With grateful hearts, we share our thoughts on redemption through Jesus Christ and His saving blood and what it looks like in our daily walk.

We gladly welcome your comments and input.
AND since we hold our conservative values dear, we might have a thing or two to say about politics... and we can almost guarantee it won't be politically correct.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Giving Thanks

Today's post was written by Nathan Talbot, a regular blog reader and frequent commenter on Couples Connect. Thank you, NT, for the thoughtful insights and encouragment to be more thankful. And thanks for being a guest blogger!

As everyone knows, this Thursday is Thanksgiving. We will gather and enjoy the company of family and friends. We will heartily eat the bounty that we have been blessed with, and we will give thanks. I think people often skip over the giving thanks part or do it out of a tradition. I have just recently come to understand what giving thanks really means...that is giving thanks to God for all that he has done in my life and poured out upon me. Also, and just as vital, I have found the importance of giving thanks now for those promises I am believing to see come to pass in my life and for my family.

In Luke 17 we read of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus, but one of the lepers "turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him." Giving thanks is glorifying God. That is powerful stuff. I want to glorify God, and one of the simplest ways I can do that is by giving Him thanks.

As we read through the Bible we see the term "he/she/they glorified God" used many times. We see it in the Old Testament: Abraham was given a promise by God and he responded by "glorifying God." In the New Testament, we often see that after a miracle was performed the person who was healed responds by "glorifying God." I believe that like the leper in Luke 17, these people were glorifying God by giving praise and thanks to Him.

How often do we in our own lives ask and ask and ask when we need to be glorifying God and THANKING HIM? Now there is nothing wrong with asking God for His help and guidance and for His healing and grace and mercy, but once we have asked God for something we should start thanking Him for it. According to the Bible, God has already done the work and we know He has made His blessings available to us.

Even if we can't see the answer in the natural yet, let's start thanking God for what He has already promised. Because if God promises something, then it is done! We need to stop asking and starting thanking Him for it. I think we would get a lot more accomplished and see our prayers answered if we had a heart of thanksgiving toward God in everything we do and everything we pray about.

Thank You that I am healed. Thank You that I am prosperous. Thank You for the blessings in my life. Thank You for blessing my marriage, my family, and my relationships. Thank You for making a way and a path for me. Thank You for Your plan for my life.

When you give thanks to God, not only are you stepping out on faith, but you are also glorifying God in the process.

Giving thanks shouldn't be limited to only one day a year, but on this special day of thanks let us make sure we thank our God who has provided, is providing and will provide all we will ever need. And then let us be mindful to give God thanks every day for those things which He has promised us and for those things we ask of Him.


Anonymous said...

Well said, Nathan T. You're obviously a giving person, and your wife should be tremendously thankful every day to have you in her life.

meems said...

Thanks for the post, NT. I enjoyed reading it.

You've stated some truths that I believe are so key to our fundamental relationship and fellowship with our Savior.

Going to Him with a thankful heart every time just because He is who He is puts ME (not Him) in a position in my spirit to receive from Him... To receive His love, His joy, His acceptance, His mercy and grace in abundance and on and on.

So many folks think (and therefore focus on it) they have a hard time connecting with God... when all the while this heart (you describe) of thankfulness will propel us into a place of worship where God loves to manifest Himself to us in ways that exceed even our natural understanding.

God is not withholding from His children. He waits for us to come to Him - the requirement is to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. Speak of His goodness and all He has promised (the Truth) in a thankful & worshipful voice and from our spirit to His -- we connect to Him and all He is! Once we make that connection we won't want to live without it - and we don't have to... stay thankful.

BTW, I'm thankful for you, NT.

pilgrim said...

Great post, Nathan Talbot. I am 'giving thanks' for your contribution. Thanksgiving is not just an American holiday. It should be a way of life for those who belong to God. Psalm 100, one of the more familiar with most people, tells us to "enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name." It then tells us why we should be thankful - "For the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations." He is unchanging, ever faithful, constant, and eternally with us. When Abraham was challenged to accept the promise of God for a son in his late life, the scripture says of him that "he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform".

I like what you said in the post. "Even if we can't see the answer in the natural yet, let's start thanking God for what He has already promised. Because if God promises something, then it is done!" That is being strong in faith! That is being fully persuaded! Asking God is all right, but asking in faith, knowing He is able to give out of His abundance to your need, that is how to receive from God. He loves to give to those who ask, but too many times we are looking for something instantly, and we either keep asking with no faith, or we give up before the answer is provided, and we then become unthankful. Abraham continued to believe, he staggered not (or did not let his faith weaken), and he was fully persuaded of God performing His promise. So coupled with his faith and hope, he was giving glory (or thanks) to God continually in expectation of what was to be.

Can one live a life of faith and thanksgiving continuously? According to the Word, yes, one can. You come before God with praise and thanksgiving, you bless His name, you present Him your needs, and you then continue to give Him glory for meeting all your needs. It seems like a no brainer, but it is based on trust in who He is, what He is able to do, and keeping your hope and faith alive while you wait on answers. Be thankful, and expect the goodness of God to fulfill your every need. Practice thanksgiving (or the giving of thanks) and your life will always glorify God!

meems said...

I really got a lot out of your comment. Thanks. I especially liked what you stated here:
He loves to give to those who ask, but too many times we are looking for something instantly, and we either keep asking with no faith, or we give up before the answer is provided, and we then become unthankful.

Jane said...

Last night my pastor preached from Luke 17 and made some of the similar points that you did. He also pointed out the one who did return was actually a Samaritan or foreigner. Interesting that the nine others, who the pastor implied were Jewish, did not return. His return signified his repentance. Nine were declared clean, but only one was saved that day.

I find it odd that we set aside only one day to give thanks. What happens to the other 364 days? Does that mean during the rest of the year we get to complain? I don't think it works that way and it definitely does line up with the Word of God. As pilgrim pointed out, "Can one live a life of faith and thanksgiving continuously? According to the Word, yes, one can." Our pastor suggested we reverse things; give thanks 364 days of the year and have a one day of complaining to get it out of your system. He was joking of course, but it has made me think. He challenged us not just to celebrate Thanksgiving, but begin "thanksliving".

So often I find myself beginning to grumble and complain. This week I have tried to be better and turn that complaining into thanksgiving. Just an example, yesterday I ran home before going to church only to find that the main gate to my apartment complex was not working. Instantly I begin to complain, but then that little voice inside reminded me how blessed I was to live in a safe place with a gate.

Last night we sang that hymn, "Count Your Blessings". It had been a while since I had really thought about that song or those words:
Count your blessings
Name them one by one
Count your blessings
See what God has done
Count your blessings
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings
See what God has done
It reminded me of a time back in college when I was really struggling with some things and did not have a very positive outlook on life in general. I had a friend who every time I saw her made me name three things that were good in my life at that very moment. It might sound a little silly, but it didn't take me very long to get my focus back on what matters the most.

pilgrim said...

Jane, your comments reminded me of a project that a pastor came up with some time earlier this year. He challenged his congregation to think & say only positive things for 21 days. (They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit). The pastor had some of those rubber bracelets made up in purple that his members were to wear. They were to wear it on the right arm to remind them to say only positive things. If they begin to grumble or complain, they had to switch it to the left arm and start the 21 days over again. The project was so well received that it made national news, and the pastor was even on the Oprah Winfrey with his idea. His church got involved on a national scale sending thousands of these bracelets to all who wanted to use his idea too. They actually did it on a volunteer basis and did not profit from their generosity.

It does take practice to be appreciative and thankful. You must initiate your attitude of thanksgiving in place of grumbling or complaining. I had a little experience this week I will share. I wear prescription glasses, and they are expensive. I have the kind that come with a clip on shade for outdoors, which saves on the cost of needing two pair. Somehow, I misplaced the clip ons. I have had them for over a year and am always very careful to be mindful of taking them off when I come indoors or into a store, so that I don't lose them. I couldn't figure out how I lost them. I knew that I would have to pay to replace them if I didn't find them, as I cannot drive in the bright sun without them. When I misplace something, or lose something, I simply begin to ask the Holy Ghost to show me where to find the article. The scripture tells us He reveals those things which are hidden. Then I just continue to thank Him that He will help me, as He is the one who comes along side you to be your helper. Can you guess that I did find them? Quite by accident too. I was sitting in my car, and had taken my wallet out of my purse to find a receipt from a purchase I had just made in the store. I had left the change side unzipped and out fell a lot of change. I had to retrieve the change from the floor between the console and my driver seat, and there were my clip ons. I laughed out loud, and praised the Lord, as I think He enjoys such moments as much as I do. I just continued to thank Him as I drove home, clip ons in place on my glasses.

Eph. 5:20 states "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ".
We can practice being thankful and it can become a habit or way of life for us. Try it for 21 days!

mlm said...

Thanks everyone for the great comments. Welcome back, Pilgrim! We've missed you.

Nathan Talbot: THANKS for the post. It was awesome and I'm glad you joined in the fun of blogging. It was fun to have you on board.