“Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.”(Psalms 47:6,7



Fall is finally here! The transition into fall is one of my favorite times of the year. Cooler weather, bonfires, football, hunting seasons are about to begin, and best of all it means that Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away.



Growing up in western North Carolina, Thanksgiving was always a big deal. The time always included a big dose of family, food and fun. One of my favorite memories of this time of year was my introduction, and subsequent, love for huntin’. I was nine years old the first time my uncle Jimmy, a very “seasoned” grey squirrel hunter, and I ventured into the dense hardwoods of the foothills in search of the "allusive" grey squirrel. I will never forget my excitement the first time I pulled the trigger on that break action .410 shotgun and shot my first squirrel.



Being around my family always led to a good time, but all of the enjoyment was superseded by one thing: our acknowledgement of the provisions from the Lord Jesus Christ.



One thing I have learned as a young adult, and even more so as a pastor, is that life does not always give us the “ideal” circumstances to promote an attitude of thankfulness. The unfortunate reality is that loved one pass away, financial difficulties arise, health issues arise and, really, what is there to be thankful for during difficult times?



Through a recent Bible study, the Holy Spirit reiterated a truth that can answer the previous question. The truth is not groundbreaking or deeply profound, but it is encouraging. More specifically it can help anyone to be thankful even during difficult situations.



The truth the Holy Spirit taught is simple. A proper attitude of thankfulness is a product of praise. Proper praise is not based on circumstantial emotions, but rather it is based on the Lord Jesus. In other words, praise is not based on how we feel, but our God. When we begin to praise God for who He is — Savior, Redeemer, Friend, Alpha, Omega, Comforter, Rose of Sharon, Lily of the Valley, Creator, Just, Holy, Righteous, Love —  suddenly those problems which seem to burden us and overwhelm us lose their weight and hold on our life. We realize that our God is there to bear our burdens with us and for us.  



This Thanksgiving season if all is well and the Lord seems to have placed you in the midst of calm seas, “Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.”



But if your heart is overwhelmed and it seems the Lord has placed you in the midst of the “biggest storm” you have ever faced, “Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.”



This Thanksgiving holiday season may you have the family, the food, and the fun! Above all, may we take the time to pause from our busy lives and praise the Lord Jesus Christ. The natural product of this praise will be a proper attitude of thankfulness toward God and towards our fellow man.



Tim Braddock is pastor of Emerald Coast Baptist Church in Destin and can be reached at Tbraddock@emeraldcoastbc.com.