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An Attitude of Gratitude: A Theology of Thanksgiving

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Cross Radio
November 25, 2021 3:00 am

An Attitude of Gratitude: A Theology of Thanksgiving

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 25, 2021 3:00 am

It’s “Parenting 101" to teach our children to say please and thank you. It’s just good manners. But a mumbled thank you does not an attitude of gratitude make. Today on A New Beginning, to honor the holiday here in the U.S., Pastor Greg Laurie brings us a look at the proper way to show genuine, heartfelt gratitude to our God for all the many blessings He’s bestowed on us. If you’re hearing this, and you’re breathing, you have something to be thankful for.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Everybody you're listening to a new beginning, which is a podcast made possible by harvest partners. If this program is impacted you, I love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg@harvest.org again it's greg@harvest.org you can learn more about becoming harvest partner by going to harvest.org is good to set aside a day each year and offered thanks to God for our blessings, Pastor Greg Laurie says that's not enough, every day should be Thanksgiving the list be honest, it's easy to get things when things are going well, but you're in the middle of experience right now. Or maybe you're not feeling like everything the Lord but I want to encourage you on this Thanksgiving to have an attitude of gratitude. I think we need theology of Thanksgiving and in 10 teacher children to say please and thank you is good manners but a mumbled thank you is not an attitude of gratitude may today on a new beginning to honor the holiday here in the US. Greg Laurie brings us a look at the proper way to show genuine gratitude toward God world of many blessings he's bestowed on you have something, anything wanted to grab your Bibles and turn to acts chapter 16 and I have a special message for you that is titled an attitude of gratitude will Thanksgiving really gets missed in the holiday rush there so much money spent on attention directed toward Halloween and that so much money spent on Christmas. It seems like for a lot of people want to just get through Thanksgiving and a proper son. They don't even call it Thanksgiving anymore. They call a turkey day thought a great day for turkeys actually measure one of the two turkeys that were pardoned by the president, but this is the day will be get together with family and friends and eat that Thanksgiving feast. You know I heard an interesting news story about Google searches for side dishes for Thanksgiving and they want the different states. For instance, in California, the top Google search for a side dish for Thanksgiving is mac & cheese.

So what's on the minds of Californians is how do you make mac & cheese for Thanksgiving.

As a side dish in New York. It's cornbread stuffing in Texas it's fruit salad y'all what's up with the fruit salad, Texas on the good barbecue something. No, it's fruit salad over in the Wyoming crescent rolls. I like crescent rolls. Here's the weirdest of all North Dakota the top thing that's being Google there for a side dish for Thanksgiving is Quito soup keno soup.

I didn't even know there was Quito soup. Whatever it is I don't want but to my granddaughter Stella told me the other day. You know what pop-up she said Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday all year long. I said really what I thought you would say something like well it's the time we get together and give thanks to God that she said food. One word answer food. She's a teenager now so that's understandable. It's funny you know you do have the big beast on Thanksgiving and you bow. I will never eat again and then about 4 o'clock or 5 o'clock in the evening you're making their turkey sandwich right so you still managed to get a little more food in, but but Thanksgiving really is not about the turkey. It's not about the cornbread stuffing and the green beans in the mashed potatoes with lots of gravy and I'm getting distracted here what it is. The sedating effect for the Christian every day should be Thanksgiving and why is that true because someone 36 says to us, give thanks and to the Lord for he is good and his mercies and your forever the list be honest that's easier said than done. It's easy to give thanks when things are going well. It's even easy to get things when baby is born. It's not as easy to give thanks when there is the death of a loved one. In fact, sometimes things are so hard you don't want to give things at all. But the Bible does not say give thanks to the Lord. When you feel good. It says get things under the Lord for he is good and his mercy endures forever. Now listen if God ceases to be good. Then you can cease to give thanks but since God is always going to be good. We should always be giving thanks is were told in Romans chapter 4, the apostle Paul says rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. By the way, when Paul wrote that he was imprisoned so he didn't have a lot to rejoice about outwardly, but yet he was able to rejoice. Despite the circumstances.

But you're in the middle of an experience right now. Or maybe you're not seeing the endgame you're not feeling like giving thanks to the Lord, but I want to encourage you on this Thanksgiving to have an attitude of gratitude.

I think we need a theology of Thanksgiving and by the way, if you are a grateful person. If you are thankful person you will find you'll be doing better physically than those who are always complaining research shows a grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they also reported feeling healthier than other people are Robert Emmons, a PhD and a leading gratitude researcher. I didn't know there were gratitude researchers but that's what Robert Emmons does and he said this quote gratitude reduces toxic emotions ranging from envy and frustration and reduces depression and actually increases happiness." Studies have shown that grateful people sleep better to so a lot of fringe benefits but why should I give thanks because the Lord is good. There's another reason to get things to give thanks. As a Christian I must realize that God is in control of my life. Listen, no matter what you're going through right now I want you to know this God is in control of your life. Sometimes we understand that sometimes all the pieces fit together beautifully and you can look back and say all now I see why that happened. So this could happen and that other thing happened. So this other thing get up and it's all coming together but then sometimes you're in the middle of it and it makes no sense will remember God is in control, not us know that comes to a revelation to some of us because we think were in control. Proverbs 69 says we can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Jeremiah 1023 says I know Lord. A person's life is not a zone. No one is able to plan his own course. But thankfully, God is in control of your life in God is sovereign. Now we throw that word around a lot. We may not fully understand what it means. But when we say God is sovereign, were simply saying this God is able to do what he pleases with whomever he chooses whenever he wishes, let me say that again God is able to do what he pleases with whomever he chooses whenever he wishes some 115 three says our God is in heaven, and he does whatever he pleases. So if something is happening in your life that does not make sense. Just remember God is in control. Either he did it or he has allowed it for some reason and we know course, that despite the bad thing were going through God can bring good out of it.

Romans 828 a verse.

Most Christians know, for we know that all things are working together for good to those that love God, another called according to his purpose.

Psalm one 1991 says everything serves your plan.

Let me add this. I don't think we'll see all the good that is calm in our life until we get to heaven because I think there are things in life that will seem bad to us that what we get to heaven. We may realize later were actually good thing. So we have to entrust that to the Lord. So to repeat number one to give things I need to realize that God is in control of my life. Number two I was realize God loves me and is always looking out for my eternal benefit. That's an important thing to add that because I get table God's in control, but what kind of God are we serving is he an angry God is he an austere God will. He is a loving God. He's kind he's full of mercy and so I must realize he loves me and is looking out for my eternal benefit, even if I'm going through something at the moment that is quite difficult. Paul writes in second Corinthians 417 our present troubles are quite small. They won't last very long. Yet they produce for us in immeasurable great glory that will last forever so don't look at the troubles you can see right now. Rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen for the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come last for ever. 1/3 point to give thanks I miss realize that God is wiser than I miss realize that God is wiser than I am. I was having a conversation with my granddaughter Allie. I think she was around seven at this moment and she said you know what Papa I'm smarter than you.

I said really you are.

She says yes I am. She was very confident of that will looking God sometimes and so you know what Lord I'm smarter than you.

Well, that's simply not true, and God is always dealing with me for my best eternal good.

In contrast, I'm usually dealing with what will benefit me temporarily and that which is immediately good is not always eternally good and what is eternally good is not always immediately good, but sometimes painful but in the end will see and understand and until that day.

Here's what were supposed to do were supposed to give thanks unto the Lord for he is good his mercy endures forever.

Mr. Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message just a moment. Whenever you send us an email, text or post a comment on social media. We read every word. Pastor Greg, I don't know if he'll ever see this or not but I just wanted to say thank you for all you do.

I was raised in the church and was seen in a very yummy like a lot of folks who grew up in church, I fell away and one day I heard you on the radio and your message made, I needed to get my life right, thinking were so good to hear changed lives through harvest ministries. If you story tells of how the studies have touched your life, that of a family member.

I hope you'll contact us today. Email Pastor Craig at great harvest on again. That's great harvest.org will you join us for a timely message from Pastor Greg today called an attitude of gratitude.

Let's continue like children to turn to acts 16 and this is a story familiar to many of you of two men who saw the good despite the bad they definitely had an attitude of gratitude.

Their names are Paul and Silas. They saw God in the darkest of places and Jed gave him glory and does so this is their story. No is our story begins, we find the apostles being thrown into a prison for preaching the gospel. This is what happened next 16 verse 23. I'm reading from the new living translation. They were severely beaten and then they were thrown into prison and the jailer was order to make sure they didn't escape. So we took no chances and put them in the inner dungeon and clamp their feet with the stocks I love this part of the verse 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 foundations and the doors flew open and the genes of every prisoner flew off. So this is not a normal earthquake. This is a supernatural intervention of God would doors are flying open machines are coming up. Verse 27 the jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners in this gate, so he drew his sword to kill himself but Paul shouted to him, don't do it were still here trembling with fear of the jailer called for lights and render the dungeon and fell down before Paul and Silas, and he brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be say and they replied, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved along with your entire household, then they shared the word of the Lord with him and all who lived in this household. That same hour the jailer wash their wounds and he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. Then he brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household believed in God, stop there. What a story right. What an amazing turn of events. Paul starts out in prison and ends up leaving the jailer to the Lord. But how did this come about. It came as a result of Paul and Silas, giving thanks to God. Despite their circumstances, we don't read that they had any message from the Lord, or an angel telling them that they were going to get sprung from this joint.

We don't read that they had any sense of hope for not dying in this place, but yet they gave praise to God in the night some 42 eight says to each night the Lord pours his unfeeling love upon me through each night I sing this song praying to the God who gives me life is not easy to sing a song in the night, especially when you're flooded with fear, terror and worry. We all know what it's like to wake up in the middle of the night. I have to wake up. I don't know why it's like two or 3 o'clock in the morning almost on the dot and then you'll be awake for a moment and all of a sudden your mind is crowded with all these were reason all this pressure can come on you like a vice and that is when you need to remind yourself that God is in control. That is when you need to literally quote the Scripture to yourself. You can pray and let God worry about a God talking to worry about, but you definitely should not worry about it. Worry is overrated. It doesn't accomplish anything. It just makes things worse.

That's why the Bible says don't worry about anything, pray about everything in the peace of God that passes all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus noted to see verse 25 says the other prisoners were listening to them. Now prisoners were used to people crying and moaning all the rest, but I don't think it ever heard anyone sing before I don't know Paul and Silas reported a two-part you know Everly Brothers harmony year Linda McCartney kind of vocal I doubt it just the fact that they were singing the songs of praise to God affect the word that is used here and ask about the other prisoners listing means to listen pleasure means the other prisoners were listening in on what was being song what they were stating by singing hymns to God at midnight and their backs had been ripped open. They were taken into the deeper part of what we could best describe as a dungeon. I hellhole and there were a great pain in their speed and their hands were in stocks and yet they gave praise to God in others a lost world that's watching you and I as Christians and when we can glorify God despite difficult circumstances. It is a powerful testimony here with Paul and Silas.

There was a real undeniable authenticity in their faith and by the way, when you sing the Lord you're in sync with heaven because when we get to heaven one day were going to do a lot of singing.

Revelation 512 says they saying in a mighty chorus alone is worthy dilemma was killed is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing. So get in practice now start singing and you know what Christians have the best music, no other religion has music that even approaches the beautiful worship we have in the church a new songs are being written all the time.

This is really on display at Christmas is mid all the great Christmas song honoring glorify God. Hark the Herald Angels Sing the first Noel, Silent Night Angels we have heard on high holy night and of course I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus so that some of the great songs, but why do we see. Why do we have these beautiful songs that have stood the test of time. These songs that still resonates to this present day. We sing because we have whole the Christian life is a happy faith because it is a hopeful faith back to our story. Paul and Silas there in prison. They sing songs to the Lord at midnight. Notice he did not pray for deliverance. They just praise the Lord. They didn't even pray for a way out. They just glorify God, and gave thanks and now a miracle comes in and the earthquake shook up everything and they were free to go now that's great when the earthquake comes, that's great.

When the miracle comes that's not the focus of the story. The focus of this story is that the child of God can rejoice in the most trying of circumstances because there are times, quite honestly, when the earthquake does not come deliverance from our circumstances doesn't come sometimes the Lord will deliver us from our circumstances, like Daniel in the lion's den is sometimes God will deliver us in our circumstances or walk with us in our circumstances like Shadrach me shack in the Bendigo, but in this case earthquake comes the Roman jailer realizes he's dead because of these prisoners escaped. He was going to be executed. So he's taking out his Roman short sword is ready to plunge it into his chest and Paul cries out, don't harm yourself were still here. Not this is a hard, hard, do I mean this guy whip them.

He chained them up. He didn't do anything to wash their wounds and but he when he heard them singing he was moved and you know it. Paul knew what it was like to be a hard man. Paul formally Saul of Tarsus was the hardest of men hunting down Christians and executing them Saul of Tarsus, later to become Paul the apostle presided over the martyrdom of the first one to leave their life down for their faith.

Stephen so Paul knew a little bit about being a hardened guy. Maybe his heart went out to visit him in. Don't harm yourself are all here always really good is it going to kill yourself, you dog you whipped us you deserve the.noises don't harm yourself were still here.

And the man says. The dealer says what must I do to be saved, you know, maybe you've come to this Thanksgiving service with a lot of problems with burdens and I just pray that you get perspective if you feel like it or not, rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice, let me close with this is something the jailer said he has the question, what must I do to be say. Paul said, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. I wonder if you've done that yet. If you are not sure that your sin is forgiven. If you're not certain the Christ is living inside of you. You want him to be our Savior and Lord, I want you to pray this prayer with me. Pray these words were Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead know ask you to come in the my life. I choose to follow you from this moment forward in Jesus name I pray, amen. Today on a new beginning pastor Greg Laurie leading those in prayer want to make a change in the relationship with the Lord.

If you prayed that prayer just now. We want to help you get started in your new relationship with God. Let us send you our new believers.] It's a free resource collection pastor Greg has assembled to help you get started off right in your walk of faith. Just try to set a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24 seven. Again, dial 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click the words know God will investigate where making available a brand-new book called the Jesus music and it explores the humble beginnings of what we now call contemporary Christian music, yes I had a number of friends who were early Jesus music artists and you know they would neither load their gear into an old beat up van and drive all day through the desert to get to the church that was hosting them that play all the songs they knew and you know the church would take up an offering, which they gifted to the band for their efforts but sometimes it didn't even cover the cost of gas pray and then the drive that old man all night long back through the desert to get back home and then several days later did do it all again Jan and I it was very humble, but these guys and gals all had willing hearts yeah and they were really innovators. I think in many ways that doing something that is not been done up to that point and that is taking the message of the gospel and putting it in contemporary Christian music know by the way this has been done historically of Martin Luther took a lot of the old songs they would sing in the bars and put Christian lyrics to them. But this group of young men and women were forming.

These bands are performing as artist in a language that my generation understood. You know music is a way to communicate music touches the emotions it touches the heart and in him and that's why I've always work with music over the years because it opens people up to the message that I have, to teach them or to preach to them and and I've known a lot of these artist personally. The early artists that were just starting out the guys and love song. I was friends with Andre Crouch and other artists of the first phase of the Jesus music but I'm friends with the artist today that you cure the Christian radio stations is a great people that love God and their artists and so they're trying to take their art and use it in a way that glorifies God. But isn't that the best use of art so this is a book that tells you how it started and how it became what it is today.

It's called the Jesus music and it's a beautifully done book. It's hard cover thick glossy pages with lots of photographs and stories about these individuals that were really trailblazers and brought us this music we've come to love and music that is so much a part of our life today so listen I want to send you a copy of this brand-new book titled the Jesus music written by my friend Marshall Terrill and I've written three books with and I want to give it to you for your gift of any size. So whatever you can send to us here at a new beginning will use that money to reach more people with the gospel with the teaching of the word of God and will send you your copy of the Jesus music. I hope some of you will be generous because this enables us to do more but whatever you send I'll give you a copy of this brand-new book that I know you're gonna love that's right. And you know it would make a great Christmas gift for someone who enjoys contemporary Christian music or a great coffee table book for yourself, but the stories are fascinating.

So get in touch today with your investment in the work we do here each day and will be glad to send you the Jesus music. Upon request, and will only be able to mention this resource in short time longer. So I get in touch right away right or set a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime around the clock again, dial 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Next time we returned the pastor Greg series called refresh port look at the way we are refreshed when we share the life saving message of the gospel. Join us here on a new beginning. Pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie and I harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God learn how to become harvest partner sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith harvest.org