Sunday 22 December 2013
Speaker: Pastor Tim Azo
Since the beginning of this month God has been speaking to us on the subject of thanksgiving. We have heard repeatedly the need, importance and impact of giving gratitude to God, not occasionally but as a lifestyle. Several testimonies have been shared to the effect that thanksgiving is good, produces positive results and does wonders in the life of those who practice it. But with all the emphasis there are still a few who feel, “Thanksgiving? Really? What for?”. To these few I have been sent.
THANKSGIVING – WHAT FOR?
“By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down, yea, we wept
When we remembered Zion.
2 We hung our harps
Upon the willows in the midst of it.
3 For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song,
And those who plundered us requested mirth,
Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song
In a foreign land?“
Sometimes we may remember the things we have lost- beauty, glory, or comfort, and say, “how can you ask me to thank God.” If you still feel that there is really no reason to thank God, thank him for the gift of life and your salvation. Thank him that you are born again; that you are a new creation; that you have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, and have been blessed with eternal life. Whatever else you think you don’t have, whatever dream you treasure but was not achieved cannot compare with these. So don’t hang your harp of praise and gratitude to God.
Some of us may consider that we are yet to reach our targets, milestones. You may think you have failed? Is there any ground for thanksgiving? Yes there is.
Reflect on the song;
“When I think on the goodness of Jesus
And all He has done for Me
My very soul shall shout, Hallelujah
Praise God for saving me“
Why Must You Sing?
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
The treasure within us may be placed under pressure, but the Glory of God has been imparted to our spirits. The light of God shines in our hearts.”
You may be hard-pressed, but you are not hopeless.
1 Peter 1: 3 -12 says;
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.”
Don’t let anything tamper with the joy of your salvation – this unspeakable joy Peter spoke about, no matter how bad things seem to have been. Your salvation, faith, new birth and gift of righteousness from God are more precious than gold.
God has given us eternal life. God has given us a gift of righteousness through the sacrifice of Jesus- we can approach God as if we never sinned.
- Interestingly, the things that make us to get moody, or adopt an attitude of ingratitude towards God are the lesser issues of life. It is like the Sun and the Moon. One is called the greater light, the other the lesser light. (Genesis 1:16).
- The greater light is salvation, eternal life, and Jesus. The night represents our desires of life. The solution to the lesser light is thus;
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6: 33)
You will achieve the things (plans, visions, dreams) you desire. How do I know? Let us read Romans 8: 32: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Who is Jesus Christ? Colossians 2: 2-3 says;
“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Old and New Testament Examples of Gratitude
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.“
What is your confession? What do you believe? What do you see?
“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,
“In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”
“But my righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”
39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”
Let’s look forward to the new year with gratitude and faith. We cannot afford to approach the coming year otherwise.