In keeping with our church’s annual “Harvest Festival”, and not the traditional day for Thanksgiving, I am once again awed by scripture’s emphasis on thanks and praise directed to God. “Giving God His due”, has much broader effects than we often realize. A life of joy and purpose stems out of one that is reflective, one that recognizes that every good and perfect gift that we receive is ultimately from God! (James 1:17)
Thanksgiving is a daily discipline, not merely a yearly celebration. Though I am far from perfecting this in my own life, I see differences in other people who have made praise and thanksgiving a regular part of life and speech. I think of Mary, a kind woman with diabetes who continued to teach kindergarten well into her retirement years. I never heard her complain in her pain (though I saw her fight back tears), and her regular response to my inquiries on her condition contained the words, “I am blessed.”
This is consistent with the scriptures, so perhaps His Words, rather than a “pep talk from a pastor”, may better serve us here. This is divine revelation and spiritual inspiration, with only my emphasis added to it. Just to name a few:
1 Chronicles 16:8 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
Psalm 118:29 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 145:10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!
Isaiah 12:4 “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.
As praise and thanks directed to God affects the way we see His creation and His people, so our prayers and remembrances of others should also result in MORE praise to Him!
1 Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
2Thess 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
As we come to a greater knowledge of God through His revelations in His Word, we begin to see and gain a greater appreciation for His powerful, sovereign hand in ALL aspects of life, and a life that is God-centered and glorifying to him will learn to praise and thank Him through the good and the bad!
1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Finally, we see that this world is heading to a certain destination: a place of destruction for many, but a purification for His remnant, so when God justly gives men over to their sin, a rescue will take place for His People, and a perfect renewal will result in perfect praise with God reigning in the fullness of His glory!
Revelation 11:17 saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.
In light of these things, what do I possibly have to complain about? How can I not answer every inquiry with, “I am blessed!” And so…
-I thank God for my wonderful family and the opportunities contained within that for fighting against my selfishness!
-I thank God for my precious church, the privilege of serving equally flawed individuals, and the mutual growth we are witnessing together!
-I thank God for His precious Word; for being able to read it in my own language, and for all the challenges and convictions I receive by it, through His Spirit.
-I thank God for this life; for the joy through sorrow, blessings in the pain, and His love through the trial!
1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.