I am so thankful for the sweet voice of my Lord that I hear every morning calling to me, waking me with a song playing in my heart, and praises on my lips ….
As I began my prayers this morning, going through my list and interceding, the tears began to fall. My heart swelled with the fervency of my prayers, and as I began to pray in the Spirit, the many nameless faces came before me as the Holy Ghost began to reveal and intercede with prayers beyond my words and understanding. After prayers, come study, and as the Spirit began to bring scripture, I began to take notes and then to formulate my message for today…
Who shall I feed my Lord? What would You have me to say today?
Sometimes I may lack polish, but I compensate with my passion and zealousness. My emphasis is usally always on obedience, the vital importance of the Holy Ghost, the necessity of prayer and the importance of including thanksgiving in each and every prayer. So many these days are into those two minute quickie prayers, the “gimme prayers” …. You know, the kind of prayers that only ask for things, but have little praise and even less thanksgiving ….
I feel that we always have reasons to thank God, regardless of our situations and circumstances. I had a very tramatic childhood, a tumultuous life, and still face even greater struggles with emotional and physical challenges; yet, today, I am thankful for it all because it has all helped me to build character strengths and become the God-centered woman I am today ….
If even I can find reasons to give thanks, all the rest of us should be able to find ample reasons! I feel we can and should always thank God for who He is, what He has done for us, what He has promised to do in our future, and what He is continuing to do in our lives. God was, is, and always will be faithful, and He is always good!
Even pigs grunt in appreciation to their master when he brings them their slop. SURELY, we should be able to pause long enough to include a few words of thanksgiving to God for all He has done for us. While I know this may not be the most appetizing image, nor is it the deepest theological statement known to Christian scholarship, my words colorfully make the point ….
In many ways, the way we have come to celebrate Thanksgiving really demonstrates my point. We dedicate one holiday a year to giving thanks to our Creator for His blessings, His care for our world, and His generous grace for us. Yet, I fear that even in our best years, shopping and football swallow most of the “giving thanks” focus of the Thanksgiving holiday …
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. Thankfulness has never been very high on the chart for God’s human creations. Rather than give thanks for a beautiful and unspoiled universe God had made for them, Adam and Eve fixated on the one thing forbidden them. They rejected all of God’s goodness and sinned …
Rather than thanking God for their miraculous deliverance from Egypt and Pharaoh’s army, the children of Israel complained. They complained about the desert. They complained about how bland the manna was that God had provided for them. They complained about not having leeks and onions. Nothing but grumbling, whining, and complaints ….
When the next generations of Israelites passed into the Promised Land, they also forgot about giving thanks. They forgot the Lord who had given them land, preserved them in the wilderness, spoke to them in the Law, and provided a tangible symbol of His presence in the cloud and the pillar of fire. Once they settled the land, despite the repeated warnings from Moses, they didn’t remember all God had done and they didn’t remember to give thanks either.
We probably shouldn’t be surprised, then, by the nine men cured of leprosy.
After previously teaching His disciples about being “unworthy servants” (Luke 17:7-10), Jesus healed a group of ten men who had leprosy (Luke 17:11-19). These men were outcasts from their villages and lived on the thinnest margins of human survival. They hung together in a pack like animals, always scrounging for scraps of food to eat. When Jesus saw them, He cleansed them of their leprosy. He sent them to the priests to be reintegrated into life and community. Only one of these men came back to thank Jesus. The bible says he returned, “praising God in a loud voice.” He “threw himself at Jesus’ feet” and thanked the Lord, face down to the ground. He was truly thankful!
Wow, what an image that presents: being so grateful and so immensely thankful that we throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus …
Jesus then asked the penetrating question: “were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:17). Then, Jesus affirmed the thankfulness of the one man who returned. His words are instructive: “Rise and go; your faith has made you well”
While Jesus had cleansed the other nine men of their leprosy, they were still not whole. They weren’t fully healed down to their heart. Ony their skin had been made well. Healing of the soul-saving kind always involves the heart, and will always bring thankfulness. Their hearts had not been healed. How do we know? Their lack of love (Luke 7:47), along with their lack of thankfulness clearly demonstrates that their hearts had not been healed!
In much the same way, our salvation is only skin deep until our love for Jesus leads us to fall face down and thank God immensely. Thankfulness is the language of appreciative love. We are thankful because we recognize the gracious love God has poured out on us. Our love for God is returned by our thankfulness ….
I’m not sure if this episode from the life of Jesus gives us the percentages of those who are NOT thankful (90%) as opposed to the thankful (10%).
My experience suggests that 1 out of 10 being thankful seems even a bit optimistic for western Christians. So many of us feel entitled. I see this daily even with the homeless in my ministry. It truly amazes me how some can feel so entitled to the point that they miss the blessings ….
If we don’t get what we want, we feel mad and that God has let us down. Most of us, I fear, seldom pause to give thanks for the overwhelming abundance of blessings, both physical and spiritual. Few of us ever come back to offer our heartfelt thanks to God who has blessed and entrusted us with these blessings But…
I choose to be the 1, the 10%, the one who returns to give thanks. How about you? And if Paul’s words don’t stick with us this Thanksgiving, maybe we can remember my words about the pig grunting his appreciation for his slop!
Let’s pause and offer the Father our heartfelt thanks for all that He has done for us. Not just today, but every day. Not just in one prayer, but in every prayer. What do you say — let’s be the 1!
Let us pray ~
We give You thanks for all things, O Lord Almighty, that You have not taken away Your mercies and Your compassions from us; but in every succeeding generation You still save, deliver, assist, and protect.
What life is sufficient, what length of ages will be long enough, for us to be thankful? To do it worthily it is impossible, but to do it according to our ability is just and right. Glory and worship be to You, through Jesus Christ, now and ever, and through all ages.
Loving Lord, I come to You with a thankful heart and just want to lift up my hand to praise Your glorious name for all Your goodness and loving-kindness to me. Thank You for Jesus and my eternal salvation.
Thank You for my life and all the joys that You have given me; my friends and my family, my little home and my daily provision. How precious to know that Your mercies are new every single morning; great is Your faithfulness Father.
Thank You for the Bible, Your holy Word and all the many precious promises it contains and for the many promises that have been fulfilled in my life day by day. Praise Your name for no matter what comes my way, You have gone ahead to prepare the way. Accept my thanks and my love in JESUS precious name I pray, Amen and Amen ….