Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

December 11, 2017

Nov 22, 201 

There are few things that bring greater energy and strength to us than the exercise of lifting p7raise and thanksgiving from our hearts to God’s. Gratitude has a uniquely wonderful way of lifting us out of the smog of a life that is preoccupied with the shallow and short-lived resources of ourselves.

Psychologist Martin Seligman from the University in Pennsylvania found that when people wrote down 3 things that they were grateful for each day, within a short span of 3 weeks, that little exercise has increased their own level of happiness. Gratitude or thanksgiving actually increase the ability of the brain to function better.

In a 6th March 2014 study ran by Time Magazine, Eric Barker wrote on 10 things you should do every day to improve your life. He quoted things like exercise, spending time with your family, getting enough sleep, laughing, being optimistic etc. One of the things he mentioned was learning to express gratitude. They have discovered that not only does expressing gratitude makes you happier; it improves your friendships, make you a better person and makes the lives of those around you better as well.

Medical studies have discovered that there are over 30 direct benefits related to being grateful and thankful. In 2 studies done with 243 participants, they discovered that those who were more grateful than the others in the survey had 17.5% more social capital. It made them nicer, more trusting, more sociable, more appreciative and deepens all of our relationships as well.

Now these are what secular psychologists are saying. They are just discovering what the Bible teaches is true.  So some scriptures come to mind, so here it goes . . . let your heart resonate with some of the people from the Bible who knew the secret of thanksgiving!

Psalm 16:8-11, The Message Bible

“Day and night I’ll stick with God; I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go. I’m happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed. You canceled my ticket to hell—that’s not my destination! Now You’ve got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face. Ever since You took my hand, I’m on the right way”

Psalm 73:23-26,28, The Message Bible

“I’m still in Your presence, but You’ve taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then You bless me. You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want on earth! When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm and faithful. . . . But I’m in the very presence of God—oh, how refreshing it is! I’ve made the Lord God my home. God, I’m telling the world what You do!”

What is thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is an activity in which we give to God instead of Him giving to us. The word for ‘Thanksgiving’ in the Greek is the same word for ‘Grace’ (Gk: Charis). That’s why when we say ‘Grace’ before a meal, what we are actually doing is giving thanks to God. And when we give thanks to the Lord, we are actually asking Him to continue His grace upon our lives. You cannot really enjoy God’s grace without being thankful because when we are unthankful, we are out of the grace of God.

The Church [Israel] in the Wilderness

The children of Israel were in the wilderness for 40 years and during those 40 years, God tested them on many issues and the reason for these tests were to see if they were ready and worthy of the land that God was going to cause them to inherit. There were many trials and testing in the wilderness. They were tested on their appetites. They were tested on matters of faith. They were tested on their willingness to bear hardship. They were tested on their loyalty to God. But one of the major tests, which the apostle Paul describes for us in 1 Corinthians 10, was the test of how they would respond in a trial.

Often God would, by divine providence, create a scenario where the circumstances were dire and difficult, to see how His people would respond to Him and so often, the children of Israel would respond in the opposite way that God was expecting. Their response would be grumbling and murmuring.

If you remember in Numbers 21: 4-9, the situation in the wilderness was again difficult and there was no food and no water and the people grumbled and said some very harsh things against God. God responds by sending fiery serpents, snakes, and they bit the people and many died. They cried out to God and God commanded Moses to make a fiery serpent out of bronze, set it on a pole, and it came to pass that everyone who was bitten, all they had to do was look at that serpent and they would be spared. I tell you, it does not pay to be negative and grumble. All kinds of poison enter into us when we are ungrateful and negative. The right response in every circumstance was for the children of Israel to be thankful for all that God had done for them. 

I think that this is one of the main reasons why so many Christians don’t end up finishing well, and it is because they do not give thanks to God when they go through a trial and they don’t remember all that God has done for them. The art of thanksgiving is truly one of the great secrets of victory in our lives. You show me someone who is always thankful, and I will show you a man who is being trained for greater things in God. 

Here are EIGHT scriptural foundations for Giving Thanks…

  1. GIVING THANKS IS NOT AN OPTION; IT IS A COMMAND.

    1. Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV) 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

  1. IT’S PROTOCOL TO WELCOMING GOD’S PRESENCE

    1. Psalm 100:4 (MSG) Enter with the password: "Thank you!" Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. 

  1. IT PURIFIES US OF A GRUMBLING AND COMPLAINING SPIRIT.

    1. 1 Corinthians 10:6-12 (NIV) 6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did--and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did--and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did--and were killed by the destroying angel. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 

  1. THANKSGIVING IS THE FRUIT OF BEING FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

    1. Ephesians 5:18-20 (NIV) 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ 

  1. THE WILL OF GOD IN EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE IS TO GIVE THANKS.

    1. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV) 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you 

  1. NEVER BRING PRAYER REQUESTS TO GOD WITHOUT THANKSGIVING!

    1. Philippians 4:6 (NIV) 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

  1. THANKSGIVING UNLOCKS THE SUPERNATURAL MIRACLE POWER OF GOD.

    1. The feeding of the Five thousand recorded in on the power of God simply because we do not release it by giving thanks.

    2. Lazarus – Jesus stood before the tomb of Lazarus that you have heard me’ That is all He said, then He spoke to Lazarus and out came Lazarus!

    3. John 11.

  1. THANKSGIVING IS THE MARK OF HUMILITY IN A PERSON’S LIFE.

    1. Romans 1:21 (NKJV) 21 Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

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