August 19: Thanksgiving – Expected, Free, and Abundant

We’re on our last day of looking at Thanksgiving in the “Hour of Prayer.”

As we wrap up – I want you to catch 3 key words that are somewhat contradictory when it comes to our attitude on prayer:

  1. Expected
  2. Free
  3. Abundant

Expected:

[12] And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
[13] And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
[14] And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
[15] And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
[16] And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
[17] And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
[18] There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
[19] And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Luke 17:12-19

Notice Jesus in Luke 17:17 – “Where are the nine?” Jesus was expecting them to “return to give glory to God” – yet they were missing. Jesus expects us to give glory to God thru our thanksgiving!

Free:

How can something ‘expected’ be ‘free?’

[29] And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will.

Leviticus 22:29

God does not force us to give thanks. He wants us to offer thanks. This is a bit of an oxymoron but this fits nicely with the picture of loyalty we saw yesterday – God is loyal to disloyal people because of His love. God also wants us to love Him not because of a command but as a free response of our heart. Yet if the heart response is missing, Jesus comments on it publicly!

Abundant:

[7] Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:7

Paul tells us that we should be thankful, and in this verse, that we should be abounding in thanksgiving. Yet it is again a voluntary action that makes our Father smile!

So take some time today and give thanks abundantly and freely!

August 18 – Thanksgiving – for deliverance!

We’re looking at the eighth way we can pray for an hour each day, Thanksgiving!

And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.

1 Chronicles 16:35

Salvation is cause for Thanksgiving! Thank God for saving you from the power of sin and death and hell!

Salvation from heathen attacks is also a great occasion for Thanksgiving. Often times we cry with the Psalmist:

Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

Psalm 35:1

We ask God for deliverance and yet forget to praise him for His aid. Has God delivered you from a slanderous attack by a coworker, an unfair accusation from a neighbor, a jealous supposed friend? A motorist blaming you for the car wreck? A former employee filing a frivolous claim? A bureaucrat relentlessly harassing your company? A neighbor complaining to the city about your actions? An ex-parishioner gossiping about your pastor.

Right now I’m thinking back to multiple situations where God has miraculously delivered me – and I’m giving thanks to Him for His salvation.

I had a friend ask me what to do about a situation where he was short changed by several hundred dollars. I suggested letting God handle it. God blessed him when he gave it to the Lord.

I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

Psalm 35:18

August 17: Thanksgiving for His Loyalty

We’re on our third day of focus on Thanksgiving. We’ve looked at giving thanks for people and for events, but today let’s focus on how we can give thanks for the Lord’s loyalty to us!

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 118:1

We can give thanks to the LORD because He is good. How is He good? Let’s look at Psalm 118 and see!

5 different times we see the phrase, “his mercy endureth forever.” Mercy is the Hebrew word “hesed” – a theologically loaded term. R.C. Sproul says it means “God loves His people genuinely, immutably, loyally.”

If you’ve read the Bible for any period of time – that is a seemingly crazy idea – why should God be loyal to people who 1) are disloyal to Him, 2) have done nothing deserving of loyalty, and 3) actively invite the deserved wrath of God upon their lives (Romans 1:18, John 3:36)!

That’s answered by the concept of love. Unmerited. Undeserved. Often unrequited. That’s why we read it in the KJV as “mercy” – God’s merciful favor to us. How is this shown in the chapter?

I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.

Psalm 118:5

His loyalty means that when we call He answers us!

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

Psalm 118:6

His loyalty means that He will defend us!

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

Psalm 118:8

His loyalty is better than any others!

I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

Psalm 118:21

The loyalty of the Lord brings salvation!

And if you remember the classic Sunday School song, you can rejoice with the Psalmist for all the blessings of the Lord’s loyalty!

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

August 16: Thanksgiving – for Events!

We’re continuing looking at the 8th segment of prayer – Thanksgiving!

As we continue looking in the Bible – we see an admonition from the Psalmist:

O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

Psalm 105:1

For the rest of the Psalm, the Psalmist does make know His deeds:

  • choosing Israel (Psalm 105:6)
  • covenanting with Abraham (Psalm 105:9)
  • giving them the land (Psalm 105:11)
  • freeing Joseph (Psalm 105:20)
  • sending Moses (Psalm 105:26)
  • sending plagues (Psalm 105:27-36)
  • spoiling Egypt (Psalm 105:37)
  • providing Manna and quail (Psalm 105:40)
  • and sending joy and gladness (Psalm 105:43)

What has God done for you that you can thank Him for today?

August 15: Thanksgiving – for people!

We’ll go back to the Hour of Prayer and enter the 8th segment on our clock, Thanksgiving!

It’s not just a day on the calendar, it’s a way of life! The Bible calls us to Thanksgiving:

Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name

2 Samuel 22:50

Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

1 Chronicles 16:8

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

1 Chronicles 16:34

And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.

1 Chronicles 16:35

Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.

Psalm 18:49

Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

Psalm 30:4

We’ll quote more versese tomorrow – but how can we give thanks?

In 1675, Isaac Newton said “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” No man is an island – we are the result of the people we come into contact with. As has been said, the only two things that are eternal is God’s Word and peoples’ souls – and we come into contact with both every day.

Let’s start by giving thanks for the people blessings He sends us:

  • Our spouse
  • Our spouse’s parents
  • Our parents
  • Our grandparents
  • Our siblings
  • Our children
  • Our grandchildren
  • Our pastor and his wife
  • Our Sunday School teacher
  • Our children’s teachers
  • Our deacons/elders
  • Our Bible study brethren
  • Friends who have steered us the right direction
  • Friends who have prayed for us
  • Friends who have encourage us
  • Our neighbors
  • Our co-workers
  • Our church office staff
  • Our teachers in the past
  • Mentors and coaches
  • Our boss at work

(P.S. I have a tendency to quick get fast food for lunch – one year I set a goal to not eat lunch alone, but to have lunch with someone – using my time to bless others!)

March 13: Moody – Thanksgiving

D.L. Moody

This reading is excerpted from D.L. Moody’s classic book, Prevailing Prayer.

There is a great deal more said in the Bible about praise than prayer; yet how few praise-meetings there are!

David, in his Psalms, always mixes praise with prayer. Solomon prevailed much with God in prayer at the dedication of the temple; but it was the voice of praise which brought down the glory that filled the house; for we read: “And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course; also the Levites, which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals, and psalteries, and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them a hundred and twenty priests, sounding with trumpets); it came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets, and cymbals, and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, ‘For He is good; for His mercy endureth forever;’ that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.”

We read, too, of Jehosaphat, that he gained the victory over the hosts of Ammon and Moab through praise, which was excited by faith and thankfulness to God.

“And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper;’ and when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for His mercy endureth for ever,’ And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, which which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.”

It is said that in a time of great despondency among the first settlers in New England, it was proposed in one of their public assemblies to proclaim a fast. An old farmer arose; spoke of their provoking heaven with their complaints, reviewed their measures, showed that they had much to be thankful for, and moved that instead of appointing a day of fasting, they should appoint a day of thanksgiving. This was done; and the custom has been continued ever since.

However great our difficulties, or deep even our sorrows, there is room for thankfulness. Thomas Adams has said: “Lay up in the ark of thy memory not only the pot of manna, the bread of life; but even Aaron’s rod, the very scourge of correction, wherewith thou hast been bettered. Blessed be the Lord, not only giving, but taking away, saith Job. God who sees there is no walking upon roses to heaven, puts His children into the way of discipline; and by the fire of correction eats out the rust of corruption. God sends trouble, then bids us call upon Him; promiseth our deliverance; and lastly, the all He requires of us is to glorify Him. ‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.”