Once again, here in the United States, we come to the time of year when pause and take the time to give thanks to God for His bountiful blessings. During this Thanksgiving holiday, we want to let all our friends of the FEA know how thankful we are to the Lord for your friendship, fellowship, and support. God has sustained this ministry for over 92 years, and He has used friends and co-laborers to encourage and strengthen us in His work. We thank you, and we trust you will take the time this week to thank the Lord for His goodness and lovingkindness.
Specifically, consider three things for which we can thank the Lord. The Psalms are full of general exhortations to give praise to the Lord and express heartfelt thanksgiving to Him. But if we look at all the passages that exclaim thanks to God or encourage us to be thankful to God, we see over and over again three specific subjects of thanksgiving throughout the Psalms. In other words, throughout the Psalms we find a pattern of three things for which we are to be especially thankful—and each of these things centers around the person of God (His attributes). And, because these are mentioned several places throughout the Psalms, we would do well to consider these three things and continually express thanks to God for them.
First, we are to give thanks for God’s holiness (Psa. 30:4; 97:12; 106:47). Notice that our thanksgiving centers first on our “remembrance” of God’s holiness (30:4; 97:12). How often do we stop to meditate on this glorious fact? When we do, our hearts will overflow with thankfulness for this attribute of God. Holiness entails separation or set-apartness (106:47). Although often ridiculed and despised by the world and compromising Christians, separation is a good thing. God is separated, that is, He is set-apart from all that contradicts His nature and character. Thank God for His holiness!
Second, we are to give thanks for God’s goodness (Psa. 106:1; 107:1; 118:1, 29; 136:1). The holiness of God is the foundation of His goodness. As One separated from all that is evil, God is only good, and He only desires good for all. His goodness is seen in His creation of man and nature, His provision for mankind, and His desire to fellowship and have relationship with man. He died for the sins of the world! Thank God for His goodness!
Third, we are to give thanks for God’s mercy (Psa. 106:1; 107:1; 118:1, 29; 136:1-3, 26). Sin has profoundly impacted man’s relationship with God. The holiness of God and the goodness of God have led to the mercy of God upon mankind. Mercy entails the withholding of that which is due. As sinners, we deserve death—physical and spiritual. But God, in His mercy, saved us (Eph. 2:4-10). Without the mercy of God (based upon His holiness and goodness), where would we be? Without hope! Thank God for His mercy upon us!
Notice the progression—God’s holiness guarantees God’s goodness which leads to His mercy upon us. No wonder the Psalms emphasize the need to be thankful for God’s holiness, goodness, and mercy! Let us take the time not just during the Thanksgiving holiday, but throughout the year to remember these (and other) attributes of God and thank Him accordingly.
Years ago, my grandfather, M. H. Reynolds Jr., wrote the following:
Thankfulness is the inevitable result of a right relationship with God. Thankfulness is not dependent upon self, family, friends, or circumstances. The Bible is filled with exhortations to all men to be thankful to God as Creator (vv. 1, 3), but those who have become “His people, and the sheep of His pasture” (v. 3) have special cause to be filled with thanksgiving. For every Christian, a thankful spirit should be the rule rather than the exception. In fact, a lack of praise in the life of a believer is actually an indication of a serious spiritual problem according to Romans 1:18-32.
Those who are truly thankful will not only say they are thankful, but their actions will show their gratitude. They will make a joyful sound (v. 1); they will serve the Lord with gladness of heart (v. 2); they will rejoice that He is their Father and Shepherd (vv. 2-3); they will worship Him with thanksgiving and praise (v. 4); they will be thankful for His goodness and mercy; they will rejoice in the assurance that His truth will never cease to exist–it will last forever (v. 5)! Genuine thankfulness is spontaneous, not forced. In fact, it should overflow in our lives. This kind of thankfulness pleases God and is a blessing to others. Every Christian who lives in the free world should be overwhelmed with gratitude, and those who have faithful pastors and godly fellowships of which to be a part are doubly blessed. At the same time, even those who are all alone, physically speaking, can and should thank God for His presence and promises. Regardless of where we are in life, we have much for which to be thankful. May we take the time to remember to praise and thank our Lord for His goodness to us.
No matter what is going on in the world around us, let us always be thankful, for as Christians, we have so much for which to be thankful! May God bless you at this time of year and always as you seek to live for Him. — Matt Costella