Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart

We are to be thankful to God each and every day of our lives; for who He is and all that He provides for us. However, there is something very special about setting aside one day out of the year to focus on giving thanks.

We can be thankful about many things and to many people. But giving thanks to God with a grateful heart should be first and foremost, for when we do, it is only natural to follow that up with thankfulness for the people in our lives.

Materialistic things never matter as much as the Lord and our loved ones. Just ask those who lost every material possession they had in the hurricanes named Katrina and Rita. What was most important to them? Finding their scattered loved ones alive.

During the recovery efforts, it was quite understandable to learn that the survivors asked for the physical needs of water, food, and shelter. But did you know what the fourth most requested item was?


Those disasters drove people towards the desire to know God and His Word. We are hearing not only of stories of survival, but also, hundreds of stories of redemption. That's what God does in the midst of tragedy. He redeems.

My GodBlog friend, Charlie LeHardy has a wonderful post called A Season of Thanksgiving at his Another Think blog. In it, he shared a quote from Cicero:

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others." - Cicero Pro Plancio 54 B.C.

I have been meaning to tell Charlie that I love the name of his blog. It reminds me of the verse in Isaiah that says:

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. Isaiah 55:8 (NKJV)

How true!

Until I started studying the Bible diligently about 15 years ago, I'd have to admit that my thoughts were hardly ever in tune with the Lord's (as revealed in the Bible) and my ways were certainly not according to His ways.

It is obvious that we can never completely "arrive" at the desired destination of acquiring the complete thoughts and ways of God while here on this earth. But we gain glimpses and enormous revelation through reading His Word.

A relative of mine once said to me, "you've been studying that thing [Bible] for 10 years...don't you know it yet? The answer is no. I can never reach the point of "knowing" it completely.

Fellow believers, wouldn't you agree that we can never stop learning from the Word of God? It is unique in that way; unique from any and all other books in existence today. However, what can be accomplished and is of infinite value is that the more we study, the more we can then see the vast difference and transformation that the Lord has made in our own individual lives. We can look back and see the vivid evidence of God's sanctification process since that moment of being born again! We can see the transformation and sanctification of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ; especially when they share their testimonies. How you ever noticed that no two testimonies are ever alike? There may be similarities, but no two lives are ever completely the same. That's because the Lord redeems us individually. That's what having a personal relationship with the Lord is all about. Your redemption is between God and you! He saves us "one soul at a time." Whether it happened in a stadium filled with thousands of people, at your church filled with hundreds, or when you were in your home on your knees at the side of your bed.

When I prayed about this post last night, I didn't know that the Lord would show me so much! He revealed songs and Scripture to me while I was laying in bed, in the state of being half asleep and half awake. I felt prompted to wake up, get my coffee and start typing!

One song's lyrics stood out in my mind this morning. We often sing it at our church during each year's season of Thanksgiving :

Give thanks
With a grateful heart
Give thanks
For the Holy One
Give thanks
Because He's given
Jesus Christ, His Son.

And now, let the weak say
I am strong
Let the poor say
I am rich
Because of what
The Lord has done for us.

Give thanks.


When I think about what the Lord has done for me, for us, at the cross it makes me weep. Jesus Christ loves us so much that he paid the price that we could not ever pay for our sins at the cross. An instrument of execution became the tool of redemption for us all. Jesus came to "make all things new." Sometimes I wonder how anyone cannot see the gifts of love, mercy, forgiveness and grace through God's provision for our salvation!

But some people look at the cross of Christ very differently. In fact, I got an email message requesting prayer for an individual named "Mike" who had made a derogatory post against Christ at another message board. In it, he listed objections to how and where Christians should pray. But one paragraph was particularly sad and unsettling. He wrote the following about the cross of Christ:

"Your corpse nailed to a board is disturbing, and I don't necessarily think kids should see it. Again, just saying. Worshipping it is all well and good, but don't be surprised if other people feel the same way as I do. "

1 Corinthians 1:18 - For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:21 - For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Scripture informs us that the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing! But it goes even further and deeper. Many non-believers find the cross not only foolish, but also offensive. Why is that?

Jesus himself clearly tells us why:

John 7:7 - The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the "natural man" cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God!

1 Corinthians 2:14 - But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

What Christians view as salvation, is viewed as contemptuous by the unredeemed world. Their attitude is anathema towards repentance. In order for the world to break away from such deception, Christians need to continually share the gospel of Christ. It is our duty to do so. We need to keep the unredeemed in prayer, for it is our most powerful tool against the enemy of our souls.

One of my favorite contemporary Christian music groups is Mercy Me.

I'd like end with the song that the Lord recalled to my mind this morning:
"Here With Me"

I long for your embrace
Every single day
To meet you in this place
And see you face to face

Will you show me?
Reveal yourself to me
Because of your mercy
I fall down on my knees

And I can feel your presence here with me
Suddenly I'm lost within your beauty
Caught up in the wonder of your touch
Here in this moment I surrender to your love

You're everywhere I go
I am not alone
You call me as your own
To know you and be known
You are holy
And I fall down on my knees

I can feel your presence here with me
Suddenly I'm lost within your beauty
Caught up in the wonder of your touch
Here in this moment I surrender to your love

I surrender to your grace
I surrender to the one who took my place
I can feel your presence here with me
Suddenly I'm lost within your beauty
Caught up in the wonder of your touch
Here in this moment I surrender

I surrender to your grace
I surrender to the one who took my place

I can feel your presence here with me
Suddenly I'm lost within your beauty
Caught up in the wonder of your touch
Here in this moment I surrender to your love


Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!


Mercy Me music clips!
Go Here for a music clip of this and other Mercy Me songs. (at site, click on "Listen to all", then scroll for song of choice)


Added on Thanksgiving Day, 11/24/05 -


“Remember ever, and always, that your country was founded, not by the ‘most superficial, the lightest, the most irreflective of all European races,’ but by the stern old Puritans who made the deck of the Mayflower an altar of the living God, and whose first act on touching the soil of the new world was to offer on bended knees thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

- Former U.S. Senator Henry Wilson (1855-72), and Vice-President under Ulysses S. Grant (1873-75).


November 24, 2005

In Abundance, Gratitude
—Albert Mohler

Thanksgiving arrives once again and families are gathering across the nation. The traditional Thanksgiving feast has deep roots in our nation's history when the colonists paused to thank God for sustaining them through many dangers. Those who attended the first Thanksgiving feast had tasted the pain of adversity before they tasted the abundance of the great meal.In truth, most of us have never truly been hungry--we have never known the hardships previous generations assumed to be normal. For this reason we are not as urgently thankful as we should be. Our safety, comfort and material abundance can blind us to the fact that we, just like those pilgrim colonists, depend upon the grace and provision of God.So let's remember what Thanksgiving is all about--giving thanks to God for the abundance we have received and the blessings we have enjoyed. Resist the temptation to think of this day and this feast as simply one more holiday occasion.

Happy Thanksgiving from Salem Communications.

Albert Mohler is the host of The Albert Mohler Program.
Read Albert Mohler's blog on Crosswalk.


Christinewjc said...

Victory Verses of the Week:

"How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD." Psalm 116:12,17 (NIV)

Susan Smith said...

It is refreshing to come here and read the truth rather than a "political rant".

Christine said, "Fellow believers, wouldn't you agree that we can never stop learning from the Word of God?" I find it easy to stop learning from God's Word... all I must do is ignore it. Many believers stop learning, because they seldom read or hear the Word in their daily lives.

This Thanksgiving I am especially thankful for two ministries God has brought into my life this year. One is Stephen Bennett Ministries with Straight Talk Radio. The other is Christine's TalkWisdom blog. I pray for God's most abundant blessings on both. In His Love from Jerusalem. (ss)