A Proper Attitude
A Proper Attitude
Biblical Perspective on Thanksgiving
Ephesians 5 19 - 20 says, "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, ALWAYS giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." And 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
The Apostle Paul has some key truths: Praise, Thanksgiving, Always, Continually and In All Circumstances: These are not attitudes for just the Sunday service, but a continue daily life expression.
The following proclamation was made by Governor Bradford in 1623, 3 years after the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth:;
"To all ye Pilgrims,
Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, squashes and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and in-as-much as He has protected us from the raids of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Plymouth rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings." A proper perspective.
We need the proper perspective: Before we can gain a proper attitude we need to understand there are a hindrances that scares the spiritual heart, preventing true thanksgiving.
1.) Our pride - I got myself were I am - by my own hard work. There is no one to thank.
2.) Critical spirit - finding fault - embracing the complaining attitude towards work, family, government, the weather.
"A lady known as an incurable grumbler constantly complained about everything. At last her preacher thought he had found something about which she would be happy, for her farm crop was the finest for miles around. When he met her, he said with a beaming smile, `You must be very happy Mary. Everyone is saying how healthy your potatoes look this year.’ Upon which she replied - `True they’re pretty good, but what am I going to do when I need bad ones to feed the pigs.’" (Steve Malone)
3.) Lack of Gratitude: Someone said, "If the stars only came out once per year - we would stay up all night to look at them." The fact is they are out every night - we have grown accustom to them. It is easy to grow accustom to God's blessings. (Steve Malone - A Proper Perspective On Thanksgiving)
Interrogative Sentence: What is a Biblical perspective on Thanksgiving? I do not know about you - it bothers Pennie and I when you see and hear so much about Christmas - before Thanksgiving. Pennie and I were pleasantly surprised to actually here a Thanksgiving TV commercial - promoting a thankful attitude - not a Thanksgiving add to sell turkeys. But a real thanking attitude.
Proposition: I would propose to you - Thanksgiving should be expressed - should be expansive - and is expected.
Transitional Sentence: Thanksgiving should be expressed. Psalm 100 says, "Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations." Notice it says all the earth, express thanksgiving.
Psychologists today tell us that sincere gratitude, thanksgiving, is the healthiest of all human emotions. Hans Selye, who is considered the father of stress studies, has said that gratitude produces more positive emotional energy than any other attitude in life. And a thankful heart will endear others to us and us to others. For you see thanksgiving is not only good for the giver but also good for the receiver. (Steve Malone - A Proper Perspective On Thanksgiving)
I do not know about you - I think that this modern day mentality of commercializing Christmas before Thanksgiving Day is a reflection of an ungrateful heart, a desire to feed greed.
Practical ways of expressing thankfulness to God are:
1.) Spend time with Him -
a. Enter into His court with joyful singing of His goodness. This is not just for the church service - but daily spend some time listening to music that lifts Him up and reminds you of His faithfulness. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord..." (Ephesians 5 19-20)
b. Feed your soul with His word. Jesus said, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)
c. Pray to Him continually with your spiritual heart. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
d. Forgive others as God has forgiven you - The Bible says, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)
e. Sacrificially exercise your Spiritual gifts to the Lord and for the good of all of mankind, especially to the Body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12-14)
f. Be active in the Great Commission. (Matthew 28: 18-20) Be like Jesus, be about our Fathers business. (Luke 2:49)
Transitional Sentence: A proper thankful attitude should be expressed and it should be expansive through:
1.) The Blessings of life: A Christian lets the Holy Spirit remind him of all that God has done, is doing for him right now and will do for him. The Bible says God, "...will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) In is written, "...in Him you have been enriched in every way." (1 Corinthians 1:5) A joyful, thankful life does as our hymn exhorts us. Count your blessings, name them one by one. It is empowerment to overcome that complaining spirit that jumps on us are out in this world just living. A complaining spirit will darken your yes to the blessings we have in this life.
A proper thankful attitude should be should be expansive through:
2.) The Burdens of Life: James the half brother of Jesus wrote, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." (James 1:2-8) Every successful Christian athlete can tell you of the trials they went through. Every Christian businessman can share about the failures he tasted before achieving success. It is the Christian who seeks and trust the Lord in the burdens of life who walk in the joy of the Lord.
The Apostle Paul was afflicted by Satan in the flesh, which the Lord never healed him from in this life. He had been run out to town, beaten, whipped, imprisoned, betrayed by friends, cold, hungry, shipwrecked and stoned because of his faith in Christ. Paul writes, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong..." (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Every great music minister of the Lord has been matured in the hardships of life. Every great preacher knows the heart ache of having his worked ignored, before a door of opportunity was kicked open. Every great husband or wife has been seasoned toward perfection by the trials of life.
A proper thankful attitude should be expansive through:
3.) The benefits of being a child of God. "The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." (Psalm 18:2) He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death." (Proverbs 14:26-27)
When the child of God hears "my rock" he should put in his mind the city Sela - Petra - the ancient city built inside a rock in a mountain. Our souls are in God's hand. Jesus make a promise - Christians do not need to worry about provision and needs - "...seek His kingdom and these things will be given." (Luke 12:22-31) As long as we are seeking and living according this His will for us - we have His guidance and provision. We have the privilege of asking Him for wisdom and we will have it. (James 1:2-8)
We can be like Solomon of old - He asked God for wisdom - Solomon got godly wisdom and insight how to raise vegetables, animals, check mineral levels, - as we read Solomon's proverbs we find wisdom intended for the home, for the human body, the business and community - how it runs best. (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary; 1 Kings 29-3-34)
The Parable of Tomorrow
In her poem “The Parable of Tomorrow,” Ruth Gibbs Zwall offers this description of the Savior’s leading: “I looked at the mountain. ‘It is too hard, Lord,’ I said; ‘I cannot climb.’
‘Take My hand,’ He whispered; ‘I will be your strength.’
I saw the road, ‘It is too long, Lord,’ I said; ‘so rough and long.’ ‘Take My love,’ He answered; ‘I will guard your feet.’
I looked at the sky. ‘The sun is gone,’ I said; ‘already the way grows dark.’ ‘Take the lantern of My Word,’ He whispered; ‘that will be light enough.’
We climbed. The road was narrow and steep, but the way was bright.
And when the thorns reached out, they found His hand before they touched my own. And when my path grew rough, I knew it was His love that kept my feet from stumbling. Then I grew very tired. ‘I can go no farther, Lord,’ I said. He answered, ‘Night is gone. Look up, My child.’ I looked and it was dawn. Green valleys stretched below. ‘I can go on alone now,’ I said—and then I saw the marks. ‘Lord, Thou art wounded. Thy hands are bleeding. Thy feet are bruised.
Was it for me?’ He whispered, ‘I did it gladly.’
Then I fell at His feet. ‘Lord, lead me on,’ I cried.
‘No road too long, no valley too deep, if Thou art with me.’
We walk together now and shall forever!” (Daily Bread, Tuesday, June 18. Galaxie Software. (2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.)
2019 As Long As God Is Awake
A mother and her little four-year-old daughter were preparing to retire for the night. The child was afraid of the dark, and the mother, on this occasion alone with the child, felt fearful also. When the light was out, the child caught a glimpse of the moon outside the window. “Mother,” she asked, “is the moon God’s light?” “Yes,” said the mother. The next question was, “Will God put out His light and go to sleep?” The mother replied, “No, my child, God never goes to sleep.” Then out of a simplicity of a child’s faith, she said that which gave reassurance to the fearful mother, “Well, as long as God is awake, there is no sense both of us staying awake.” (Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 511). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.)
In closing: A proper attitude begins with a heart that wants to please the Lord. This causes true thanksgiving to God, it should be expressed, should be expansive and it is expected.