If you were sick and the teacher of your Sunday School Class brought you a fruit basket and you said, “Please tell everyone ‘Thank you’ for me”, the teacher would go back and give thanks on your behalf. It would be considerate of you to also thank the class for the fruit basket when you were able to be back with them. In our society it is even customary for someone to write a personal “Thank you” note to show appreciation for gifts or kind deeds. Paul told the Corinthian believers, “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ”. (I Corinthians 1:4). This is commendable of Paul. We should thank God for our fellow church members. But, we should not depend on others to do all our thanksgiving for us. Today is the Lord’s Day. When you got up this morning, did you thank God for giving you health and strength to get up another day? Did you go to God’s house and thank Him for the freedom to worship and serve Him? When you sat down to eat did you thank Him for the food and blessings He gives to you daily? If you are invited to a birthday party and you spend a great deal of time searching for the perfect gift, you expect the recipient to thank you. I have seen the parents of a child give each one thanks as the gifts are opened. But it means a whole lot more if the child takes the time to express thanks for the presents. Is someone else giving thanks on your behalf? Make sure you take time today to give thanks to the God who loves you and watches over you always.
"Where Are The Nine?"
Pastor Jack Tripp preached a wonderful sermon Sunday morning on "Where Are The Nine?" The text was from Luke 17:11-19.
"11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole."
I want to share just a few of his thoughts...
The Lord provides more than we give Him thanks for. (He gave His life to save us, and continues to bless us with food, clothes, our homes, family, and so much more than we thank Him for.)
More people pray and ask God for something, than those who give Him thanks. (Ten lepers asked Jesus for help but only 1 returned to say, "Thank you." Many times we ask God for things and seldom thank Him.)
More people obey religious rituals than praise Him. (All ten went to the priest. People want to follow religious rituals and they feel like it makes them better people. We need to follow God and not forget to praise Him.)
More people believe than praise. (These ten men believed God enough to ask Jesus to help them, but only one returned to praise Him.)
We need to spend more time thanking and praising our wonderful God and Savior.
Giving Thanks Through Song
One of the greatest blessings of Thanksgiving is being together with family and friends. The Miller family was special to our church for many years and since two of the daughters married and moved away we don't get to see them very often. The whole family was in for Thanksgiving and came to our church last Sunday. It was great to hear them sing together again. And this time, there were many young children singing with them. What a blessing! Many children learn to sing, "Jesus Loves Me" when they are small. We need to keep on singing about the love of Jesus even as we grow older. God gives us so much to be thankful for, and one way we can give Him thanks is to praise Him through songs of praise. "I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me." (Psalm 13:6)
Giving Thanks With A Reverential Bow
We serve a wonderful, awesome God. We can give Him thanks in our prayers and songs, but there are times when we need to “worship and bow down” and “kneel before the Lord our maker”. We read of His creation in Genesis and we see His creation all around us.
"1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
5 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker." (Palm 95:1-6)
When I was growing up there was a reverential fear of God. Today many people are not afraid to vandalize churches or use God's name in vain. But, when we see Him in all His glory, and how great God really is, we bow in humbleness because we see how really small we are. Many great men in the Bible bowed before God. “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face:…” (Genesis 17:1-3) In the book of Nehemiah 7:66 & 67 we read that “The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore, Beside their manservants and their maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing women.” And chapter 8 begins, “And all the people gathered themselves together as one man unto the street…” (vs 1) “And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” (Nehemiah 8:6) We can choose to bow before God Almighty now, or wait until we face Him at the judgment, but we will bow. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11) We are all going to bow before God. Now is a good time to start… bow to Him with thankfulness of heart.
Giving Thanks That God Hears And Answers Our Prayers
I wanted to share another story about my shopping trip with Mom. As I mentioned yesterday we had several stops to make, so when we went to Walmart she told me that she and a friend with us would go look for a present, and I could go to the plumbing section to get what I needed. "Where are you going to be?", I asked. "I don't know, just call me." I found what I needed, and called. No answer. She was looking for a gift and could be in any part of the store so I started through the store. When I reached the other side I called again, hoping she would hear it this time. Still no answer. After I made a lap around the store and was almost ready to have her paged, my phone rang and she said, "Where are you?" We found each other and she apologized that she couldn't hear her phone in her pocketbook. As I thought on this little episode I wondered how many times we pray for God to hear us and answer our prayers, and then we get busy and don't listen for His answer. He may be longing to speak to us through His Word, but our eyes are too busy looking at other things. He could be calling to us, but our ears are filled with the sounds of this world and we don't take time to "Be still..." He may be reaching out to us and we are too far away to feel His touch. I am thankful that God is patient and longsuffering with me. I am thankful that He hears and answers my prayers, and I want to spend more time in His Word and draw closer to my Lord so that I can hear His still small voice. James 4:8 tells us, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you..." Let us say with David, "Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek." (Psalm 27:7-8)
I started to leave the house this morning and I could not find my keys. I remembered having them at church Wednesday night, so after our errands, Mom took me to church to look for my keys. I have a "MeMaw Bag" with small books, gummies, and a few small toys for Elsa and Jedidiah, and I had dropped them down in my "MeMaw Bag" instead of my pocketbook. I want to praise the Lord for helping me find them so quickly. God wants us to praise Him.
“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.” (Psalm 107:21&22) This Psalm tells of many wonderful works God has done for His people. It begins, “O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;” (Psalm 107:1&2) The chapter tells of many of the struggles the children of Israel faced as they wandered in the wilderness. The Psalmist reminds the children of Israel how the Lord fed them and delivered them from their enemies and calmed the storms. With each hardship we read, “Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.” We read this again and again in verses 6, 13, 19, and 28. In response each time, we read, “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Verses 8, 15, 21, and 31). The writer seems to be begging us to shout aloud in praise for the goodness of God. How many times has God delivered you out of your distresses? Take every opportunity you have to declare the goodness of God. Rejoice and be thankful unto Him.
Hannah Gave Thanks For Answered Prayer
As the book of I Samuel begins, we read of a man named Elkanah who had two wives. Peninnah had children but Hannah had no children. Each year they went to the house of the Lord to offer the yearly sacrifice and Peninnah provoked Hannah because she had no children. I Samuel 1:10 tells of Hannah, “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.” Hannah vowed that if God would hear her prayer and give her a child, she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life. “Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.” (I Samuel 1:20) “And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.” (I Samuel 2:1 & 2) She kept her vow and took Samuel to the house of God. “And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.” (I Samuel 1:26-28) Then Hannah rejoiced in the Lord and praised His name. And the Lord blessed her and gave her more children. Have you ever prayed earnestly to the Lord? Did you make vows and promises to the Lord? Did you keep those vows? As we look forward to Thanksgiving, have you given thanks and praise to the Lord? Remember to always thank God for answering prayer in your life.