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Summary: A Thanksgiving season sermon about gratitude.

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Intro

The story is told of two old friends bumped into one another on the street one day. One of them looked forlorn, almost on the verge of tears. His friend asked, "What has the world done to you, my old friend?"

The sad fellow said, "Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars."

"That’s a lot of money."

"But, two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died, and left me eighty-five thousand free and clear."

"Sounds like you’ve been blessed...."

"You don’t understand!" he interrupted. "Last week my

great-aunt passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million."

Now he was really confused. "Then, why do you look so

glum?"

"This week... nothing!"

We can all lose perspective for how blessed we are. We may think this guy has lost his appreciation for what others have given in their death….yet how much more has God given both in life and in death.

Well, today we get an opportunity to turn that around. Last week we officially completed a Fall series entitle “Soul Matters - Shaping Our Souls’ around the Lord’s Prayer.”… what sets the soul in the orbit around God. Just as life is dependent with our planet’s relationship to the sun… so our lives with God.

Gratitude is a most central matter to the soul.

Every phrase gives us reason to be thankful. They are all about bringing our souls around God’s goodness and glory.

In fact that is why a final line of worship was added…

“For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”

(Matt. 6:13 KJV)

It’s believed by most to not have been an original part of the Scriptural text….but rather was so quickly adapted into the corporate worship of the earliest followers of Christ…that it got copied into some later texts that emerged. [1]

So how fitting that we should follow our series with giving glory to God on this Thanksgiving weekend.

God is the center… and all glory belongs to Him.

Gratitude is the gravity that holds us in the orbit of God’s glory.

It’s often said that Thanksgiving a time for “counting our blessings?” How true that is. How vital to our souls it is to count our blessings.

It’s kind of hard when we face the irony that the day after the day of stopping to be grateful for what we have … is the biggest shopping day of the year… and it starts before the meal celebrating our contentment has even digested. We all know that when we are consumed in being consumers…we become insatiable… never able to enjoy what we have.

But today we have the opportunity to stop and count some blessings.

But while counting our blessings is a good foundation for thanksgiving….by itself it bears no giving of thanks.

Gratitude begins with recognizing what we have…and then directing the goodness back to the giver.

It’s like seeing leaves and not connecting to the root.

The focus of thanksgiving is not on what...but on who…the ultimate source.

That is what makes it a true holiday…which means…holy day.

Thanksgiving is not simply about what we are thankful for….because thanksgiving is about recognizing the source.

Psalm 69:30 (NIV)

“I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.”

Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV)

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

The Psalmist says that while all other things may change at any time….God’s love endures. He is the unchanging center. [2]

So we "Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise….

In the O.T. the temple symbolized the presence of God. So whenever the people came to the temple and entered gates….it was only fitting to have thankfulness arise in them…and then they reached the courtyards…they were nearing the giver…..and it should only be natural to be excited to get to say thanks. They were coming to meet with the giver...so they called the souls to come with thanksgiving. And that is our desire today.

ILL. Roland Allen tells about a veteran missionary. The missionary one day explained, "I was a medical missionary for many years in India. And I served in a region where there was progressive blindness. People were born with healthy vision, but there was something in that area that caused people to lose their sight as they grew older."

But this missionary had developed a treatment which would stop progressive blindness. So people came to him & he performed his treatment, & they would leave realizing that they would have become completely blind, but because of him their sight had been saved.

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