1. “O Lord, open my lips; and my mouth will declare your praise” (Ps. 51:15). Remembering to give thanks is sometimes a matter of opening our mouths to give thanks back to God. Forgetful, ungrateful, reluctant, preoccupied. Worship calls us to stop from our busy-ness, and open our mouths to give praise and thanks for God. Open our lips in praise and thanksgiving more often! Acknowledges God is the giver.
2. What is a life lived without gratitude (thanksgiving)? Selfishness, discontent, greed, jealousy. Gratitude keeps us from selfishness; recognizes what we have is a gift, not our own. Gratitude makes us open to sharing. Gratitude frees us to be contented; thankful for whatever we have, not expecting more. God provides. Gratitude guards against greed and jealousy; satisfied with what’s my own—happy to help others protect and keep what is theirs. Celebrate what you have been given, also what they have been given! (9th & 10th Commandments).
3. “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” (Ps 9:1). Wholehearted thanks—more than just an obligatory “thank you.” How to give thanks? Start by telling all the things God has done. Go through one by one, name what God has done—individually; family; church; community; world/humanity. The crowning, wonderful deeds of God will always be His love and mercy in sending Jesus. His death and resurrection for us, overthrowing sin and death, giving forgiveness and eternal life.
4. “I will thank you in the great congregation; in the mighty throng I will praise you.” (Ps. 35:18. “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.” (Ps. 57:9) Giving thanks is something we should do before others—both in the church, the assembly of God’s people, and also before all peoples. Singing God’s praise among the nations. Shows we are not ashamed to give God the credit and glory. Takes the spotlight off of us.
5. “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” (Ps 115:1). Honor God, and not ourselves. Difference between pride and humility. Gratitude leads us to give credit where due, and doesn’t seek to build ourselves up with self-praise.
6. “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people…I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.” (Ps. 116:12-14, 17) How do we repay God for all that He’s done? Impossible that we could ever. But we do give back ourselves to Him—call on His name. Offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Give thanks back to Him. Render our bodies as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1)
7. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Ps 103:1-5). As you are thankful this and next year, forget not all his benefits. Don’t forget what God has done. We are called to remember and to thank God for all He’s done. We know God is worthy of all our thanks and praise. Forgiveness, healing, redemptions, life, crown, strength. Won for us through God’s love and mercy, all thanks to Him!