We’re taking a break from our Ephesians series, and the apostle Paul has helped us to enter into a season of Thanksgiving. In this new series “The Gift of Gratitude,” we will explore our response to what we have experienced over the past year. Communion with God is based on a relationship with Him through Christ. This relationship is engaged by prayer and worship. Paul has taught us that the content of our prayers involves trust and thanksgiving. Join us for the rest of November as we explore the gift of gratitude.
Generational Joy, Generational Thanksgiving
Unity in Purpose
Ezra 3:1 (NLT)
In early autumn, when the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled in Jerusalem with a unified purpose.
Unity in Building
Ezra 3:9 (NIV)
Joshua and his sons and brothers and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah) and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers—all Levites—joined together in supervising those working on the house of God.
Disunity in Praise and Thanksgiving
Ezra 3:10-12 (NLT)
10 When the builders completed the foundation of the Lord’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets. And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the Lord, just as King David had prescribed. 11 With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord:“He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid. 12 But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy.
Disunity in Perspective
Ezra 3:13 (NLT)
The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance. -
It’s unfortunate when the unity of God’s people is shattered because generations look in opposite directions. The older men (people) were looking back with longing while the younger men (people) were looking around with joy. Both of them should have been looking up and praising the Lord for what he had accomplished. We certainly cannot ignore the past, but the past must be a rudder to guide us not an anchor to hold us back. – --Pastor Warren W. Wiersbe
Gaining God’s Perspective Inspires Comfort
Psalm 30:4-5 (NLT)
4 Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Gaining God’s Perspective Inspires Joy
Psalm 30:11-12 (NLT)
11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!
Generational Perspective of Joy and Thanksgiving
2 Corinthians 4:14-17 (NLT)
14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. 16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
Prayer & Communion
Thanksgiving Prayer Service
Dale Beaver, November 20 & 21
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
1 Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
3 For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods.
4 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains.
5 The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too.
6 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
7 for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care.
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body, you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
14 When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. 15 Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins.”
17 Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”
19 He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
20 After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.
Thanksgiving over Seven Decades
Thanksgiving over Seven Decades
David Niednagel, November 13 & 14
Grade School - Official holiday did not make me thankful.
High School - Didn’t need “things” to be thankful.
In my 30s - Thanks was easy when we noticed what God was doing.
In my 70s - Thankful for what God has done in the past.
Psalm 78 - Written to people who were not experiencing miracles or blessings, reviewing the great works of God in the past.
If God was ever real, He is still real.
Romans 1:21 (ESV)
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
David appointed … Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the LORD—to invoke his blessings, to give thanks, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel. …
1Chronicles 16:7-9, 12 (NLT)
7 On that day David gave to Asaph … this song of thanksgiving to the LORD::
8 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
9 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds….
12 Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
Priests were to model and teach how to respond to God.
Jesus did that too.
Matthew 15:36 (ESV)
He took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
Proverbs 3:6a (ESV)
In all your ways acknowledge Him. Prov 3:6
Even if we feel thankful, we have to learn how to express it.
Jesus healed 10 men of leprosy, but only one returned to thank Him. (Luke 17:12)
Philippians. 4:4-7 (NIV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 3:15-17 (ESV)
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Without expressing thanks, we won’t experience peace about the future.
1Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
“All circumstances”? Yes, because, “we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)
Genesis 50:20 (NIV)
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Holidays don’t make you thankful but are a good opportunity to remember and learn to give thanks.
You can give thanks even when circumstances are bad.
When you look for God, you can easily give thanks.
Even in times of loss, we can thank God for what He has done in the past, and it gives us trust and peace about the future.