This week we are looking at a life characterized by overflowing thankfulness. After the two great commandments of loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:37-40), we find another wonderful and worshipful commandment: to give thanksgiving to God for everything He has done for us.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. (Psalm 100:4)
Today we will briefly unpack two very practical ways we can offer God thanksgiving and praise for His countless blessings that flow freely to us.
1. Acknowledge God
We all know just how easy it is to forget God. I don’t mean we actually forget that He exists, but we often forget to bring Him into everything we are doing. I cannot think of a better way to give thanksgiving to God than to acknowledge Him in every area of our lives in thought, word, and deed.
- Acknowledge God in our families
- Acknowledge God in our work
- Acknowledge God in our friendships
- Acknowledge God in our finances
- Acknowledge God in our spending
- Acknowledge God in our recreational pursuits
- Acknowledge God in our goal setting
This is a list that could easily be extended to include ten blogs! The legendary Confederate general, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, said, “I have so fixed the habit of prayer in my mind that I never raise a glass of water to my lips without asking God’s blessing.” When we acknowledge God in praise and thanksgiving, we are telling Him just how important He really is to us. And what Father does not want his children to tell him how much he matters to them?
2. Accept His Providence
We give God thanks and praise when we accept His providence, regardless of what it is. Unlike the Israelites who whined, grumbled, and complained after having been released from over 400 years in bondage in Egypt—because there wasn’t enough variety in the menu—we are to accept whatever God delivers to us, knowing that not a bird falls to the ground apart from His will (Matthew 10:29). Nothing happens to us that does not first pass through the nail-scarred hands of our sovereign Savior.
It’s easy for you and me to accept those pleasurable providences that beam down on us when the sky is blue and the clouds are fleecy. But how willing are we to accept painful providences? One thing is sure: it would be a whole lot harder to endure the storms without having the Bible to read and reflect on. After reading so many stories of saints who endured unimaginably painful providences and still blessed God in the midst of them, we can draw strength to face anything that comes our way.
We need only to gaze upon Golgotha’s Hill and see our Lord—broken, bleeding, and nailed to that dirty tree—to be reminded of the ultimate painful providence that you and I will never have to endure. And through it all, Jesus gave praise and thanksgiving to His Father in heaven: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). He took God’s cup of wrath that was meant for you and me . . . so that we would never have to.
Wherever you go tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, whether with family or friends or by yourself, remember to enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. You’ll be blessed and God will be glorified.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!