Being Thankful :: by John Lysaught

I’m a bit frustrated. I’m frustrated with myself and others. I’m frustrated with the way my church is heading and I’m frustrated the selfishness of others and myself for using God as a handyman to try to fix my problems and how others try to use God only to fix their problems. God is not a wrench in the tool box that is only taken out when needed to fix something. He is a God worthy of praise, period. Can we ask for help from Him? Of course, but to only use God for fixing our problems is not what we should be praying or hoping for on a daily basis.

I’m guilty. I have taken my thankfulness out of my prayers and have replaced it with supplications for what I need. Need of financial help, the healing of health problems, to fix my personal life and to make life easier for me. These are all worldly needs that I have been asking for. What I’m lacking is a prayerful life and thankfulness of my spiritual well being and walk with Christ.  I had this revelation from the Spirit this week during a Bible study I attended.

A woman in the group was talking about all her needs and how she is blessed by God with all sorts of worldly things, but not once did she talk about thanksgiving for her relationship with God or about her spiritual walk with Him. This made me a little upset and then it hit me: I’ve been doing same thing.  I was just as guilty as she was for not thanking God for Him and not giving him praise in my prayer life and my worldly life for the things He has done for me or the growth I’ve achieved in my walk with Him.

I was really convicted of this, but yet, I was still frustrated by this because it is something people and the church are doing: plainly trying to use God for their needs only. This doesn’t apply to all people of course, but what I have seen convinces me that this is what is going on and is just another sign of the season we live in where there is a falling of the faith and the church to be leading people to Christ, only trying to make them feel good about themselves and teaching them that God serves us. We serve God and not the other way around.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) says: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ.”

I have forgotten this and many others have too. When was the last time you gave thanks to God for what you have and where you stand with Him? Today? Maybe not?  I haven’t for awhile and this is something I’ve been convicted of by the Spirit.  He has told me to give thanksgiving to the Lord for everything I have, have had, and will get. The Spirit has told me in my heart that I have neglected God by only being selfish in my conversations with Him and only thinking of myself.  Yup, I’m guilty as charged. I will change my ways and give thanks to God and praise Him for what He has given me from blessings to trials to tests. I will praise Him for the good and the challenges I face that, in the end, will make me stronger with Christ and my walk with Him.

“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 message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 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,” (Colossians 3:15-17 NIV).

“And be thankful.” What a simple statement this is for us to live by. Let Christ rule in our hearts and be thankful. So simple yet so easy to forget. Sure we get caught up in our lives and troubles and tribulations, but we are charged to be thankful to God. How can we have great peace in our heart if we don’t give thanks to Him for what we have and our spiritual walk with Him?  Looking back over the time I have taken away the thankfulness and praise of God, I can feel that I haven’t been at peace as much as I was when I gave thanks and praises to Him.

I believe that when we give thanks, we also get a sense of peace in our hearts that is over arching over any need that we have and any trouble and challenges we are facing?  I don’t say bad things we are facing because there is nothing bad about God or what He does for us in blessings, trials, and tests. We face challenges to use our faith to overcome and grow spiritually. We are presented challenges so we can overcome them; give thanks to God for the strength to face adversity in our lives, with the end result of peace in our hearts.

“You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you.  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever,” (Psalm 118:28-29 NIV).

Here we are again with praise and thanks. Psalm 118:28-29 tells us to praise and give thanks to the Lord. We are charged to do this. We are charged to exalt Him. We are not told to use God for our own good pleasure to get things we want or need in this world. Need more money? Don’t ask God for money, ask Him to help you with your finances and praise Him for what you do have and what He has given you financially. Are you facing a tribulation or a life challenge that makes you miserable or causes you to question your faith or where God is? Thank Him for the challenge that you will succeed at overcoming. Praise Him for the opportunity to grow in better faith with Him and a spiritual growth in your walk with Him.

I’ve failed at this and I’m sure you have as well.  We are not perfect creatures but imperfect people who make mistakes and sometimes forget that we are to be thankful to God and be thankful and give praise to Him for what He is, who He is, and what He HAS done for us. Our attention span is about as far as our next challenge. We tend to forget what God did for us to help us through our last challenge and the thankfulness we forgot to give for Him helping us through it.

His love is enduring and never ending. He wants our hearts, nothing else, but we tend to forget this by not thanking Him enough not only for what we have but for the salvation He has given us through Christ and the strength He gives us to endure. We need to remember to give thanks and praises to Him so that we never forget what He did for us, what He did for our salvation, what He does for us every day of our lives. Thank you Jesus for you!

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength,” (Philippians 4:12-13 NIV).

As frustrated as I have been at myself and of others for not giving thanks, I know that the Lord is still there for me, there to take charge of my life, to lead me and give me strength to endure life through blessings and challenges through my faith, his strength, and my renewed attitude of giving thanks to Him for everything.  No matter what I face, no matter what challenges I have, I know that He can give me the strength to get through life’s challenges that I face and come out of them with a renewed strength in my relationship with Him and more confidence in Him that He is my strength in want or need, and my praise for the plenty that I do get.

You too, must find that strength to praise him in life’s challenges you face. Give Him thanks in your times of blessings. Give Him thanks for the strength to endure the challenges you are facing right now and will face in the future. We all receive blessings and we all face challenges, yet we forget to give thanks, get hopeless feelings, yet we need to praise Him for His strength to help us through trying times.

Even when you are content with what you have and your faith, you should give praise. Praise is what the Lord wants from us. He doesn’t need praise to operate. He wants praise from us for what He is doing for us and the strength and perseverance we have the capacity for to endure. Praise Him for this always. A lesson I have learned.

“I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High” ( Psalm 7:17 NIV).

The Bible is full of verses that talk about thankfulness, gratitude, and praise for the Lord: Just look them up on Google or your concordance. I want all to realize to be thankful for the Lord, to be thankful for the things we have and to be thankful for our spiritual standing and growth we continue to get from the Lord.

Trust in Christ for you well being. Trust in Christ for your needs, for He already knows your needs. Trust that in challenges that the Lord is with you. Trust that your spiritual walk will grow with overcoming challenges. Most of all though, give thanks to the Lord for He is mighty, strong, and deserves our praise for everything we have and everything we face in life.

God Bless You All.