Thanksgiving - 3 Ways To Look At It

Three Ways to Look at It
Ps 95
95:1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him
with psalms.
3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
5 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To
day if ye will hear his voice,
8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the
9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err
in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
Rudyard Kipling, author of “The Jungle Book”, at one time was so popular that his writings
were getting ten shillings per word. [about $10!] A few college students, however didn't
appreciate Kipling's writings; they facetiously sent him a letter enclosing ten shillings. It read,
"Please, send us your best word." They got back a letter from Kipling, "Thanks."
An Upward Look Should Make Us Thankful.
An Outward Look Should Make Us Thankful.
An Inward Look Should Make Us Thankful.
1. An Upward Look Should Make Us Thankful.
A. An Upward Look Brings Thanks for the Power of God.
v. 1
It’s time we develop a habit of thanking God, not just thanksgiving, but
Harriet was an atheist. One morning she & a Christian lady-friend stepped out into the glories
of a beautiful fall morning. As Harriet saw the brilliant sun peaking through the haze, & the
frost on the meadow, & the brightly colored leaves making their way lazily to the ground, she
was filled with the beauty & said, "I am so thankful. I’m just so grateful for it all." And her
believing friend asked, "Grateful to whom, my dear?"
Yes, we should develop a habit of thanking God…He created us for His glory and so we should
give Him the glory!
A man was lost and walking in the desert for about five days…he comes to the home of a
preacher. Tired and weak, he crawls up to the house and collapses on the doorstep. The preacher
takes him in and nurses him back to health. Feeling better, the man asks the preacher for
directions to the nearest town. The preacher tells him the directions, and offers to lend him his
horse to make it. The preacher says, "However, there is a special thing about this horse. You
have to say ’Thank God’ to make it go and ’Amen’ to make it stop."
Anxious to get to town, the man says, "Sure, okay" and gets on the horse. He says, "Thank
God" and sho ’nuff, the horse starts walking. A bit later he says louder, "Thank God, thank
God," and the horse starts trotting. Feeling really brave, the man say, "Thank God! Thank God!
THANK GOD!" and the horse is soon up to a full run!
About then he realizes he’s heading for a huge cliff and yells "Whoa!" But the horse doesn’t
even slow! It’s coming up REAL QUICK and he’s doing everything he can to make the horse
stop. "Whoa, stop, hold on!" Finally he remembers "AMEN!!!"
The horse stops a mere two inches from the cliff’s edge, almost throwing him over its head. The
man, panting and heart racing, wipes the sweat from his face and leans back in the saddle.
Gasping for air he says w/ relief, "Thank God."
B. An Upward Look Brings Thanks for the Plans of God.
v. 4-5
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts
of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
C. An Upward Look Brings Thanks for the Presence of God.
v. 2, 6, 7
We can come, and kneel…we’re in His hand! [no pluck!]
Psalm 46:1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
We can come into His presence anytime!
H.A. Ironside in a crowded restaurant: Just as Ironside was about to begin his meal, a man
approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited him to have a seat.
Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other
man asked, "Do you have a headache?" Ironside replied, "No, I don't." The other man asked,
"Well, is there something wrong with your food?" Ironside replied, "No, I was simply thanking
God as I always do before I eat." The man said, "Oh, you're one of those, are you? … I never
give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don't have to give thanks to
anybody when I eat. I just start right in!" Ironside said, "Yes, you're just like my dog. That's
what he does too!" [headache prayers]
An Upward Look Brings Thanks for the Power of God.
An Upward Look Brings Thanks for the Plans of God.
An Upward Look Brings Thanks for the Presence of God.
2. An Outward Look Should Make Us Thankful.
A. An Outward Look at Supplies Make Me Thankful.
I am really content — until I start looking through the Sears catalogue.
I liked my car — until I saw the new Dodge Magnum.
I am satisfied with my clothes — until I stroll through the Mall.
I love our home — until I think of what it would be like to have a mansion or a log cabin on the
shore of some remote lake.
I am satisfied with every area of my life — until I start comparing with someone else’s life.
I feel like I have enough of everything — until I see someone who has more.
Let’s not be farsighted, we should focus and look at that which is near!
The secret of a happy life is not to get what you want but to live with what you’ve got. Most of
us spend our lives concentrating on what we don’t have instead of thanking God for what we do
have. Then we wake up, our life is over, and we missed the beauty of the present.
v. 7
His hand [look outward at His supplies!]
Our power is shut off, and suddenly we become thankful for electricity. Our garbage is not
picked up, and suddenly we become thankful for the garbage collector’s weekly stop. A good
friend dies, and suddenly we discover how much he meant to us. Our water becomes too
polluted to drink and suddenly we appreciate having good water.
Our attitude: “But, what have you done for me lately?” [selfish]
We are much like the little boy who was given an orange by a man. The boy’s mother asked,
“What do you say to the nice man?” The little boy thought and handed the orange back and
said, “Peel it.”
B. An Outward Look at Scenery makes me thankful.
v. 4-6
In regions of Mexico hot springs and cold springs are found side by side, and because of the
convenience of this natural phenomenon the women often bring their laundry, boil their clothes
in the hot springs, and then rinse them in the cold springs.
A tourist watching this procedure commented to his Mexican guide: "They must think Mother
nature is generous to freely supply such ample, clean hot and cold water."
The guide replied, "No senor, there is much grumbling because she supplies no soap."
C. An Outward Look at Sinners makes me thankful.
v. 8-11
Description of the lost world, headed for hell!
If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of one hundred people; here’s the way the
world would look:
There would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere, and 8 Africans.
50 would suffer from malnutrition and one would be near death.
80 would live in substandard housing.
70 would be unable to read.
6 would possess more than half of the world’s wealth and all 6 would be from North America.
We attend church without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death. We are better off
than 3 billion people in that regard.
We have money in the bank, our could if we wanted to, and spare change in a dish, food in the
refrigerator, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads. We are richer than 75% of this
world. [richest poor people!]
D. An Outward Look at Salvation makes me thankful.
v. 1b, 6-7
Alex Haley, the author of "Roots," had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. It was a
picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When asked, "Why is that there?" Haley answered,
"Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words & think that they are
wonderful, & begin to feel proud of myself, I look at the turtle on top of the fence post &
remember that he didn’t get there on his own. He had help."
An Outward Look at . . Supplies Make Me Thankful.
An Outward Look at . . Scenery makes me thankful.
An Outward Look at . . Sinners makes me thankful.
An Outward Look at . . Salvation makes me thankful.
3. An Inward Look Should Make Us Thankful.
A. An Inward Look at my Heart Makes me Thankful.
v. 7b-8a
Mirror illustration—honest look
In a sense, gratitude is an expression of modesty. In Hebrew, the word for gratitude - hoda’ah is the same as the word for confession. To offer thanks is to confess dependence, to
acknowledge that others have the power to benefit you, to admit that your life is better because
of their efforts. [and when we have a truly transparent heart and look at the Christ in our heart,
our attitude changes!]
I am Thankful for...
....the taxes I pay
....because it means I’m employed.
....the clothes that fit a little too snug
....because it means I have enough to eat. shadow who watches me work
....because it means I am out in the sunshine.
....a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and
....gutters that need fixing
....because it means I have a home.
....the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot
....because it means I am capable of walking. huge heating bill
....because it means I am warm.
....all the complaining I hear about our government
....because it means we have freedom of speech.
....the lady behind me in church who sings off key.
....because it means that I can hear.
....the piles of laundry and ironing
....because it means my loved ones are nearby.
....the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours
....because it means that I’m alive.
....weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day
....because it means I have been productive. [that’s sincere gratefulness]
The Art of Thanksliving. It is gratitude in action. [demonstrating it!]
It is thanking God for the gift of life by living it triumphantly.
[if it reaches your hand then it has reached your heart!]
It is thanking God for your talents and abilities by accepting them as obligations to be invested
for the common good.
It is thanking God for all that men and women have done for you and showing you’re thankful
by doing things for others.
It is thanking God for happiness by striving to make others happy.
It is thanking God for beauty by helping to make the world more beautiful.
A sincere heart will recognize the privileges of serving God/others.
B. An Inward Look at my Health Makes me Thankful.
It was Thanksgiving season in the nursing home. The small resident population was gathered
about their humble Thanksgiving table, and the director asked each in turn to express one thing
for which they were thankful. Thanks were expressed for a home in which to stay, families, etc.
One little old lady in her turn said, ’I thank the Lord for two perfectly good teeth, one in my
upper jaw and one in my lower jaw that line up so I can chew my food.’
A 12 year old boy named David was born without an immune system. He underwent a bone
marrow transplant in order to correct the deficiency. Up to that point he had spent his entire life
in a plastic bubble in order to prevent exposure to common germs, bacteria, and viruses that
could kill him. He lived without ever knowing human contact.
When asked what he'd like to do if and when released from his protective bubble, he replied, "I
want to walk barefoot on grass, and touch my mother's hand." [we take so much for granted!]
C. An Inward Look at my Home Makes me Thankful.
Psalm 127:3-5
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. [4] As
arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. [5] Happy is the man that
hath his quiver full of them.
Here is a list of things housewives are most thankful for:
"For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before
the family comes back in for their after-dinner snacks.
For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them
big enough to call in the professionals.
For children who put away their things & clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you
hate to see them go home to their own parents.
For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.
For smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done."
Sign in my office: “Thou Shalt Not Whine”
POEM: “Forgive Me When I Whine”
Today upon a bus I saw, a lovely maid with golden hair;
I envied her – so beautiful, and how, I wished I were so fair;
When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle;
she had one foot and wore a crutch, but as she passed,
she wore a smile.
Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two feet -- the world is mine.
And when I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad who served me had such charm;
he seemed to radiate good cheer, his manner was so kind and warm;
I said, "It's nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find";
he turned and said, "Oh, thank you sir." And then I saw that he was blind.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes, the world is mine.
Then, when walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue;
he stood and watched the others play, it seemed he knew not what to do;
I stopped a moment, then I said, "Why don't you join the others, dear?"
He looked ahead without a word, I realized--he could not hear.
Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two ears, the world is mine.
With feet to take me where I'd go; with eyes to see the sunsets glow, with ears to hear what I
would know.
I am blessed indeed. The world is mine;
oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
An Upward Look Should Make Us Thankful.
An Outward Look Should Make Us Thankful.
An Inward Look Should Make Us Thankful.