November 24, 2016
“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.
When we think of giving thanks to the Lord, it’s hard not to think of the Psalms. The men who wrote those psalms loved God and were very thankful and their joy in the Lord spilled out into songs of praise. Reading them makes my heart swell with gratitude to the Lord. “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever…O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:1-3. This psalm lists many reasons that the psalmist was thankful and he gave thanks to God for all His mercy and all He has provided. It’s important for everyone to stop and think about what God provides, then thank Him. Make your own list of the blessings that you receive from God each day and you’ll be amazed at how much He deserves thanks. When children first learn to talk, a good parent will teach them to say please and thank you, but are they taught to thank God for His provisions? As adults we often take God’s blessings for granted and we neglect to thank Him. Gratitude and praise should always be in our heart and on our lips. “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Recognize His gifts and rejoice.
When things are going smoothly and we have no problems in our life it’s easy to be grateful. Those are the times we smile and are filled with peace and joy. Then when things aren’t so smooth we either blame God or get so wrapped up in our problems that we ignore Him. God’s blessings are still there, but our troubles often blind us to those blessings. Daniel was a man who never forgot to thank God. As a young man he had been taken captive to Babylon where pagan practices were all around. Daniel never faltered in his faith and always put God first. People around him were often offended by his faith and did what they could to stop him. In one well known incident a group of men petitioned King Darius to “…make a firm decree that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.” Daniel 6:7b. Daniel wasn’t ashamed of God and continued in his regular habit of openly praying. He would rather face the lions than compromise his faith. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Daniel 6:10. Evil men had talked the king into signing the decree specifically to come against Daniel, but he honored God, not men. Daniel did end up in the lion’s den, but God protected him. When the den was opened Daniel still didn’t change his habit of prayer and he took that opportunity to give glory to God. “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.” Daniel 6:22. Daniel’s life was a strong witness for God Almighty. Because his testimony and faithfulness King Darius wrote another decree in which he declared that everyone within his kingdom tremble and fear the God of Daniel “…for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.” Daniel 6:26b. Faith cannot be legislated, but anyone and everyone who knows the Lord can be a witness like Daniel. Stand firm upon God’s word, pray openly, and give thanks to God. We all have much to be thankful for, so don’t be ashamed to openly praise God for all He gives.
Christians should be the most thankful people in the world. We are saved from our sins through our faith in Jesus Christ, but how often do we really stop and think about what He accomplished on the cross? No matter what challenges we face in this life, God’s gift of salvation is a blessing beyond words. Spend some time thanking Him for His sacrifice. In the Gospels many examples are given of the miracles by which Jesus demonstrated His love and compassion. It’s surprising how people reacted to those miracles. One day as Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem He passed through a village where ten men who were lepers saw Him. They knew who He was and that He was able to heal them. They stood far away but called out to Him and asked for His mercy. Jesus healed them and they hurried to the priests to be examined. What joy they must have felt, but did they thank the Healer? “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.” Luke 17:15-16. Leprosy was a terrible disease that robbed people of their life and separated them from loved ones. It’s used symbolically in the Bible as sin, which also robs us of a full life and separates us from loved ones. Sin also separates us from God. Ten men were healed of leprosy, but only one said “Thank You”. Are you grateful for the healing from sin that you received through Jesus? Have you fallen down before Him giving Him thanks? Jesus does notice. “And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” Luke 17:17-18. What’s stopping you today from praising God for your salvation? A day is coming when we will be gathered around the throne of God and we will praise Him for His holiness. Don’t wait until then; thank Him now. “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” Psalm 30:4. It’s His righteousness that will allow you to stand before the throne of God not your own. Give thanks to Him now.
Most of us don’t thank God enough for all He has done. In fact, many Christians mock Him by not recognizing that He is the Creator of all that exists. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:1 & 3. Jesus is the Word. The smallest molecule and the entire universe were created by Him and we need to be thankful. Science would have us believe that everything came from nothing billions upon billions of years ago. Somehow they would have us believe nothing exploded and from that imagined explosion life evolved. God takes His creation seriously and holds us responsible to recognize Him as the Creator. In his letter to the Romans, Paul says that there is no excuse for not recognizing God because the invisible things of the creation are evidence of Him. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” Romans 1:21-22. If there is no God, then there are no rules. If there are no rules then sin abounds. As more people buy into the lie of evolution, there is less feeling of accountability to God. We see that sin is growing by leaps and bounds. Christians should be leaders in standing firm on God’s truth and thank Him for creating life in all of its complexity, and providing the way for life to be sustained with food, water, and air. Don’t neglect to thank Him for creating you and providing for your needs. He loves you.
There is humility involved in being thankful and God wants us to be humble. Most people find it hard to humble themselves before God and say thank You. Children look to their elders as examples of how to behave, so if a parent shows thankfulness for all that God provides, it’s easier for children to also be thankful. “So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.” Psalm 79:13. If we, as Christians, don’t show our gratitude to our Redeemer, who will? He is our Shepherd and we are His sheep. Without Him we would be forever condemned by our sin, but through His shed blood we are forgiven. Your list of things that you’re thankful for should be very long, and salvation through Him should top the list. It’s a free gift but is a treasure that never should be taken for granted. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Colossians 3:15. Be thankful for all that He provides. If you can only afford to eat peanut butter and jelly rather than lobster tail or if your clothes come from a discount store rather than having name brand labels on them, be thankful that your needs are met. We can show our gratitude by sharing with others. If you happen to be able to afford that lobster tail, you might want to consider sharing God’s blessings by donating to a soup kitchen in the name of Jesus. “O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.” Psalm 105:1. When we lift Him up by sharing His blessings we show our thanks for what He provides and give testimony of our salvation. He is worthy of all glory, honor, and praise.
There is no better way to thank God than putting selfish pride away and living for Him. That way others will see Him shining through your life and want the joy you have. David praised Him in song and lived openly to please Him. Daniel never allowed anyone to govern his faith. He prayed openly and gave thanks. Brothers and Sisters, be unashamed to thank our Creator for all He has provided. Be sure to thank Him for His sacrifice on the cross that purchased salvation for everyone who accepts His gift. He notices those who are grateful.
Thank You, God, for everything.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.