A THANKFUL LIFE by Pastor S. Henry

• November 23, 2017

On December 4, 1619, a group of 38 English settlers arrived on the north bank of the James River about 20 miles upstream from Jamestown, where the first permanent settlement of the Colony of Virginia was established on May 14, 1607.  The group’s charter required that “the day of arrival be observed yearly, and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”  On that first day, Captain John Woodleaf held the service of thanksgiving and all the people knelt down and gave thanks to God for their safe arrival.

 

The Bible gives us many reasons to be thankful to God.  The Book of Psalms teaches us to “give thanks to the Lord, for He is good” (Psalm 106:1).  We give thanks to God because He is the sovereign Ruler of heaven and earth, and He is our Good Shepherd who continually loves, cares for, and protects His people. And so, we read in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

 

If someone summarized your life would the word “thankful” be an adjective they used to describe you?  Are you known by others as a person who is continually thankful to God for His goodness and faithfulness in caring for us day by day both physically and spiritually?  When we continually give thanks to God it demonstrates that we recognize we are completely dependent upon God’s grace, mercy, and goodness for everything.  Our life, breath, food, health, marriage, possessions, salvation, understanding, strength, finances, etc. all come from God.  You see, it’s “in Him we live, move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).  We read in 1 Corinthians 4:7: “What do you have that you haven’t received?”  In other words, all things come from God’s gracious hand.

 

Unthankfulness, on the other hand, is the very essence of the unbelieving heart.  Paul wrote in Romans 1:21: “Although they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were they thankful…”  The unbeliever refuses to thank God for anything.  He loudly professes “there is no God” (Psalm 14:1) and teaches his children that things happen in this world by luck or chance.  And when things don’t go his way he becomes bitter and life becomes very sour because he has a thankless heart.  We even live in a society where Thanksgiving Day is known as “turkey day”, and people look to all the food and festivities and forget all about the God who has provided so richly and abundantly for us.

 

Have you fallen into this sin?  Have you lost focus of the meaning of Thanksgiving Day?  Do you look to Thanksgiving Day as another opportunity to praise and worship our sovereign, glorious, gracious God, or do you look primarily to the food, festivities, and football?  You see, the new nature of a believer motivates him to thank God for all things and in everything.  The believer has a new heart and therefore lives by the principle of grace and walks by faith in the promises of God in Scripture, and as result, he becomes a thankful person.  The believer recognizes and professes that he deserves God’s wrath, but instead has received God’s grace and mercy.  Giving thanks to God now becomes a lifestyle as a result of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.  And so, the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:20: “…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Therefore, giving thanks to God is both a blessing and a duty for every child of God.  “Oh come, let us sing to the LORD!  Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  For the LORD is the great God…” (Psalm 95:1-3).  Dear Christian, let your thanksgiving and praise be heard not only on Thanksgiving Day, but every moment of every day let the redeemed of the Lord praise Him “And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name” (Psalm 30:4).

Category: Scott Henry

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