Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Churchof Christ

11/19/2017A.M.

 

Cultivating A Heart of Thanksgiving

Psalms 100.1-5

 

George Washington made this statement about Thanksgiving…It is the duty of all nations...

  • To acknowledge the providence of Almighty God…

  • To obey His will…

  • To be grateful for His benefits…

  • To humbly to ask His continued protection and favor…  

Therefore I recommend and assign Thursday… The 26th day of November to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that Great and Glorious Being… Who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that... Was… Is… Or Will Be.”

 

In 1962... John Fitzgerald Kennedy said... “It’s fitting that we give thanks...

  • For the safety of our land...

  • For the fertility of our harvests...

  • For the strength of our liberties...

  • For the health of our people.

 

We do so in no spirit of self-righteousness. We recognize that we are the beneficiaries of the toil and devotion of our forefathers and that we can pass their legacy on to our children only by equal toil and devotion.

 

We recognize too that we live in a world of peril and change... And in so uncertain times... we are all the more grateful for the indestructible gifts of hope and love... which sustainus in adversity and inspire us to labor unceasingly for a more perfect community within this nation and around the earth."

 

So... Let us renew thespirit of the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving.

•Facing the unknown with a faith borne of their dedication to God...

•And afortitude drawn from their sense that all men are brothers.

 

There have been manyThanksgiving Day Proclamations... But perhaps the most recognizable and thoughtprovoking are those found in Scripture.

 

Read them with me from your Worship Handout...

First Chronicles 16.34... Give thanks to the Lord... For He is good... His love endures forever.

 

From the pen of David... Psalm 100... Shout for joy to the Lord… All the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness… Come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us… And we are His… We are his people… The sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise… Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and His love endures for ever…His faithfulness continues through all generations.

 

Colossians 3.15-17... Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

As a nation... As God’s children... In the church... This church...

We are to be Thankful

What we can learn about cultivating a heart of thanks-LIVING…

How to live a life of Gratitude to God...

 

First... David says... Shout your thanks to God with Joy.

Thanksgiving is to be Done…Given… Lived… Expressed… With shouts of Joy.

 

Shout joyfully to the Lord.

 

Our King James says… Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.

We are to vocally proclaim our joyful thanks to God... and it’s to be done with ENTHUSIASM and excitement.

 

The Hebrew word used here is ya-dah…Meaning…

  • to make public acknowledgement….

  • To Verbally confess…

  • To announce.

 

In the Hebrew mind of David’s culture… It was never enough to thank God quietly or privately…It was to be public. Our praise was to be heard by others.

 

To the faithful Hebrew... Genuine thankfulness was not to be kept quiet.

 

I’m not sure where it started with us… But somehow we have developed the idea that in order to worship the Lord correctly… We must be quiet and solemn.

 

Certainly there are times when we consider the Lord in quiet wonder… But David says… We are to shout our thanksgiving joyfully to the Lord!...

  • Our joy needs to show!

  • We need to thank Him with... enthusiasm…Excitement.

 

Read again the Old and New Testament verses where praise to God is a part of the context… And you’ll find this to be done with shouts of Joy… Enthusiasm…Excitement...

  • Let the sea resound...

  • Let the rivers clap their hands... The mountains shout with joy...

  • Let the fields be jubilant..

  • Let the trees sing for joy..

  • Clap yourhands all you nations... Shout to God with the sound of joy.

The very idea of praise seems to include excitement and enthusiasm for God and His care.

 

Paul tells us that JOY is a fruit of the Spirit... A fruit of God living in us.

 

Let me tell you… If the omnipotent sovereign god of the universe lives in us…It should fill us with Joy… A joy that can’t keep silent… Amen?

 

Shout for joy to the Lord… All the earth.Worship the Lord with gladness… Come before him with joyful songs.

 

May we cultivate such Joy and excitement in our thanksgiving.

 

Secondly... Our thanksgiving is to be expressed by worshiping God GLADLY.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise

 

thankful people are obedient…worshiping people... serving people.

 

In Romans chapter twelve... Paul ties Worship and service inseparably together when he wrote... I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

 

Jesus set the stage for worshipand service in His temptation when He said... It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.

The conjunction and ties equal things together… God desires both Worship & Service as one.

 

It was Solomon who said life can be summed up by worship and service... Now when all has been heard; here’s the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

 

In John fourteen…Jesus said… If you love Me… If you are happy with Me… You will keep My commandments.

 

Our Joy for God is expressed in our Worship and Service.

 

Let me say  this in humility and kindness to those of us who choose not to come to Worship on Sunday and Wednesday Evenings… We need to consider...

  • Our gladness...

  • Our joy...

  • our THANKFULNESS...

To God when we decide…not to come worship Him.

 

Can we really say with David... I was glad... I rejoice... With those who said... Let us go to the house of the Lord… If we intend to not be here?

 

Are we glad... Are we rejoicing... Are we worshiping and serving the Lord... When we decide to place something else before praising Him in… Sermon… Song… and Prayer?

Give it some thought!!... OK?

 

You remember… It was Paul who said… God’s love compels me…

  • In light of what God has done for us spiritually...

  • In light of our everyday blessing from His hand...

  • In light of the freedoms that we enjoy in America...

  • In light of His protection and grace...

  • In light of who God is...

How can we keep from worshiping and serving Him with... Gladness... Joy... Thanksgiving?

 

Perhaps Mother Theresa expressed it best… When she said… I am just a pencil in the hands of God… Writing a love letter to the world.

 

Paul put it this way… As children of God… We are lights shining in the universe….Sent to serve the Jesus in others… By exhibiting the Fruit of the spirit…

• Love…

• Joy…

• Peace…

• Patience…

• Kindness…

• Goodness…

• Faithfulness…

• Gentleness…

• And Self-Control.

Listen...

  • Our pencils will write...

  • Our light will shine...

  • Our fruit best enjoyed...

When we worshipand serve God with Joy & gladness... With excitement & enthusiasm.

 

Thirdly… Thanksgiving is to be... an attitude… A heart condition.

David says… We are to come before Him with joyful singing... With gladness in our heart.

 

Church… Our singing must come from the heart… With spirit and understanding.

We can sing anything anytime we want… But genuine GRATITUDE… Thanks Giving… Has its origination in the heart.

 

I believe… You can tell a lot about the life of a church by listening to their singing.

 

When you enter a church that is GENUINELY thankful… There’s intensity in the song service…In the worship… Whether there are 10 or 10,000 people present.

 

Can I say something here and you not get mad at me?… Where is our worship at Bella Vista focused?...

  • Is it upon ourselves…

  • Or upon God?...

  • Are we interested in pleasing ourselves… Or Him?

 

I know those who have left our fellowship… Because they don’t like the songs we sing.

Whoa!... Who are we praising and pleasing?

Gotta ask the question...

  • Are we worshiping self…

  • Are we here this morning to please self...

  • Or… Are we genuinely thankful to God for all that is… All That he has done… and continues… to do for us daily?… Moment-by-moment?... And have we come here to offer Him our worship and praise?

 

I’m not saying that those who leave our church family for some reason cannot worship and serve God somewhere else correctly and have a heaven-bound walk with Him...

I am just asking...

  • Who are we here to worship?

  • Who are we here to please?

  • Who are we here to serve?

The point is... Joy… Thanksgiving...Gratitude... Is a heart condition… Genuine Thankfulness comes from within... And exhibits itself in exuberant songs of Praise.

 

This is why Paul wrote... Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you… With all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs… singing with… What?... thankfulness… in your hearts to God.

 

Come we that love the Lord and let our joys be known…

Join in a song with sweet accord… And thus surround the throne.

Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God…

But children of the heavenly King… May speak their joys abroad.

 

How can we possibly claim to be children of God… To love Jesus… And not Worship THem in songs of Joy and Praise?

 

Know the Lord is good… That we are His people… The sheep of His pasture.

Let your eyes fall down to verse five… Note some phrases with me…

  • For the Lord is GOOD…

  • He is always GOOD.

New Testament Scripture tells us that… Every good thing in life… Faith… Family… Food… Health… Happiness…All come from God… Every good thing given… Every perfect gift…Is from above… Coming down from the Father of lights… With whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

• There is no variation with God.

• He has no dark side.

• God is good…

• God is ALWAYS GOOD.

• HisMERCY is everlasting.

• His TRUTH endures forever.

These verses tell us without any doubt that… Our Thanksgiving is to be perpetual… Because God is always god... He’s always good…Even when we think HE’S NOT... Even when life TUMBLES in.

 

There’s an interesting set of verses in Habakkuk 3.17-18... Listen... Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls… LISTEN NOW… yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

 

In 1620... 102 Pilgrims came to this continent to build a new life in a new world where they would be free to worship and serve God. Soon after they landed... Fifty-six died due to... Starvation... Disease... And the cold winter.

However... They didn’t give up.

 

A year later... In 1621...46 Pilgrims and 91 Indians met to give thanks for a bountiful harvest and for the preservation of their lives.

 

You see... They had every reason to be depressed…Every reason to be discouraged... But they chose to give thanks anyway!!

 

The book of Habakkuk was written against a backdrop of... Apostasy... Judgment... And unbelievable hardship. It was written during a time when The King of Judah... had led the people away from the Lord into idolatry. As a result... God was preparing to judge the nation. Habakkuk is having trouble understanding why God would use a heathen nation like Babylon to punish His people... He was saying... God come down here explain Yourself to ME!


There are similarities between Habakkuk and Job.

 

Job argues his case...But in the end he realizes that God is not to be worshipped merely because of the... Temporal...Material... Physical... Blessings of life... But simply for who He is....God is to be worshiped and served because HE IS GOD!

 

Job and Habakkuk…

  • Didn’t understand God...

  • Questioned God...

  • But when God shows up...

  • When they see Him for who He is… Their lips quivered and they spoke no more…

But...praised Him in thanksgiving.

 

Isaiah has a similar experience... He falls on his face saying... Wow is me… What a sinner I am… Here am I Lord... Use me... Let me go for You... Use me in Your Kingdom Work.

 

The lesson is... We are to be thankful... Even when life tumbles in...

We are to know that even when things look bleak...

  • God is still God...

  • He is still on the Throne...

  • He’s still at Work In Our Life... Working all things to our benefit... To our betterment...

So... Be thankful!... so Be Thankful!!

 

Here is something else we learn in these verses... Thanksgiving is a choice.

Joy... Thankfulness...Praise... Worship... Serving God... Are all choices we make...

 

What are we choosing?

 

If you’re here this morning and not a child of God… Choose Joy… Choose to be a person of thanksgiving by faith and baptism… Being born again… Raised forgiven… thankful… Heaven Bound.

 

Most of us… As His children… Just need to accept the challenge to live a life of genuine gratitude to God for all that He has blessed us with… Amen?

 

If God is speaking to you this morning…

Become a people of Thanksgiving!!

As we stand and sing together.