There's power in thanksgiving to: 1) bring peace, 2) take you into your Promised Land, 3) change circumstances, 4) make you shine and have a supernatural life, 5) change or save your marriage; 6) affect your family; 7) could save your occupation; and 8) bless your church.
We are talking about "The Power of…" Certain things in life empower us when we develop them. With them, we can do great things and have a life of power, victory, and abundance. When not developed we experience negative lives and even wasted lives. One of those empowering gifts is the gift of thanksgiving. Since Thursday will be Thanksgiving Day in the USA, I thought it would be a great time to talk about "The Powers of Thanksgiving."
I am certain that we will all connect with our family and friends Thursday. We'll sit around remembering the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. Right? We all take the time to be thankful remembering how the Pilgrims suffered the brutal first year so we could have what we have today. Right? Thursday will be a day we all take time and reflect on how thankful we are for each other, life, and all we have. Right? Isn't that what everyone does Thanksgiving Day?
Does anyone actually do this? Don't we simply get together, watch football games, eat, and maybe go to the mall? The day after Thanksgiving, affectionately called, "Black Friday," is the largest shopping day of the year telling us how much Americans give thanks for the Pilgrims, first Thanksgiving, each other, and God.
Though we have a special day called "Thanksgiving Day," do we stop and give thanksgiving. God's children are supposed to be thankful people. In the Old Testament, there was an offering called the "Sacrifice of Thanksgiving."
Leviticus 22:29 And when ye will offer a SACRIFICE OF THANKSGIVING unto the LORD, offer it at YOUR OWN WILL. Besides the cakes, he shall offer for his offering leavened bread with the SACRIFICE OF THANKSGIVING OF HIS PEACE OFFERINGS.
I wonder how many of those were given seeing it was given at their own will. Likely not many. Interestingly, the sacrifice of thanksgiving is associated with the peace offerings. A power of thanksgiving is thanksgiving brings peace - peace with God and peace with people. It's impossible to be angry and upset with someone for whom you give thanksgiving. If you want to have peace with someone give thanksgiving for them. Sometimes it is a sacrifice, but it will work every time. It will change your entire perspective and make a fractious situation peaceful.
For the most part, God's people are not thankful. The children of Israel are prime examples. Remember how the Lord miraculously delivered them from Egyptian bondage, miraculously opened the Red Sea, miraculously given them manna every day (except the Sabbath), and miraculously gave them and their livestock drink from a rock. They lived miraculous supernatural lives, but were they thankful? No. They grumbled, murmured, and complained. And, what did that get them? It got them wasted lives in the wilderness. Thanksgiving would have gotten them their Promised Land - lives of power, victory, and abundance. The difference of living an abundant life and a wilderness life is thanksgiving. The powers of thanksgiving not only brings peace. It will take you into your Promised Land.
We are programmed to equate our level of thankfulness to how well we feel circumstances are going. It is not what the Bible teaches.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Notice that Paul said to give thanks in all circumstances, not "for all circumstances." Why is God's will we "give thanks in all circumstances"? Because thanksgiving has the power to change the circumstance. When you find yourself in a complaining circumstance, even if you've begun complaining, stop! Begin to give thanksgiving for something. You will be amazed how the circumstance will change. Complaining feeds our circumstances making them worse.
Psalms 77:3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I COMPLAINED, AND MY SPIRIT WAS OVERWHELMED. Selah.
Have you ever seen a happy complainer? Complaining about our circumstances feed the circumstances and overwhelm us. We feed our spirits sour, bitter, and negative thoughts becoming what we eat - sour and bitter. You cannot be happy when you complain.
Yet, you cannot be unhappy and complain when you give thanksgiving. It is impossible. I challenge you to go one month without complaining. Well, maybe we should begin with one day. When you find yourself in a circumstance complaining, stop and give thanksgiving for something instead. You will feel and find your life blessed. Your countenance will change. You will begin to shine.
Philippians 2:14 Do everything WITHOUT COMPLAINING or arguing, SO THAT you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you SHINE LIKE STARS IN THE UNIVERSE
Here is why it is God's will you give thanks in everything. It is so you will live the real high life – the abundant life – in the supernatural dimension. Have you looked at this world lately? People are depressed and depraved. They are hopeless and sad. Your life will be different if you do everything without complaining. You can be a star over Bethlehem guiding people to the Christ. The powers of thanksgiving are to bring peace, take you into your Promised Land, change the circumstance, and make you a shining star.
I want to challenge you today to turn your complaining into thanksgiving. If you own one Bible, you are blessed. A third of the people in the world do not have access to a Bible. If you awoke this morning, you are more blessed than one million people who will not survive the week. If you are not experiencing the pangs of starvation, you are more fortunate than five hundred million people on earth. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, access to twenty dollars, and a place to sleep you are richer than seventy-five percent of the world.
We need to be thankful for the gift of life and all the wonders it contains. Husbands we need to give thanksgiving for our wives, and we need to tell them we are. We don't mind telling them when we're upset with them. Your wife is the best thing that ever happened to you. Husbands imagine how your marriage would improve if you came home with some flowers and a card and told your wife how thankful you are for all she does. Instead of focusing on the things she does aggravating you, take the high ground and focus on the things she does you are thankful. It will change your marriage and your perspective of your wife. There's power in thanksgiving to help and change your marriage.
Wives, your marriage would improve if you told your husbands how much you appreciate him. You certainly don't mind telling him and others when he does things you don't appreciate. Instead of focusing on the dirty socks and dirty underwear and other dirty things, focus on what he does you are thankful. I will never forget coming home one day from work and Judy telling me how much she appreciated my taking care of her. She told me, "You have taken care of me well." It will change your perspective of your husband. There's power in thanksgiving to change and save your marriage.
Parents, we need to tell our children how thankful we are for them. I was the first person in my family for several generations to graduate college. My mother told me how proud and thankful she was for me. It was forty-five years ago, but I remember it. The impact of thankfulness is powerful. My dad lived with us for a while after my mom died. He and I were sitting and talking, and he told me how thankful he was for Judy and me. Then he told me how thankful he had always been for me. He said I had always been a good boy and never caused them much grief. He didn't know how I just didn't get caught much. Parents, don't only yell and punish your children. We must discipline, but tell them how thankful you are for them. It's powerful. They will remember your doing it forever.
Children, can you image how your lives would change if you were truly thankful for your parents and all they do for you? Listen, as a parent and grandparent, your expressing gratitude and thankfulness for what your parents sacrifice for you will multiply what they give you. What we parents usually hear is, "Give me… Give me… Give me..." Or, "I need…, I need…, I need…" Or, "I want…, I want…, I want…" Seldom do you express thanksgiving. If you would, you would get much more. Let me tell you a story from several years back. Jack and Max are my two oldest grandsons. Jack was six and Max was five. I often heard, "Ahdaddy, will you buy us…?" One day they both send me a gift. They made me a picture and put a dollar in it for me. How cool was that? You can imagine what I will do next time I buy they want something. We respond to thankfulness because thankfulness if powerful. There's power in thanksgiving to: 1) bring peace, 2) take you into your Promised Land, 3) change circumstances, 4) make you shine and have a supernatural life, 5) change or save your marriage, and 6) affect your family.
We need to be thankful for our jobs and our employers. How would it be if instead of grumbling and complaining about your job and boss, you took your employer a gift and a note thanking them for the opportunity they gave you to work for them? Thank them for the salary they pay you giving you the ability to pay your bills. Thank them for the benefits you are given. Tell them you appreciate and are thankful for them. What kind of effect do you think it would have on them when a promotion came available, or time for a raise, or the next time you needed off? There is power in thankfulness to; 1) bring peace, 2) take you into your Promised Land, 3) change circumstances, 4) make you shine and have a supernatural life, 5) change or save your marriage; 6) affect your family; and 7) could save your occupation.
We need to be thankful for our church and the people in our church. The apostle Paul began his letters to the churches with thanksgiving.
Romans 1:8 FIRST, I THANK MY GOD through Jesus Christ for all of you…
1 Corinthians 1:4 I ALWAYS THANK GOD for you…
Ephesians 1:16 I have not stopped GIVING THANKS FOR YOU…
(NLT) Philippians 1:3 Every time I think of you, I GIVE THANKS TO MY GOD.
When was the last time you thanked God for your church? Paul made sure he let people in the churches know he was thankful for them, and he appreciated them. I try to take every opportunity I can to thank our volunteers at Life Gate. I am thankful for every person here. You don't have to come here, but you do and I thank God for each of you. There's always some nick-pick something we could focus on, but when we give thanksgiving for our church, we're able to focus what matters - Jesus, each other, saving souls, teaching his word, and ministering to people. There's power in thanksgiving to: 1) bring peace, 2) take you into your Promised Land, 3) change circumstances, 4) make you shine and have a supernatural life, 5) change or save your marriage; 6) affect your family; 7) could save your occupation; and 8) bless your church.
Maybe you're not a thankful person. How can you change from being a grumbling, complaining, murmuring person into a person empowered by thanksgiving? Develop a daily discipline of thankfulness.
Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. THREE TIMES A DAY he got down on his knees and prayed, GIVING THANKS TO HIS GOD, just as HE HAD DONE BEFORE.
Daniel had a daily discipline of giving thanks to his God. Thanksgiving empowered Daniel. He became extremely successful. Let me tell you Daniel's story. Daniel experienced horrible things, yet he learned to give thanks in all things. The Babylonians conquered his nation. His city destroyed. His family killed. They took Daniel into captivity. They made him a eunuch taking away his manhood, yet he continued to give thanks three times a day. Daniel became very wealthy, successful, and powerful. Thanksgiving brings success.
At this time, some men were jealous of Daniel's life and position. They developed a plan. They influenced the king to make a decree saying anyone who prayed to any god other than the king would be thrown into a lion's den. Daniel was well aware of the decree, but because of his discipline to give thanksgiving, Daniel continued to pray. You know the story. He was seen praying and thrown into the lion's den. However, the Lord sent his angel to shut the mouths of the lions and delivered Daniel. Daniel's accusers were thrown into the lion's den and devoured (Dan 6:24). Afterward, the king decreed Daniel's God as the real God and the king blessed Daniel.
Daniel 6:28 So DANIEL PROSPERED during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
What lion's den are you facing today? Is there something threatening to devour you? Shut the mouth of the lion with thanksgiving. Is it your health? Is something devouring your peace? Are giants in your promised land? What circumstance is devouring you? You can shine above it all like a star in the universe. How's your marriage - your husband, your wife? How's your family? How's your occupation? How's your church? The Powers of Thanksgiving change everything.