Giving Thanks To God
Since we have just celebrated the wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, let us not stop and wait around until the Christmas season to be thankful again, but let’s put Thanksgiving into each and every day, remembering from whence these blessings have come. Thanksgiving is something so big that we cannot put it into the month of November and then when the day is over forget it until the next one.
As we look back on the past year we see that God has been so good to each of us. If we do not take time to meditate on the countless gifts of God and to thank Him for them, we lose many wonderful moments that would even further enrich our lives. Sometimes, because we are not thankful, we become sorry for ourselves and feel neglected.
An attitude of gratitude does more than say thank you; it changes our way of life. Giving thanks to God is a wonderful experience and I’m sure that God must enjoy hearing our words of gratitude.
The words of gratitude are good for the prayers as well. They heighten our awareness of our blessings, the small ones as well as the miracles. Sometimes, in fact, it’s helpful to thank God with our eyes wide open. As we look around, we notice all the things we have taken for granted and suddenly they take on fresh wonder and color in our lives.
1Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
You might say, why does God want me to praise Him? He knows the power of His love and the splendor of His creation. God does not want us to tell Him of His great glory; He wants us to tell ourselves. That is why prayers of praise are important. There is power in praise when we focus on the greatness, love, mercy, care, presence and power of God. We are lifted above our own limitations. Our minds are directed to a Source of Strength beyond ourselves.
When the Lord wishes to give you something of great value, how does He go about it? Does He wrap it up in a glamourous and sophisticated package and hand it to you on a silver platter? No. More than likely He buries it at the heart of a great big tough problem and watches with loving anticipation to see whether you have what it takes to break the problem apart and find at its center what might be called “the pearl of great price.”
It may seem easy to pray with gratitude until we come across Paul’s words in
1 Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
You can look up this verse in many different translations and the message is the same. Paul is telling us to be thankful for everything, yes, everything.
There are so many beautiful things about our Heavenly Father for which to be thankful. One beautiful quality is that He doesn’t see us as a congregation or a crowd, but as individuals with unique personalities and differing needs. God directs us in His Word the best way for us to go. We receive His benefits daily, but He does not send out fancy forms to complete for our accountability. God trusts us to be a good and faithful steward of life’s blessings and life’s daily experiences.
Count your blessings; see what God has done! Count your blessings and it will surprise you what the LORD has done.
Herein we find a text which is packed full of wisdom:
1Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. 6The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 7He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. 8The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. 15As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 16For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. 17But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; 18To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. 19The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. 20Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. 21Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. 22Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.
Look behind you – thank Him!
Look ahead of you – trust Him!
Look around you. Much to be done – Serve Him!
Look above you – He’s coming soon!
-- Louis Forgus
Think of all the many blessings that have been yours to enjoy and the many prayers that God has answered for each one of us. The Psalmist said in
What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
The song writer said, “Count your blessings. Name them one by one.”