Thankfulness

* It’s time to express your thankfulness

God told the people of Israel to bring their peace offerings personally, with their own hands.  They were to take time and effort to express thanks to God.   You are the only person who can express your thankfulness to God and to others.  Do you leave it to others to express thanks for what people have done?  Do you rely on the one leading the prayer to thank God for you?  Take time yourself to express thanks both to God and to others who have helped and blessed you. (NLT)

Leviticus 7:28-30 – Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give these further instructions to the Israelites: When you present a peace offering to the Lord, bring part of it as a special gift to the Lord.  Present it to him with your own hands as an offering given to the Lord by fire.  Bring the fat of  the animal, together with the breast, and present it to the Lord by lifting it up before him.

* Developing an attitude of thankfulness 

Dissatisfaction comes when our attention shifts from what we have to what we don’t have.  The people of Israel didn’t seem to notice what God was doing for them–setting them free, making them a nation, giving them a new land–because they were so wrapped up in what God wasn’t doing for them.  They could think of nothing but the delicious Egyptian food they had left behind.  Somehow they forgot that the brutal whip of Egyptian slavery was the cost of eating that food.  Before we judge the Israelites too harshly, it’s helpful to think about what occupies our attention most of the time.  Are we grateful for what God has given us, or are we always thinking about what we would like to have?  We should not allow our unfulfilled desires to cause us to forget God’s gifts of life, food, health, work, and friends. (NLT)

Numbers 11:4-6 – Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt, and the people of Israel also began to complain.  “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed.  “We remember all the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt.  And we had ll the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic that we wanted.  But now our appetites are gone, and day after day we have nothing to eat but this manna!”

* Thankfulness should be continuous part of life

Certain Levites were appointed to give continual praise and thanks to God.  Praise and thanksgiving should be a regular part of our routine, not reserved only for celebrations.  Praise God continually, and you will find that you won’t take his blessings for granted. (NLT)

1 Chronicles 16:4 – David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the Lord by asking for his blessings and giving thanks and praise to the Lord, the God of Israel.

* During the Thanksgiving holiday, we focus on our blessings and express our gratitude to God for them.  But thanks should be on our lips every day.  We can never say thank you enough to parents, friends, leaders, and especially to God.  When thanksgiving becomes an integral part of your life, you will find that your attitude toward life will change.  You will become more positive, gracious, loving, and humble. (NLT)

Psalm 92:1-2 – It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High.  It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening

* Elements of thankfulness 

Four elements of true thanksgiving are found in this song (psalm): (1) remembering what God has done, (2) telling others about it, (3) showing God’s glory to others, and (4) offering gifts of self, time, and resources.  If you are truly thankful, your life will show it. (NLT)

1 Chronicles 16:7-36 – That day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the Lord: Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.  Let the whole world know what he has done.  Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.  Tell everyone about his miracles.  Exult in his holy name; O worshipers of the Lord, rejoice!  Search for the Lord and for his strength, and keep on searching.  Think of the wonderful works he has done, the miracles, and the judgments he handed down, O children of Israel, God’s servant, O descendants of Jacob, God’s chosen one.

He is the Lord our God.  His rule is seen throughout the land.  He always stands by his covenant–the commitment he made to a thousand generations.  This is the covenant he made with Abraham and the oath he swore to Isaac.  He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to the people of Israel as a never-ending treaty: “I will give you the land of Canaan as your special possession.”

He said this when they were few in number, a tiny group of strangers in Canaan.  They wandered back and forth between nations, from one kingdom to another.  Yet he did not let anyone oppress them.  He warned kings on their behalf: “Do not touch these people I have chosen, and do not hurt my prophets.”

Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!  Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.  Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.  Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.  Great is the Lord!  He is worthy of praise!  He is to be revered above all gods.  The gods of other nations are merely idols, but the Lord made the heavens!  Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty are in his dwelling.

O nations of the world, recognize the Lord, recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.  Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!  Bring your offering and come to worship him.  Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.  Let all the earth tremble before him.  The world is firmly established and cannot be shaken.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice!  Tell all the nations that the Lord is king.  Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!  Let the fields and their crops burst forth with joy.  Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise before the Lord!  For he is coming to judge the earth.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!  His faithful love endures forever.  Cry out, “Save us, O God of our salvation!  Gather and rescue us from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you.”

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!

* Thankfulness in all areas of life

Thanksgiving should be an integral part of our praise to God.  This theme is woven throughout the Psalms.  As we praise and thank God for material and spiritual blessings, we should also thank him for answered prayer.  Remember when you asked God for protection, strength, comfort, patience, love, or other special needs, and he supplied them.  Beware of taking God’s provision and answered prayer for granted. (NLT)

Psalm 138:1-3 – I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods.  I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.  I will give thanks to your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, because your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.  When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need.

* Thank those who have helped you

In this excitement, the formerly lame man began to jump and walk around.  He also praised God!  And then others were also awed by God’s power.  Don’t forget to thank people who help you, but also remember to praise God for his care and protection. (NLT)

Acts 3:7-10 – Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up.  And as he did, the man’s feet and anklebones were healed and strengthened.  He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk!  Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.

All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God.  when they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded!

* Thankfulness about the spiritual gifts of others

Look at this list of gifts and imagine the kinds of people who would have each gift.  Prophets are often bold and articulate.  Servers (those in ministry) are faithful and loyal.  Teachers are clear thinkers.  Encouragers know how to motivate others.  Givers are generous and trusting.  Leaders are good organizers and managers.  Those who show kindness are caring people who are happy to give their time to others.  It would be difficult for one person to embody all these gifts.  An assertive prophet would not usually make a good counselor, and a generous giver might fail as a leader.  When you identify your own gifts (and this list is far from complete), ask how you can use them to build up God’s family.  At the same time, realize that your gifts can’t do the work of the church all alone.  Be thankful for people who gifts are completely different from yours.  Let your strengths balance their weaknesses, and be grateful that their abilities make up for your deficiencies.  Together you can build Christ’s church. (NLT)

Romans 12:6-8 – God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.  So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you.  If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well.  If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching.  If your gift is to encourage others, do it!  If you have money, share it generously.  If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.  And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

* Thankfulness should move us to action

We become Christians through God’s unmerited favor, not as the result of any effort, ability, intelligent choice, or act of service on our part.  However, out of gratitude for this free gift, we will seek to help and serve others with kindness, love, and gentleness, and not merely to please ourselves.  While no action or work we do can help us obtain salvation, God’s intention is that our salvation will result in acts of service.  We are not saved merely for our own benefit but to serve Christ and build up the church. (NLT)

Ephesians 2:8-10 – God saved you by his special favor when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew to Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

* Thankfulness for God’s available strength

When you feel down, you may find it difficult to give thanks.  Take heart–in all things God works for our good if we love him and are called by him.  Thank God, not for your problems but for the strength he is building in you through the difficult experiences of your life.  You can be sure that God’s perfect love will see you through. (NLT)

Ephesians 5:20 – And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

* Thankfulness for those who bring you joy

It brings great joy to a Christian to see another person come to faith in Christ and mature in that faith.  Paul experienced this joy countless times.  He thanked God for those who had come to know Christ and for their strong faith.  He also prayed for their continued growth.  If there are new Christians who have brought you joy, thank God for them and support them as they continue to grow in the faith. (NLT)

1 Thessalonians 3:9-10 – How we thank God for you!  Because of you we have great joy in the presence of God.  Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill up anything that may still be missing in your faith.

* How to give thanks in everything

Paul was not teaching that we should thank God for everything that happens to us, but in everything.  Evil does not come from God, so we should not thank him for it.  But when evil strikes, we can still be thankful for God’s presence and for the good that he will accomplish through the distress. (NLT)

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

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