When we focus on our problems, our guilt, our fulfillment, and on this life in general, we do so at the expense of keeping our eyes on Jesus. When our eyes are on Him, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of your glory and grace”.
How in the world can you and I be thankful to God when we are focused on ourselves?
- Psalm 106:1 Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
- Psalm 106:2 Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the LORD, Or can show forth all His praise?
- Psalm 106:3 How blessed are those who keep justice, Who practice righteousness at all times!
- Psalm 106:4 Remember me, O LORD, in Your favor toward Your people; Visit me with Your salvation,
- Psalm 106:5 That I may see the prosperity of Your chosen ones, That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, That I may glory with Your inheritance.
- Psalm 106:6 We have sinned like our fathers,
- Psalm 106:7 We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly.
If you have time, read the rest of Psalm 106. It’s a Psalm about how wicked and defiled Israel became, even to the point where they sacrificed their children to demons! Yet, it tells us that God saved them and redeemed them from the enemy for His name’s sake. And, then it ends praising Him for saving them.
2 Book Suggestions: I want to go in a different direction that I have previously by suggesting a couple of books (I know I did this during our week on marriage, but otherwise I haven’t done this before to my knowledge).
First off, the old classic by John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progressis an allegorical story. He wrote it while in Bedfordshire prison (he was there for holding religious services outside the approval and oversight of the Church of England—Bunyan being a Puritan). The story follows a man named Christian who is trapped by his sin, and carries the depressing and excessively heavy burden of sin until he is freed from it at the cross.
Second,Unashamedis a book by Grammy winning Hip-Hop artist Lecrae Moore. His story details how he was enslaved to sin, living a depraved, violent, hedonistic lifestyle, and how God reached in and saved Him, setting him free.
I suggest these two books based on Luke 7 which tells how a woman who was probably a prostitute, came in to a Pharisee’s house where Jesus was, and commenced to wash Christ’s feet with her tears, her hair, and expensive perfume (the type a prostitute would own). The Pharisee is disgusted that Jesus would even let her near Him. Jesus then tells a parable about two people owing a creditor (one owing 500 days of pay (a denarius was one day’s pay) and one owing him 50 days of pay). The creditor forgives them their debt, and Jesus asked which would love the creditor more. The Pharisee states the one who was forgiven most. Then Jesus points out that the prostitute washing His feet has been forgiven much and thus loves much.
- It’s Thankful Thursday. Have you considered that you have been forgiven much, that you have been eternally forgiven of your sin? ______________________________________________________
- What does this realization do for you? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Maybe, like me, you grew up in a fairly good, moral, law-abiding life. Do you (like me) find it hard sometimes to be as thankful and on fire for Jesus since you never did the “Big” sins? ___________________________________________________
- Maybe you had a rougher life, falling into gross immorality, violence, or even worse. Isn’t it great that God has saved you from so much? _______________________________________
- Doesn’t this motivate you to serve Him more deeply? _______________________________________________
- Remember the almost 80-year old hymn from Seth and Bessie Sykes, “Thank you, Lord”?
Some thank the Lord for friends and home
For mercies sure and sweet
But I would praise Him for his grace
In prayer I would repeat
Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free
- Whether you had a Goody Two Shoes sort of life or a vile and debauched one, take time now to thank God for His great and eternal grace and mercy in saving you (“while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”—Romans 5:8).
- Any sin we’ve ever done is wicked and deserving of eternal death.
- Thus, we each have truly been saved from so much—let us never take it for granted!
- Thank God that Heis God and that you are not.
- Thank Him for what He has done in the lives of your fellow Christian brothers and sinners whom you know.
- It’s easy to be thankful for the good things in life, but have you ever committed to thanking God in every situation and circumstance, good or bad?
- I. Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- Notice that it is God’s will.
- Notice that we are to give thanks in everything.
- But, if everything works together for good for you and I who love Jesus and have been called by Him, and if everything works together for good for His purposes, then we can give thanks in the good and the bad knowing that He will be glorified no matter what.