This Sunday will lead us into the Thanksgiving holiday week. 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 of the 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 in their present day.
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, 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.
Take a moment to slowly read through 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 right now.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
As we give thanks to God for the ways we can look back and see how He has delivered us, we look ahead with greater confidence that he will deliver us again.
This Sunday, we will be hearing testimonies of thanksgiving from Noah Lietzau, Tracy Manson, and Matt Van Hook as they “think about His grace that’s brought them (and is bringing them) through,” to quote Walt Harrah’s song, Think About His Love.
Kenny Clark will be leading our sung worship with the help of our elementary and middle school 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 Link of the Week
Think About His Love (Walt Harrah) recording by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
Think about His love
Think about His goodness
Think about His grace that’s brought us through
For as high as the heavens above
So great is the measure of our Father’s love
Great is the measure of our Father’s love