Thanksgiving Meditations

Offer the sacrifices of thanksgiving

By Don Ruhl

We give thanks to God when the sky is blue and the air is warm. What should we do when the sky is cloudy and the air is cold? Can we still give God thanks then? Yes, we can and should.

Ephesians 5 shows the results of Spirit-filled Christians, that they sing to one another and to the Lord. Verse 21 shows that the same disciples of Christ submit to one another. However, verse 20 notes that the followers of Christ, in whom dwells the Spirit, should be, “…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Eph 5.20).

If the Spirit of God lives in me and not the spirit of the world, which produces a spirit of discontentment and complaining, then people will know me as a thankful person. What kind of person would people say you are?

Psalm 34 shows David after he escaped from the hands of an enemy. David pretended insanity, but he showed a sane mind when he declared and practiced the following,

I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
(Psa 34.1)

Lamentations 3 utters incredible the words of Jeremiah after he witnessed the Babylonian destruction of his city, because he could still see the mercies of God,

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
(Lam 3.22, 23)

If our circumstances are better than his, can we find reasons to have the same spirit as his?

We can and should give thanks always because a complaining spirit angers God. First Corinthians 10 warns us against complaining as the Israelites did in the wilderness. When they complained that their living conditions did not surpass what they had in Egypt, God did something to those Israelites, “…nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1Co 10.10, 11).

Therefore, to avoid a miserable life, do not complain, and to live a wonderful life, give God thanks always for all things.

Philippians 2 speaks boldly. Do we live boldly what this passage says to do and not to do? Or do we make exceptions for ourselves? “Do all things without complaining and disputing” (Phi 2.14).

The Bible says to do it. Therefore, do it.

May these “Thanksgiving Meditations” help us to develop a thankful spirit, for if we develop the attitude of gratitude, we will make God happy, we will make others happy, and we will become happy people. What do you want to be? Miserable or happy?

Developing a Thankful Spirit 

First Thessalonians 5 states the way that it should be, that is, according to the will of God, and should not our lives be about the will of God, nothing more and nothing less? “…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1Th 5.18).

Yet, during troubling times we think we are justified for not giving thanks. However, Philippians 4 was written to address anxious times. God knows the kind of perilous times that confront us, but He still had Paul instruct us in this manner, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phi 4.6, 7).

Let Him know your requests, but be as fast to let Him know your thanksgivings.

Matthew Henry, the famous Bible commentator, showed a thankful spirit, and if we imitated him we would also develop a thankful spirit. After he was robbed, he wrote in his diary,

“Let me be thankful first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my wallet they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”

All these Bible passages so far, and the quote from Matthew Henry, I believe provide…

A Cure for Depression 

Someone suggested this for “How To Observe Thanksgiving”

Count your blessings instead of your crosses;

Count your gains instead of your losses.

Count your joys instead of your woes;

Count your friends instead of your foes.

Count your smiles instead of your tears;

Count your courage instead of your fears.

Count your full years instead of your lean;

Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.

Count your health instead of your wealth;

Count on God instead of yourself.

If you do not believe that will help you, try it to prove me wrong and see what happens.

An Inventory of Blessings

We have a song, Count Your Blessings, that teaches a worthy lesson,

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?

Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?

Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,

And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,

Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;

Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy

Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,

Do not be discouraged, God is over all;

Count your many blessings, angels will attend,

Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Chorus

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your blessings, see what God hath done!

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

It is said Daniel Defoe gave good advice through his fictitious character Robinson Crusoe, because one of the first things that Crusoe did when shipwrecked on a deserted island was to make out a list of positives and negatives. I could not find this in the book, nevertheless, it is a good practice.

He listed his problems and in another list wrote the corresponding blessings. For example, He only had the clothes that he wore, but the climate was warm and he did not need much. He lost all his provisions, but the island had plenty of food and water. He continued with his list in that manner. He learned that for every negative or curse, there was a corresponding positive or blessing.

Literally do what he did. Write down your negatives and your positives. If you have not been giving thanks, but have been complaining, you might be embarrassed when you see your many blessings. At some point you may want to stop and thank God, doing what the psalmist said to do in Psalm 100.

This psalm, along with Psalm 118.24 and perhaps another passage from the Book of Psalms, has been made into a song, “I Will Enter His Gates.” Psalm 100.4 tells us,

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
(Psa 100.4)

Do you know what God has done for you through Jesus Christ? Show your appreciation to Him by becoming a Christian.

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