Part 3 - Grace, Giving, Gratitude
Prayer is fruit, the fruit of God's Truth known, understood, and believed. This includes prayerful thanksgiving, which raises the question: what must we see and know of God's light that will increasingly fill our hearts and minds with gratitude and the giving of thanks? The answer is actually so infinite that eternity will not be long enough to fully discover the Lord's lovingkindness that leads to our response of thanks.
"I will thank Thee forever!" (Psalm 30:12).
To know God rightly, as revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Scriptures, and the Holy Spirit, inevitably leads to thanksgiving, or in terms of our current consideration, to thanksliving. This first involves attitude of the heart that leads to specific expressions of internal thoughts and verbal expressions of gratitude. Such response is completely based on God's attitude of the heart and the ongoing bestowal of His goodness. "He giveth to all life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25). Our Lord's magnanimous generosity knows no bounds, even as the hymnwriter exulted, "Out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again." The growing awareness of such Truth, known in both personal and doctrinal terms, results in a pervasive atmosphere of the heart whereby we increasingly desire to respond in thanksgiving. To know in ever greater measure that "every good gift and every perfect gift so from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights" leads to the desire to give thanks and the doing thereof, as led and enabled by the Holy Spirit" (James 1:17).
The knowledge of God's character of generosity must also be understood in terms of the Christ of grace. As a good friend often responds when I ask him how he's doing, "Better than I deserve!" Indeed...
"God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins... hath raised us up together and made us sit together in Heavenly places that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-5; 6).
Every breath of both time and eternity comes to us by way of the suffering, forsakenness, and death of the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary. Without His sacrifice, God could only administer His wrath and rejection. By that sacrifice, however, the trusting believer can be confident that our Heavenly Father will willingly and cheerfully bestow "every good and perfect gift" unto us, as directed by His wisdom and purposes. No remembrance more illuminates and overwhelms our hearts than the truth that the Lord Jesus purchased everything and every moment of God's grace for us, including this moment. Were it not for Calvary, God could only give us what we deserve. Because of Calvary, He gives us what Christ deserves. We close in the light of such wondrous grace in order to provide opportunity for the gratitude that most flows from the remembrance of God's giving, and the grace that makes it possible.
"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."
(I Corinthians 2:12)
"And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD, because He is good."
Weekly Memory Verse
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God and the Father by Him.