Thank God :: by Ron and Nathele Graham

Are you thankful? Children are taught at a very young age to say, thank you, for things that are given to them…a bit of food, a drink of water, clothes, or maybe a toy. This is just good manners. As we mature into adulthood, too often we forget to say, “Thank you.”

Or we are too proud or maybe we feel we deserve the kindness of others? Maybe we take other people’s kindness toward us for granted and aren’t thankful at all. What about God? Do we take Him for granted? He has given so much, but do we take time to thank Him?

“Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name” (1 Chronicles 29:13).

We cannot thank Him enough for His provision for us and His love. We may thank Him for our blessings but something that we may not think to thank God for is fellow believers. I’m sure we all have had  brothers or sisters in Christ do something nice for us, and have thanked them, or even thanked God for their kindness. I know I have.

Paul took his gratitude for fellow believers even further. When he wrote his letters of encouragement, admonition, or teaching, he was sure to tell the recipients that he thanked God for them. He not only thanked them for their kindness, but he thanked God for them because they were fellow believers.

“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:4).

The Corinthian brethren were in great need of guidance in their Christian walk, yet Paul said “I thank my God always on your behalf.” Paul felt grateful for them simply because they were fellow believers. Even struggling Christians are still our brothers and sisters. To the Romans he wrote:

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8).

He appreciated that their faith was so remarkable that it was known throughout the world at a time when communication was slow and not as efficient as we enjoy today. When he wrote the letter to the Romans he hadn’t even visited them yet but he still had heard of their faith and was thankful for them. How often do we thank God for a congregation of believers across town, let alone in another country?

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5).

Yes, Paul was thankful for fellow believers everywhere. He was thankful for the congregations he had spent time with and also for those he hadn’t met. We also need to be thankful for our brothers and sisters in Christ, whether they are down the street or on the other side of the world.

We also need to give thanks for individuals and recognize their faith.

“I thank my god, making mention of thee always in my prayers” (Philemon 1:4).

Paul was about to ask something of Philemon that was difficult. Philemon had a slave named Onesimus who had stolen money from him and then ran away. Philemon was a Christian and along the way Onesimus also became a Christian. Onesimus needed to face his sin and that required him to return to Philemon.

Paul wrote a letter to Philemon and was able to say that he indeed thanked God for Philemon’s faith, and now he was asking Philemon to put that faith into action. He needed to forgive a man who had wronged him but who now was a fellow Christian. If Paul hadn’t been faithful in his prayers of thanks he could not have told Philemon that he prayed for him.

We need to pray for our fellow Christians. We need to thank God that we have brothers and sisters in Christ who are faithful and have a desire to please God.

Young Christians today have a lot of challenges to their faith. Do you thank God for them? Timothy was a young man who loved Jesus. He was a companion of Paul and when a pastor was needed in Ephesus, Timothy took the challenge. He kept in touch with Paul who gave him encouragement and a strong foundation to build on. Paul didn’t just answer Timothy’s letters and leave it there.

“I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day”(2 Timothy 1:3).

Many young Christians need to hear those words and know that an older Christian cares enough to pray for them. They may not be asked to be a pastor, but they do go into a classroom that is hostile to Christians and they face incredible worldly temptations. We need to encourage them to study God’s Word and use it to guide their lives, but we also need to pray for them without ceasing. Thank God there are young Christians who are not afraid to boldly stand strong in their faith and not compromise God’s Word.

The Psalms are filled with thankfulness to God. The gratitude to God is refreshing as we read these beautiful praises. David and the other psalmists wrote many eloquent songs of thanks to God.

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4).

That is exactly what our attitude should be toward God—thankful praise to Him.

“For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting: and his truth endureth to all generations”  (Psalm 100:5).

Thank God His mercy is everlasting. How can we not be thankful for that?

“Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness” (Psalm 30:4).

He is holy, yet He loves us enough to die on the cross to pay our debt. Christians have much to thank Him for and should give thanks to Him continually.

“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs” (Psalm 69:30-31).

Oh, how we need to magnify Him with thanksgiving! He gives us everything, yet we take it for granted. There are not enough hours in a day to thank God for what He has given to us. Brothers and sisters, don’t be shy in your praises for Him and your gratitude for salvation. Not only is He alone worthy of our praise, but people hearing our praise of God might be reminded of their own blessings and remember to thank Him.

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods” (Psalm 95:1-3).

Yes He is. Thank Him and praise Him.

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

This doesn’t say to give thanks “for every thing” but give thanks “ineverything.”  There is a difference. We all face troubles and have concerns such as disease, loss of a loved one, children who rebel, jobs that are stressful, and much more. It’s easy to thank Him when life is sailing along and we have no troubles, but we need to remember to thank Him when things aren’t so smooth as well.

He is with us during the good times, but He is also there in the troubled times. We need to thank Him in those troubled times because He is still God and He still loves us. Jesus told His disciples of troubles to come, but He also told them to turn to Him.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Turn to Him in the good times and bad, and in all things give thanks. Thank You, Jesus.

Don’t forget to thank Him when He blesses you with a miracle. When Jesus walked this earth He healed many people. On one occasion there were ten men who had the dreaded disease of leprosy. They were outcasts required to stay away from people who were not infected by the disease. As Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem these ten men saw Him and cried out to Him for mercy. Jesus told them to show themselves to the priest and as they went to do that they were all healed:

“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:15-16).

Only one thanked Him, yet all ten were healed. Every one of us is filled with the disease called sin. Only through Jesus is that disease healed, but do we take the time to thank Him? We might cry out to Him for mercy when our sin causes us pain, but do we thank Him when we receive it? Do we thank Him for the once for all sacrifice He made to pay the debt of our sin? Christians still sin, but through Christ’s blood we are forgiven. That precious gift of salvation isn’t to be taken lightly and we need to thank Him continually.

Christ paid a huge price to purchase our salvation. He left Heaven and entered His creation as a man. He healed the sick, raised the dead, restored sight to the blind, and most of all He paid our sin-debt on the cross of Calvary. Only by accepting His death, burial, and resurrection are we allowed the privilege of eternal life with Him. Have you thanked Him for that lately? Or, are you like the nine lepers who just couldn’t be bothered to say, “Thank You, Jesus” and to worship Him.

Each year the United States takes the fourth Thursday in November and calls it Thanksgiving Day. There are parades, turkey dinners, football games, and family get-togethers. Most people are thankful for a day off of work or safe travel to Grandma’s house. But have you thanked God for the blessings He gives? Every blessing we have comes from Him, and fall on those who reject Him—as well as those who accept Him. (I often wonder just who the atheist thanks on Thanksgiving Day.)

Without Jesus as Creator, the world would not exist; without Him as Saviour eternal life for the Christian would not exist.

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

Every day we need to remember God’s love for us and thank Him.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham