A Journey Thru Acts 41: Thanksgiving (28:14-16)
14 There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them.
And so we came to Rome.
15 The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming,
and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us.
At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
3 those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.”
20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done,
he was glad
and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.
This is what we are to do this week of Thanksgiving and every week:
share what the grace of God has done in our lives so that we all may be glad!
Please allow me to share one blessing that I am thankful to the LORD for
over the past year:
That the Lord Jesus continues to transform me
as I learn to soak the encrusted pots & pans
of my worries & fears
in the soapy hot water
of His Word: His character & promises.
When the LORD calms our intense fear & anxiety,
it’s like massaging & loosening a charlie-horse cramp–
we’re able to walk & run again when we only limped before.
Though Christ can make the physically lame walk again,
it’s no less a miracle when He does the same to us emotionally…
He’s been doing that for me over the past year.
What passages in particular is He soaking me in?
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
4 Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself,
is the Rock eternal.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 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.
“Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Ephesians 2:1-10: When I was dead in transgressions/sins, Christ died for me, and the Father made me, even me!, alive in the Lord Jesus, all as an undeserved gift!
My dear friends, time & time again throughout the Bible God calls us to consistently remember (231x in the Bible!), to not forget (22x), 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!
Let us 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,
- when we just wanted to lounge around the pool but never actually get in,
- when we thought we didn’t need any swimming lessons from the Lifeguard…
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 forever! 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
- Reflect on and
- Rejoice over
the Cross, the Lord 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…
Then, as we look back and ahead in thanksgiving to the LORD,
Biblical thanksgiving is an important look up to Him today…
Praise the LORD!!!
Here are just a few of the many passages in the Bible with the word “thanksgiving”–please marinate in them this week and every week!
- 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 (NLT)
“…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.”
- 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.“
8. Philippians 4:5-7:
“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 & your minds in Christ Jesus.”