As believers in Christ, we are called to live every aspect of our lives as thankful representatives of Jesus. The Apostle Paul writes, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
Today as we gather to worship and fellowship, let’s pause to thank God for the dear men and women who serve in roles of pastoral leadership. They care for our souls, provide counsel, minister to our children and seek to embody christian maturity. They enrich our lives in many ways.
Have you stopped to realize that The United States of America exists because of cross-cultural missionaries? The pilgrims risked all to be used as “stepping stones” (from William Bradford’s journal) for bringing the gospel to the new world. Some reading these words may have come to faith because of the ministry of a missionary in your life. Let’s pause and thank God for the life giving service of missionaries.
God created beauty. The fine arts, at their best, are a reflection of the creativity of God. They capture stirring moments visually or musically and stir our hearts deeply. Let’s express our gratitude to God for the fine arts.
Satan attacks us through shame and condemnation. The Apostle Paul attacks this issue head-on in his letter to the Romans.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:31-37).
The opposite of being set free by God’s truth is being held in bondage by Satan’s lies. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). Satan is the “Father of lies” and every falsehood he spreads and every temptation he presents has as its ultimate goal our destruction. Let us be grateful men and women who fill our lives with God’s truth and thereby find freedom from Satan’s destructive lies.
As followers of God, grateful for all that he has accomplished on our behalf, one of the defining qualities that is to characterize us is our love for God. Simply put, we are to love God with everything we’ve got. From our possessions, to our vocations, to our relationships – all that we are and do is to be an expression our grateful love to God. Jesus said it this way, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).
In the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we discover how God has provided the answer to our greatest need by doing something for us that we could never have done for ourselves. On our own we are helpless to remedy our sin problem. Jesus, took on human flesh, satisfied the Father’s requirement for holiness on our behalf, took the punishment that we deserve (death), and rose victorious over sin and death – offering eternal life if we will simply rely on him for our salvation. Today we are thankful for the Gospel.
Psalm 136 is a beautiful Old Testament song of Thanksgiving. It lists a variety of reasons why our hearts should be filled with gratitude. It begins by declaring,
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1-3)
I invite you to read Psalm 136 and allow it to be an expression of your personal worship and gratitude.