What does God think of thanksgiving? He is blessed and honored by it because a life of thanksgiving is the mark of a saint who knows God's character and His position as God alone. The Lord is the giver of all good gifts and He is worthy of thanksgiving. Since God's qualities are not hidden, thanksgiving is not optional. "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:20-21)." The absence of glory and thanksgiving ascribed to God leads to darkened hearts and futile thinking. May God's people receive wisdom as we glorify His eternal power and divine nature with praise and thanksgiving!
God is Jehovah, the great I AM. He is El-Shaddai, the Almighty God. He is Jehovah-Jireh, God our Provider. "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:16-18). Everything we enjoy in the present and coming age is a gift from God worthy of thanksgiving.
But what if our life is a mess? What if our circumstances feel like anything but a gift from God? Circumstances may deceive us but God's Word tells us: "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
God is at work for our good and His glory. Biblical thanksgiving does not focus on our circumstances, but on the character of God. Circumstances change; God does not.
In Psalm 73, David was perplexed at the prosperity of the wicked while the godly faced difficulties and trials. However, he reminded himself that God alone was His provision, counsel, strength, desire and portion. He knew from God's Word the fate of those who are far from God and he remembered that it was good and right for him to be near God, his refuge — offering thanksgiving for all God had done.
Those who have the salvation of God through faith in Jesus Christ know the secret to peace is found in thanksgiving. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Philippians, said, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
By submitting our requests to God with a thankful heart, we receive peace that transcends all understanding. Thanksgiving is integral to a right relationship with God. It is the hallmark of a true follower of Jesus Christ because thanksgiving honors God, bringing glory to His name and blessings beyond measure. "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And Be Thankful." (Colossians 3:15)
Excerpted from My Journal, a monthly devotional magazine from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.
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