Charles Stanley — Thanksgiving Every Day
Well, Thursday morning people all over the country are going to be sitting down to this big table. When you think of Thanksgiving, if you're just really honest now, what's the first word that comes to your mind? Now, I know the reason you're laughing, because you don't want to answer the question. How many of you just be honest when you think of Thanksgiving, think of turkey? Now, okay, I'm going to ask it again. What do you think of, first of all, Thanksgiving Day? Think of turkey; eating; having a big time. And you sit down to a wonderful table that somebody's prepared. And you have all these meats and turkey and all the vegetables and all the pies and cakes and all that. And you just sit there and have a fantastic time.
I wonder how many people really ask a sincere blessing. Lord, thank You in Jesus' name for this wonderful table; amen. Or do you really and truly thank God for it? And sometimes I think we're not nearly as grateful as we ought to be. And we don't express it as often as we ought to express it. And expressing gratitude toward Him is very important to Him and I'm going to show you that in a moment. Very important to Him. And yet on Thanksgiving Day, people, they'll have the meal and either if there's a football game or whatever's on, they're going to cut the TV on and as soon as they had dessert, Thanksgiving's over. And so, they're into something else. Every single day when you and I wake up, we can still see, we can still hear, we can still walk, we can still eat, in other words, all the functions that we enjoy every day are there every day.
So, why not wake up every morning saying, Thank You, Jesus. And during the day, Thank You. And people say, Well, is that what you do? I thank Him all the time. In other words, if something good comes my way I just say, Thank You, Jesus. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. Or if I'm hurting somewhere in my life, I'll just say, Thank You, Jesus, I know that You have a reason for this and I'm going to trust You to heal me, thank You, Lord. And as a rebuke the devil. Thank You, Jesus, You're the one who's in charge. We should live lives of Thanksgiving all the time.
So, I want us to start this message for a few moments and go back to the Old Testament and look at that sacrificial system in the Old Testament. So, Thanksgiving was a vital part of the sacrificial system. And so, I want us to turn to Psalm ninety-two for a moment and read a few verses here. If you'll turn there for a moment and notice that very first verse, how it begins. Psalm ninety-two, "It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High," and that's what we've done this morning, "to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night," morning and night, giving thanks, "with ten-stringed lute and with the harp, with resounding music," that means loud and "resounding music upon the lyre. For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the work of Your hands. How great are Your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep". Well, why would, first of all, what's all that sacrifice business about.
So, I want you to listen carefully. Remember now that Israel, it was just Hebrews at that time. God had taken them out of Egypt, down to Sinai. They received the Law, into the wilderness and then made a big mistake and they spent forty years in the wilderness. But down to Sinai and you think, Well, why did God give all that stuff, for example, in the book of Leviticus? And I will agree with you that if you don't understand what's going on, it looks sort of boring. You don't do this, do that. And such specific detailed, detail descriptions; and warnings if they violated them. So, God used sacrifices and the laws He gave in order to teach them. And so, one of the things He wanted to teach them was thanksgiving.
So, what did they do? They offered a thanksgiving sacrifice every morning and every evening. What was He doing? He wanted them to be reminded, first of all, that He was God, and that they were to honor Him as God. That they were to depend upon Him because He was the source of everything that they had. And, of course, they discovered that pretty quickly. And so, God had a very specific reason for that thanksgiving sacrifice. So, when I look at the Old Testament and see, and for example, in the fiftieth Psalm, he says in the twenty-third verse, "He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me". Think about that. you may ought to turn to that, underline it. Psalm fifty, verse twenty-three, "He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me".
A thankful heart still honors God. When you say, Thank You, Jesus. Thank you, thank You, thank You, Lord. Thank You, dear God. I praise You and thank You. What you're doing is you're honoring Him as Your Lord. You're honoring Him as the source of that blessing, whatever it might be. Thank you, thank You, thank You, dear God. And so, you might just mark that verse down. And I would simply ask you this. How often in a given day do you say, "Thank You, Lord"? Thank you, thank You, thank You. I'll tell you one time you do. When somebody almost hits you in your car, you say, Oh, thank You, God. Well, what about when you wake up in the morning? When you don't have any motivation except that God is your God. Jesus is the Lord of your life and He's going to walk with you all day long.
Gratitude, thanksgiving, we should teach our children that. We should teach them very early in life. That the Lord, in other words, if a person's not grateful, you know what they're saying? I don't recognize Him as the source of my blessings. I don't recognize Him as the source of anything. I can make it myself. And God can take a person down so instantly. Gratitude, thanksgiving, it should be a part of our thinking, a part of our life, a part of how we operate. So, when I look to see, for example, how they express their thanksgiving, in those days, think about it for just a moment. We say they offered sacrifices, and this was an ongoing thing. You think, Well, look at all the animals. What a waste. It wasn't a waste in the eyes of God because they were honoring Him. So, they offered sacrifices. The Bible says they sang songs. They sang hymns. They used instruments, for example, to express their thanksgiving. They gave to God. They prayed. In other words, thanksgiving was a major issue with God and a major issue with the people of God in those days.
So, I would ask you this. I'd ask you this as humble as I know how, but I want God to convict you. If you have not been thanking God, I pray the Lord God in love will convict you of the sin of ingratitude; because that's a sin any of us can stop immediately right now. Change it. You can be grateful. And so, they expressed it in all kind of different ways. And they had great big meetings and the singing and thanksgiving and praising God. So, how do we express thanksgiving to God today? How would you say? We sing, right? We sing hymns. We get together. We eat; we fellowship. In other words, we come to worship service. But the truth is that every day at your house; every day at your house you should be worshipping God in whatever you and the Lord see fit to do it.
Now, when I think about the many privileges that we enjoy, they should evoke continuous thanksgiving to God every day. So, I'm putting these up here so you can write them down. Then I want us to think about what they are. Think about this. And all of these are scriptural and I don't have time to go through them all, but I'll just sort of list them and they'll put them up on the screen. I just want you to think about it for a moment. of all the expressions of God's grace and mercy.
Number one, He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We're sealed by the Spirit of God. And we're eternally secure. He says He sealed us unto the day of redemption. We have the gifts of the Spirit, whether it's service or giving or administration or mercy, teaching, whatever it might be. We have an intimate relationship with Him. That's why you and I can talk to Him personally and know that He's listening and that He'll respond to us. We have peace, we have the peace of God. Peace with God is when we get saved. The peace of God is what He allows in our heart day after day after day. We have the unconditional love of God.
You writing these down? I hope so. I'll slow down a little bit. Okay? We have the unconditional love of God. For example, at no point does God ever say, I will love you if. Now, He may bless me if. He may work something in my life or heal me if. But love me, no ifs. Unconditional. Think about that. This is the Sovereign God of the universe saying, I love you, no matter what. Even if I'm disobedient? His love is there. His chastising hand is an expression of His love to get me back in line. Then of course, moment by moment you and I live in His presence. That's why He sealed us with the Holy Spirit.
We have the Holy Spirit living within us, so you and I are never distant from God. You may feel distant. You may act distant, but at no point are you distant from awesome God that we have. Then, He says, My God will supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. That is, He's the provider of our needs. His divine protection, He watches over us and cares for us day after day, moment by moment.
And think about this. We have the promise of a bodily resurrection. You don't like what you have now? It's going to change one of these days, a bodily resurrection. We have the awesome blessing of God's atonement in the person of Jesus Christ, total forgiveness of our sins. Remember, when He forgave you, He forgave your past, present, and future. If He didn't forgive you that way, then your forgiveness is only limited. When He went to the cross, He paid out sin debt in full forever; so that every person who accepts Him as Savior, all their sins, past, present, and future, are atoned for. Otherwise, watch this, otherwise He'd have to be dying all the time. No, one death of Almighty God in the person of Jesus Christ took care of our forgiveness forever and ever and ever.
And then of course, we have an eternal home in heaven. We have the promise of the resurrection. Absent from the body, present with the Lord. Then the last thing I would mention is this. We all have one of these. Let's hold them up. Let's hold them up and thank God. Thank You, Jesus. Amen? Let's tell Him. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus, for the Word of God because therein lies all of the source of all of our knowledge and understanding. Now, a true heartfelt daily thanksgiving has a powerful impact on our life. In other words, if we are thanking Him daily, it's going to impact our life. And that is being aware that you are living in the presence of a holy almighty omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God who loves you unconditionally, and all He's asking is recognition, gratitude, and obedience
Could you give me one reason for being disobedient to God? No. Would He ask you to do something that would not be for your best interest? No. And obedience, listen, obedience is not to keep us from having fun. That's the way some people feel. But obedience means that I can have fun with a clear conscience and joy in my heart no matter what's going on. So, let's think about the impact that thanksgiving has in our life. And the first one is this. And these are all going to be here, and I'll give you time to write them down 'cause I want you to think about it. Number one, it keeps us continually aware that we are walking in His presence, which contributes to living a godly life. Thanksgiving keeps us continually aware that we are walking in His presence which contributes to living a godly life, which is His will for every single one of us. Secondly, it motivates us to look for His purposes, in everything that He allows in our life.
See, some things, we don't understand what He does or why He does it. But here's what I've discovered. If I thank Him for it, even though I don't understand why He's allowing it, if I thank Him for it, eventually you know what happens. He lifts the veil and we begin to see, Okay, now I do. You say, Well, you mean you can thank God before it. If I believe He's sovereign and knows all things and loves me unconditionally, I can thank Him for anything. I've had to thank Him for some pretty tough things in my life, just like you have. But it's the thanksgiving that does what? Just brings God into the situation in such a fashion it's like it just lifts the load.
A third one is this. It helps us bring our will into submission to His will when we're suffering pain or loss. Thanking Him in the midst of pain; thanking Him in the midst of loss does what? It brings us into a point of submission. Lord, I don't understand it but I'm going to thank You for it anyway. And saying so, Lord, this is not my choice. I wouldn't have it this way. But because You're sovereign and You love me unconditionally and You know what You're doing, I want to thank You, Lord. Thank you, thank You, thank You, Jesus. Nobody wants to be sick. Nobody wants to have any kind of terrible disease. Nobody wants a car wreck. Nobody wants their family to be sick. Nobody wants loss of anything. We thank Him; no matter what's going on we thank Him. And there's something about expressing thanksgiving, I'll say it again, lifts the load. It, in other words, what we're saying is God, You're smarter than I am. I know You know what's best. It wouldn't be my choice, but I want to thank You for it anyway.
A fourth thing is this. Continually thanking Him keeps me continually reminded of who He is and His position as God in my life. Thanking Him keeps me consciously aware that God is in my life. And if You will talk to people, for example, who are not saved, who are not Christians, and you talk to them about most anything, they're not going to bring up God, unless they think you're going to bring it up and they say to you, Look, don't give me that God-stuff. Well, the truth is, God could strike them dead in a split second. How foolish to talk about God like that. And in His mercy, He let's them live. Reminds us of our continuing dependence on Him. What is it in your life you don't depend upon God for? Absolutely dependent upon Him for every single solitary thing. He helps us trust Him. Thanking Him helps me trust Him when I don't understand why. It helps me to trust Him when I don't understand why something's going on. God, I don't understand this. I'm thanking You for it because You know better than I do.
And somebody says, Well, that sounds unreasonable. Unreasonable to you but not to God, because He honors that, listen, I think God honors thanksgiving most when I may feel like I have the least to be grateful for, but I'm thanking Him anyway. And what does He do? He responds to that. I think thanksgiving is essential to my rejoicing in the midst of suffering. In other words, rejoicing. That is, I want to thank You, Father. I'm able to sing even though I don't feel like it. I don't see the future as bright as, but I'm going to sing. When you come to church on Sunday morning, and you may feel like the bottom's dropped out of your life and you're walking backwards and nothing's right and it can't be right, and we start singing, what happens? You'll have to admit that that heaviness is like a lifting fog, because you're singing and what are you doing?
When you're singing, you're confessing something. I give thanks to You, oh Lord. I praise Your holy name. I bless You. You may not feel that. You keep singing and you're going to feel it. Why? The Spirit of God's begins to witness in your heart that something good is going on; and that God is still in charge. And everybody's probably been, or will go through some point in their life. You say, Well, it looks so dark, God. Listen. Watch this carefully. When you're walking in the dark place, remember that the Light of the world is in you. And step by step He's going to open the door. He's going to show you the way. He's going to guide you. He's going to lift you no matter what's going on. So, I'm to thank Him. And thanking Him has a powerful impact upon our life, and I wonder when is the last time you could say, I really rejoiced about that. I just want to say, Hallelujah, Jesus! Praise God!
When's the last time you ever felt that-a-way? I can tell some of you haven't felt that-a-way in a long time. I mean that you're so happy about what God's doing in your life that you've just got to tell Him. You can walk through your house and just praise God in every room. We should thank God and praise Him for what He's doing in our life. And then of course, one other thing it does, Giving thanks to God removes the anxiety. You can be anxious and worried about anything. You start thanking Him, praising Him, focusing on Him, and it is amazing how the anxiety disappears and next thing you know, you think, Well, what am I worried about? I've got Holy Almighty Sovereign God on my side, taking care of me.
Why am I down in the dumps? Listen, living in the dumps isn't God's plan. And He can get you out real fast. You start thanking Him and praising Him. The devil runs, and God gets you out, and you're rejoicing and praising the Lord before you know it. Because anxiety and fretting over things is not the will of God. Then of course, it keeps my focus on Him rather than my circumstances. If I'm going through situations, you say, Yeah, but you don't know what I've been through. Maybe you don't know what I've been through. I can tell you this. I've been through enough, deeply enough, painfully enough, that I know that when you think you can't handle any more, you start thanking God and praising Him. God, I want to thank You, thank You, thank You. I don't like it. I don't want it. This wouldn't be my plan, but I want to thank You. You said thank You. I'm thanking You. Thank You, thank You. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus.
You say, Well, you mean to tell me that'll change your circumstance? No, it'll change your attitude about your circumstance and your attitude toward God. And that makes all the difference in the world. Then one thing I would say this as the last thing, and that is you get up tomorrow morning and you think, Oh-h-h, it's cold, this, that, and the other. I'm going to tell you how to get over that right now. You want to know? Say amen. When you're lying there moaning and groaning about your job and the weather and the traffic, you just start saying, Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, thank You, thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus. I guarantee you, you'll have energy to hop out of the bed and do what you need to do. Why? Because praise and thanksgiving by its very nature energizes us. Now what you've done, you've got your mind off the traffic and now it's on God. And it's on the blessing that He has for you during the day. It energizes us physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually in every single way.
So, when I think about Thanksgiving, I don't think about turkey. I think about Almighty God. And think about all the things that you and I have to be grateful for in our life. So, I want to say this to you, whoever you are and wherever you are. For you to reject Jesus Christ, the Son of God, sent into this world, virgin-born, for the primary purpose of revealing God to us and going to the cross in our behalf. In the shedding of His blood, He paid our sin debt in full. He was the fulfillment of all those sacrifices back yonder so. God governed time and eternity and events to get Jesus to the cross, a Roman cross, to die in our place so that we wouldn't have to die in our sins and be lost forever. For you to reject Jesus, the Son of God, who came into this world in order to deliver you from sin; deliver you from its power; fill you with His Holy Spirit; serve through you and bring you to heaven. For you to reject Him is the greatest expression of ingratitude of anything you could ever do.
Therefore, I want to encourage you to acknowledge that. God, I've been ungrateful for my, lot of years of my life. I'm asking You to forgive me of my sin. I'm really ashamed, God, that I've lived this long without trusting You as my Savior. But today, I'm trusting You as my Savior and thanking You for Your forgiveness. And from this moment on, Lord, I'm Yours and I want to live for You. If you will pray that simple prayer, asking Him to forgive you of your sins. Remember, you don't have to beg Him. He's been waiting to save you; waiting to save you. There's a song we sing, The Savior is waiting; waiting for you to come to your senses, open your eyes, hear the truth, believe the truth and let God change your life here and for all eternity. And He'll do it if you'll let Him.
Father, how grateful we are. Oh, how grateful we are that You're patient with us. You put up with us. You forgive us again and again and again and again. And Lord, we just humble ourselves before You today to pray that every person who hears this message will not only hear it, but heed the admonitions. To trust You as Savior and Lord and Master of their life. I pray for every Christian who hears it today, Lord. There would be some big-time confession of ingratitude, disobedience, lawlessness in their life. Ask You for forgiveness and make a fresh new recommitment of their life to You as their Savior. We love You, dear Lord, and praise You for the wonderful privilege of knowing You, sharing You, and walking in obedience to You every day. Father, I pray the very best of Your blessings would rest upon all those who listen and all those who will watch who know You as their Savior and Lord. And those who listen or watch and do not know You as Savior and Lord, that today, right now wherever they may be, whatever time, they'd stop and make this decision which we know will change their eternal destiny. In Jesus' name, amen.