Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

…giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. Psalm 50:23 NLT

Has it ever seemed surprising to you that God made the Israelites wander in the wilderness for 40 years just for grumbling and complaining? My sons may have spent 40 minutes in their rooms for griping, but 40 years? That’s some severe discipline!

One thing is crystal clear from this biblical account: God is obviously not pleased with grumbling, ungrateful hearts. And we should not tolerate grumbling either—in ourselves or in our children.

Being grateful is a choice that we readily and ritually express on Thanksgiving Day. But what do we do on other days of the year when the mood is less festive or the atmosphere is more ordinary?

I like the contented way the Pilgrims approached life. They did not allow their feelings or circumstances to determine whether or not they would exercise gratitude and thanksgiving. They believed that God was in control—“providence,” they called it. Following this belief to its logical conclusion, they responded to challenges with a perspective that said, “God has allowed this for our good.” They chose to believe—rightly so—that their dependence on a holy, faithful God was well placed and that even though much was against them, there was always much more for which to be grateful.

God hates it when we grumble and gripe … but He loves it when we praise and give thanks.  As we begin to live a life of thankfulness to God, He begins to work, even through the toughest trials and tests of faith.  Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison … and they sang a hymn of praise to the Lord.  And when they finished singing, the Lord sent a jailhouse rock, and the prison doors were opened.  You mark it down: God does miracles on our behalf when we choose to thank Him and praise Him, even in the deepest, darkest pit.

It’s hard to be grateful in difficulties, but it’s not impossible. Daniel “prayed and gave thanks” (Daniel 6:10 NKJV), knowing that his life was in danger. Jonah called out “with the voice of thanksgiving” (Jonah 2:9 NKJV) while inside a fish! These examples, coupled with God’s promise that He will work all things together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28), can inspire us to be thankful in all things.

Paul tells us, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

It is sad to see Christians who always seem to be stressed out, dissatisfied, depressed, and unhappy about their circumstances. Are we giving thanks to God every day for His grace?

Make the choice today to take your eyes off yourself and your circumstances, gratefully acknowledging who God is and what He is doing. Deny yourself the right to complain, embracing instead the deep-seated joy of thanksgiving… in all things.

A Prayer You May Need to join me in praying:

Dear God, I hate to say it, but I have been guilty of grumbling and griping about all my problems and trials.  I have failed to be thankful and to remember that You are at work in my life, even through all the troubles.  Please forgive me, God.  I want to be a person who keeps my eyes on You and praises You, no matter what may come my way.  So, thank you God for these blessings (name them) and these challenges (name them).  I know You are in control of all things.  I know You love me and work all things together for my good.  I choose to trust You, Lord.  Teach me to be a “praiser” who always finds the good … and not a complainer who always finds the bad.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A grateful heart pleases God,

Wanting to praise You Lord, Pastor Steve