This Sanctuary Sunday Open Thread, with full respect to those who worship God on the Sabbath, is a place to reaffirm our worship of our Creator, our Father, our King Eternal.
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Thanking God . . .
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (First Thessalonians 5:16-18) Give thanks in ALL circumstances . . . yes, even in what we might consider as bad circumstances. Thankfulness should be a way of life for us, naturally flowing from our hearts and mouths.
Psalm 136:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” We are thankful: God’s constant goodness and His steadfast love. When we recognize the nature of our depravity and understand that, apart from God, there is only death (John 10:10; Romans 7:5), our natural response is to be grateful for the life He gives.
Psalm 30 gives praise to God for His deliverance. David writes, “I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. . . . You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever” (Psalm 30:1-12). David gives thanks to God following an obviously difficult circumstance. This psalm of thanksgiving, we not only praise God in the moment but remember God’s past faithfulness. It is a statement of God’s character, which is so wonderful that praise is the only appropriate response.
We are also thankful to God in the midst of difficult circumstances. Psalm 28 depicts David’s distress. It is a cry to God for mercy, protection, and justice. After David cries out to God, he writes, “Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy, and I will give thanks to him in song” (Psalm 28:6-7). In the midst of hardship, David remembers who God is and, as a result of knowing and trusting God, gives thanks. Job had a similar attitude of praise, even in the face of death: “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21).
Paul, heavily persecuted, wrote, “Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him” (2 Corinthians 2:14). The writer of Hebrews says, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28). Peter gives a reason to be thankful for “grief and all kinds of trials,” saying that, through the hardships, our faith “may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
We, the people of God, are thankful people, for we realize how much we have been given. One of the characteristics of the last days is a lack of thanksgiving, according to 2 Timothy 3:2. Wicked people will be “ungrateful.”
We are thankful because God is worthy of our thanksgiving. It is only right to credit Him for “every good and perfect gift” He gives (James 1:17). When we are thankful, our focus moves off selfish desires and off the pain of current circumstances. Expressing thankfulness helps us remember that God is in control. Thankfulness, then, is not only appropriate; it’s actually healthy and beneficial to us. It reminds us of the bigger picture – that we belong to God, and that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). Truly, we have an abundant life (John 10:10), and gratefulness is fitting.
By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)
Thank God for His Blessings
We look at our country these days and see
All the bad things that happen to be:
Lies, corruption, thievery and fraud,
But we’ve seen the Light and so we thank God.
Thank God that we have enough to eat,
That we don’t have to live on the street,
That we have water, are secure and warm,
In wind and rain, we’re safe from the storm.
Thank God for our friends and family
That we choose work, there’s no slavery
That after work we can rest or play,
And feel some contentment for our day.
We tend to lose sight that we’re truly blessed,
Living in comfort, not poor and oppressed,
While life’s twists happen and we feel deprived,
Others on this earth must fight to survive.
Our churches and homes may be burned down,
And we could be burned, tortured or drowned.
Worshipping God will threaten our death –
“All praises to Him” at our last breath.
No food, dirty water, oppressive heat,
Sickness, disease, and filthy, dusty streets,
Babies and kids, bloated stomachs and flies,
Grotesque skeletons, no hope in their eyes.
Or living inside wearing old gloves and coats,
Bone-chilling cold, all alone and remote.
Old and sickly, no medicine anywhere,
Dying alone with nobody to care.
There are ways to help the poor, to be sure,
Though it’s unlikely that there’ll be a cure.
We should help in many different ways,
‘Cause the poor will be with us all our days.
From these situations, we can all learn
To look at our problems with less concern,
And realize as our lives pass by,
But for the grace of God go I.
We truly thank God for all our wealth,
Our work, our families, and good health.
On top of these blessings, there’s a big plus –
Our riches in heaven wait for us.
For God’s our Provider, blessings from Him
Have met all our needs and freed us from sin.
He’s given us all, including His Son.
Praise God forever! May His will be done!