|Jan. 7, 2016|
"...be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..." Ephesians 5:19 - 20
We had a guest preacher on Sunday who did an excellent job of expounding on Deuteronomy 8 and what happens to those who forget God. The point of his message seemed to be that everything you have you receive from God and that the importance of thanking Him must not be overlooked.
I'm going to be writing more about prayer on Friday, but you need to know this, prayer is my weakness. As much as I love to talk, it takes effort for me to make conversation with God. While I'd like to think that making the task of prayer into something it was never meant to be is my problem, that might not be the case.
A big part of prayer is meant for thanks. Saying thank you was something that I had to be taught. I was one ungrateful child because I always thought "Well, of course, people would do ____ for me. They want to." If someone WANTS to do something for me, saying thanks seems to lessen the gift in my eyes. Don't get me wrong, I say it a lot, but I don't say it as much as I should. I certainly don't thank God enough and He sent me two messages on Sunday to make sure that I knew that.
The first message made me realize that just as God never tires of leading His people, He never tires of hearing gratefulness overflow into thanksgiving. I need to say thank you. For everything. Waking up and thanking God for the day is good and right. Saying thank you every time I eat food is not silly or trite or meaningless. I need to say that again: saying thank you is never meaningless.
Later that day, I got to hear the testimony of Ken. He is 77 and lost his first wife to illness when he was 41 and she was 36. 36 years later, his face still lights up and he still gets tears in his eyes as he talks about her. I sat across the room with tears of my own as he told the story about how there was a clock in his church that had the message "God heals all things in His time" written on the face and how week in and week out he saw that and thought to himself "That is a lie!". He was the preacher and when it came time for him to preach on Ephesians 5 he realized that he thought that was a lie too. God hadn't healed the wound losing his wife had left on him and his three children. Ephesians 5 said to thank God for everything, but he couldn't...
He sat in his office attempting to prepare to preach the message and trying to get his own heart in order. This was where I lost it in a room full of strangers with not a tissue in sight....Ken told us that he sat in his office just months after having lost the love of his life TRYING to at least mouth the words "Thank you for taking my wife." to God. He said, he remembers moving his lips and not hearing any sound come out. He couldn't say the words. He kept at it and finally, the words came. And he meant them. He truly was thankful to God, even for this thing that he couldn't seem to get over and he realized that God WAS healing that wound.
Ken wanted us to know that we must thank God for everything. He said, "A lot of people say it's hypocritical to obey God when you don't feel like it, but that's not true. Fake it til you make it and you'll make it."
Deuteronomy 8 and Ken's testimony showed me that ALL things come from the hand of God and every single one of them come for a reason. We are called to receive them with a thank you because saying thank you puts us in the position of humility. Humility is us recognizing who God is and who we are. Saying thank you is never meaningless. Thank Him for what is good and easy as well as what is difficult and hard and don't be surprised when you realize that you're making it.
What are some things you can thank God for today?
Have you ever received something from God that you found super difficult to thank Him for?