Summary: To live a life of joy we need to daily practice thanksgiving and praise. "My mouht is filled with Your praise...all day long." Psalm 71:8
Thanksgiving – Anticipate Joy
Psalm 100:4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name.”
This morning when we came into the Light and Life Church did we practice this verse. Do we come to worship with hearts filled with thanksgiving and praise? Or do we come so loaded down with the cares and worries of life that we are more crotchety than celebrative of God’s blessings?
When you woke up this morning what song came to your mind:
1. “Make the World Go Away.”
2. “Raindrops keep falling on my heard.”
3. “I did it my way.” Or
4. “Oh, what a beautiful morning.”
Evangelist John Haggai tells of seeing people come to worship dragging their lip on the floor. They sit down on a pew and throw their lip over the pew in front of them and say, “Feed me!” They look like they have been weaned on vinegar and just finished eating ice cream out of a tube.
The Psalmist admonishes us to come into God house with Thanksgiving and Praise.
Why is it we don’t have more of the joy of the Lord in our life? Because we fail to focus our life on giving thanks and praise to the Lord!
The Apostle Paul encourages us to live our life focused on joy. He sings out in Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord and again I say rejoice.” Paul seems to be saying, “Be joyful, it beats being happy. Happiness depends on right happenings, but even when things go wrong, you can have joy.”
If you try to find happiness in good circumstances, nice people, or things, you will live a miserable life. Circumstances, people, and things will rob you of joy.
Paul suffered all kinds of hardships, yet he declared: “In everything give thanks.” (I Thessalonians 5:18) New Living Translation “No matter what happens always be thankful.” Paul tells us to – “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Is it God’s will for you to be a negative, moaning, complaining and critical person? NO! “Be joyful always,” - how? 1. Pray continually. 2. Give thanks in all things. 3. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
We have the promise in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good of those who love God, and are called according to his purpose for them.” NLT From our human perspective the verse doesn’t always work out, but from God’s perspective it does.
When I was serving as pastor of the Aldersgate FMC in Kansas City, Kansas I was invited to lead evangelistic services in Salina, KS. I made reservations to fly to Salina, but the day of departure fog set in and I was stranded. I wondered, why?
I checked the bus schedule and was able to make reservations and take the bus to Salina in time for the meeting that night. We stopped in Lawrence, Kansas and a student at the University of Kansas got on the bus and sat beside me. He was a student form Iraq. In our discussion I asked him if he had ever read the Bible, He said he had not. I offered to give him a New Testament and I shared with him the simple plan of salvation. I invited him to visit our church in Kansas City and we worked out a Sunday for him top drive over and visit the church and have dinner with us after the service.
In that instance, all things did work out for the good. My disappointment in not being able to fly, worked out for God’s appointment for me to give witness to a university student.
I’m sure you have had similar experiences where plan A did not work, but plan B worked out even better.
Charles Spurgeon, an influential British preacher in the 19th century told about a young man who had suffered a broken hip in an accident. The hip did not heal properly and if left him crippled for life. The people in the church prayed earnestly that God would restore the man to health and strength. Not long after the people started praying for the young man he fell and broke his hip again. What a tragedy? Why had God failed them? They did not give up, but continued to pray for the young man that God’s will be done. Now the hip was set properly. The young man walked with no limp whatever. The second break turned out to be a blessing.
We can praise God “in” all things, not necessarily “for” all things. When you hit your thumb with a hammer you don’t feel like praising the Lord. You run cold water and put ice on your thumb to ease the pain. You give thanks later that you still have a thumb.