We humans are very good at forgetting things, and the more time that passes, the easier it is for old memories to fade away. This is why God told His people constantly to stop and remember what He had done for them, and to pass those memories on to future generations. When is the last time you intentionally stopped to remember and celebrate something good God had done for you or your family? Why not do it today?
Humans are forgetful by nature. We forget where we put our car keys, we forget birthdays, appointments, people’s names… but far too often we also forget God’s blessings to us. We either complain about what we don’t have or we become complacent with what we do have. The Bible instructs us to always remember God’s blessings and goodness to us, and to give Him thanks, regardless of our circumstances. How often do you remember?
How many blessings have you been given? Our first reaction to that question might be to think, “Compared to whom?” But regardless of our circumstances, we are the recipients of more blessings than we could possibly imagine. God’s goodness to us never ends. He continuously blesses us with countless physical and spiritual blessings in every area of our lives. If we would just open our eyes, we would see that we truly are blessed beyond belief!
Have you ever looked down on someone because of their sinful lifestyle? What that actually reveals is that we do not understand what awful sinners we ourselves are. Today we look at a man who didn’t think he was a sinner, and a woman who knew she was, and how her awareness of her great sin caused her to express extravagant thankfulness to Jesus.
There is a tendency in human nature to take for granted the sacrifices that have been made for us during our lifetime. We often forget the blood of the patriots who gave their lives defending our freedom. We often forget the martyrs who gave their lives defending the Gospel. But are we also guilty of forgetting the greatest sacrifice ever made for us when Christ gave His life on the cross?
Today we stop and look back over the years to remember God’s faithfulness to us as a church family. It is astounding and humbling to see just how good God has been to us along every mile of our journey, from the very first day until now. Join us as we give thanks to our gracious heavenly Father for His unending faithfulness to us.
Who would you die for? Most of us would be quick to say that we would die for our children, our spouse, and perhaps even a small select group of others; but that’s the easy answer. Would you die for a murderer? Would you die for a rapist? Would you die for a member of ISIS? The fact is, Jesus did die for those people, and His selfless sacrifice makes it possible for all of us sinners to be made right with God forever!
In a culture that constantly urges us to strive to get ahead, to climb the ladder of success, to never settle for second place… what motivation could there possibly be to completely surrender our lives to the will of someone else? This command of Jesus comes as a startling shock to our senses. Surely no one would ever demand such a thing! And yet that’s precisely what Jesus demands. Could there be any reason compelling enough to make us not only obey this command, but to do it willingly?
The Bible tells us that the Israelites repeatedly forgot God, despite all the miracles they had seen, and despite all the blessings God had given to them. It’s easy for us to read that and say, “I would certainly never forget God!” Yet, if we take an honest look at our lives, the truth is, we forget God all the time in ways we might not even realize. Today’s message warns us of the subtle dangers of forgetfulness, and encourages us to give thanks to God for all His goodness to us.
Knowing the importance of giving thanks is one thing, but actually doing it can be challenging. We don’t naturally give thanks when circumstances in life seem wrong; when our car breaks down on the freeway or we get in an accident, or we lose our job, or anything else that we would determine as less than desirable for ourselves. But it is in the context of life’s circumstances that we glorify God; the way we respond and react in life reveals great truth about who we are. We can prepare ourselves for life so that we respond and react in a way that glorifies God; thanksgiving.
In Luke 17 Jesus heals ten lepers but only one returns to gives thanks. Though Jesus did not command them to return and give thanks, he was surprised that only one did; and that he was a foreigner. What can we learn about being thankful from this? Was this man simply being respectful, or was there more? Why should we be thankful, and what does that mean?
If we were asked to list destructive sins that stir God’s anger and hinder the light of the gospel from shining, complaining and grumbling would probably not even make it on the list. And yet God puts grumbling right alongside the sin of idol worship, paganism and sexual immorality! Why? Because grumbling is a sign of an ungrateful heart towards God’s goodness, and it severely damages the testimony of the gospel. Is your life characterized by a grateful spirit or an undercurrent of complaining?