The Blessings of Thankfulness
By Megan McNeal
“O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)
“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High.” (Psalm 92:1)
“Give thanks … are you kidding?!? My family and life are falling apart and my heart is completely broken – what on earth do I have to be thankful for?!?!”
I hear you. And I’ll admit it – I have totally thought this, too. Overwhelmed by hurt, anger and grief, I have struggled to find reasons to be thankful. But God began to open my eyes to the great importance – and even blessings – of thankfulness.
The word “thank” is mentioned 134 times in the Bible! Did you know that? God obviously considers it a pretty big deal so we should pay attention.
THE BLESSINGS OF THANKFULNESS:
More and more studies are discovering that gratitude has numerous physical health benefits – it reduces stress, boosts your digestion and immune system, and improves your sleep and relationships, just to name a few.
More importantly, gratitude blesses the heart of our Heavenly Father and provides US with spiritual blessings as well!
1. Giving thanks opens the door to God’s presence. (And oh, how we need His presence in our hearts, homes and everyday life!)
“Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving…” Psalm 95:2
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4
2.Jesus gave thanks – and He is our Example and Lord. (Don’t we want to be like Him?! This is a very simple way to please and imitate Him.)
“Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth…” Matt. 11:25 (also Luke 10:21)
“And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them …” Matt. 26:27 (also Mark 14:23, Luke 22:17)
3.We are in God’s will by giving thanks. (Hmm, how often have I asked Him what His will was for my life?)
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thess. 5:18
4.Being thankful brings peace. (Definitely need more peace! Every day.)
“… in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7
1. Giving thanks turns our focus toward God and His faithfulness. (This brings new strength, hope and victory in our difficult situations. It get our minds off the storm we’re in, and onto the Master of the wind and waves, Who is preparing good things for us.)
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:57
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” Col. 1:12
REASONS TO BE THANKFUL:
Sometimes it’s easy to find reasons to give thanks – for good health, happy kids, sunshine-y days, a bonus paycheck, a new outfit you got for a great discount, chocolate….
But there are other times when we have to “offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving” (Amos 4:5). When you struggle to find words or reasons to be thankful, turn to Psalm 103 for a whole list of reminders that will lift your spirits and bring hope to your heart.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…” (vs. 2)
1. God forgives all our iniquities … over and over again (vs. 3)
2. God heals our diseases and hurts (vs. 3)
3. God saves us from destruction (vs. 4)
4. God crowns us with loving kindness and tender mercies (vs. 4)
5. God gives us good things and renews our strength (vs. 5)
6. God executes righteousness and justice on our behalf (vs. 6)
7. God makes His ways known to us (vs. 7)
8. God is full of mercy and grace toward us (vs. 8)
9. God does not continually scold or hold anger (vs. 9)
10. God has not given us what our sins deserved (vs. 10)
11. God’s mercy is as high as the heavens (vs. 11)
12. God loves and pities us like a father (vs. 13)
13. God knows us and remembers that we’re human (vs. 14)
14. God has prepared His throne in heaven … and a place for us (vs. 19)
15. God’s kingdom rules over all … He is in control (vs. 19)
“Bless the Lord, all His works in all places of His dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.” (vs. 22)
I’m thankful that He is so faithful and in control even when our lives and emotions are in chaos. And I’m thankful for you, dear reader, for I know I’m not alone. May you experience all the wondrous blessings of thankfulness as you lift your heart and praise to our Faithful God!