November 25, 2013

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, 

give thanks in all circumstances; 

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find 
yourself in. This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The Voice)


Attitude – by redirecting your focus to Jesus which changes your perspective.
Rehearse – by remaining in constant communication with the Father in an attitude of prayer.
Thanks – by reciting praise to God. 
Give Thanks!
This word in 1 Thessalonians is inthe present tense, imperative mood and active voice, which means a continuous, repeated action that is a command that the subject (you) accomplishes.  In other words: Do it!  Over and over and over again!

Some other words for giving thanks and thanksgiving in the New Testament are:

thanksgiving – eucharistia-gratitude; active, grateful language; thanks to God as an act of worship

be thankful – eucharistos-(used only in Colossians 3:15) – thankful, mindful of favors, grateful

In her book, 1000 GiftsAnn Voskamp makes the point that In the midst of each of these Greek words for giving thanks is the Greek word charis which means grace.     
grace – charis – the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life; that which affords joy or pleasure; of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues; the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace.

Giving thanks is simply grateful language.  It is a language of the heart. It is the overflow of our realization, acknowledgement and expression of gratitude for what God has done for us.  He has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus.  He has restored our peace and joy.  He has brought us back into right relationship and fellowship with Him.  God’s Word tells us that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”  Our heart is not just our feelings, emotions, desires, affections, but also our mind and will. With our will we CHOOSE. Many times we may not FEEL like giving thanks but we can CHOOSE to do so as an act of worship to God.
 “Feeling gratitude is not a prerequisite to giving thanks.” -T.M. Moore, The Thanksgiving Solution
Read through Psalm 107.  What can we learn from this psalm about giving thanks?
It begins with an exhortation – Let the redeem say so!  We are tosay so!  As those redeemed from an empty way of life -from sin, from darkness and death-we are to express our thanks to God privately and publicly because of who He is and His wondrous works.  These verses tell us He is good and His unfailing love endures forever!

Unfailing love – hesed – love, kindness, goodness, mercy, faithfulness, love. Classic text for understanding this word is in Psalm 136 where it is repeated 26 times. God’s kindness and faithfulness serve as foundation for his actions and character. It is abundant, exceedingly great, without end and good.

Read through each of the following sections of Psalm 107 and note the descriptors of these people.  For what do they give thanks?  What do they learn about who He IS as a result of their experience and God’s deliverance? 

In each of the sections of this psalm we find a group of people who were:
  • in need
  • in trouble
  • in distress
In each instance we find some common factors:
  • They cried out to the Lord
  • He delivered them from their distress
  • An repeated phrase to give thanks to the Lord
  • An attribute of God related to their need in that situation
We find that God:
  • satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with good things (v. 9)
  • shatters the chains of bondage and sets free from darkness and death (v. 14, 16)
  • sends forth His Word and heals and delivers from destruction (v. 20)
  • stills the storms and waves that rage and brings to a safe and desired refuge (v. 29-30)
What would your Psalm 107 be?  Write your story of how God has worked in your life and reasons for giving thanks for who He is all His wondrous works.
Psalm 107 ends with an exhortation:
“Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.”
attend – samar – to guard, keep, retain, observe and celebrate
consider – biyn – to perceive, to understand, to know, consider diligently

We can keep and celebrate, understand and know when we give thanks to the Lord for the many ways we see Him at work in our day.  But, we’ve got to be attentive and intentional.  He will reveal Himself in amazing ways and fill our lives with joy and awe when we do so!
So…Say SO!  Make it a habit to give thanks to the Lord in all circumstances, because He is good, He is unfailing love and He will use it all for His glory and our good.
give thanks – yadah – to acknowledge, to praise, to confess. The essential meaning is an act of acknowledging what is right about God in praise and thanksgiving. It can also mean an acknowledgement of self before God in confessing sin. Often linked with the word hallelujah which in Hebrew 
is a combination of the words: 

halal – to praise, boast, shine, to shout and 

Jah – the contracted form of Jehovah or Yahweh, meaning He is.

Hallelujah literally means, Praise He IS! In Psalm 107 where in case God met their need with an attribute of His character, an aspect of who He IS.  He does the same in our lives. So think through your Psalm 107 story and spend some time in Hallelujah Thanksgiving – praising the Lord for who He IS!  And remember your story extends beyond your initial point of salvation. God is writing your story every day. You always have reason to give thanks to the Lord!
Hallelujah! Praise He IS… __________________________.

To download the homework from this lesson, click here.