Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. – Psalm 68:19
I love the Thanksgiving holiday. I’ve often said it might be the most Christian of all holidays, in terms of the traditions of the holiday. What I mean by that is that Christians are called to be a thankful people. We are commanded over and over to give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 even emphatically declares that giving thanks is the will of God for all of us. We also see this emphasized in God’s response to the antithesis; murmuring. God killed more Israelites in the Old Testament over the sin of murmuring than for any other sin. Murmuring is the outward expression of the heart of covetousness, discontentment, comparison, pride, rebellion, and an overall failing to trust the sovereignty of God.
This is a day we set aside to intentional have a Christian attitude. An attitude of gratitude.
What are we to be thankful for?
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thesselonians 5:18
Everything! On Thanksgiving, we tend to go down the usual list. First the expected things: salvation, family, friends, job, ect. Then, if we want to keep it going, we may go into the nice material things we enjoy. These are all wonderful! “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17a).
But what about this things that shape us into who we are? The tough things? Is that included in everything? I believe so. It is when we are able to give thanks in the darkest of times that we are truly in a place for spiritual growth and blessing. 1 Peter 1:7 explains that our trials are of great value and we should praise God for them. “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” What a strange thought indeed. However, when we come to that point, we find how truly precious the trials can be. It is often in them that we truly see God. That was Paul’s experience as he expressed his desire to know Christ. “That I may know him, … and the fellowship of his sufferings…” (Philippians 3:10).
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son… – Romans 8:28-29a
God is at work in each of our lives. His end goal is to make us like His Son, the Lord Jesus. He is working all things together to this end. Let’s be diligent in giving thanks for all things. Sometimes, amidst the confusion or frustration of the dark days, we may wonder how we could possibly thank God for such loss. It doesn’t say we must like it, but that we must give thanks for it. By faith, trusting in God’s goodness the best that you know how, utter those words, “Lord, I do not understand, but I trust you, and thank your the work you are doing in my life.”
To Whom Should We Give Thanks?
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: – Psalm 92:1
Something I’ve noticed — and it may seem small — but we tend to leave God out of our expression of gratitude. We say, “I’m thankful for…” and never mention to whom. The atheist, may share gratitude, but it is aimed at nothing. May the Christian not fall into the same habit! In Romans 1, there is a graphic description of the degradation of a people that forget God, replace Him with their own wisdom, fall into gross perverseness, and ultimately ending in God’s judgment. This downfall begins with an interesting phrase: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful…” (Romans 1:21a). It began when they did know God. In that theological position, they failed to give God His rightful place, “they glorified him not as God.” When God is not Lord in our lives, it is then very easy to fall into the next part, “neither were thankful.” From there, we’ve lost the battle. We’ve opened the door for darkness in our foolish hearts. This is the description of the last days of perilous times in 2 Timothy 3. Among the list of those last-days selfish living, is unthankful.
This Thanksgiving, and every day, we should be very clear to Whom we are thankful!
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Bless the Lord
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: – Psalm 103:2
Blessed be the Lord God… who only doeth wondrous things. – Psalm 72:18
It is a blessing to God to remember His blessings! Speak of them, sing of them, share them often, and bless the Lord!
We truly are a blessed people. Let us not fall into the common thinking that says “I deserve this.” May we recognize the goodness of God in our lives continually. May this Thanksgiving thrust us into another year of Thanks-Living. It is a very quick and slippery slope to go from glorifying God, to murmuring, into darkness.
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. – Psalm 30:12