A thankful heart cannot be cynical.
Why is it good to give thanks to the Lord? Because (Psalms 92, 105, 106, 107 and many more Scriptures) God says it is good. In everything (Thessalonians 5:18) give thanks because whatever it is, apart from disobedience, it is God’s will for us. We know that God’s will for us is also God’s best for us so we have every reason to be thankful. My anything – my everything – whatever happens to me – never surprises God or catches Him off guard. I can always be thankful because I know that the Lord is always in control and His purpose is always for my spiritual enrichment.
Is it always possible for me to be thankful? Think about this. When Daniel knew (Daniel 6:10) that the lions’ den was a done deal - - he gave thanks as was his habit. This is a habit we need to cultivate along with a grateful heart, not just for God’s blessings but also for Himself and all of His attributes. Be filled (Ephesians 5:18-20) with the Holy Spirit and give thanks in all things and for all things. A Spirit-filled Christian cannot be sour and resentful, but will always be thankful.
(Dr. Tozer) “A thankful heart cannot be cynical.”
I cannot be anxious and thankful at the same time. Thanksgiving is (Philippians 4:6) the release from anxiety. If I begin to pray while filled with anxiety, my prayer will be self-centered and definitely lacking in faith. But if I come into the Throne Room with thankfulness for everything God has done for me, will do and does every day, my prayer requests will extend far beyond myself and (1 John 5:15) be filled with confidence as I pray for God’s will and goodness and transforming power in other people and other places in this world which God so loves.
(Dr. Swindol) told of a town in Sdrony, Germany, in the 17th century. There was a pandemic plague which killed thousands and more died every day. If a person coughed or sneezed, everyone near them was terrified. Also, they were threatened by war and the attack on their town was expected any day soon. Most of the pastors had become sick and died of the plague. One pastor, Martin Rinkart, did not get sick but he buried as many as 50 plague victims in a single day. When the enemy army drew near to the town gates, Martin made a dangerous decision. Instead of waiting for the advancing enemy to crash through the gates on a murderous rampage, he would go outside the gates and speak gentle words of peace. While his family waited in great fear, he left his home (who knew if for the last time) and went to stand and wait outside the town gates. He made his plea to the military leaders and told them of the town’s situation. They were so impressed with his courage that they said they would not attack but would leave and then they told him that he could return to his family in complete safety. When he got home and was sitting at the table with his family, he was struck by the awareness that there should be thanksgiving to God. So, in 1633, Martin Rinkart wrote the words to the beautiful hymn we still sing –
“Now Thank We All Our God”
Check it out in your hymn book, it will do your heart good.
It is very wrong for me to take anything for granted. How foolish and dangerous to see God’s blessings as my rights. The breath of every living thing and all mankind (including you and me) is in (Job 12:10) the hand of God. The most evil person and/or the most righteous person in the world doesn’t have even one more breath unless God opens His hand. He is absolutely Sovereign, the Ruler, the Controller, the Supreme Authority. As Christians, our security is in His Sovereignty, so our confidence should match His Sovereignty.
How often do I thank God for breath, comprehension, memory, sight, hearing, walking and all of the many basic essentials for us to manage ordinary daily life? Do you become anxious and fearful when you hear COVID statistics and predictions? Get your focus off the world’s prognosticators and get it on the only Voice you can trust. Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass (Lamentations 3:37) if the Lord has not authorized and commanded it? A single Word, any Word, every Word that God speaks (Psalms 33:9) is instant history, whether past or future history, every God-breathed Word in the Bible contains self-fulfilling power. If we are obedient Spirit-filled believers, faith is our (1 John 5:4) overcoming victory and thanksgiving is the lubricant which partners with faith and makes our journey peaceful, no matter how bumpy. We will have even more to be thankful for as we experience (Colossians 1:2) heart peace from God our Father. God continues to give us (1 Timothy 6:17) everything to richly enjoy. Someone has prudently said, “Learn to enjoy the crowded kindnesses of God.” I believe that the greater our thanksgiving, the greater will be our personal enjoyment of growing intimacy with God Himself and His lavish (James 1:17) never ceasing endless gifts. In the offerings of the O.T. the people, under LAW, also brought to the Lord thank offerings. Should we, who are under GRACE, do less? Read again the very short Psalm 100 and discover deeper levels of Thanksgiving for our souls to embrace and be refreshed. No matter what happens in your life, if you are praising and thanking God (Dr. Stanley) “It is impossible to remain in the ditch of depression.”
There is another area which is due thanksgiving and worship, which possibly may be overlooked. If an unsaved person feels guilty, rightly so, his guilt is true and right because he is guilty before God. But guilt is always false and wrong for a born-again believer. When Jesus took on Himself our sin, He also took our guilt. He cleansed all our sin away by the (Hebrews 1:3) power of His shed Blood on the Cross so no guilt remains. Feelings of guilt come from Satan who (Job 19:11, Zechariah 3:1, Revelation 12:10) is always accusing Christians in an attempt to discourage and defeat them. But we know that (Romans 8:33) God has justified us and nobody can bring a charge against us before God. Conviction is always legitimate and very serious because it comes from the Holy Spirit. For Christians guilt is always from Satan and must be rejected immediately. Conviction is always from the Holy Spirit and must be promptly obeyed. The Holy Spirit is so deeply grieved when by sin we hurt Jesus that He brings immediate conviction to guide us to deal with our wrong by repentance so that our loving intimacy with the Lord is restored. The greater my realization grows of God’s love and protection in Justification (Romans 8:1) and conviction, the greater will be my thanksgiving, love, wonder and worship. Never forget to be thankful that our loving, all-wise God takes each and everyone of the ALL THINGS (Romans 8:28-29) in our lives and weaves them into a pattern for His holy purpose to make us like Jesus.