Friday, September 2, 2016

"The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving"

"The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving"

    If we wait to give thanks until we feel grateful, we will fail to walk in consistent appreciation regarding our Heavenly Father's abundant goodness and working in our lives.

    "I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving" (Psalm 116:17).

    Gratitude involves conviction far more than emotion.  Our Lord expresses His lovingkindness to us in accordance with our needs more than our desires.  This first involves the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the blessing of others because God's working in our lives involves the transformation of our hearts from selfishness to His others-devoted love.  This means that some of our Father's greatest gifts will feel unpleasant to us, and may seem like curses rather than the blessings of grace.  Challenges that change God's people into Christlikeness fill the pages of the Bible, and fill our lives with opportunities for thanksgiving based on what we believe as opposed to how we feel.  As the Psalmist revealed, thanksgiving often involves sacrifice.  We look toward Heaven in faith, but through tear-stained eyes as we choose to believe and respond to Truth.  "As for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31).  His determinations and allowances often bewilder us.  However, if we know the Truth of Scripture, our conviction leads us  to express gratitude to God in perplexity and pain as well as in pleasure.  We offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving.  

   Changing our view of thanksgiving changes us.  When we recognize adversity as no less a gift of God than obvious blessedness, we find ourselves enabled by the Holy Spirit to gratefully trust our Lord when He must lead us along troubled paths.  This greatly honors Him even as it secures our hearts, and then prepares us to help others to walk those same challenging paths.  "In everything give thanks" commanded the Apostle Paul (I Thessalonians 5:18).  We do so because we believe rather than feel the faithfulness of God and His promise to meet us in our troubles with purpose, power, and most of all, a special dispensation of His presence - "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).  We do not wait until we feel to give thanks.  We rather remember and affirm now that God is faithful.  We offer the sacrifice, the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

"Give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness."
(Psalm 97:12)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, for He is faithful that promised."
(Hebrews 10:23)

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