Let’s celebrate this Thanksgiving with a life of “Thanks-living.”
One of the most wonderful ways to get to the Father’s heart is to have an attitude of gratitude, a heart of thanksgiving and when we live with that attitude and heart it is so easy to develop a life of “Thanks-living”
I want to challenge you to living a life of gratitude. I know it is not easy but let’s take a look at what it means and why
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”
- Rejoicing is not something we always want to do
- Circumstances change but God does not rejoicing show an attitude of gratitude
- It means that we are prepared for the unexpected trial and recognize where to place our trust
How do we rejoice in difficulty?
- Refuse to complain
- Recognize that God has allowed this trial
- Know that God will bring us through it in just the right time
What makes the difference between the Christian and the world is not whether we will go through trials it is whether we can trust God through them. By faith we choose to rejoice not in the circumstance but in the God who causes us to get through and rise above all circumstances.
Every trial, difficulty has a time limit it will end!
1 Corinthians 10:13
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
The word “temptation” here is the same as “trial”
If we wait for the Spirit to move us before we begin to act gratefully and thankfully, I am afraid that we would rarely be thankful!
It is ungrateful to only rejoice when we see it happening it takes no faith then and shows a real disregard for God’s faithfulness
Paul said this 2 Timothy 4:2
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
Being ready in season and out is when we feel the moving of the Spirit and when we “feel” nothing. It is this way with sharing the Gospel but also with love and thankfulness and doing the work of the Lord.
God is looking for our thankfulness! Remember the story of the ten lepers.
Luke 17: 11 – 19
As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
Why would the creator of the universe care about someone saying thanks?
God inhabits the praises of His people where there is no praise and thanksgiving there is no presence of God “felt”.
Some of our spiritual benefit of “Thanks-living” is…In His presence is fullness of joy, love everlasting, peace that surpasses all understanding
An attitude of gratitude allows us to keep a humble heart and our pride under control. God can move mountains for the humble!
1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18
Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
First, why would we rejoice always?
- I mentioned this before circumstances change but God does not, rejoicing shows an attitude of gratitude
- Shows we are prepared for the unexpected trial and that regardless we are trusting the Lord
- Please understand the devil wants us miserable, blaming God for all of our troubles- whining does not move God
Praying without ceasing
God’s presence is with us we can sense it so when we pray, we not only know by faith that He is hearing our prayers we know because His presence has become a reality to us. The devil wants us to constantly feel as if we are abandoned and that our prayers are not going above the ceiling.
Paul established that we need to rejoice (celebrate our lives in Christ) first and that opens the door for the presence of the Lord.
Jesus said it this way, “When you pray say, Our Father who is in heaven I give glory and praise to your name” In effect rejoicing in who God is….then we can ask and the Lord responds
Giving thanks in all circumstances
Please notice here that we are not giving thanks for all the circumstances but “IN” all the circumstances.
We don’t thank God when bad things happen to us, we thank God that he is faithful to deliver us from and through all of these things.
God is able to always do exceeding and abundantly before all we could hope or ask!
A life of “thanks-living” can change us from a people controlled by the world system, fear, and anxiety to a people who thoroughly trust God. This impacts us spiritually but did you know it also impacts us mentally and emotionally
Living a life of thanks-living will help us to remain healthier there are physical benefits to a heart of thanks-living
In His book Deadly Emotions Dr. Don Colbert explains
“fear has been shown to trigger more than fourteen hundred known physical and chemical stress reactions, and activates more than thirty different hormones and neurotransmitters.” Uninterrupted long-term stress has been linked to problems in the heart and vascular systems such as hypertension (high blood pressure), palpitations, and arrhythmias. Most recognize the emotional connection to ulcers, gastritis, heartburn, indigestion, and bowel irregularities. The list continues, including skin disorders (psoriasis, eczema, hives, and acne), pain, inflammation, suppressed immune systems, etc.
God’s word bears this out
Proverbs 14:30, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
Proverbs 15:13, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit,”
Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries the bones.”
How do we do it?
Here are some suggestions
- Keep a journal of the things you are thankful for
- Make sure to tell people thank you
- Before you panic of worry about anything begin to think about all the things the Lord has done for you
- Memorize and apply some of the scripture I shared with you today
- Expect God to show up “he inhabits the praise of his people”
- Always remember, You are the one He loves the most!
Here is David’s example
Psalm 35 1 – 18
Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
2 Take hold of shield and buckler,
And stand up for my help.
3 Also draw out the spear,
And stop those who pursue me.
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation.”
4 Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor
Who seek after my life;
Let those be turned back and brought to confusion
Who plot my hurt.
5 Let them be like chaff before the wind,
And let the angel of the Lord chase them.
6 Let their way be dark and slippery,
And let the angel of the Lord pursue them.
7 For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit,
Which they have dug without cause for my life.
8 Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly,
And let his net that he has hidden catch himself;
Into that very destruction let him fall.
9 And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord;
It shall rejoice in His salvation.
10 All my bones shall say,
“Lord, who is like You,
Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him,
Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?”
11 Fierce witnesses rise up;
They ask me things that I do not know.
12 They reward me evil for good,
To the sorrow of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick,
My clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled myself with fasting;
And my prayer would return to my own heart.
14 I paced about as though he were my friend or brother;
I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother.
15 But in my adversity they rejoiced
And gathered together;
Attackers gathered against me,
And I did not know it;
They tore at me and did not cease;
16 With ungodly mockers at feasts
They gnashed at me with their teeth.
17 Lord, how long will You look on?
Rescue me from their destructions,
My precious life from the lions.
18 I will give You thanks in the great assembly;
I will praise You among many people.
In that mess, he gave thanks!!!!!