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Give Thanks

By Watchman | November 24, 2009

   “Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy One. Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son!”

–Henry Smith

  I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with difficulties lately, and my feelings of inner peace and joy that come with a life lived in the fullness of the Lord have been rapidly diminishing.  I knew I’d been doing something that was wrong, or I’d never have let myself get into that kind of a spiritual pass, and prayed that the Lord might show me a way out of the heaviness of heart.  You’ve really got to love God:  He always comes through and remains faithful even when we do and say things that must hurt or annoy Him deeply!  The next morning, I turned on the TV and Kenneth Hagen was preaching on discouragement.  I’ve only seen him once or twice before, and so don’t know if he’s doctrinally sound most of the time or not , but I immediately realized that the Holy Spirit had led me to turn on the TV just then because Pastor Hagen was speaking to my heart.

     Quoting someone else to whom I would give credit had I caught the name, Hagen said that there are three things that can destroy your peace:

1.  Regret over the mistakes of the past,

2.  Anxieties over future worries and

3.  Ingratitude over today’s blessings.

“Seeds of discouragement,” he said, “will not grow in a thankful heart.”   What a blessing to hear and what a help!

     The great preacher of the Reformation, Martin Luther, once said that the remorse that brings a person to Calvary is of God, but after that it is of the devil.  Satan, trying to steal your God-ordained joy, will bring up every evil thing in your past and keep them fresh in your memory so that old wounds will constantly be re-opened and shame will keep you from being all that Christ intends you to be if you listen to the voice of the father of lies.  It is good to remember just what God has brought us out of because it makes our salvation even more precious and it keeps us more understanding of the sins and vagaries of others if we bear in mind our own weaknesses prior to coming to the Lord.  It is certainly NOT spiritually healthy to live in “hair shirt” mode for the rest of our lives, rejecting the happiness that comes with the forgiveness of our sins through the salvation provided by Jesus.

     Anxiety over future worries is plaguing this society daily.  We are told so many times in Scripture to have no fear of the future since God knows our needs even better than we do and will “provide all our needs according to His riches in glory”.  Jesus told us never to worry about what we would eat, drink or wear because the Father knows we have these needs; not to worry about tomorrow but to let today be sufficient for us.  It is a matter of trust.  We have put ourselves and our needs into the capable hands of the Almighty, and He will not allow His own to fall, but will “give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.  They will bear you up in their hands lest you dash your foot against a stone!”  It does not matter what we see happening in the world around us: God has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the world!

     It is the last destroyer of our peace that especially caught my attention in the midst of my own private moaning and complaining:  ingratitude over the blessings of today.  When I heard those words, I immediately felt ashamed and prayed for the Lord’s forgiveness, for I had indeed been neglecting to bless Him for all of the mighty works that He performs daily in my life.   As I have mentioned before, we were created to be beings who worship, and I had traded worship for harangue!  When I stopped and saw how God has seen to my needs in every way to this very day, and pondered His tender mercies, I knew that ingratitude was the problem, not lack.  And when I bound that spirit of fear and cast it from me, how easy it was then to have my heart soar with love for the One Who is my refuge and fortress!  

     “Seeds of discouragement” will be planted in us from time to time by the enemy who knows our vulnerabilities and our weakness, but it is our choice as to whether or not they will find fertile ground and grow.  When our hearts are full of thankfulness and the glory of the most high God, those seeds will wither and die, leaving room for the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).

     This week , remember that Thursday here in the States is not “turkey day’; it is Thanksgiving Day.   As the great king and psalmist David said,

“Because your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. 

 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. 

 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.

Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice.

My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.”  (Psalm 63:3-8)

Give thanks with a grateful heart, brothers and sisters in Christ!

Maranatha

Topics: Special Seasons of Worship | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Give Thanks”

  1. Shirley Says:
    December 1st, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Excellent! Thank you for this. Being a Christian doesn’t mean one is perfect. I know I fail or fall short on a daily basis. Thank God for his perfect sacrifice for our salvation and for His Holy Spirit which lets us know when we have erred.

    Please keep doing what God has called you to do. Your honesty and love for God encourages me so much!

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