I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
This year as Thanksgiving approaches, we are all more aware of the blessing of being able to gather with those we love. Those in the military and their families are uniquely familiar with the challenges of separation during the holiday season. As millions of people across the country gather around dining room tables to give thanks for the many blessings in their lives, things like food, family, home, health, possessions, and jobs are usually at the top of the list. Unfortunately, something we often forget to give thanks for is the free gift of salvation, offered to us by Jesus Christ. Although our faith and relationship with Jesus should be the most important thing to us, many of us take our salvation for granted or lack a sense of gratitude in our faith. This can be especially true for people in the military community, who may be externally focused on the freedom of our nation rather than themselves or their spiritual resiliency.
One reason we may experience this disconnect in gratitude for the spiritual blessings in our lives is if we have not made a habit of engaging in daily reading of Scripture. All too often, it is easier for us to attend Sunday service and listen to the preacher read from the Gospel and give a short sermon. We may feel like this checks the proverbial box, but this short encounter does not allow sufficient opportunity for the Word of God to penetrate our hearts and minds.
In the Armed Services Ministry, we know and understand how difficult military life can be for veterans, service members, and their families. The strain of deployments, constant moves, post-traumatic stress, and long hours can easily cause people to become distracted from taking steps to improve their spiritual resiliency. For this reason, we have created the Military Bible Challenge.
This program is a 75-day Bible reading plan, designed specifically for the military community, which helps people to understand the fundamental stories in the Bible and the nature of God’s love. People who take the challenge are encouraged to pray, read, reflect, and respond on a short Scripture verse each day, on their journey to deeper Scripture engagement. It only takes 15 minutes per day, but the process of reading and reflecting on Scripture for more than 10 weeks can radically transform your life, and grow your sense of gratitude for how God works in your life.
This Thanksgiving season, we encourage you to consider the ways you can begin to cultivate gratitude and thankfulness in your life through engaging with scripture. Take a leap of faith and start the Military Bible Challenge. It is our hope that digging deeper in God’s word will encourage you and teach us how to be thankful for the greatest gift the world has ever received – forgiveness of sin. You can do the program online on our website, or if you prefer hard copy, you can order this free resource in our online store. As an added bonus, if you are willing to participate in a survey about your experience with the Military Bible Challenge, you can earn up to $60 in gift cards which could come in handy during the holiday season.
Happy Thanksgiving and may God Bless You this season!
Rev. Dr. Paul V. McCullough III
LTC (USA Retired)