1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
Gratitude, its kind of hard to come by for some. "A man writing at the post office desk was approached by an older fellow who had a post card in his hand. The old man said, "Sir, could you please address this post card for me?" The man gladly did so, and he agreed to write a short message on the post card, and he even signed it for the man, too.
Finally the man doing the writing said to the older man, "Now, is there anything else I can do for you?"
The old fellow thought about it for a minute, and he said, "Yes, at the end could you just put, 'P.S. Please excuse the sloppy handwriting.'" -- John Yates, "An Attitude of Gratitude," Preaching Today, Tape No. 110.
To who should we give thinks this week. Many just have a feast without much thanksgiving. Who do those who are far from the church give thanks to Phillip Yancey said, "It is a terrible thing to be grateful and have no one to thank, to be awed and have no one to worship." Open Windows, Marriage Partnership, Vol. 5, no. 4.
It must be an odd feeling to be thankful to nobody in particular. Christians in public institutions often see this odd thing happening on Thanksgiving Day. Everyone in the institution seems to be thankful "in general." It's very strange. It's a little like being married in general. -- Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., in Assurances of the Heart. Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 13.
This morning as we look at this Psalm we want to primarily look at verse 4. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
Thankfulness follows contentment: a discontented man is not thankful for anything; but a contented man is thankful for everything. Thankfulness is a branch of godliness; none but a godly man is truly a thankful man:" Gill; Body of Divinity
To not be thankful is to be wicked. "2Ti 3:2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
"It was the most hideous face I had ever seen," Hinton said. "The woman's nose and ears were entirely gone. She lifted a fingerless hand in the air and asked, 'Can we sing Count Your Many Blessings?' "
Overcome with emotion, Hinton left the service. He was followed by a team member who said, "I guess you'll never be able to sing that song again."
"Yes I will," he replied, "but I'll never sing it the same way."
-- The Pastor's Update (5/96). Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.
- But are we deserving of all of this that God has given to us.
- Even Jacob knew that he was not worthy of the blessings that God had given to him.
- Genesis 32:10 "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant;
Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives most alms, or is more eminent for temperance, chastity, or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God who wills everything that God willeth, who receives everything as an instance of God's goodness, and has a heart always ready to praise God for it. William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. .
Someone writing in Christianity Today several years ago said, "Shall I thank God at this Thanksgiving? Why was I born at this particular time in the history of the world? Why was I born in a spotless delivery room in an American hospital instead of a steaming shelter in the dank jungle of the Amazon or a mud hut in Africa? Why did I have the privilege of going to school with capable instructors while millions around the world, without a school book, sit or squat on a dirt floor listening to a missionary?
"How does it happen that my children are tucked into warm beds at night with clean white sheets while millions of babies in the world will lie in cold rooms, many in their own filth and vomit? Why can I sit down to a warm meal whenever I want to and eat too much when millions will know all of their lives the gnawing pangs of hunger? Do I deserve to share in such wealth? Why me and not other millions? Why was I born in a land I didn't build, in a prosperity that I didn't create and enjoy a freedom that I didn't establish? Why an American sitting comfortably in my own living room this Thanksgiving rather than an Indian squatting in the dark corner of some infested alley in Calcutta, shivering in the cold, or a Cambodian in the rubble of what used to he my home, or a terrified, running Nicaraguan in the jungle? Do I deserve it? By what right do I have it?" -- Joel Gregory, "The Unlikely Thanker," Preaching Today, Tape No. 110.
Once upon a time, there was a man who lived with his wife, two small children, and his elderly parents in a tiny hut. He tried to be patient and gracious, but the noise and crowded conditions wore him down.
In desperation, he consulted the village wise man. "Do you have a rooster?" asked the wise man.
"Yes," he replied.
"Keep the rooster in the hut with your family, and come see me again next week."
The next week, the man returned and told the wise elder that living conditions were worse than ever, with the rooster crowing and making a mess of the hut. "Do you have a cow?" asked the wise elder. The man nodded fearfully. "Take your cow into the hut as well, and come see me in a week."
Over the next several weeks, the man--on the advice of the wise elder--made room for a goat, two dogs, and his brother's children.
Finally, he could take no more, and in a fit of anger, kicked out all the animals and guests, leaving only his wife, his children, and his parents. The home suddenly became spacious and quiet, and everyone lived happily ever after.
-- Leadership, Vol. 17, no. 1.
Our biggest problem in the church today is this vast majority of Sunday morning Christians who claim to have known the Master's cure and who return not [at other times] to thank Him by presence, prayer, testimony and support of His church. In fact, the whole Christian life is one big "Thank You," the living expression of our gratitude to God for His goodness. But we take Him for granted and what we take for granted we never take seriously.
-- Vance Havner in The Vance Havner Quote Book. Christianity Today, Vol. 31, no. 17.
This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com/