My NIV Life Application Study Bible offers four components of true thanksgiving that are found in a psalm written by David in 1 Chronicles 8-36. First, remember all God has done for you. Second, tell others what God has done for you. Third, show God's glory to others. And fourth, show your thanksgiving by giving of yourself, your time and your resources.
As I think back on the many ways God has blessed my life one of the most powerful examples I recall is when I decided to go back to school at age 39. I always wanted to attend college and study journalism. Shortly after I got married my husband took me to the college and allowed me to check things out. I was insecure and had a boatload of self doubt. I hadn't been a great student in high school, mostly B's and C's but I loved to write. I wasn't convinced that anyone else would see anything good in me so I decided not to try college in my late teen years.
Later, in my twenties or early 30s I again went to the college and talked to a counselor. She had me take career testing and discussed possible options with me. Again, I didn't follow through with signing up for college. I continued to work in various jobs and gained experience and some self confidence.
Then I got a job writing at a local newspaper and began to get positive response from my stories. I worked for four years and the school bug hit again. This time I had enough self confidence that I was determined to start getting my education. I began with one or two classes at night and saw that I could get good grades. I was capable of college and I loved learning. All my life God had been preparing me to study, to grow and to learn. It was time.
God took that shy, unconfident young woman and changed her into someone who could follow God's plan for her life. Amazing. What a blessing He gave me. What a powerful plan He had for my life.
"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced" (1 Chronicles 16: 8-12 NIV).