“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name.”Psalm 107:1; Psalm 100:4
Here in Canada this year, (2021) October 11th is designated as ‘Thanksgiving Day,’ while it is celebrated in November in the United States. But whether we live in Canada or the USA, or in some other country, we all need to be thankful. If each of us would count our blessings, we would find that we all have much to be thankful to God for.
A great preacher, within the last decade, suggested that the mass of people can be divided into two classes: those who take things for granted, and those who take things with gratitude. Which group do we belong to?
GOD’S WORD TEACHES US TO BE THANKFUL
- In Psalm 100:4 we are exhorted to “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him and bless His name.”
- In 1 Thessalonians. 5:18 we read “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
- Read Luke 17:12-19 – In this passage of Scripture we read about 10 lepers crying out to Jesus for mercy—to be healed. All were healed as they obeyed the instructions of Jesus in faith, but only one returned to give thanks and glorify God. Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” Then Jesus said to the one who returned to give thanks, “Arise, go thy way: Thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Verse 19). This man, who returned to Jesus to give thanks after his healing, was made “whole!” The Lord still makes people ‘whole’ today, not only physically but also spiritually and emotionally! An unthankful heart is not truly made whole! Do we return to give thanks to the Lord when He answers our prayers? We please Him when we do this.
- In John 6:11, “Jesus took the loaves and gave thanks.” We see Him doing this on several occasions; see Matthew15:36. Do we regularly give thanks for our Lord’s provision? We need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and give thanks to the Lord.
- In Luke 22:17-20 when Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper or Communion, He gave thanks. Do we express our thanksgiving for our Lord’s broken body and shed blood on the cross of Calvary, which the communion service is to remind us of? How grateful we should be for all that Christ accomplished for all of us at Calvary.
- Hebrews 13:15 – says, “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name.” Do we offer this spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God on a regular basis?
- God’s people are to be a praising, thankful people. In Acts 16:25 Paul and Silas sang praises to God in prison at midnight. God did a miracle for them and for the jailer and his house. Prayer, praise, and thanksgiving are powerful spiritual weapons against the works of darkness! In Psalm 34 the Psalmist said, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its’ boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles” [Psalm 34:1-6]. God gave me this passage of scripture and others while I was lying in a hospital bed in Zambia, Africa in 1963. I was near death. I learned the importance of praising the Lord in faith despite my circumstances. God raised up intercessors to pray for me and the Lord did hear and saved me out of all my trouble. I am alive today because of God’s mercy and faithfulness. It is so important to not only be thankful in our hearts but also with our mouths. In the Old Testament they offered animal sacrifices and incense to God. Today under the new covenant we do not offer animal sacrifices, nor any other sacrifices for sin. Christ offered Himself once for all. Hebrews 10:12. But we do offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God which is the fruit of our lips. See Hebrews 13:15.
THE DANGER OF UNTHANKFULNESS
- Note Romans 1:21 – This passage of Scripture teaches that if an individual or group of people know about the true God, yet do not glorify Him as the true God, nor cultivate an attitude of thankfulness to Him, the result can be a drifting into spiritual darkness, deception and depravity.
- 2 Timothy.3:1-2 – In this passage of Scripture Paul teaches us that in the last days many will be ‘unthankful.’
- Do we have an ‘attitude of gratitude’? Do we thank the Lord for His many blessings? An attitude of gratitude will improve both our emotional and spiritual health.
WE HAVE SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR
Stop and think – yes, and count your many blessings: We do indeed have so much to be thankful for:
- Let us be thankful for Our Wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 9:15 – “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” (Indescribable Gift NIV)
- Think of all that our wonderful Savior accomplished for us through His death, shed blood, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God. The finished work of Calvary! He did this for all of us.
- We should be thanking the Lord for this ‘so great salvation’ that we as believers have received!
- We should be thankful to Him for the Bible, the Word of God. Let us read it, believe, and obey its teaching and pass it on to others!
- Thank Him for the privilege of gathering for fellowship, worship, and prayer and to hear the Word of God. There are many places in the world where this is not permitted.
- We thank God for our brothers and sisters in Christ: we have come to appreciate our ‘spiritual family’; the ‘family of God,’ both here in Canada and around the world, in a fresh way! They are such a blessing and encouragement to us!
- Thank Him for our ‘natural families!’ We deeply appreciate and thank God for our family! They are such a blessing to us, especially in this season of our lives.
- Thank Him for our country!
- Thank Him for our many spiritual and material blessings.
- “In everything give thanks” 1 Thessalonians .5:18. No matter what our circumstances are in life we can be thankful that the Lord is with us and will bring us through; “His mercies are new every morning; Great is His faithfulness!” (See Lamentations 3:21-25).
- We thank God for all who have partnered with us in the gospel for so many years through their prayers, encouragement, as well as financial support.
- We thank God for our fellow workers in the gospel both here at home, as well as on the mission fields where we have served.
- This past year, with the covid pandemic and other medical challenges that we have faced, we are very thankful for God’s amazing, sustaining grace and faithfulness. The Lord, our good shepherd, has indeed gone before us and taken care of us! We are so thankful.
Let us count our many blessings!
Today is a good time to give thanks and to praise Him for all His many blessings.
The hymn writer Johnson Oatman Jr. penned these powerful words –
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
So, let us be thankful for our many blessings at this special time of the year and always. “Oh, give thanks to the LORD!”
Word in Season – Lloyd Schuetz
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