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Summary: A look at why we should be thankful to God.

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“REASONS TO GIVE THANKS”

November 20, 2005

Intro: As you know, this coming week is Thanksgiving. It is a time when we gather with family, enjoy some great food and usually end up sleeping through a football game. Let me share with you some of the facts and figures behind this holiday.

In 2005, there will be 256 million turkeys raised in the United States.

There will be 649 million pounds of cranberries produced.

There will be 1.6 billion pounds of sweet potatoes produced.

There will be 998 million pounds of pumpkin products produced.

The average American will consume 13.7 pounds of turkey this year.

Source: www.census.gov

As we all know, there is more to thanksgiving than simply eating. This week, we need to slow down and remember what God has done for us through Jesus and give thanks to him for his blessings to us.

David understood what it was to give thanks to God. Some of his greatest writings were songs of praise to God for his wonderful blessings.

Today we want to look at Psalm 103 and see some of the things God has done for us.

I. True Thanksgiving Begins in Our Soul.

“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--.”

Psalm 103:1(NIV)

True acts of thanksgiving require a focus on God of our entire being.

The Hebrew worshipper recognized that you not only praised God with your mouth, but with all you were. It is recognition that the whole of our existence was a gift from God and therefore all of our being should honor him.

Praise is a result of awe for God. It is a recognition and recitation of his blessings in our lives. David includes the idea of worship of God in our entire being because that is what God has called his people to do.

This concept was given by God in Deuteronomy 6 and it is one of the first lessons learned by Hebrew children. It is called the “shema” and Jesus himself reiterated its supreme importance in life.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NIV)

God calls us to praise him with all we are. It is not a mental recognition of God, but a deep intimacy and resounding shout of our heart to the one true God.

God’s desire is for our entire being to focus on him in praise and worship.

II. True Thanksgiving Recognizes Gods Gifts.

God’s greatest gift into our lives is grace.

“-- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The Lord is compassionate and gracious slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:2-12 (NIV)

God in his love and devotion to us has given us forgiveness of our sins through his son Jesus. It is his love that gives us grace and his love that allows us to experience relationship with him.

God is the same God today who was faithful to the nation of Israel long ago. He is the same God who brought them out of Egypt, who established them in the land and who taught them his law so that they could worship him.

God our Father, through Jesus provides payment for our sin.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (New Living Translation)

The fact that we are free from the burden of our sin is cause for celebration and praise.

God’s love is shown in his divine compassion for man.

III. True Thanksgiving Recognizes Our Relationship to God.

God is a father with infinite patience and compassion. God not only forgives our sins, but he removes them from us.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him and his righteousness with their children’s children-- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.” Psalm 103:13-19 (NIV)

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