For the maturing Christian thanksgiving needs to become thanksliving. Now don't misunderstand me giving thanks is a huge discipline in life but just doing it is not enough we must live it on a constant basis. Every season, every day, every hour and every minute. Giving thanks needs to grow into living thanks. The actions of thanksgiving need to grow into the attitudes of thanksgiving and that is when thanksgiving will surely become THANKSLIVING. Gratitude will become the very fiber of our lives! Speaking it, showing it will be a product of living it. As natural as taking our breath moment by moment!
One of my favorite stories of Christ when He walked on this earth is when He Healed ten lepers. Only one came back to thank Him. Jesus asked him: " Where are the nine?" It is a convicting question because it reveals the Lord's constant notice of those who give thanks and those who only take without a grateful heart. It is very obvious that the Lord gives us our daily necessities as well with many non- necessities. He does this day after day after day and for many of us year after year, decade after decade! In reality the Lord loads us with lavish blessings over and over if we lack the proper response it is a grievous sin to say the least. The entire Bible is filled with exhortations to be thankful, to have gratitude for others and especially for the Lord. We are to be givers not just takers and one way we can give is by GIVING THANKS to the many in our life who have helped us in this life and helped us prepare for the next life. But certainly we should give our creator, sustain-er, and redeemer God thanks like no other.
What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? - Psalm 116.12
Ways We Can Give God Thanks & Become THANKSLIVERS!
1. Draw Near God
That is why he created us and why he redeemed us. So we could fellowship with him. Be thankful he has created the way to be close with him. To listen to Him in his Word and to talk with him in prayer. We can walk in his Spirit and love him from our hearts. Show our thanks by not ignoring him, not resisting him, not living life as if he did not exist. That's is when thanksliving will become a vibrant way of life.
2. Thank God Publicly
Don't be ashamed to thank him for your food in public. Give him thanks in front of your family, friends, co-workers and yes even those you do not know well. When he does something you can thank him for don't wait to thank him privately but do it immediately. Losing our pride and fear of man will help us to become thankslivers.
3. Give Him Financial Offerings
One great way we can become thanksgivers and thankslivers is by giving monitory gifts to his church and work on this earth. God does not spend money nor need it but in the scriptures he has repeatedly taught that giving financially to his work is a way to show our faith and practice it as well. Another way to show our thankfulness is to give to others who are in need and as we give in the name of Lord we are finding what it means to live out our thanks unto the Lord. (1st Chronicles 16:19)
4. Thank God Privately
Choose the discipline of prayer. Set several times a day to pray and talk with the Lord. Before making petitions bring your praises to the Lord. Start out with recognizing his glorious attributes. and next thank him for who he is and what he has done for you. I have had people ask me how can I pray so long without becoming bored? My answer is if we just recognized who we were speking to and what he has done for us we would never want to get up off our knees. When we recognize all He has done for us our hearts are moved to thanksgiving and as we leave our place of prayer we enter into our daily lives ready to be thankslivers. ( Psalm 68:19, Hebrews 13:15)
5. Show Gratitude To Others Who God Used To Bless Your Life
An exercise that is beneficial for all of to practice is to express our thanks to those who have helped us in life. Our parents, pastors, teachers, siblings, friends, mentors, and any others who have made a good difference in our lives. Thank them for specific things they have done for you. Show gratitude for their investment of time, treasure, talents, and truths they have put into you. A great goal is to look for opportunities to do this daily as we live out our lives. Schedule on your daily calendars until it becomes a good habit of your life. Regularly let others know how God has used them to strengthen your life! You will be blessed and so will they. You will become thankslivers and you will help others to become the same. ( Philippians 1:3 )
“Rules Without Relationship Breed Resentment and Rebellion.”
Using the word relationship, here is an acrostic of ideas to help prevent resentment and rebellion in your child’s heart.
R—Read God’s Word together! Study the Bible as a family unit.
E—Enjoy special times together! Occasions like birthdays, Sunday dinner, holiday's and spiritual birthdays are times that will build relationships or destroy such. Plan times to be together and work diligently to develop loving relationships during those events Often we make these events BIG but the pressure that comes with that may only add pressure. Keep them simple understanding that the simple things of life are life changing.
L—Lighten-up together! Laugh and have fun together, decide to enjoy each other.
A—Always, be consistent together! Hypocrisy will cripple your relationship with your children.
T—Treasure each moment of life together! Remember, our children are a gift from the Lord.
I—Initiate time together! Your child may not act like it, but your child craves it and needs it. Build it into your day and make it a priority. Set times to spend one-on-one time with your children alone. These times will never be regretted!
O—Open yourselves up together! Be willing to talk about anything, ask questions and talk through difficulties. Work to understand each other. Remember honesty is a must!
N—No must be said together! Sometimes you just need to say “no.” You need to be the bad guy every now and then. Sorry, that is part of parenting.
S—Support the authorities together! As parents we need to support our authorities and in so doing we need to teach our children to do the same. Employers, policemen, teachers, pastors, etc.
H—Honor together! Honoring our spouses, our parents and our children will lead our children to do the same. Being kind and respectful to each other is so important.
I—Improve ourselves together! We must continue to improve in our parenting skills. We must continue to improve in communication skills and in most importantly in our ability to relate with Jesus. As we do it will help us to relate better with our children and give us more influence to impart within them the disciplines of the Lord!
P—Pray together! Look for several times daily which you can pray together with your children. Find times that work for you. In the morning, noon, or evening. It worked for Daniel and it will work for you!
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.