Temple Baptist Church - 11-22-2009
A. As a rule, when preaching the Sunday Morning before Thanksgiving Day, I use some of the more notable texts such as Psalm 103. These are Psalms of worship and praise born out of both the goodness of God and the circumstances that they often times produce. What a wonderful package of benefits we find in Psalm 103. It is of no wonder that the Psalmist said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul!”
B. I thank God that we can never lose sight of these blessings found in Psalm 103.
1. The blessing of Forgiveness and I do thank God for my forgiveness!
2. The blessing of Physical Health and I do thank God for my health!
3. The blessing of a Rescued Life and I do thank God for my life in Christ!
4. The blessing of Loving Kindness and Gentleness! I am thankful for that!
5. The blessing of Necessities of Life! I am thankful for that!
6. The blessing of Abundant Grace and Renewal of Strength! I am thankful for that!
C. We always are blessed of God, no matter what our circumstances are but we are also human and our hearts are sometimes heavy with the burdens and cares of this world. Yes, the Bible says, “Casting all your cares upon him for he careth for you.” I am not demeaning the Scriptures, but sometimes it is just hard to “let go” when your world is rocked and wrong seems to get every advantage.
D. I want to look at the Apostle Paul for a few minutes here in Acts 28.
1. In Acts 27, He is now a prisoner on the way to see Caesar. He has been wronged, slandered, physically attacked, bound, and shipped out. He finds himself in a safe haven and desires to stay there for a while to wait out the winter. His advice is not listened to and he has to spend weeks at sea in a storm, is shipwrecked, and either swims to shore or comes floating in on broken pieces of the ship.
2. In Acts 28, we find him among barbarians, wet and cold—trying to feed a fire out in the open in order to warm up his old bones. While gathering sticks, a snake comes out of the fire and bites him on the hand! He is then accused again of being a murderer under the judgment of God and, when he does not die of the snake bite, he becomes a god!
3. He spends three months there with no Christian fellowship and then they set sail once again for Rome.
E. He eventually comes to a place called Three Taverns. He found brethren in verse 14 and 15. The Bible then declares that Paul, in verse 15, “thanked God, and took courage.” I want to preach a little different Thanksgiving message this morning. Here in verse 15, we find several things pertaining to Thanksgiving.
F. You see, Thanksgiving is not to be dependent upon good circumstances. It is a wonderful thing to be thankful when everything is “rosy” but we are commanded to give thanks in everything. Not that we enjoy the trials of life. I had rather be on the other side of trouble than in the middle of it personally. We are to rejoice in the Lord alway. It is a lot easier to rejoice in the Lord when everything is going right.
1. The Vision Of Thanksgiving – “whom when Paul saw” - 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (I do not necessarily thank God for the terrible things of this life, but—while suffering through them—I see things to be thankful for! I believe that is what the Bible speaks of in this verse. I do not thank God that my wife had cancer! I do thank God for His goodness during that time though.)
a. There Is The Vision Of The Past - We need to recognize God in our circumstances! 2 Timothy 3:11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. (The Lord had delivered Paul previously during dire circumstances. He had taken care of his every need to this point in life and there was no reason to doubt the Lord now.)
b. There Is The Vision Of The Present - We need to reflect God in our circumstances! Isaiah 24:15 Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea.
1) He was alive and well! The sight of his brethren reminded Paul that the “lion” had not devoured him!
2) There were those around him who cared for his welfare. He had friends and if a man has friends, he is rich! They were not ashamed of his “chain.”
3) There was prayer constantly going up on his behalf. Those who came to him cared for him!
4) There were still the comforts of life. He still had fire, food, friends, and shelter.
5) There was still hope. He was neither forsaken of the Lord nor devoured by the adversary.
2. The Voice Of Thanksgiving – “he thanked God” - Psalms 150:1-6 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. 2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. 3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. 4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. 5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. 6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. (The Bible does not say to praise the Lord when things are good and then to stop praising when things go contrary to our desires. We often said, in Bible College, “Praise the Lord anyhow!” How we come through problems is up to us. We can be better for them or worse because of them, the choice is ours to make.)
a. We Can Look At Where we Are And Be Hateful.
b. We Can Look At Where we Aare And Be Grateful.
Psalms 26:6-7 I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD: 7 That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.
3. The Victory Of Thanksgiving – “and took courage” - 2 Chronicles 20:17, 22 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. 22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.
a. The Choice Of Thanksgiving.
1) Instead of complaining about his stresses, pressures and persecutions, Paul chose to give thanks.
2.) Instead of bemoaning his imprisonment, he thanks God for friends who come to support him.
b. The Courage Of Thanksgiving. Being thankful, renewed Paul's strength and helped him to be courageous as he faced his imprisonment in Rome.
1) Gratitude produces fortitude! There is something invigorating about thanksgiving that instills within us a confidence to face the trials of life.
2) Depression and thanksgiving cannot co-exist.
3) Unthankful people are discouraged people. As a person looks at God’s blessings with thanksgiving, it renews strength and instills courage.
THANK YOU FOR THE VALLEY
Thank You for the valley I walked thro' today;
The darker the valley, the more I learn to pray;
I found You where the lily's blooming by the way;
And I thank You for the valley I walked thro today.
Thank You for every hill I climbed,
For every time the sun didn't shine;
Thank You for every lonely night,
I prayed 'til I knew everything was alright
And I thank You for the valley I walked thro' today.