Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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16 Thanksgivings Tune – Part 2

Psalms 92:1-6

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. 2 It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening, 3 accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument, a harp, and the melody of a lyre. 4 You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. 5 O Lord, what great works you do! And how deep are your thoughts.6 Only a simpleton would not know, and only a fool would not understand this: 7 Though the wicked sprout like weeds and evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever. 8 But you, O Lord, will be exalted forever.”

Last time we saw that as we look at the works of God our hearts should be filled with gratitude. We were challenged to ask ourselves whether we were hiding our praise or heralding it. Now there is a sudden change in the song as the psalmist strikes a somber note, reminding us that not everyone is living a life of thanks to God. There are those who do not see the point in praising Him. They can be divided into two categories, the ignorant and the arrogant. The simpleton or the senseless person are those who go through life giving little or no thought to the generosity of God. It’s not that they don’t enjoy the blessings of God, it’s that they fail to see them as gifts from God. They spend so much of their time and energy seeking their own comfort and pleasure that they tend to believe that the blessings are a result of their own effort. If anyone gets the thanks it is self and not the Savior. It’s hard to praise God when you get consumed with your own works. Instead of singing songs of praise to God they spend their lives seeking satisfaction from the stuff. They find joy only in the gift, but not in the Giver of those gifts. The foolish man is the arrogant man and while he shares many of the same characteristics as the senseless person there is one alarming exception. They choose not to be thankful. It’s not that they are unaware of God’s goodness, no they realizes that God has given them all the good things they just choose not to recognize Him, and they refuse to give Him thanks. Oh they might thank Him with their lips, but not with their lives. They may acknowledge God on Sunday but on Monday its back to praising self. He may be a part of their lives but He is not the prince of their lives. Instead of a heart of praise for all that God has done many live lives more like the TV character, Bart Simpson, who when asked to pray at the dinner table said “Dear God, we paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing.” Now before we get mad at him we have to ask ourselves how often do we passionately pray in recognition of our daily food? Do we gratefully recognize it as a gift from God? Or are we so busy taking God’s provisions for granted that we also fail to give thanks? Romans 1:21 says, “Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks.” Are you acknowledging your desperate need for God, not just in the physical things but in all things? Because many of us live in a land of abundance we have become blind to our radical dependence upon God. We pray more like spoiled brats than grateful believers, we are constantly petitioning but rarely ever praising. We may think that we have earned the blessings through our hard work but in truth we are more receivers than achievers. Gratitude to God is really a response to the grace of God. There are those who will say they are grateful, they go to church and even sing the songs yet they do not have a thankful heart. They are like the Church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:15-18 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.” They had it all, money, homes, health, but they were missing the one thing that mattered most, Jesus. Without Him they were poor, naked and blind to what was really valuable. Vance Havner once said, “The whole Christian life is one big “Thank You,” the living expression of our gratitude to God for His goodness. But we take Him for granted and what we take for granted we never take seriously.” God has given each of us more than just material blessings He has given us eternal life, but are we eternally grateful? We have so much materially but without Jesus living in our hearts we have nothing. What is the song in your heart, is it a song of gratitude for all that God has done? Are you sour or are you singing? Crabby Christians should really be an oxymoron but in reality they are just morons choosing to moan because they have forgotten who they are in Him, and what they have through Him. What about you, are you responding to God’s grace in your life with joyful thanks, not just for the material blessings that He has showered you with, but for the greatest gift of all, salvation through Jesus Christ? What if God had not given you any other blessing but the blessing of eternal life, would you still lift your hands in praise and your heart in prayer? Is the song of your soul one of thankfulness or have you let your love for Him grow cold? The Psalmist reminds us that we are held in God’s loving and faithful hands, from morning to evening. Every morning His mercies are new and every evening we can reflect upon our Fathers faithfulness. We have a God who is Majestic in His Works and His Wisdom, “O Lord, what great works you do, and how deep are your thoughts.”  So let’s show Him our thanks not only through our words, but also by our deeds. The best instrument of praise is a heart filled with Joy. So what’s filling your life, gratitude or grumbling?