3 Ways to Give Thanks

images-4Psalm 50:14, “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,”

Giving thanks is a game-changer for those that really “get it” in life. Or, better yet, those who let the Spirit of gratitude get a hold of them.

God established the prominent place of Thanksgiving in the lives of His people long ago. It was to be such an integral part of our lives that He made it a “law” from the beginning as part of the Fellowship Offerings. See Leviticus 7:11-15. Now, it is less of a law and more of a lifestyle that flows from a grateful heart for all the Lord has done for us. Here are 3 Ways to Give Thanks each and every day…

Give Thanks for the past! See Philippians 1:1-3.

Nothing helps us deal with the present and gives courage to face the future like remembering how God has come through in the past. We have a choice. We can focus on past failures, loss and pain…or, on past victories and gains. Not in denial of the past, but determined to grow through them. Have we seen better days? Maybe… but  we will see better days again. How do I know? Because those days came from the God who is changeless. See Hebrews 13:8. While He is sovereign and under no obligation to do so, He is the ultimate blesser… and blessers, bless. We may not recognize it now, but what we are going through in the present, God is going to work for our good and His glory in the future. See Romans 8:28.

One word of warning. Give thanks for the past, but don’t get stuck there. The Wisdom Writer admonishes, “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10, NIV) See also Isaiah 43:18-19.

Let’s face it, the older we get the better we were. This simply means that we tend to glamorize the “good ole’ days” in popular culture for our own sense of worth and well-being. However, the emerging generations deserve to hear from those with a few more miles on them that the best and most influential days are still to come, and God means to partner with them to bring see these days become reality. They need to hear this because the challenge is greater than ever… but God is able in and through them. This looks like living and leading unstuck, holding on to timeless principles but always remain flexible concerning processes.

Give Thanks for the present! Philippians 1:4-5

When we say “the present” we aren’t merely referring to all the ways we are abundantly blessed right here and now. What “the present” really should mean is THE PRESENT. That is, salvation in and through the greatest gift from the Heavenly Father, God the Son, Jesus Christ. See 2 Corinthians 9:10-15. No longer is the blood of animals required because Jesus Christ shed His blood. No longer is the bread or grain offering required because the Bread of Life has given His own body as the sacrifice. Jesus is the literal and final fulfillment of the Thank Offering for our sins! This ultimate reality should induce in us a grateful state of gratitude and grounded sense of contentment whatever our circumstances.

“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” – Harry Ironside 

Simply put, contentment is the key that unlocks the door of inner abundance. See Philippians 4:10-13. Let’s ask ourselves, “How much do we really need to live well?” Far less than we currently possess if our hearts are right, content in ways that neither plenty nor want can spoil.

Give Thanks for the future! Philippians 1:6

See John 11:38-44. Jesus modeled this for us as He thanked God the Father in advance of the healing of Lazarus. This is where faith and thanksgiving collide with harsh reality to create a powerful move of God! See Philippians 4:6-7. When we thank God for what is yet to come, we are making a deposit of faith that He will make good on with great interest. That’s the power of faith in Him. See Hebrews 11:1-6.

“Let us thank God heartily as often as we pray that we have His Spirit within us to teach us to pray. Thanksgiving will draw our hearts out to God and keep us engaged with Him; it will take our attention from ourselves and give the Spirit room in our hearts.” – Andrew Murray

This, in itself, is the answer to our prayers… more of the Spirit of the Lord and less of the things of this world.

Need a “formula” for thanksgiving and living a great life? What is it that the few people we all know who seem to “get it” have? Could it be a grateful spirit? Paul challenged, “Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV) Whatever we face, we may not be thankful for it, but we can find a centered place of gratitude in it and grow through it as God proves Himself worthy time and again.

It’s time to make thanksgiving a lifestyle. Purpose to think, speak and act with gratitude from this day forward. What are you thankful for? Give thanks to God and spread a viral spirit of gratitude to others.

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