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The Principle of Thanksgiving

Taking a quick look around, it might be easy to see the world as becoming ungrateful and in a bad mood all the time. Words like please and thank you seem to be heard less and less. However it is not just the world at large that has become thankless . . . how about you? Is thanksgiving a holiday thing or a principle thing in your life?

For the Christian it was a principle thing . . . you could see on his face and hear in his voice he lived with giving thanks to God.

The psalmist speaks of the principles of thanksgiving. Principles are eternal and therefore they never change with the culture or circumstances we might happen to find ourselves in. Regardless the principles are to rule our voice and conduct before the Lord and others.

Joyfully Thankful … Make a joyful shout

To make a joyful shout is more than hollering or screaming

… the emphasis is upon what we are to shouting about … the psalmist is speaking of making an open air confession. In fact the Hebrew word means “an extension of the hand.” It is as if the psalmist is saying to cup the hand to the mouth and speak out loud a very joyful confession to the Lord.

Serving Thankful … Serve the Lord with gladness

When our lives are governed by a joyful heart that speaks words of thanksgiving to the Lord . . . naturally or better yet “supernaturally” our lives will fall in line to become servants filled with glad works.

Come Thankful … Come before His presence with singing

As the called of God we are to come into His presence with our hearts filled with the joy and gladness of knowing Him. We are to come singing with joyful voices of praise and thanksgiving.

Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

Think about this the next hymn we sing . . . listen to yourself sing. How would you measure it? Thankful or thankless?

If we live ego centered or self centered lives we will never become principled centered people who understands the realm of thanksgiving.

The Perception of Thanksgiving

The psalmist moves from the principle to the perception of thanksgiving. He looks to the mind of the matter with the affirmation “to know” God. It speaks to the intimate level of the heart and soul and moves beyond a mental ascent of a knowledge of a higher power.

Today, many want only a God to fill their “emotions” to make them feel good, rather than a God who is involved in the intimate details of their lives.

A Christian reminded me that God is so intimately involved in our lives that He has numbered the hairs on our heads!

Matthew 10:30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

How we perceive things to be is usually what motivates us.

What is your perception of God?  How we perceive God … who He is and what He is doing will make or break our spirit of thanksgiving.

God’s Authority … He is God

The first perception we must see is God’s authority. The psalmist states emphatically, “He is God!” Any questions?

1 Chronicles 17:20 O LORD, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

Whose authority are you under today? Your own, someone else’s, or God’s? How you answer shows who God is in your life.

God’s Authorship … He who made us

From authority to authorship the psalmist uses the positive and negative . . . God is our Maker! We cannot make ourselves! There are no “self made” men, only those who refuse to recognize God as Creator.

Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Author of our lives places in us works and words of thanksgiving. Give thanks to your God!

God’s Assurance … We are His people

When we live recognizing God’s authority and authorship in our lives we live in the assurance of knowing we are His people.

Thanksgiving tends to place itself in the realm of the material objects of our lives . . . food, clothes, houses, cars, etc. These things are temporary and could be lost in a moments time. We should be thankful for those things, but our thanksgiving must reach into the assurance of the things we cannot lose.

  • Eternal life . . . John 10:28
  • Forgiveness . . . 1 John 1:9
  • Access to God through Prayer . . . Hebrews 4:15-16
  • God’s presence . . . Hebrews 13:5

Some folks remind me that when we are God’s we ought to be prepared to be used by Him. What’s your perception of God and are you doing what He asks you to do with a thankful heart?

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