Conclusion - "After Thanksgiving"
What happens after thanksgiving? I refer not to the tens of millions of Americans who will go Christmas shopping today, hoping to save $1.50 on the widget for Aunt Martha. I rather reference the consequences experienced by born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ after we have sincerely offered gratitude to God for the fulfillment of His promises. What happens in our hearts and lives after we express such faith and faithfulness, as led by the Holy Spirit?
1. First, we will have glorified the Lord. "I... will magnify Him with thanksgiving" (Psalm 69:30). In every instance of offering sincere thanks, we honor our Lord by realizing and responding to His gracious generosity. Even in times of silent appreciation offered within our hearts, our gratitude magnifies Him in ways we cannot perceive. We will consider this more as we continue.
2. We will have pleased Him. "The prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs 15:8). One of the primary themes we attempt to convey in the Orange Moon devotionals involves our capacity to affect our Heavenly Father's emotional sensibilities. I don't think we consider enough the wonder of such relational reality. That we might please God to the point of "delight" when we pray? Even battered Job wondered, "What is man… that Thou shouldest set Thine heart upon him?" (Job 7:17). No final answers offer themselves to such an inquiry. But this we know: through Christ, we can please God. This includes our prayers of thanksgiving. I suspect we cannot imagine what happens in His heart whenever we express our gratitude.
3. We will have obeyed Him. "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18). Our Father commands that we thank Him, not because He requires our gratitude or because He selfishly demands our acknowledgement. As important as our obedience is to God, we fill no void in Him when we do His will. However, obedience - including thanksgiving - greatly fills our hearts whether or not we are consciously aware of its holy benefit. "Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit" (I Peter 1:22).
4. We will have prepared our hearts for further faith and faithfulness. We cannot take the second, third, or any step of walking with the Lord until we take the next step. Thanksgiving is often that first step. Attitude leads to action. "Keep thy heart will all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23). In times of both blessing and difficulty, the attitude of gratitude provides a strong basis upon which other matters of obedience to God find their footing.
5. We will have prepared our hearts to be a blessing of Christ to others. "Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people" (I Chronicles 16:8). A grateful heart will always be seen in our countenance, attitude and demeanor first, and then in our words and actions. As the saying goes, "Preach Christ to every creature. Use words when necessary." Our left hand will often not know the works of our right hand, as based upon a heart of gratitude to God. Conscious devotion to God leads to unconscious deeds performed for His glory and the benefit of people.
6. We will have experienced the person and working of the Lord Jesus. "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son in your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6). Our Lord dwells within us by His Spirit, and every step of obedience, including the offering of thanks, flows from the fount of His presence within us. "Without Me, ye can do nothing… I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (John 15:5; Philippians 4:13). The thankful Christ lives and moves in our hearts to foster gratitude and conscious thanksgiving.
7. Finally, we will have fulfilled the reason for our existence. God made us to know Him in living, personal relationship, thereby serving to glorify His Son and bless His heart with the fellowship of our hearts. "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3). Whenever we sincerely give thanks, we walk in the light of Truth and reality. This includes times of blessing, and perhaps even more in times of difficulty. Indeed, when we raise our eyes of gratitude to our Father with tears falling from them, we know Him in a measure that cuts through the fog and mist of a fallen world. "The Light shineth in darkness" (John 1:5). Either way, in the pleasant or the painful, thanksgiving - Thanksliving - reveals the light of Truth and reality in us, through us, and most importantly, to our Father so worthy of our gratitude in all things.
"O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto Thee forever!"
Weekly Memory Verse
I will remember the works of the Lord. Surely I will remember Thy wonders of old."