Give thanks, then what?

It is thanksgiving day in the year of the Lord 2013 and many would spend time with their loved ones, possibly around a thanksgiving dinner, reminiscing and giving thanks to God for his provisions and protection. But is there more to giving thanks than just a recollection of God’s goodness in one’s personal and public life. We are certainly expected to give thanks to God, but then what?

The Bible counsels us in 1 Chronicles 16:8-12 that we need to first give thanks to the Lord but then commands us with seven other things that we ought to do.

These seven include:
1. Call upon the name of the Lord
2. Make known his deeds
3. Sing unto him (praise him)
4. Talk of his wondrous works
5. Glory in his holy name
6. Seek the Lord (his strength and face) continually
7. Remember his marvelous works

Points to ponder:
Do you/I call upon the name of the Lord for all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Joel 2:32). The Bible says, Call unto me and I will answer says the Lord and show you great and mighty things that you do not know (Jeremiah 33:3).
Do you/I make know his deeds? Jesus said that he came to “do” the will of God the Father (John 6:38) and he finished the “work” of paying the price for the wages of sin by his death (Romans 6:23) and abolished death and destroyed the devil (2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:14), once and for all (Hebrews 10:10; John 19:30). Do you/I make known This Gospel Deed of Jesus, saving mankind once for all?
Do you/I sing unto him and offer to him the sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name (Hebrews 13:15)?
Do you/I talk of his wondrous works, that is, is our conversation that of heaven, where our citizenship lies (Philippians 3:20), or is it of earthly things that will pass away (Revelation 21:1)?
Do you/I glory in his holy name? In other words, do we bless his holy name (Psalm 103:2) and exult (rejoice) in it, for the Name of the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous who run into it are safe (Proverbs 18:10)?
Do you/I seek the Lord continually for Jesus teaches us that we ought to seek the Kingdom of God first and all other things that we need shall be added unto us (Matthew 6:33)? Let us seek the Lord, while he may still be found (Isaiah 55:6).
Do you/I remember his marvelous works? Let us not forget and forsake his first love, but let us remember, repent and return to him who first loved us and let us love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind (Revelation 2:5; Luke 10:27).

Let us Give thanks and then …

1 Chronicles 16:8 (KJV)
8 Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.

10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.
11 Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.
12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

Thanking God for God

There are many reasons to be thankful for and the scripture teaches us that “in everything, give thanks.” This message hit home quite profoundly, when our six year old beloved firstborn son, Reuben, brought home a thanksgiving exercise that he had done at his school. His first grade teacher had asked the students to write three reasons as to why they should be thankful for and he penned down the following three (see image). sibling (Ittai) because he will play with me and he will be a good brother when he grows up.
2. the World because the world is our home.
3. my Mom and Dad because they love me very very very much. my God because he saved us from dieing and from sin.

Reuben reminded me that we ought to be thankful for our brothers (and sisters). Jesus called his disciples his brothers after he was resurrected (Matthew 28:10), bringing about the adoption of sons by God – many sons into glory (Hebrews 2:10). Reuben also reminded me that we should be thankful for this world and tend to it, while it is our home until we inherit the place that Jesus has gone ahead to prepare for us in his Father’s (God’s) house (John 14:2-3). Furthermore, Reuben reminded me that we ought to honor our father and mother, as we are commanded to and be thankful to them, but most of all, we should thankful to Jesus (God) for his salvation, for whoever believes in Jesus is saved from die-ing and from sin (2 Timothy 1:9-10).

Points to ponder:
Are we thankful to God for our neighbors (loving them as brothers and sisters)?
Are we thankful to God for the world in which we are placed as his ambassadors until we inherit his joy in the place that is being prepared for us?
Are we thankful to God for our parents?
Above all, are we thankful to God for Jesus, who has saved us by his death, so that we need not die?
Have you thanked God for God?

2 Timothy 1:9-10 (KJV)
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

Give Thanks – For enduring mercy

When a prisoner on death row was brought before the judge for trial, he was extremely afraid, regarding the verdict he was to receive. The judge perceiving his anxiety tried to alleviate his fear by saying, “Don’t worry young man, you will be tried fairly and will have justice today!”. To this the prisoner responded, “It is not justice that I need, it is mercy.”

Many of us like this prisoner, who have been in the bondage of sin, and on death row (Romans 6:23), don’t need justice, but Mercy. Thanks be to God, who remembered us in our low estate and redeemed us (Psalm 136:23-24) for His Mercy is everlasting; it endures forever. The vilest offender and the greatest sinner in the world, is not out of the scope of God’s mercy as long as they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, on whom God’s wrath and justice was poured so that we all could receive God’s mercy. It is because of God’s mercy that we don’t get what we rightfully deserve and consumed (Lamentation 3:22).

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer, the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

It is not justice, but mercy we need and we need to Give Thanks to God for His mercy is not only new every morning (Lamentation 3:22-23), but that it endures forever (Psalm 136). O Give thanks to the LORD, for his mercy endures for ever, Give thanks to the God of gods, for his mercy endures forever, Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his mercy endures for ever … (Psalm 136:1-3)

Psalm 136:1-26 (KJV)
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:
The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:
The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.
10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:
11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:
12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.
13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:
14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:
15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.
16 To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.
17 To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
18 And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
19 Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever.
20 And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:
21 And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:
22 Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.
23 Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:
24 And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.
25 Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.
26 O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Give Thanks – Why and For What?

This thanksgiving season, some of us, take time to reminisce on the reasons as to why we ought to be thankful, while many are caught in the flurry of the season with sales-buster shopping, cooking turkeys and partying with friends, all of which, in and of themselves are okay as long as they don’t become the focus of the season. I was wondering today as to the reasons why I should be thankful and also pondering on what I should be thankful for.

The answer to the ‘Why’ question as to the reason that we should be thankful is pretty straightforward according to the Bible. The Bible tells us that in everything (all circumstances of life), we must give thanks for this is the will of God concerning us (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It also counsels us, that it is a good thing to sing thanks unto the Lord and sing praises to the name of the Most High God (Psalm 92:1).

But what must we be thankful for?
To answer this question, follow along the conversation, that I had with our beloved 5 year old son, Reuben, last afternoon.
Me: Reuben, what are you thankful for?
Reuben: My family and friends, my toys, my brother (to be born in March 2012), my video games.
Me: Who are you missing?
Reuben: Mama’s mama (Gaagi), Gamma (my mom), Mama’s dada (Gaaga), your dada (my dad)
Me:  Who are you missing that should come first?
Reuben: God
Me: God, who?
Reuben: God, Jesus Christ!
Me: Why should you be thankful to Jesus Christ?
Reuben: Because he made us and he did all those things for us.
Me: What things?
Reuben: He made us from dust; He died for us on the Cross; He rose again for us; and that is all I can think of!

Interestingly, what our son, told and taught me as to “What we should be thankful for?” is very scriptural and Biblical. The Bible tells us we must give thanks at the remembrance of God’s holiness (Psalm 30:4). In other words, a remembrance of God’s holiness and purity, brings to mind our own unholiness and impurity (sinfulness) and highlights that our souls were on its way to the grave, because the sting of sin is death (1 Corinthians 15:56), but God has kept us alive,  so that we should not go down to the pit (Psalm 30:3) and given us victory through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57)

So what must we be thankful for?
We must be thankful for Jesus Christ; for the love of God; a love so great that while we were still sinners, Christ died in our stead to keep us alive and from going down to the pit (hell). We must be thankful because He made us (in his own image) and He died for us and rose again to reign, and that is all we should think of!

Psalm 30:3-4 (KJV)
O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

1 Corinthians 15:56-57 (KJV)
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Psalm 92:1 (KJV)