Who are you thanking?

IMG_7633

1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! 2Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble 3and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.  Psalm 107:1-2

 

You can watch a whole stage play and never see the director. But at the end she is brought forward, applauded and thanked. Her leadership helped make all the moving parts come together in a glorious production.

Likewise you could live your whole life without knowing the Living God until the end. For the Christian Thanksgiving is our rejection of a life lived without acknowledgement of God. In fact its our chance to say “We are not really the stars of this production; its God. God is the director and the star.”

Experiencing the rescue redemption of God brings Him to centre stage in our lives. When the church gathers as the redeemed from all walks of life and nations under the banner of Jesus, we give thanks.

We give thanks to our Lord, for He is good and His steadfast love endures forever!

Thanksgiving ~ Key Verses — GLORIFYTHELORD

“Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I have a friend who visited Vancouver and had this to say of her week here:  “Vancouverites need someone to thank.”  In a place so stunning and blessed, the absence of gratitude was notable.   Gratitude is generated by knowing you have someOne to thank.

Without knowing God, who shall we thank?  At our table before a meal I said, “Let’s give thanks to God.”  A visiting friend of one of our kids said, “Why should we do that?”

How would you answer his question?

“Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

When Jesus gives you your life back…

This morning we read Luke 17:11-19 at my breakfast table.  There where no fireworks over our oatmeal but I did feel the Lord move my heart.

When you have lost so much and then Jesus unexpectedly gives it back… gratitude can light up the sky!

The ten people who met Jesus in the story have not only had to deal with a medical condition, they have had to grieve their persistent social alienation day after humiliating day.

And now because of God’s grace they could start over!

Only one came back to tell Jesus, “thank you.”

And I think this one, got so much more than new skin!

Did he get a new heart?

Now he could go home as a changed man.  His “faith had made him well.”

From this day forward faith in Jesus is something he lives with.

american myths and the real pilgrims

Happy Thanksgiving America.

Apparently, the first Pilgrims on the Mayflower were both devout and tolerant.  Great characteristics to possess and from which flow genuine liberty.

The Pilgrims – unlike British Puritans who wanted to turn Massachusetts into a theocracy – sharply advocated church-state separation. They heretically believed that women should be allowed to speak in church. They were far more tolerant of other faiths and open to the idea that their theology, like all human dogma, might contain errors.

Pilgrim experiences “in the cosmopolitan Netherlands are a reason they are less rigid or dogmatic in their views about what people must and must not do,” argues Jeremy Bangs, curator of the American Pilgrim Museum in Leiden and author of “Saints and Pilgrims,” a 900-page reappraisal published this year on the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival in Leiden.

“The pilgrims didn’t have witchcraft hysteria, they didn’t kill Quakers. These are big differences!” notes Mr. Bangs, a former curator of Plimoth Plantation whose work draws heavily from untapped Dutch and New England archives. “Pilgrim leaders were less prone to persecute…. The possibility that others may be right and they may be wrong is something influenced by their time living in an extraordinary community of other exiles in Holland.”

Read the whole article in the Christian Science Monitor.

The Challenge of Gratitude

Here are the notes from Sunday’s message The Challenge of Gratitude which is part of our continuing series, The Challenge of the New Testament.  The audio will be available later in the week here.

The Challenge of Gratitude

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The Big Idea:  God is a reason for thanksgiving in all circumstances.

1.  ALL is a small word with big coverage.

2.  God is greater than we are.  Gratitude battles pride.

The absence of gratitude toward God is the first step down a slippery slope away from God.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glo- rified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking be- came futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Romans 1:20-21

3. God is greater than our circumstances.  Gratitude battles despair.

“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”  Ephesians 5:3-4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and peti- tion, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:4-7

4. Gratitude is not just personal it is communal.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”  Romans 12:15

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men-the testimony given in its proper time.  1 Timothy 2:1-7

“If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified. 1 Corinthians 14:16-17

Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
1 Corinthians 10:14-17

5.  Spontaneity is great.  But there are seasons in our lives when we need to put thanks into practice by creating a trigger for thanks-giving.

__________  Memorize the verse.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

__________  Create an emotional trigger.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions…”  Ephesians 6:18

__________  Create a scheduled trigger.  (example:  Mealtimes.)

“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.”  Matthew 14:19

__________  Plan on sending thank-you notes regularly.

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  2 Corinthians 9:12-15