The Worship in Being Thankful
Could Thanksgiving be a Sacrifice of Praise?
What would a sacrifice of Praise be?
For me it is praising God when it is not easy.
That is having a praise filled heart when things are not going your way.
Is this like loving the unlovable or those who wish to hurt you?
What good is it to love those who love you, you are to love your enemies.
Is that the sacrifice of love?
Is our life to be a sacrifice to God?
I have to go back to the Jesus Freaks who thanked God for everything that happened in their lives for if God is in control then everything that comes our way is for our good.
When driving down the road and getting a flat tire they praised God for it just might have kept them from something worse, or put them in a position to assist someone.
Do you remember when I was a recipient of that assistance on a trip to AZ to see one of my boys in school there?
A group of them, in a Motor-home, were cruzing the freeway looking for people in need.
And I was stopped on the side with a problem and they helped me fix it.
What comes out of your mouth when things go badly for you?
Is it Praise the Lord?
It is not natural for it to be Praise the Lord.
We are to be Spiritual not natural.
Why should he not be your person he has everything his way.
And God said ok, make things tough for him but you cannot kill him.
And how did Job hold up?
He would not give up and curse God as his wife advised.
And he would not admit that he deserved the bad that had come into his life as his friends advised.
He wanted an accounting, I know my redeemer lives.
He got his time with God and was put in his place.
The end is the best part and we seldom remember the end.
“Then Job replied to the Lord: I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge? Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you and you shall answer me. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes”.
This will be the response of each of us when we come into the presence of The Lord God Almighty.
For now we see through a darkness and have only a glimpse of the Light.
And our God is pure light.
That is why we should recognize our darkness and praise God in all situations.
Thanksgiving is a time to push through the darkness into the light of God’s love.
Praise God from who all life flows, both easy and hard!
Suggested text: “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, because his mercy endures forever.” Ps. 118
It is suggested that giving thanks is like a vaccine that provides protection against spiritual infections.
Yes, that is true but it does much more than that.
It changes everything.
When you find yourself in a bad mood, play worship music and join in the hymns and see the change that overcomes you.
In today’s text the psalmist states that God is the object of our thankfulness.
Why? As James said: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights.”
God owns all things so we thank him for sharing some of his goods with us.
We also thank God for He is good.
The abundance of his blessings flows naturally out of the graciousness of his character.
And we thank him because his mercy endures forever.
We are approaching Thanksgiving.
Gratitude is a grace, a gift from God.
Like all his gifts, we can take it or leave it.
We can use it or neglect it.
In this, as in all good things, we have a stewardship.
Our stewardship of thanksgiving must be constant.
We should give thanks at all times under all circumstances.
How about this Thanksgiving day we do this?
In everything give thanks.
Maybe if we do it for that one day we will see the benefits of such living.
Thank others for whatever they do for you.
Thank God for another day, especially a day for being thankful.
We should give thanks when things go right for us.
What a blessing it is to live in the graciousness of God.
In the hard times we should give thanks.
For God is going through the hard times with us.
He has promised to never leave us and to provide for us in all circumstances.
As Habakkuk said: though things go against me I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
That is trusting God and that is a reason to be thankful.
The Hymn, “Now Thank We All Our God” was written in the midst of terrible times.
War and plague.
Scarcely a household had not been effected.
Hope was terribly needed and the Hymn provided that hope in a hopeless situation.
In times of doubt we need to be thankful.
Though difficult, in being thankful we reach out to the hope that God has and it becomes our hope also.
I the midst of hard times we can know a few things.
We can know that God is there for us for above the darkest clouds the sun shines.
We can know that God always knows the way.
We should be thankful that we belong to the One who always knows what to do in any situation.
We can know that we follow the One who knows the way that is right and true and He will win in the end.
Even in the darkest day, if we have ears to hear, we might hear God’s voice saying, “This is the way, walk you in it”. Isa. 30:21
Our stewardship of thanksgiving must be discerning.
Press on while not being overwhelmed by the past.
We can remember the best of the past as an encouragement for the future.
God was with us before and he will be with us again.
True thanksgiving sees the blessings of today, the blessings of the present.
Though the days are uncertain and confusing God is a constant and his direction is clear and direct.
Life on earth is always uncertain.
We have to choose whether we will be a complainer of the way things are or an over-comer in the Lord.
Each person has to choose whom they will serve.
True thanksgiving undergirds us for the future.
Look at the prayer of Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus.
He prayed to the Father in the past tense, as he thanked God for what God was about to do as though it were already an accomplished fact” “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me”. John 11:41
Our faith can never compare to his, but we do have the promises of God.
We can thank God for what we know He will do for us.
In the material world, science promises us some wonderful things.
The same is true in the realm of general knowledge.
If we desire, God will so bless us in the realm of the Spirit.
Our stewardship of thanksgiving must be vocal.
“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so”. Ps. 107:2
We also should testify of his goodness and love!
When returning from abroad you are asked if you have anything to declare.
We, who believe in God, have something to declare.
And we should be declaring it in the way we live our lives and in what we say about whose we are.
What do you have to declare in thanksgiving to and about your Lord God Almighty?
Thankfulness and generosity are two of the qualities God is looking for in His people.
He can be the God of the thankful and generous.
Let us be thankful for the lavish beauty of the natural world.
Let us be thankful that we live in this Heaven-blessed land.
Let us be thankful that Christ is our Savior and Lord.
Take the day Thursday to be thankful all day and see what a difference it makes in your day and your life.
God bless us everyone!