Living Thankful Lives 2011 by Rn8y83

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									                                   Living Thankful Lives
                                     October 9th 2011

Introduction:
       One of the changes in our society is a change in thankfulness. Many people today
have the idea that the world owes them something and that they are entitled to the
blessings that people of the past worked very hard for. In the times of the pioneers it took
a full day’s work to have food, water, and shelter and people were thankful for what they
had. Their thanks were directed to God who provided for them but is it the same way
today? Should we grow in thankfulness?

      Many people are not happy and they spend their days chasing the illusion of
happiness. Could it be that they, and we, tend to be unhappy because we are not
thankful?
        Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) was a German theologian and he said: It is only
with gratitude that life becomes rich.

So what wards off thankfulness? What can keep us from being thankful? Henry Ward
Beecher (1813-1887) said: Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of
which thanks naturally grows. A proud man is seldom a grateful man; he never thinks he
gets as much as he deserves.

Intent: Today I want us to see the value of living thankful lives.

As we put this all into application we will start with a few questions to prompt our
thinking:
    Why is it important to be thankful?
    How does attitude tie into thankfulness?
    How do you show thanks? How does it affect your daily life?
    Would people characterize you as a thankful person?
    For what, and to whom, do you give thanks?
    Why do we need to be especially thankful for what God has done for us?

What can we learn from the Bible about thanksgiving? We will start with a summary
from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary:

THANKSGIVING:
      The aspect of praise that gives thanks to God for what He does for us.
      Ideally, thanksgiving should spring from a grateful heart; but it is required of all
believers, regardless of their initial attitude <1 Thessalonians. 5:18 give thanks in all
circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. >

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       We should be grateful to God for all things, but especially for His work of
salvation and sanctification <1 Thessalonians 2:13 says: And we also thank God
continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you
accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work
in you who believe. >.
We ought also to thank God in anticipation of His answering our prayers <Philippians
4:6>, knowing that His answers will always be in accord with His perfect will for our
lives <Rom. 8:28-29>.

Too often our thankfulness is connected to our circumstance. In faith we can be thankful
in all situations, not just the ones that are good. Erwin W. Lutzer (1941- ) says it well
in this quote: A Christian who walks by faith accepts all circumstances from God. He
thanks God when everything goes good, when everything goes bad, and for the "blues"
somewhere in-between. He thanks God whether he feels like it or not.

For what should we be thankful for?
Let’s look at some scriptures and what the people gave thanks for.

1 Chronicles 16:8, and 34 call us to look at God’s character as a source for our thanks:
      8     Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations
      what he has done.
      34    Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. (NIV)
      Verse 35 shows that our salvation gives us reason to give thanks:
      1 Chronicles 16:35 Cry out, "Save us, O God our Saviour; gather us and deliver us
      from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, that we may glory in
      your praise."

The Psalms are full of thanksgiving passages:
Psalm 7:17 I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing
praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

When we approach God we can approach him with thankfulness:
Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to
him and praise his name.

God’s goodness gives us reason to be thankful:
Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

A main thanksgiving passage for us in the New Testament is 1Thessalonians 5:18 which
says: give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.



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This is the time of year that we take time to think of thanksgiving and we have much to
be thankful for. Many people are thankful for their family, health, and prosperity and we
need to live thankful lives when we think of these blessings but we have other reasons
that those who are not with Christ are missing. We are thankful for God's grace and
mercy shown to us on the cross, changing our eternal destiny and giving us purposeful
lives here and now. Our relationship with God drives our thankfulness for everything
else.

When we look at the area of the world that we live in. Think of the peace that we have in
our country. Think of the blessings of this church family. Think of the harvest that is
going on around us…God has blessed us and we need to be thankful. Our daily lives are
different because of our choice to be thankful.

For what things can we be thankful? All things should draw us back to God and we need
to take time to be thankful for our spiritual blessings. If we have all of the physical
blessings and do not know God then we do not have much to be thankful for. If we have
a relationship with God then we can be thankful in any circumstance because he will be
with us.

How will you show your thankfulness to God? Live a transformed life. Do not take his
blessings for granted. We need to move from thinking thankful thought to showing our
thankfulness in actions like sharing physical and spiritual blessings.

This week as we spend time with family and friends let’s draw one another to be thankful
to God for His character and love for us. Let us remind people to be thankful for the
spiritual blessings that we have and not just for the physical ones.

As you share a thanksgiving meal take a few minutes to share why you are thankful and
for what you are thankful for.

When life is tough and we wonder about what to be thankful for we can think of the
things that Helen Keller said she was thankful for:
       For three things I thank God every day of my life: thanks that he has taught me
       knowledge of his works; deep thanks that he has set in my darkness the lamp of
       faith; deep, deepest thanks that I have another life to look forward to-a life joyous
       with light and flowers and heavenly song. Helen Adams Keller (1880-1968)

We have reason to be thankful because of what Jesus has done. Let's be people who
constantly give thanks for all things to our redeemer and friend Jesus.

Next Week: Galatians 1:1-10 The Need to Obey and Teach the One Gospel.


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