Summary: Message 4 in our series exploring the regular practices that deep our relationship with God. This message touched on the regular practice of worship and thanksgiving.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Thanksgiving or Thankskeeping”
We have been looking to understand and implement into our lives the habits or discipline that conditions the spiritual dimension of our lives that in turn increases our capacity to relate to God. Only when these activities become a way of life will we see the desired growth we all long to experience. It is sad, but unless we actually schedule time for God in our life it won’t happen. Then we need to take time each day to remind our selves and affirm the fact that He is boss and we are not. We also need to take time daily to acknowledge our failure to keep God the center of our life and the areas that we have failed to obey His will for us. Once we have those issues settled, we need to take time to interact with God’s words written down for our instruction. He provided a written account of what we need to know about life with Him.
Man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Since the Word of God sustains spiritual life, a healthy walk requires some level of interaction EVERYDAY. It is not just enough however to interact at some intellectual level or even an emotional level but we must also follow through with life action. Faith has to do with a decision to do what God instructs based on a settled confidence that God always does what He promises. Just hearing and knowing is not enough. A whole generation of Israelites failed to enter into the Promised Land because they did not really trust God to follow through on what He said He would do. Without faith (resting our full weight on the person and promise of God) we cannot please God. Many have not rested their full weight on God. We still trust our bank account, our education, our skill, our heritage, our family, our associations. We say we believe; we say we really trust God but our actions do not back up our assertions. Actions are not faith but actions validate the genuineness of our faith. The reality of our trust in God ultimately is only demonstrated as genuine belief when we act upon our beliefs.
Today we address the next daily exercise that conditions the soul for deeper relationship with God. Interaction with the truth enlightens our perception concerning God and stirs the core of our being to respond in some way. The response of man’s heart to revelation of God’s person and purpose has many faces. It is such a diverse thing that no one word can do it justice. We use the word worship to describe man's response to God. The modern word comes from the old English word worthship; to acknowledge or affirm worth. The Old Testament draws on a variety of words all describing some kind of response to deeper realization of the wonder of the God we serve. You can’t come away from interaction with Scripture and personal affirmation of its truth without come kind of response.
Hallal (be excited) To be boastful, to be excited in joy.
Yadah (public acknowledgment of thanks)
Barak (bless, praise)
Ru (shout in joy)
Rum (extol, lift up, draw attention to, lift above the ordinary)
The common denominator in all of these responses is an external response acknowledging and affirming the worth of another. Celebration has to do with devoting time to remembering and acknowledging worth. Hebrews talks about sacrifices that please God. He called it a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. A heart of gratitude must ultimately express itself with a mouth of praise and thanksgiving. Praise acknowledges a worthy attribute or action. Thanksgiving acknowledges and verbalizes gratitude and appreciation for favor demonstrated.
Romans 1 exposed a group of people who strayed far from God in the thinking and their actions.
Where did they go wrong?
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Romans 1:21
They first failed to honor God as God, as Lord, as Master, as boss of their life. Then they refused to give thanks. They refused to acknowledge and expressed gratitude for God’s mercy and favor. They allowed circumstances and bitterness to block their ability to see God’s favor.
Thanksgiving and celebration is a vital part of our relationship with God just as gratitude and celebration is a part of human relationships. The more you come to know the qualities of a special person the more you are stirred to be with them and talk to them and about them concerning how much you appreciate them. Everyone values affirmation and acknowledgment that they are appreciated not just for what they do but because of who they are. Such expression is vital both to the one offering the thanksgiving and the one receiving it. The giving and receiving of praise and thanksgiving deepens the bonds of relationship. Thanksgiving encourages us to focus on the positive things. An ungrateful heart is a self-centered heart.