Giving Thanks in 2020

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:8

We used to sing this verse as the chorus to a song based on Psalm 107. What I loved about the song was hearing how that every time God’s children got themselves in trouble (Just like me!) they would remember how good God was; cry out and He would come to their rescue! For we who have struggled through 2020 with its lockdowns, Covid-19 deaths and political upheaval it might help to take a look both at this Psalm and at the lives of the folks who celebrated the first Thanksgiving 400 years ago. Isn’t it funny how people thousands of years ago, along with those four centuries ago and us all have the same thing in common – problems!

Looking back it is easy to minimize or ridicule the struggles of others. Back in January many of us here in the United States probably thought our economy and future were secure and that things were just “Getting better all the time” to quote the famous philosopher Paul McCartney.

But we all are equally human and God sees to it that each of us comes face to face with our own limitations and sins. The trick is to remember that God still cares about us and that in spite of our failures He will always hear us when we pray. He not only heard the Israelites when they cried out, but He was also with the Pilgrims to comfort and encourage them after losing half of their people to disease over that first terrible winter. So when the following year they took time to give thanks they were able to celebrate because they remembered God’s goodness and not their loss. In the same way He will be with us today because; just as for the children of Israel and the Pilgrims, the greater our problem – the greater God’s solution. The deeper our sin; how much deeper still God’s mercy and grace. We must remember that on the very night when He was betrayed Jesus took the cup and gave thanks. How much more should we be thankful today as we look back to all that He has done? !

O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and His wonderful works to His children!

In the Silence of Worship

We often think of worship as something we do, sing or listen to. But as I was reading my Bible this morning I came across Psalm 105 where David lists nine attributes of a worshipper. At first He talks about the kind of worship we are all familiar with such as singing about how great God is and making sure everyone hears. But then David goes on to list four things we do in silence.

Psalm 105:3-4 Glory in His name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and His strength. Seek His face always.

In this Covid-19 year with just two days remaining till Thanksgiving it can be a struggle to focus on being truly grateful. When I came across this morning’s verse and was encouraged I saw that four silent acts of faith that matter far more to God than all the noise coming from our mouths or instruments. Today we will look at just the first two.

Glory in His Holy name – So is that like the Pentecostal church we visited years ago where we were startled by someone who suddenly stood up and shouted “Glory!”? Does it mean saying, “God is good!” when we’re in church? Or just maybe glorying in His name means something looking forward expectantly to seeing God’s glory in every small thing of my day. Those silent moments of worship are like what Jesus said about the kingdom of God being a small seed that grows into the largest plant in the garden.

Let the hearts of those who seek your face rejoice – Genuine rejoicing lips are rooted in honest rejoicing hearts. You might wonder if seeking God’s face isn’t like a religious game of hide and seek with the Almighty. No! NO! He wants us to find Him just as my wife delighted in hiding baskets filled with chocolates and colored eggs for our children to find on Easter morning. But our children had to be seeking. They had to read and follow the clues she left behind on tiny folded pieces of paper. As they raced from place to place their excitement grew till suddenly behind a doorway or inside a closet they each joyfully found what they had been looking for! Do you have a joyful testimony of something you discovered this year as you spent some of that extra Covid-19 time on seeking His face?

If it has been a struggle to set aside quiet time to just sit in the presence of God and seek Him I hope this music from Eric Terlizzi which I loved to listen to while I prayed some years back may be a blessing to you as well.

Giving Him Thanks

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.            Ephesians 5:20

In today’s verse the Apostle Paul tells us to be thankful for everything. Now without a doubt there are plenty of terrible things going on in the world around us all the time. But thankfulness is more than simply a play by play analysis of life as if it was some sort of cosmic football game. Instead the gratitude that God has in mind is about seeing things as God sees them as we come to worship.

We see the pot holes in the road while God sees the end of the journey. We feel the cold of the winter wind while God sees the roots of the trees resting while they gather their energy for spring. We are angry over hurtful words spoken to us while God is hoping it will give us opportunity to learn to forgive. We experience the loneliness of eight months of this Covid-19 shutdown but God is reminding us of what and who matter most in life.

We may not be able to see loved ones but we can tell them we love them by a card or a phone call. Maybe we won’t have a chance to sit at a table with our family for Thanksgiving but Jesus has promised us that He will sit down at the table with us wherever we are. God is good. We have much to be thankful for even in 2020! May God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Giving Thanks

Giving thanks when things go well 
Is an easy thing to do
But to give Him thanks when the chips are down
Is God's will for me and you

Giving Thanks by Peter Caligiuri © 2020 All rights reserved