While in prison for the gospel the Apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content”. I believe that contentment is the true key to thanksgiving. If we are only thankful in response to circumstances that we view as pleasing then I am not sure if we are truly thankful at all. Prior to this sermon we had three different people from City of Refuge share testimonies of thankfulness. One gentleman’s father passed away several weeks ago, he shared how thankful he was for his Dad’s life, how he had cared for him, protected him and taught him the love of His heavenly Father.  The second shared how God had deliverd him from a life of addiction, blessed him with a loving family and carried him through each difficulty and triumph of life. His thankfulness was not in the mere deliverance but in the kindness and love of God to meet him in each stage of life. The third friend shared many different events and how God had always provided and opportunity, an invitation if you will, to be thankful. He spoke of the joys of the birth of children as well as the sorrow of losing a child. The point that it seemed each made was that thankfulness can not be a mere reaction to something good, it must become a way of life, a change of heart, a manner of character. Our thanksgiving can not come from mere events, it must be found in our relationship with God. I am thankful that He loves me, I am thankful that He promised to never leave me, I am thankful that His plans for me are for a hope and a future and I am thankful that He does all things well. Be encouraged this Thanksgiving and give thanks, not merely for what you have, for what you want or for what you believe will soon come to pass; give thanks for the fact that the King of all creation has chosen to love you, not in spite of yourself but because of who He made you to be.