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November 21, 2021 3:00 am
Thanksgiving is not about eating, but rather giving thanks!
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.” —1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
It’s easy to want to give thanks when we feel like it, but according to Scripture, it is something the believer is to do regardless of circumstances.
Having an attitude of gratitude will affect you emotionally and physically.
Thankful people are happy people!
The two most important moments in a person’s life is when they are born and when they realize what they are born for.
Far too often, we fail to give God the glory that is due to His name!
Only one of the nine lepers thanked Jesus for what He did.
1. To give thanks, I must first realize as a Christian, God is in control of my life.
“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” —Proverbs 16:9
God is sovereign and able to do what He pleases with whomever He chooses whenever He wishes.
“For everything serves Your plans.” —Psalm 119:91
2. I must realize God loves me and is always looking out for my eternal benefit.
When God takes the events of our lives, the good things and the bad things and puts them in the oven of adversity, we will say “that is good.”
3. To give thanks, I must realize God is far wiser than I am.
What is immediately good is not always eternally good.
What is eternally good is not always immediately good but painful.
“Through each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs praying to God who gives me life.” —Psalm 42:8
Worship can be a powerful evangelistic tool.
When we worship on Earth, we are in tune with what is happening in Heaven.
Scripture commands us to rejoice!
Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Our joy and contentment in life does not come from what we have, but from who we know!
If you feel like it or not, rejoice in the Lord!
“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”
Jesus Christ is ready to save you!
2 Corinthians 4:17–18
Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.
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Hey there, thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie part just a ministry supported by harvest partners on Greg Laurie encouraging you if you want to find out more about harvest ministries. To learn more about how to become a harvest partner, just go to harvest.org. Well, everyone.
The holidays are upon us officially right and this is the weekend before Thanksgiving, so I have a special Thanksgiving message for you in the title of it is thankful people are happy people. So before we talk about what the Bible says about giving things of the Lord in acts chapter 16 when we give thanks in prayer. Father, we ask you to bless this time a Bible study were so thankful for all that you've done for us were so thankful for all that you're doing for us and were thankful for what is yet in our future. So speak to us from your word. We pray in Jesus name we ask this amen. I don't know about you but I love Thanksgiving meal Christmas.
There's so much pressure attached to it. In trying to find the right gift for the right person, but Thanksgiving is so great because it's a little more relaxed. It's about getting together with family and with friends and of course eating I asked my granddaughter Stella the other day what her favorite part of the holidays is that she didn't pick Christmas. She picked Thanksgiving. I said why just one word food. She's a teenager. She doesn't say as much as she used to food and I have to agree.
I don't know what you have in your home for Thanksgiving, but here's what our Thanksgiving food looks like and here's some little videos that I shot from last Thanksgiving. Now I know that look strange.
That's the turkey before it's going into the oven. Here we have sweet potatoes and green beans with sliced almonds on top of them and that's stuffing, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, and of course gravy and there is a turkey and some ham. Everything is better with gravy, but we can't forget the pumpkin pie. So those are some of the things we have in our home around the Thanksgiving time now. I don't know what your favorite part of the turkey is some people like the white meat. Some people like dark meat. Some people like the drumstick and of course there's only two I did hear about an industrious tricky farmer that decided he could come up with a solution. So he managed to breed a special turkey that had six legs, one of his friends said that's amazing how did the meat tasty set either know I could never catch a thing. But here's the problem we all overeat on Thanksgiving right and then we say don't even see turkey again. But what happens a little bit later you're having a turkey sandwich right so there are telltale signs that you had too much to eat on Thanksgiving day.
What are the number one you know you had too much to eat on Thanksgiving when your doctor tells you your weight would be perfect for a man with 17 feet tall. You know you've had too much to read on Thanksgiving when you're responsible for a slight but measurable shift in the Earth's access. You know that you got too much to eat for Thanksgiving when he decided to take a little nap and you wake up in mid July. You know you had too much to eat for Thanksgiving when getting off the couch, requires help from the fire department. Finally, you know you had too much to eat for Thanksgiving when you're sweating gravy.
Well, listen, Thanksgiving's a great time at the great celebration, but for the Christian every day should be Thanksgiving, minus the turkey.
We should always be giving thanks to the Lord because the Bible says in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you know, sometimes that's easier than other times it's easy to give thanks. When a new baby is born.
It's not as easy to give things when a loved one dies, it's easy to get things with things are going well. It's not as easy to give things when things are not going so well. It's one thing to give thanks when the bills are paid in the sky is blue and the sun is shining. It's another thing to give things when you're sick you're facing financial troubles and you of other challenges. Looming, but here's what the Bible says that we should give thanks to the Lord for he is good and his mercy endures forever. Notice that verse does not say give thanks to the Lord. When you feel good is see you don't always feel good.
I give thanks to the Lord because he is good. Now listen if God ceases to be good, then I suppose you can stop giving things but since he will never cease to be good. You should continue to give thanks to him. Paul writes in Philippians 4 rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. By the way what Paul wrote those words, he was not kicking back and some beach eat the falafel. He was in a prison and yet he says rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. Think of poor Job.
This is a man that literally lost everything that was dear to him, including the seven sons and his three daughters are truly unimaginable what happened in a small space of time to the man called Job yet.
The Bible tells us that despite these horrific circumstances. Job gave thanks Job 121 says Job said of the Lord. Naked came I into this world naked will I leave. The Lord gives and the Lord is taken away. Blessed is the name of the Lord so comes out of this, we need an attitude of gratitude, not just because the Bible tells us we should have it.
But here's another reason why you want to give thanks to the Lord because thankful people are happy people. There's been a lot of studies that have been done on this topic.
Research shows that grateful people actually have fewer aches and pains, then none grateful people. They also report feeling healthier than other people. One expert said and I quote the expression of gratitude is a kind of meta-strategy for achieving happiness is not interesting, Robert Emmons, a PhD in leading gratitude researcher. I didn't even know they existed, but this is what he does. He said this quote gratitude reduces toxic emotions ranging from envy and frustration and reduces depression and actually increases happiness. I'm in gratitude can actually change your very mood. You can just start by smiling. Did you know it takes 17 muscles to smile what it takes 43 muscles to frown so it's less work and it's better for you just might seem unfeeling :-) but the idea is I develop an attitude of gratitude. If I feel like it or not, and we have so much to be thankful for really comes down to this, we discover why we exist. The two most important moments in a person's life is when they are born and then when they realize what they're born for. Let me tell you which are born for you are born you're here in this earth to bring glory to God.
And when you seek to glorify God with your life in your actions and your words and your decisions you are fulfilling the purpose of God created you for the Bible says in Colossians 317. Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the father through Might say, well Greg what if I'm not feeling it. One of my heart's not in it.
Do you think Job felt like giving praise to God after such tremendous loss. I doubt he did but he offered with the Bible calls a sacrifice of praise in Hebrews 1315 it says let's offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name to. It's really important to verbalize your praise not just think it not even just feel it actually verbalize it and sometimes that's a sacrifice.
Think marriage is an example. Maybe there's a husband that just loves his wife so much but he never tells her he loves her. He never compliments her.
He never verbalizes his love toward her.
He needs to start doing and the wife need to do it for the husband as well. But in the case of our relationship with God.
We should verbalize our praise. Oh sure, God knows we love them but he wants to hear it from us again is that verse says the fruit of our lives, giving thanks to his name, see far too often we fail to give God the glory that is due to his name some 29 two says give thanks unto the Lord, and bring the glory to his name. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. So often we ask God for things we pray for his intervention.
He graciously answers he he does that thing we asked him to do.
Maybe he even does above and beyond that thing we asked him to do and then what we do, we just move on. Thanks God CNX crisis have your were just up to say, Lord, thank you for answering that prayer I prayed for your provision and it came I prayed for that healing and you gave it. I prayed for this person's life to turn around and it did Lord, I want to thank you for that. The Bible tells a story of 10 lepers who came to Jesus asking for healing leprosy was incurable.
These men were the outcasts of society. Jesus touches them and heals them and then we read that only one came back to give thanks for the healing and Jesus says this poignant question.
Where are the other nine and it's interesting that one that came back really offered great thanks to the Lord affect the phrase that is used in the Scripture's seat fell down in his face. He gave thanks and said it loudly and it comes from a root word that's translated to megaphone.
This guy let the Lord know he was thankful for being healed of leprosy went to last time you let the Lord know your thankful for what he has done for you. Alright, so here's some take away principles about giving thanks. If you're taking notes is point number one to give things I must first realize that God is in control of my life me say that again to give thanks, I must first realize that God is in control of my life. Don't look we make our plans but God will have his way.
We are not in control of our lives, so we think we are sometimes he is and other comes as a revelation to some people. Proverbs 69 says we can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Jeremiah 1023 says I know Lord that a person's life is not his own. No one is able to plan his own course that's true God is sovereign and will we see God's sovereignty means that God is in control.
Listen, God is able to do what he pleases with whomever he chooses whenever he wishes someone 15 verse three says our God is in heaven, and he does whatever he pleases.
So listen even when bad things happen. God is ultimately in control, God either did it or God has allowed it in our life. And when he is allowed it. We know ultimately God can bring good despite the bad because Romans 828 says we know that all things work together for good to those that love God, another called according to his purpose. Number two I must realize that God loves me and is always looking out for my eternal benefit so you number one was to give thanks and was real is a constant control of my life but I can misunderstand that and think of God is harsh and angry, and austere but let's remember this second point, I brought up he loves me and is looking out for my eternal benefit, even if what I am going through in the moment is difficult. Listen to this passage from second Corinthians 417 Paul writes our present troubles are quite small and will last very long.
Yet they produce for us in immeasurable great glory that will last forever so we don't look at the troubles we see right now.
Rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen for the troubles we seen now will soon be over, but the joys to come last forever. A perfect illustration of this is a biscuit biscuit Oya.
I don't know if you love biscuits I love them so much and I was suspended part of my childhood with my grandparents on my grandmother.
My grandfather Stella and Charles McDaniel.
They were from Arkansas. So we called them mama Stella and daddy Charles and in my grandmother made everything from scratch. She never served leftovers, and so will a lot of the great Southern cooking. You know, fried chicken, of course, black-eyed peas, okra, collard greens, fresh mashed potatoes but the crowning achievement of what my grandmother made was the biscuit and as my grandmother was getting older. I had my wife Kathy watch mama Stella make the biscuit. I said Kathy watch mama stuff we can't let this recipe die with her.
We need to be able to carry it on said Kathy would watch mama Stella make the biscuit and it seemed so simple because wouldn't she use use vegetable oil. She used self rising flour and buttermilk. None. None of those things are appealing in and of themselves.
You don't have a glass of vegetable oil. Some people like to drink buttermilk. I don't but to put them together in expert hands and that's her mom is still a did she mix them in a certain way. She had a certain finesse and then she put them into a very hot oven and we all agreed this is very good. So in the same way in our lives.
God takes the event of our lives, the good things the so-called bad things he puts them in the oven of adversity and ultimately we say this is good see God's in control and he loves us and third point to give thanks.
I must realize that God is far wiser than I I am always thinking of my temporal good God is always thinking of my eternal good and sometimes what immediately good is not always eternally good, but what is eternally good is not always immediately good and sometimes it's painful. It's like going to the dentist. Does anyone like to go to the dentist.
I still have not met the I think we all have a sense of dread.
I just went to my dentist for a cleaning and there always looking for trouble, you know, and maybe the person is cleaning away and then shall state a doctor could you come and take a look at this like Ono on the what now, but maybe they'll find that you have a cavity and you need a filling or maybe when your crowns is broken and they need to replace it.
And even worse.
Maybe you need a root canal.
None of these things are appealing, but they're far better than the alternative right so they do those things for your good and sometimes there are things happening in our life that were not enjoying but they're far better than the alternative.
God is at work working all things together for his glory and for your good. Alright so let's look at acts chapter 60. This is a powerful story of two men Paul and Silas remember last time we saw how Saul of Tarsus came to Christ on the road to Damascus and ultimately becomes the great apostle Paul. So were looking at how Paul and Silas would been preaching the gospel reacted when they went through a time of suffering, how they were able to praise the Lord, starting with verse 23 from the new living translation. They were severely beaten. This would be Paul and Silas. They were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn't escape any took no chances and put them in the inner dungeon and clamp their feet into the stocks in around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening suddenly there was a great earthquake and the prison was shaken to its very foundations and all the doors flew open and the genes of every prisoner fell off the jailer woke up he could see that the prison doors are wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped so he drew his sword to kill himself. Paul shouts to him, don't do it were still here trembling with fear. The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down before Paul and Silas, and he brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be say in their reply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved along with you and your entire household.
Then they shared the word of the Lord with him and all who lived in this household in the same hour the jailer wash their wounds and he and everyone in this household were immediately baptized and then he brought them into assaults and set a meal before them, and he is and he and his entire household believed because of what God had done powerful story is in it so let's think about what happened here are Paul and Silas were thrown into a prison and next thing you know they're leaving the jailer to the Lord.
How did this all come about. Simple answer. He came about because Paul and Silas gave things despite their circumstances didn't wait for the delivery deliverance didn't give thanks after they got out of prison, they gave things when they were in prison and noticed they took him to the inner part of the prison and there legs were in chains this was like a dungeon. This was a hellhole. This was a horrible place to be, which makes it even more remarkable that they were able to give praise to God. You know the midnight hour is not the easiest time to give thanks to God that I love tell Paul and Silas brought their songs in the night some 42 verse eight says to each night the Lord pours his and feeling love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs praying to God who gives me life of ever woke up in the middle of the night like three in the morning and your troubles in your worries encroach upon you the closing in on you like a vice. Your mind is flooded with anxiety.
This is where the Bible says don't worry about anything, pray about everything in the peace of God that passes all human understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. So here's Paul and Silas in prison they start singing praises to God, were they doing little to part harmony. You know, Everly Brothers, Linda McCartney uttered, but I don't think that ever heard anyone sing that prism before and it's interesting because we read in verse 25.
The other prisoners were listening to them.
It doesn't just mean there were listening they could be translated. There were listening with pleasure. You know in this world that were living in when a Christian can bring praise and glory to God.
That is a powerful testimony. Nonbelievers would love to write us all off as a bunch of nuts Christians are crazy their fanatical they're out of touch with reality. They will say of us, but when they see a Christian going through a time of suffering may be facing a cancer diagnosis may be dealing with the death of a loved one may be dealing with some other difficulty, and they see that our faith is intact ever giving praise to God.
Listen, that is a powerful testimony you can be sure that Roman jailer was paying attention and he was being moved by what he was hearing it was unceasing Christians worship that initially got my attention. I was raised in Southern California in an area called Newport Beach. I went to high school called Corona Delmar high school and I transferred to another high school called Harbor high school. Now when I was a Corona Delmar high was kind of into the party scene hanging around with football players going on the weekends and drinking etc. in the whole drug culture was coming along and I decided I wanted to become a different person.
I didn't want to be the person I was the parting drinking guy I thought. I think drugs have the answer. I think I will discover what life is all about. By using drugs and I transferred to this other school called Harbor high school with intention of being a different person than I was and that's exactly what happened, but not in the way I expect when I enrolled and I was now going to that school. Some of my friends that I'm you said Greg be really careful there's a lot of Jesus freaks. Harbor high is it what you mean all the these very out front overt Christians that carry Bibles are mounted talk about Jesus and I remember saying to my friend the last thing I'll ever become is a Jesus freak. Don't worry about me. And sure enough there was a Jesus freak. They would march to the campus, singing songs, sometimes with thrower food at them would laugh at them. What a bunch of moron. But then I saw this cute girl one day talking to a friend of mine and that that will look at a cute girl I think will step up there maybe enter into the conversation.
When there's a break in as I'm waiting. I notice she has her notebook for class C is a couple of textbooks and then I noticed she had a book like this with gold pages and ribbons of their own know she's a Jesus freak.
Then I thought what a waste of a perfectly cute girl but then they double. Why would she be a Jesus freak so fast forward a day or so. I'm walking across the campus kind of looking for this girl were initially and I find her sitting in a circle of Christians on the front lawn of the campus at lunchtime singing songs about God and I sat at a distance so I could come to eavesdrop on what they were doing but not so close that people would think I was becoming one of them as they watch them sing these songs about the Lord. Simple choruses three chords G, C, D, maybe E minor, that's it. But as I want some I thought they do seem to be happy people.
They do seem to have something that's real and I knew for a fact they didn't use drugs because one of the guys there. His name was Bill used to be a buddy. I partied with and know he's a Jesus freak so would mess with my narrative. I wanted to write them off as crazy people, but the sky was a normal guy and I'm thinking he's one of them and the girls. One of them and it opened my heart and then I heard the gospel for the first time. That's the day I became a Christian, but my point is their worship of God was something that moved me, and I think when we can worship God. It is a powerful testimony to a lost world and that's what was happening here with Paul and Silas.
But here's another good thing about worship is something that God is given to us as a gift.
If something were going to be doing a lot of what we get to heaven. So get them practice because we read in Revelation 512 they saying in a mighty chorus. The Lamb is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing Phyllis Leonidas Christians have the best music. That's because we have something to sing about take Easter take Christmas as an example, we have the best songs all there's a lot of good songs I like. Around Christmas time, but the best songs of those great songs that have stood the test of time. Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Silent Night, Joy to the world, even nonbelievers, listen to and appreciate these songs because we have a God that is worth singing to. But here's a great thing about worship.
It can put your problems into perspective. You know you can be overwhelmed by what you're facing. Maybe I'm talking to somebody right now that is facing great difficulties.
But when you take time to pray and you take time to worship you get a different view of what you're going through your seeing God and is glory to God and his greatness, and thus your seeing your problems or your challenges in the relative smallness. I'm not saying you don't have big problems but I'm simply saying your God is bigger and this is why the Bible says magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together magnify see God in his greatness. So that's exactly what they were doing so in the Old Testament ASAP was grappling with the age-old question, why do the wicked prosper. Have you ever wondered that what went on nonbelievers get away with what they get away with and he says in Psalm 7316.
When I try to figure this out. This is from a modern translation when I tried to figure this out. It can be a splitting headache.
Until I entered the sanctuary of God.
Then I saw the whole picture. He writes I didn't understand why things are the way they are, until he came into God's presence to study his word. Then my questions came into a proper perspective that's so true is not heaven. She found that you know you're really feeling down and then you open the word of God or to sing a praise song and suddenly you see things a little differently you're filled with anxiety but you pray and you committed to the Lord and that pressure is lifted from you. That's what Paul and Silas are doing their praising the Lord for giving glory to God. And that's because their contentment and joy did not come from what they have. It came from who they knew Hebrews 13 five says keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with such things as you have, for he has said I will never leave you or forsake you. You have to get things in perspective. And that's exactly what they did. I want you to notice. Also, they did not pray for deliverance.
They just praise the Lord. Verse 25 says as they were singing. The others were listening.
They didn't pray for a way out.
They just gave glory to God, though course in earthquake eight. They were ultimately delivered, but today no one earthquake was coming. I don't know that they did, they just rejoice in the Lord despite their circumstances, because sometimes, frankly, the earthquake does not come. The healing does not come. The thing you were hoping for does not happen, but God is still with you in your time of adversity that sometimes the devil delivers us from our circumstances like Daniel in the lion's den, but he still spent a night with alliance deadening and sometimes he delivers us in our circumstances like Shadrach me shack in the Bendigo. The bottom line is God is with you wherever you are, so give thanks to him, not subs, not just because Thanksgiving is coming. Give thanks to him because he is good and he is worthy of your praise and it will help you get perspective. And it will change your mood.
While the earthquake did come in this instance and the prison guard thought I'm dead because of your guard in charge of two very important people like Paul and Silas, and you're told to make sure they don't escape. You will be executed for failing to do your duty. He's literally pulling out a sword ready to kill himself and Paul interrupts him and says don't kill yourself or all still here and noticed that this man immediately says Sirs, what must I do to be say just as Saul of Tarsus was under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, causing him to lash out at the Christians hunting them down and bringing them back to Jerusalem and Shane's. This man was under the conviction of the spirit as well. By the way he was a hard man. Paul used to be a hard man to I think Saul now Paul had a particular compassion for this Roman guard like man I used to be you.
I know what it's like to be cruel like you are you whipped us and treated us so badly. Even worse than you would treat a normal prisoner. I know what that's like. But I know how God changed me and know when this man says Sirs, what must I do to be say.
Paul gives admin. I hope you get judge for the way you treated us by back still hurts from that with no but Paul and Silas graciously offer this man, hope, and they tell him to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and he will be say listen whatever you're going through right now. Give thanks to the Lord, not because you feel good, but because he is good. Don't give thanks because things are going well. Give thanks because God is on the throne. Let me close with what the jailer said to Paul and Silas. He said Sirs notice the politeness there.
Sirs, what must I do to be saved and look at Paul's answer. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be say are you say I like that word save on because it really is very descriptive.
How would we use the word save room. We migrated an article of fire fighter went into a burning building and saved a person or someone's drowning in the lifeguard save them.
That's exactly what they did and we need to be say because we aren't something worse than a burning building. We need to be say because were in a worse situation than someone who is drowning, we are facing the penalty for our sin and God can save you. How the Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. This man, this jailer. He believed and is family believed in. Everyone came to faith because of the powerful testimony of Paul and Silas, giving thanks to God in difficult circumstances. Maybe I'm talking to someone right now that wants to be saved you want to be confident that when you die you will go to heaven that can happen for you right here right now.
Just as surely as God save this man some 2000 years ago. He can save you.
He can forgive you. He can give you the hope of life beyond the grave in the presence of God and then a relationship with the Lord that you can have right here, right now, listen 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ the son of God died on the cross for your sin. He did that voluntarily because he knew there was no other way that you could be in a relationship with this holy God that we have all offended through our sin, you save a great jive and sin not much will God is engraved on the curve. One sin is enough to keep you out of heaven. The Bible says if you offend in one point of the law, you're guilty of all of it.
But listen, Christ died for your sins.
If you turn from your sin and ask him to come of your life to be your Savior and Lord, you can be say would you like to come in of this relationship with God.
Would you like to go to heaven when you die.
Would you like to be saved. If so hung in a prayer simple prayer I would ask that you would pray this prayer with me.
You can print out loud if you like you can pray than the quietness of your heart. But God will hear is you call out to him. Remember, again, the Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be say that's what you're doing right now in prayer you're calling on the name of the Lord. So if you want Christ to come into your life if you want to be forgiven of your sin if you want to go to heaven when you die if you want to be saved.
Pray this after me now or Jesus.
I know that I am a sinner but I know that you're the Savior who died in the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I sure know from my sin and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and Lord is my God and friend in Jesus name I pray. They met everybody.
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