The Holy Spirit is moving to revive the command to
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”
(1 Thess. 5:18).
To Give Thanks in Everything
This Thanksgiving I am giving to my family copies of the famous book of the 70s, From Prison to Praise. Merlin Carothers inspired a great and fruitful movement to ‘give thanks in all circumstances.’ As far as I know, no one else at that time was speaking to that very clear calling and command. He called our attention to the many scriptures in the New Testament about thanksgiving.
Carothers’ book changed many lives and he wrote several more books along that central line, recording the miracles that came from giving thanks in the worst of situations.
As a judge, my husband gave this book (as he was led by God) to some of the criminals who appeared before him.
And now there is another move of the Spirit rising to bring us to that simple and basic response to life: Thank You, God.
Romans 1:21 NASB
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
So, clearly, giving God thanks is critical to morality and mental sanity! Our entire life is affected from the inside out – by the failure to be thankful. Read the rest of Romans 1. The end is a life with no moral compass, agreeing to the worst in humanity.
Our country is imploding from the assault of those who are ungrateful for our blessings from God, and so are in the darkness of the god of this world. Satan’s delusion and hate.
Just simple gratitude would transform us as a nation.
But I have had occasion so see that we can say the words, “Thank you, God,” and it is empty if the heart is not engaged with God.
Thank You – More than Mere Words
“Thank You” can be seen as a kind of magic formula that somehow forces God to release blessings. If it is just words without heart, some gimmick with no connection to God, it would be offensive to HIS heart!
Thanksgiving is between you and God only, a response of communion.
Thank You is often a deep crisis of will. In the face of life’s worst and most dreaded. Thank You is very much a sacrificial gift to God. I have said those words with many different heart ‘feelings.’ From anger to wonder, Thank You is to die or to soar. To live as one who says Thank You exposes your REAL heart reaction to God.
Thank You is to receive the life He gives, even while facing my very real objection to His choice for me. It is to bow my will to God being God, to receive Him as that sovereign King who rules and overrules the world.
A Sacrifice of Praise in Thank You
This morning as I was cleaning, I came upon a journal from 2008 and I was surprised at what I wrote. I remember well! It was a terrible time. I remember the time but I had forgotten my struggle with HIM about it. I was wrestling with giving God what He wants: genuine and simple thanks which opens the door to His salvation. He always takes me to Psalm 50:23.
He who offers a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way rightly [who follows the way that I show him], I shall show the salvation of God.
At that time I wrote, “Until you thank God, you have not received ‘it’ – the blessing or the trouble. Thank You is the ultimate bowing of the will to God’s will.”
“To thank God in all things, you must exercise a faith that He really is in control and that today’s ‘it’ is for my good, however mysterious that always is!”
Will We Be Among the Grateful Few?
We all are marveling over Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. Her insight is profound on the issue of giving thanks, and her original way of writing is brilliant and compelling.
The ten lepers were healed by Jesus’ word (Luke 17:1-19).
Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice. And he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan.
Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine – where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?”
And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”
The word “well’ means ‘whole,’ which is more than physical healing. It’s spiritual health as well…simply by that happy gratitude to God.
That’s about the right percentage. Only one out of 10 even goes to find Jesus and gives a loud Thank You. Ten percent of us give thanks for the gifts of God. How much less those of us who give thanks for the thing that hurts?
But many times I have seen that when you give a ‘sacrificial’ gift of thanks to God, one that costs you to give, a miracle appears and that is what God promises!
“I will show the way of salvation.”
So a Thank You without any heart involvement is not magic.
But a Thank You that is either surrender or celebration does produce a miracle, which is real and perfect, not the illusion of magic.
Give Thanks in Jesus Christ
That word salvation means “freedom from distress and the ability to pursue one’s own objectives. (And it also means) the safety of deliverance.”
And that IS a miraculous gift, gained merely by real thanks to our good God.
Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thess. 5:18 HCSB
The secret to gratitude is living IN Christ Jesus, Whose entire response to God – no matter what – was exuberant gratitude.
Oh, just an afterthought. The nation of Israel perished in the desert and only a handful entered the Promised Land. They died because they murmured and complained, not because of their huge sins. Ingratitude seems a small sin, but it is not small to God for it is an insult to His righteous character and unbelief in His perfect goodness.
Your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness—all who were numbered of you, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against Me…
Numbers 14:29 AMP
Gratitude is a matter of life or death.