Thanksgiving For The Living

By | November 23, 2009

The fact that God expects us to thank Him for His blessings in our lives is evident in the words of Jesus, to the one lone ex-leper who returned to thank Him. Luke 17:15-17 says, “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” Amen!{{more}} God not only deserves our thanks, but He also desires them. He wants us to be grateful for His goodness, and not to take it for granted. I trust that each of you took time out this past week to re-count your blessings and thank God for everything He has done for you. But remember, God does not want our thanksgiving to be limited to one Thursday in November. He wants us to continually thank Him. He wants us to live a life of thankfulness. Remember the words of Paul? 1st Thessalonians 5:18 says “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s Will for you in Christ Jesus.” Amen!Ephesians 5:19-20 says,” Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Amen!Philippians 4:4 says, Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, Rejoice. The apostle Paul made it clear that our giving of thanks is to be continual and not contingent. That it is to be ongoing in spite of our circumstances, not just because everything is going well. Amen!Paul was able to maintain an attitude of gratitude even though he faced some very devastating circumstances, because he held onto a proper perspective of both God and His circumstances Since God is good, then this bad circumstance must be meant to bring about some further good in or through my life, or else God would not have allowed it.Genesis 50:19-20 says,” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Amen!What a accurate picture of the pain and suffering, of all the negative stuff, that we have to face in this life. It all originates from Satan, who intends to harm us, but when God allows it to happen, it can only mean He has something good in store.Remember, in the case of Paul in prison and in the example of Joseph sometimes the good that God wants to bring through our suffering is intended for someone else. But do not forget, such gratitude requires us to maintain the proper perspective of God and our circumstances.Knowing that God expects us to live a life of thanksgiving rather than offering limited thanks, and knowing that we must never lose sight of God’s goodness, and God’s hand at work in everything we face. I want to share you with you now three reasons why our thanksgiving must be continual and not contingent.First of all, because the world is watching and listening. How many parents, have ever had to repeat something to your children, because they were not listening the first time? How many parents have ever said something that you wished your child had not heard, because you knew they would repeat it to others?Isn’t it amazing how selective hearing works with kids? It seems like they rarely hear what you want them to hear, and yet they always hear what you don’t want them to hear. The same can be said about the relationship of the believer to the world. While the world seems to ignore the “good news” we try to share with them, they seem to be all ears, when negative circumstances come our way. Amen!Acts 16:22 -25 says, “The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Amen!When your circumstances turn from good to bad, when the flow of God’s blessings seem to be temporarily turned off in our lives, what we tend to forget is that at these moments, the world is most likely to be watching our lives. What I am saying is this suffering provides you and me, the greatest opportunity to demonstrate the validity of Christianity.I want to ask you a question; do you want to be used of God to bring your unsaved co-workers to Christ? Then you must continually praise God, even when things are not going good for you, because it is then, when you have got their attention.Secondly, we must offer continual thanks, because Satan is watching and listening. 1st Peter 5:8-10 says,” Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Amen!What kind of animals to lions most often devour? The weak ones, the injured and the sick. Guess what tips him off and lets Satan know that you might be at a point of vulnerability? That your suffering has weakened you? When he hears our praise turn sour and our thanksgiving disappear. Peter warns us to be careful, to be on our guard, to watch out for Satan’s attempts to devour us. To resist Satan by standing firm in the faith. I cannot think of a better way to resist the devil and stand firm in your faith, than to thank God, even when it looks like there’s nothing left to thank Him for. Amen!Thirdly, we must continually offer thanks, because God is watching and listening “2nd Chronicles 16:9 says “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” These words were originally spoken to Asa King of Judah, when God was greatly displeased with his actions. King Asa, had been confronted by a mighty army, and rather than rely on God, he had made an alliance with the King of Aram; hence these words.” Amen! What God was saying is “I’m looking for people that I can demonstrate my power and strength through. I am looking for people whose hearts are fully committed to me and trust me through the good, the bad and the ugly.”Thanksgiving opens the door to God’s power, which opens the door to victory. Let me say it again God is looking for people in whom He can show Himself strong, but those people must be people whose hearts are fully committed to Him. They must be people who are willing to thank Him even when face to face difficult circumstances.I wish that I could say that I have done well when it comes to thanks-living, but I have to be honest, as I reflect on my Christian walk, more often than not my thankfulness has been contingent and not continual. However the deeper I go into His Word, the more evident it becomes that I must truly possess an attitude of gratitude. God helps me and you and not just to be hearers of the Word, but to be doers of the Word. Now you know why there must be Thanksgiving for the Living. Have A Happy Thanksgiving!