought him in and killed the fatted calf; he put a ring on his finger, and he put a robe around him.

The older brother with his dirty, nasty, stinking spirit started murmuring and complaining instead of being thankful that his younger brother had come back home. Note what he was complaining about. All the father gave this repentant, returning son was a dinner, a robe, and a ring.

Big brother still had all the inheritance. He was still getting the farm. He was still getting everything the father owned. But he got so hung up on what somebody else was getting or doing that he lost sight of the blessings in his possession. He forgot how good his life was, and he got jealous over a ring, a robe and a dinner.

This year, don’t let the blessings that somebody else has keep you from Thanksgiving! This Thanksgiving, don’t be deceived, don’t be forgetful and don’t fail to give thanks to God. Like the scripture tells us, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Every day is Thanksgiving!

Pastor George L. Akers Jr. is pastor of First Apostolic Church of Sanford.