In everything give thanks
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP)--"Rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4) and "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The word "joy" occurs 181 times in the Bible, and the theme of thanksgiving is woven like a golden ribbon throughout the fabric of Scripture.
He wants to hear our doubts, fears, and questions; but He especially desires our praise! He seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.
When is it appropriate to praise and thank God?
-- Every morning and every night.
According to Psalm 92:1-2: "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name… to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night." A day that begins and ends in prayer and praise won't become unraveled.
-- At midnight.
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God at midnight. We can do the same. Psalm 119:62 says, "At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, because of Your righteous judgments." If I'm awakened at night, it may be to tell the Lord what's troubling me or to praise Him. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6-7).
-- At meals.
We can also praise God three times a day when we sit down to eat. Romans 14:6 says, "He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks." It's a silent reminder to those around us and a visible reminder to all of us that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above.
-- When we pray.
Biblical prayer is always girded up and surrounded with gratitude. We're to enter His gates with thanksgiving, which is the spirit of prayer, the very breath of prayer. "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2).
If we would learn to say "thank you" with a smile for all favors done for us -- especially saying "thank you" to God for every blessing -- it would give us a whole new outlook on each day. Nothing brightens life like the spirit of thanksgiving.
-- In every word and deed.
According to Colossians 3:17, we're also to thank God in every word and action: "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Speak every word in gratitude, and do everything with a thankful heart. Praise and thanksgiving are good barometers of spiritual health.
Whenever we awaken in the morning or retire at night, if we're sleepless at midnight, whenever we eat, every time we pray, and in all our words and deeds -- all should be tinged with thanksgiving the way the morning sky is tinged with crimson.
-- In time and in eternity.
Finally, give thanks at all times both now and in eternity. In Ephesians 5, we're told that when the Spirit of God fills our lives, we'll be thankful to God in all present situations. And here's the capstone -- that's what we'll be doing throughout eternity.
Thanksgiving isn't going to end when heaven begins. Praise and thanksgiving just go right on out into the future. We won't have a Thanksgiving Day in eternity because every day will be Thanksgiving. Every time we see our Lord and every time we think of our redemption, we'll just break into praise.
Think about it -- we're going to fill heaven's corridors with the sound of praise and thanksgiving throughout the endless, joyous, never-ending eons of eternity. Psalm 89:1 says, "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever."
Learn a praise verse above, teach it to your children, share it with your friends. Practice it, and begin giving the Lord real praise and genuine thanksgiving every morning and night, whenever you awake, at every meal, and with every word and deed, whenever you pray, at all times now -- and forever. We want God to know we adore Him.
So praise the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name forever!
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., and chancellor of San Diego Christian College. For more information on Turning Point, go to www.TurningPointOnline.org.