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Posts Tagged ‘grateful’

I want to begin by saying that it is good to thank God, and to do so at all times. We learn this in both the Old and New Testaments:

  • Psalm 34:1 – “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – “Rejoice always”

These verses teach us that we are to give thanks, not just when we feel like it, or when things are good – but when we don’t feel like it and when we are going through trials.

I believe we need to treat giving thanks to God as a spiritual discipline, like prayer and reading the Bible, so that we are intentional and take time on a regular basis to reflect and take note of how God has blessed us.

Thanking God in this way is important for at least these two reasons:

1. God deserves thanks

God deserves it because of who he is. Apart from anything that God does, God is simply great in character and power.  Isaiah 6:3 says, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” God is “holy,” that is, in a higher and different class than us; God is so awesome that it is beyond us to even fathom it.

God deserves thanks because he created all things. Revelation 4:11 says, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” And we exist because God chose that it be so.

God deserves thanks because he saves us. Psalm 13:5 says,” my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” God has saved us through his Son, our Lord Jesus, the Christ. And he continues to save us and help us.

And God deserves thanks because he cares for usJames 1:17 says, “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” What good things are in your life? You have them because of God’s provision for you, whether it be talents, skills, life, family home, or whatever. If it is good it is from God.

And God can even transform our pain and suffering into something good. Romans 8:28 says, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” He gives us good, and he works to redeem the bad.

2. We need to give thanks

We were made to recognize and honor God as our Creator. When we don’t we become ungrateful or we give thanks to other things for our blessings or we take credit for things ourselves. When we lose our focus on God and thanking God it distorts us spiritually in our minds and hearts. That’s why we need to give thanks – it is for our own well-being.

Not giving thanks to God is, in fact, at the root of all human sin. Paul makes this point in Romans 1:21. He says, “For although (people) knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.”

Then he talks about how in their foolishness, they turned away from the Creator to serve what is created; they served and thanked idols or images of things God made, instead of the God who made them.

As a result, Paul goes on to say, God gave them over to their desires for sexual immorality. And finally Paul ends by noting in 1:29 that people “were filled with all manner of unrighteousness.”

What is at the root of this downward progression of sin? The failure to honor and give thanks to God.

Let me end with a familiar gospel story that challenges us with this –

Do you give thanks?

 It is the story of the healing of the ten lepers from Luke 17:11-19.

“On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ And he said to him, ‘Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.’”

The message of this story is simple and clear. The Samaritan is commended because he returned and gave thanks. And we need to return and give thanks to God for who he is, creation, salvation and for his care of our lives. And I want to give you the opportunity to do this, this morning . . ..

William

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