Some Bible Verses & Thoughts On Thanksgiving…
Time & time again throughout the Bible God calls us to consistently remember (231x in the Bible!), to not forget (22x in the Bible!), what He has done for us…it is tragically ironic that this is something that we consistently don’t remember and do forget to do…
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Deuteronomy 4:9 NIV).
Oh, how we aren’t careful,
Oh, how we don’t watch ourselves closely,
Oh, how we do forget what our eyes (of faith!) have seen from the LORD,
Oh, how we do let our faith fade from our hearts as long as we live,
Oh, how we don’t teach God’s Truth to our children AND our grandchildren!
So what does it look like to thank God?
At the terrible risk of turning this beautiful relational dance into a sterile mechanical event, here are some of the ingredients in offering thanksgiving to the LORD:
We Remember what He has done for us…as individuals in our lives and as members of His family, His Body, going all the way back to Adam & Eve!!! This remembering is like realizing that there is a beautiful indoor pool in your house!
This remembering causes us to Reflect on what He has done for us (soaking)…This reflecting is like actually getting into that indoor pool and soaking in it, fully immersing ourselves in Who God is and what He has done for us!
This reflecting causes us to Rejoice over what He has done for us (praising & thanking Him)…This rejoicing is like splashing around joyfully and energetically in the pool, doing flips and cannonballs off the high dive and swimming lap after lap fully immersed in Who God is and what He has done for us!!!
This rejoicing often then causes us to Repent over our forgetting & not remembering, over not appreciating the Trinity and taking Him for granted, over all the years when we didn’t believe in the pool, when we didn’t enjoy the pool, when we didn’t want to get wet and mess up our hair, when other activities were more important than being immersed in the pool…this repenting is like the “adult swim” at the pool, the ten minutes at the end of each hour when the children have to get out and rest, or in this analogy, repent.
But this repenting-time-out doesn’t last long! The Owner and Lifeguard of the pool Personally invites us back INTO the pool to resume our splashing and swimming and cannonballing and immersing! Be careful, He might even playfully toss you back INTO the pool in love! 🙂 This repenting then causes us to complete the steps again as we Remember, Reflect on and Rejoice over the Cross, Jesus’ great forgiveness & cleansing for us when we repent!…A spiritual RINSE & REPEAT!!!
Thus, Biblical thanksgiving is a remembering of what God has done, an important look to the past…
Biblical thanksgiving is also a remembering of what God promises to do, an important look to the future…
“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life” (Psalm 119:50).
The promise of what God will do tomorrow helps to keep us going today! When we look to God’s future promises with thanksgiving, when we thank Him ahead of time for what He has yet to do, He is enabling us to do an amazing act of faith! In our current storms we are to cling to God’s Biblical promises like a person stranded in the middle of the ocean would cling and grip and constantly remain inside of a life raft or life boat! Such a stranded person wouldn’t dabble in the lifeboat as a hobby for a few minutes per day—they would stay there every moment with intense focus! Jesus wants to teach us to do the same with Him and His promises…
And so the rest of this post will be all of us remembering, reflecting, rejoicing and repenting…put on some instrumental music (or click HERE for a suggestion!) and slowly sip through the Scripture passages below. All of this is a simple attempt to give us an atmosphere that makes it easier to be with the LORD Personally, an environment that is damp with the Holy Spirit’s presence, that is warm with His fire, that is electric with Jesus’ Life, that is protected by God the Father’s power, that is healing with Jesus’ grace, that is full of the Truth of God’s Word.
Soak in these verses, allow the Holy Spirit to lead your thoughts to what the LORD has done for you throughout your life–and even how He loved you before you were conceived and born! Perhaps you could write down some of these events, or just simmer in them…ask the Holy Spirit to help you remember, reflect, rejoice, and repent…afterwards, or during!, ask the Holy Spirit if there is anyone that He wants you to call, or message, or talk to face-to-face with to share some of these blessings with…
- Ezra 3:11 (NIV)
“With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:
“He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.”
And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord…”
- Psalm 69:29-31 (NIV)
“But as for me, afflicted and in pain–
may your salvation, God, protect me.
I will praise God’s name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord…”
- Psalm 95:1-3 (NIV)
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.”
- Psalm 100:3-5 (NIV)
“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 forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
- Isaiah 51:3 (NIV)
“The Lord will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:15-16a (New Living Translation)
“as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving,
and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up.”
- 2 Corinthians 9:11-12 (NIV)
“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion,
and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people
but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”
- Ephesians 5:3-4 (NIV)
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed,
because these are improper for God’s holy people.
4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.“
- Philippians 4:5-7 (NIV)
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
What I am thankful for:
- Dr. Pepper. Ridiculously delicious beverage!!!
- My wife & children who see it all (and smell it all 🙂 ), who endure it all, who keep putting up with me and letting me in the front door each evening! 🙂
- For all of you, whether you have attended longer or less than the 32+ months I have been pastor here at Elevate. Thank you for your encouragement, gifts, friendship, prayers, patience, gentleness, teamwork, and participation with the Holy Spirit in what He is doing in and through this local church!
- For God resurrecting the relationship between my family and my wife’s parents. There were 12 years of ZERO contact since my wife accepted Jesus as her Savior, and for the last 3 years there has been a coming alive of that relationship to the point where we stay with them for a week a couple of times per year—ALL SEVEN OF US! Now THAT’S LOVE! 🙂 My son and youngest daughter have arm-wrestling matches with their Grandpa—if they don’t eat their salads at dinner, he wins against them. But if they DO eat their salads at dinner, they win against him! It is a joyful and amazing activity (among many) that is truly “ONLY GOD.”
- For God the Father adopting me as one of His children, for God the Son dying on the cross and conquering death three days later, and for the Holy Spirit opening my eyes and enabling me to receive Jesus as my Savior. For the love and grace and power of the Trinity and the Truth of God’s Word to help me trust each evening where I will be, and Who I will be with, if I don’t wake up the following morning on earth…
“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, and His love endures forever!”