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A Guide to Gratitude

November 16, 2010

So far through our series on true thanksgiving, we have pondered the fact that gratitude springs from a heart of humility, it requires that we stop in our tracks and recognize God’s goodness to us, it calls us to ponder and respond to the goodness of God in the darkest of situations, it is grounded in true faith, it is based on God’s character and not on our circumstances, it necessitates that we rest in Him and pray.

So, if we are to offer God a sacrifice of true thanksgiving in good times and bad… how do we do this? What does it look like? If you’re in a dark season of life what can you truly thank God for this Thanksgiving season?

Psalm 100 is probably one of the most commonly read passages this time of year – it gives us a guide for both how and why we should gather before Him in thanks.

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

WHY should we give Him thanks?

  • He alone is God! – Even in the darkest times of life we can take such comfort in the fact that God alone is God! He has never lost  control, and we can rest in His goodness and sovereignty.
  • He made us! – When was the last time you considered the intricacy of your hand, the amazing miracles of sight, hearing, touch? Have you pondered God’s workmanship in your children lately? We truly are fearfully and wonderfully made. [Psalm 139]
  • We are His people! – He made us, He loves us, He saved us, He delights in us – how can we not thank Him when we think of these astonishing truths?
  • We are the sheep of His pasture! – As a caring shepherd examines, knows, watches over his sheep, He knows us intimately and watches over us constantly. Oh, the delight we can take in His presence and care! [Psalm 23]
  • He is good! – Remember that even when life is not, God is good. I am so thankful that we can rest in this as fact!
  • His love endures forever! – He never will forget us, overlook us, put us aside, turn His back on us.
  • He is faithful! – His Word is trustworthy, His promises are faithful, His plans will never be shaken.

HOW should we give Him thanks?

  • Shout for joy! – Revel in Him! We have so much to praise Him for – belt it out in your car, in the shower, praise Him wherever you are!
  • Worship with gladness! – If we understand who God is and what worship really is, emotionless and meaningless repetition of words isn’t going to cut it. Ponder these truths and respond to Him from your heart!
  • Come before Him; enter His gates! – Don’t reserve “thanksgiving” for the 10 minutes before your Thanksgiving dinner. Make a conscious effort to come before Him in the quietness of your soul, spend time with Him, praise Him and thank Him in the sanctuary of the heart.
  • Know! – Some of us might not be “obvious” in our praise – our personalities might cause us to worship and praise Him in a more subdued manner. But all of us can bring Him the thanksgiving offering of faith – of knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He is God. Rest in the truth!
  • Praise His name! – Study and reflect on the names of God as we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas. He is Elohim, the all-powerful creator. He is El-Shaddai, the all sufficient one. He is El Roi, the God who sees us in the darkest and most solitary hours of our lives. Remember that true thanksgiving is rooted in who He is, not in our circumstances – the more we understand the ways and nature of our God, the more we have to praise and thank Him for!

We have so much to thank Him for this thanksgiving! How and why will you offer Him the sacrifice of true gratitude?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2010 8:31 am

    Come before Him; enter His gates! – Don’t reserve “thanksgiving” for the 10 minutes before your Thanksgiving dinner. Make a conscious effort to come before Him in the quietness of your soul, spend time with Him, praise Him and thank Him in the sanctuary of the heart.

    Yes! Thank you for this important reminder … thanksgiving isn’t a day or a meal, it’s an attitude of our heart that praises the Lord at all times, in all things.

  2. Julie Sanders permalink
    November 16, 2010 4:57 pm

    I really like the “how” list here, Kristi. It helps me to consider if my thanks is becoming redundant or inadequate in its expression. Scripture offers its own excellent examples of how to give gratitude back to our deserving Lord.

  3. Kristi's dad permalink
    November 17, 2010 8:24 pm

    Just before reading Kristi’s posting, I was working on my small group Thanksgiving study. It happens to be very nearly the same. I did a search of our local newspaper’s web site, looking for “Thanksgiving.” It was interesting that all that I found was about food! The only thing that came close to what you talked about here, Kristi, was a note about a local homeless shelter – preparing food for the homeless. But to your point, all through the scriptures, we are told over and over again to give thanks to God, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever, for He has done great things. Check out Psalm 107, or Psalm 118, or Psalm 136. It should be all about Him.

  4. November 21, 2010 11:34 pm

    Wow, thank you for this post! When you consider all the “whys” of thanking God, how we can we NOT give thanks? Being aware of all of God’s grace-filled gifts leads to expressing that gratitude. Fantastic!

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