Message – A Thankful Heart
For the Christian, Thanksgiving is FAR more than a time of national gratitude and it reaches beyond those things that serve to divide us. Thanksgiving takes on a spiritual focus that as believers we simply cannot ignore. God has been SO good to us through Christ Jesus and for that we ALL owe eternal Thanksgiving and gratitude.
We realize that in our modern world, Thanksgiving, is viewed differently from various people groups in America. We also realize that the establishing of our nation was NOT without difficulties, ungodly acts on all sides and in the end, that our government lied and mistreated countless Indian tribes…but those things are what followed our reason for Thanksgiving and are NOT our reason for celebrating it!
For every terrible act that occurred as the European settlers moved to this continent, there are countless dozens of good, kind and benevolent things that occurred on both sides as well. We choose as a matter of honor and worship to God to celebrate what unites us in prosperity and liberty rather than focus on the very real things that could serve to divide us!
Tonight we simply gathered and sang worship songs focused on our gratefulness to out loving Father for all He has done.
We then read a few verses illustrating some truths relevant to believers concerning thankfulness and gratitude. The list and titles came from an adaptation of ‘Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy’ by Nancy Lee DeMoss, a very godly and powerful woman’s teacher.
1.Gratitude is a Matter of Obedience
Col. 3:17 “(17) And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
2.Gratitude draws us close
Ps. 100:4 “(4) Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”
3.Gratitude is a sure path to peace
Phil. 4:6-7 (Wuest Translation) “(6) Stop worrying about even one thing, but in everything by prayer whose essence is that of worship and devotion and by supplication which is a cry for your personal needs, with thanksgiving let your requests for the things asked for be made known in the presence of God, (7) and the peace of God which surpasses all power of comprehension shall mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
4.Gratitude is an indicator of our heart condition
Psa. 140:13 “(13) Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name; The upright shall dwell in Your presence.”
5.Gratitude is the will of God
1Thess. 5:18 “(18) In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
6.Gratitude is an evidence of being filled with the Spirit
Eph. 5:18-20 “(18) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
7.Gratitude reflects Jesus’ heart
Luke 10:21 “(21) In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.”
8.Gratitude will be our heart’s condition in heaven
Rev. 11:16-17 “(16) And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, (17) saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.”
Finally I read and expounded for about 25 min. on the following passages before ending our evening by singing Amazing Grace…
Psa. 95:1-11 “(1) Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. (2) Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. (3) For the LORD is the great God, And the great King above all gods. (4) In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills are His also. (5) The sea is His, for He made it; And His hands formed the dry land. (6) Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. (7) For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: (8) “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, (9) When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work. (10) For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.’ (11) So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ “
Psa. 100:1-5 “(1) Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! (2) Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. (3) Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. (4) Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (5) For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.”
Psa. 107:1-43 “(1) Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (2) Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, (3) And gathered out of the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south. (4) They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way; They found no city to dwell in. (5) Hungry and thirsty, Their soul fainted in them. (6) Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, And He delivered them out of their distresses. (7) And He led them forth by the right way, That they might go to a city for a dwelling place. (8) Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! (9) For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness. (10) Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, Bound in affliction and irons— (11) Because they rebelled against the words of God, And despised the counsel of the Most High, (12) Therefore He brought down their heart with labor; They fell down, and there was none to help. (13) Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses. (14) He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, And broke their chains in pieces. (15) Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! (16) For He has broken the gates of bronze, And cut the bars of iron in two. (17) Fools, because of their transgression, And because of their iniquities, were afflicted. (18) Their soul abhorred all manner of food, And they drew near to the gates of death. (19) Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses. (20) He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions. (21) Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! (22) Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, And declare His works with rejoicing. (23) Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters, (24) They see the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep. (25) For He commands and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up the waves of the sea. (26) They mount up to the heavens, They go down again to the depths; Their soul melts because of trouble. (27) They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits’ end. (28) Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. (29) He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. (30) Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven. (31) Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! (32) Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, And praise Him in the company of the elders. (33) He turns rivers into a wilderness, And the watersprings into dry ground; (34) A fruitful land into barrenness, For the wickedness of those who dwell in it. (35) He turns a wilderness into pools of water, And dry land into watersprings. (36) There He makes the hungry dwell, That they may establish a city for a dwelling place, (37) And sow fields and plant vineyards, That they may yield a fruitful harvest. (38) He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly; And He does not let their cattle decrease. (39) When they are diminished and brought low Through oppression, affliction and sorrow, (40) He pours contempt on princes, And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way; (41) Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction, And makes their families like a flock. (42) The righteous see it and rejoice, And all iniquity stops its mouth. (43) Whoever is wise will observe these things, And they will understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.”
We closed our service with mention of the author of the song “Amazing Grace” Anglican clergyman John Newton.
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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