*Republished from November 27,2017
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving praising God with the ones you love! It’s time to wrap up this Redeeming Thanksgiving series, and begin to prepare our hearts for Christmas. I gotta tell ya, writing this series has been such a blessing to me! While I started this month out with some trepidation over this holiday with the potential to trigger excruciating memories, I stand before you now in humble gratitude to the One who has truly redeemed this precious day. I am in awe of His mercies to me despite my continual lack of faith. His blessings never cease.
Hebrews 12:28-29 – Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.
Igniting Gratitude that Spreads Like Fire
When we started the month out we asked God to set us ablaze with thanksgiving. We laid out the kindling and prepared the wood by committing to this study, and He cultivated that first spark with the promise of restoration. We learned how a thankful heart has the power to redeem for good what the enemy intended for evil. We fed that fire by learning how our gratitude leads to hope which fills us with the joy of the Lord, which is our strength. As the flames of His blessing spread, our praises grew and led us into the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.
Then, last week, that inferno reached a new height. No longer was it simply spreading God’s blessings throughout our own lives, but it began to consume what didn’t belong. The devouring fire of our God sent the enemy running. Our praises demolished strongholds while reminding us of the ultimate victory, which is as good as won. It is my hope that today, as we conclude this series, the flames of gratitude will blaze from us onto the lives of those still lost and ignite a magnificent explosion of blessing across the whole world!
Psalms 67 – May God be merciful and bless us. May His face smile with favor on us.
May Your ways be known throughout the earth, Your saving power among people everywhere. May the nations praise You, oh God. Yes, may all the nations praise You. Let the whole world sing for joy, because You govern the nations with justice and guide the people of the whole world.
May the nations praise You, oh God. Yes, may all the nations praise You. Then the earth will yield its harvests, and God, our God, will richly bless us, and people all over the world will fear Him.
Have you ever considered that your gratitude could lead to the advancement of the Kingdom of God? Do you stop to think that your praise could be the seed planted in the heart of unbelievers which could then grow into the fruits of salvation? Before I did the research for this study, I’m not sure I ever realized how foundational a thankful heart is to the blessings of God. Blessings that saturate our own lives, sure, but also blessings that spread out from us and consume the darkness around. Look again at that last verse in Psalms 67 – when does it say that God will richly bless us and that people all over the world will fear Him? When all the nations Praise Him! Have you ever considered that your gratitude could lead to the advancement of the Kingdom of God? Do you stop to think that your praise could be the seed planted in the heart of unbelievers which could then grow into the fruits of salvation? Click To Tweet
2 Corinthians 2:14 – But thank God! He has made us His captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.
I’m going to admit something to you that stings a little bit. I don’t know that I’ve ever considered the salvation of others when listing my blessings. Well, maybe my kids’ salvation, and perhaps even other loved ones. I’ve listed those as blessings. (But not in an unselfish way.) I am greatly humbled by that thought. My Lord intends for my life to be a sweet perfume used to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, and that fact should cause me to thank Him!
2 Corinthians 9:10-15 – For God is the One who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, He will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving – the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!
What a beautiful, ever-growing circle of praise and blessing our Lord intends for us to be a part of! His plan is to be our Provider – to be the Initiator of this awesome, never-ending chain of abundance.
He promises to meet our needs, and fully equip us to fulfill our callings. → In return, He expects us to thank Him. → Because we thank Him, He promises to add to the blessings, which should cause our gratitude to spill over into generosity. (You see, as we recognize His abundant blessings, we should desire to share those gifts with others.) → When we do, it will create gratitude within them, which will invite further blessings from the Lord both upon them, and upon us as well! → Not only that, our generosity will create a bond uniting us all together in love. → Their love will lead to earnest prayers for us, which will invite further blessing from the Lord. → And our praises will increase!!!
It has the potential to be a never-ending cycle, if only we would choose to abide within a spirit of thanksgiving!
Psalms 111 – Praise the Lord! I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with His godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in Him should ponder them. Everything He does reveals His glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. He causes us to remember His wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our Lord! He gives food to those who fear Him; He always remembers His covenant. He has shown His great power to His people by giving them the lands of other nations. All He does is just and good, and all His commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity. He has paid a full ransom for His people. He has guaranteed His covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name He has! Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey His commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise Him forever!
Beyond a Holiday – A True Heart of Thanksgiving
2 Corinthians 4:13-18 – But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to Himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
Friends, as the children of God, it doesn’t really matter what this life is throwing at us. I know how difficult it is to LIVE in that truth, but it’s still truth. The troubles of this world are small and won’t last very long. That’s the promise. I really do know it doesn’t feel that way, but that’s exactly why an eternal perspective is so important. When we recognize the work of Christ – the way He provides for us, and cares for us, and loves us; the way He died to make a way for us – it should make us grateful. Day in and day out, it should compel us to speak. To share with others the wonderful hope that we have. The hope that anchors our soul to our great High Priest and makes us immovable through the storms of life. That hope, if it is truly written on our hearts, will be contagious. It will spread. And as more and more people are reached for Christ, there will be great Thanksgiving that will last forever!!!When we recognize the work of Christ – the way He provides for us, and cares for us, and loves us; the way He died to make a way for us - it should make us grateful. Day in and day out, it should compel us to speak. Click To Tweet
Colossians 2:6-7 – And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
A Final Offering of Our Eternal Praise
Psalms 106:1-5 – Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord? Who can ever praise Him enough? There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right. Remember me, Lord, when You show favor to Your people; come near and rescue me. Let me share in the prosperity of Your chosen ones. Let me rejoice in the joy of Your people; let me praise You with those who are Your heritage.
Revelation 7:11-12 – And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God. They sang, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
*How about you? Have you ever thought of your gratitude as a tool for advancing the Kingdom of God?
***Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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