This Sunday, as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday week, our gathered worship will be focused on gratitude for God’s past and present grace. As I sat to write out our hopes for us this Sunday, I couldn’t think of a better way to express it than what I wrote last year. Our desire is the same. So here it is!
Psalm 92:1-2 reminds us that giving thanks is a good thing.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night
But giving thanks to God is not just a good from us (in other words, a good thing we offer to God in response to His goodness) but it’s good for us. Giving thanks strengthens our faith. We can see this in the pattern of many Psalms that recount God’s steadfast love and faithfulness as they had been clearly seen in the past, giving thanks, only then to turn to God in their present circumstances calling on him to show the same steadfast love and faithfulness to them again as they face their unknown future.
When I was growing up, there was a commercial for Lifesaver’s candy with a little boy and his dad sitting under a tree on a hill watching a beautiful sunset. As the last sliver of sun dipped below the horizon, the father whispered, “Going… going… gone.” After a pause, the boy whispered, “Do it again, daddy.” Now, I know the father didn’t really control the sunset (and I know it’s little corny!), but it’s still a beautiful image. The boy had seen his father do something extraordinary and his immediate response was to ask him to repeat it.
Giving thanks to God can work that way, too. In his book, Future Grace, John Piper wrote this.
“When gratitude for God’s past grace is strong, the message is sent that God is supremely trustworthy in the future because of what He has done in the past. In this way, faith is strengthened by a lively gratitude for God’s past trustworthiness. Gratitude for bygone grace is constantly saying to faith, ‘Be strong, and do not doubt that God will be as gracious in the future as I know he’s been in the past.’”
This Sunday, we will be hear from Trent Meaux and Melody Lietzau as they “think about God’s grace that’s brought them (and is bringing them) through.” And if time permits, we will conclude with a short time of open mic testimonies of God’s grace. In a sentence or two, what is one of the clearest ways you have seen God’s hand of grace upon you in the past or can see it upon you now in your present? Would you come ready to add your “thank you”?
Kenny Clark will be leading our sung worship with the help of our elementary kids’ choir. Would you pray for all as they prepare? And let’s ask the Lord to use this time looking back in thanksgiving to make us a people who rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead, setting our hope on Him that He will deliver us again and again (2 Cor. 8:9-10).
See you Sunday, Grace. Let’s come thankful!
SONG OF THE WEEK
Praise the Lord (Psalm 150) recording by Matt Boswell and The Trails Church
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord
Sing His greatness all creation
Praise the Lord, raise your voice
You heights and all you depths
From furthest east to west
Let everything that has breath
Praise the Lord