When we stop to think of Thanksgiving, certain things come to mind. Eating turkey, watching football, and a short work week are just a few. Thanksgiving is a time set aside to reflect on what we are thankful for. I believe thankfulness is a choice we make. We can choose to take everything for granted and believe it is our right to have, or we can be truly thankful for what we have been given, realizing many don’t have what we enjoy. Thankfulness is something we learn. God’s Word gives us a story that shows this principle in action. Jesus told us of ten lepers who cried out to Him for relief of their condition. He heard them and told them to go and show themselves to the priest. The Bible tells us that while they were on their way to the priest, they were healed. Of the ten, only one came back to show his gratitude. Jesus then asked if there were not ten and why did only one come back. I want to share with you here what I shared with our people this past Sunday night. I believe that we will learn to be thankful when we have a good understanding of certain things.
1. We learn to be thankful when we think about how desperate our situation was before we met Jesus.
2. We learn to be thankful when we think about what we have gained in Christ.
3. We learn to be thankful when we think about what was done for us could not have been done by us.
4. We learn to be thankful when we think about how much our ingratitude grieves the heart of God.
As you enjoy the Thanksgiving holidays this year, take time to remember and reflect on the impact that Jesus has had in your life. When we do, it makes the choice to be thankful that much easier.
“The people of God do not serve Him in order to be forgiven but because we are forgiven. When believers serve only because they feel guilty if the don’t, it’s as though they serve with a ball and chain dragging from their ankles. There’s no love in that kind of service, only labor. There’s no joy, only obligation and drudgery. But Christians aren’t prisoners who should serve in God’s Kingdom grudgingly because of guilt. We can serve willingly because Christ’s death freed us from guilt.”
“This is the fear of the Lord. Most of our fears are poisonous. They steal sleep and pillage peace. But this fear is different. From a biblical perspective, there is nothing neurotic about fearing God. The neurotic thing is to not be afraid, or to be afraid of the wrong thing. That is why God chooses to be known to us, so that we may stop being afraid of the wrong thing. When God is fully revealed to us and we ‘get it’, then we experience the conversion of our fear… “Fear of the Lord’ is the deeply sane recognition that we are not God.”
“If worship does not change us, it has not been worship. To stand before the Holy One of eternity is to change. In worship, an increased power steals its way into the heart sanctuary; an increased compassion grows into the soul. To worship is to change. If worship does not propel us into greater obedience, it has not been worship. Just as worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. Holy obedience saves worship from becoming an opiate, an escape from the pressing needs of modern life. Worship enables us to hear the call to service clearly so that we respond, ‘Here I am! Send me!’ (Isa 6:8)'”
There is a song that children learn in church at an early age that goes something like this, “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.” That simple song has its roots in a much deeper spiritual truth. The truth is that each day, God is working in us and on us to make us ore like His Son Jesus. This happens through the application of the written Word, revealing how we are to act and live. This also happens through conviction by the Holy Spirit, revealing areas that are not pleasing and need to be changed.
Recently, I came across a video by the The Skit Guys that gives an accurate, vivid picture of this process at work. The video is about 8 minutes long, but well worth your time. Please watch, enjoy, and apply.