Grateful, Thankful, Blessed

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Psalm
Psalm 116:1–19 NLT
I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Please, Lord, save me!” How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth! I believed in you, so I said, “I am deeply troubled, Lord.” In my anxiety I cried out to you, “These people are all liars!” What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me. I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people. The Lord cares deeply when his loved ones die. O Lord, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains. I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people— in the house of the Lord in the heart of Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!
Introduction:
This Psalm was written in the backgound of a man who had experienced a severe sickness or some situation of danger. Having been delivered, he then gave thanksgiving for what the Lord had done and made promises of what he would do in gratitude for his deliverance. An “attitude of gratitude” shows that one is a mature person. Ingratitude has been the “chiefest of sins”.
This Thanksgiving Sunday I encourage you to reflect on the many goodnesses of God and examine our hearts to see the quantity and quality of our gratitude. Let’s take a look at what the Psalmist said he would do in appreciation for all that the Lord had done for him.
Psalm 116:1–19 NLT
I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Please, Lord, save me!” How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth! I believed in you, so I said, “I am deeply troubled, Lord.” In my anxiety I cried out to you, “These people are all liars!” What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me. I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people. The Lord cares deeply when his loved ones die. O Lord, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains. I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people— in the house of the Lord in the heart of Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!

I will take the cup of salvation

Sometimes we see a pastor or lay person trying to scare people into becoming Christians. Paul taught that it is the “goodness of God” that leads to repentance.
A young pastor, wise beyong their years, was riding on a train with a group of military men during WW2. he conversation developed around religious themes and the preacher shared some ideas that even unbelievers, if they had any biblical background at all recognized that they were not able to be maintained. This young man who was still a Bible College student replied using several passage of scripture. One of the soldiers came to the young preacher, who was in the military and asked him for some advice about his spiritual matters.
Very wisely, the young man said “Now before we discuss this matter, let me ask you, am I talking to a saved person or not?”
In other words you have not settled the problem of your personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior, the only advice I can give you as the ultimate answer to your need is that you repent of your sin and trust Christ as Savior.
The young student was wise. Trusting Christ as Savior and becoming a Christian does not mean that we will automatically have all of the answers to life’s questions immediately, but it does mean that we will have a working basis wherebywee, with the help of our Savior, can resolve the problems.
Until people do become Christians they simply have the inner working of the Holy Spirit to give them strength for the difficulties of life.
Sometimes we see a pastor or lay person trying to scare people into becoming Christians. Paul taught that it is the “goodness of God” that leads to repentance.
Romans 2:4 NLT
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
People who can be scared into religion don’t usually last long in their committment unless they learn soon in their Christian life to live by love and faith. When one of our greatest scientists who was noted for his new approaches and creative thinking, was on his deathbed was asked, “What are your speculations now?” He replied saying he had no speculations, then went on to say:
2 Timothy 1:12 NIV
That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
2 Tim
In preparing for this message, I have read a lot of scriptures and articles on thankfulness, gratefulness.
This time of year we see beautiful decor with things like Grateful, thankful, blessed.
In preparation , I could not help but pose the question to myself, do I think thankfulness is a state of mind or a way of life?
And as any good pastor would say I think there are strong points to it being both.
Look at Ephesians:
Where Paul is writing these words to encourage and be thankful while in prison. I find the irony of these words here to be thought provoking and challenging.
Are you thankful no matter what?
Circumstances can affect our level of thankfulness, even though we have much to be thankful for.
So should our level of thanksgiving be rooted in circumstances? Where should our focus be?
Ephesians 5:15–20 NLT
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In our text it talks about the cup of Salvation how I see it is this:
giving thanks for everything no matter what the circumstances.
Remember when you first gave your heart to God? Everything looked brighter, better, and nothing could ever dull the goodness you felt. I look at that as the cup of salvation.
The cup of salvation that is being talked about in our text is an act of worship and it was accompanied with other forms of adoration, hence the Psalmist says, and call upon the name of the LORD. He means that he will utter blessings and thanksgivings and prayers, and then drink of the cup which the Lord had filled with his saving grace.
Upon the table of infinite love stands the cup full of blessing; it is ours by faith to take it in our hand, make it our own, and partake of it, and then with joyful hearts to laud and magnify the gracious One who has filled it for our sakes that we may drink and be refreshed.
From this I ask the question am I thankful no matter what?
Do I take the cup of salvation, giving God praise and adoration for the things He has blessed me with as a way of life? Is thanksgiving a state of mind or based on favorable circumstances?

I will pay my vows unto the Lord

The psalmist does not go into detail concerning the vows he had made. Perhaps he prayed in his crisis and promised that if God would deliver him he would change his way of life in certain areas.
He agreed with God that he was deficient in bringing his sacrifices to the altar.
When we get right with God on the matters of life, amazing miracles can take place in other areas of our life. But we need to be careful! When we make vows, we must keep them or we will be worse off than ever before.
Jacob vowed at Bethel, but as far as we know, he stayed 20 years in Haran working for Laban and seemingly ignored those vows.
Your vows must be kept. We would never want to be known as a person who does not keep their word. Your word is all you have to prove your integrity and once you break this it is hard to get it back.
Other translations say “I will keep my promises to the Lord”. I prefer vows because it feels stronger. Promises get broken way too easily but vows are something declared before God to keep and to me feel more sacred.
A vow we as Christians have pledged to keep is to honor God in all areas of our lives and I believe a vital area is stewardship.
Stewardship is an important part of living. In fact, for the Christian, next to accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior, it is probably the most important element in our life.
We need to honor God in all aspects of our life. I believe that something we need to acknowledge is that fact that we honor God with the blessings that He has given us.
How can we do this?
First of all that is giving First Fruits. Honoring God with our giving. Giving God what is His. He needs to be given what is His with a grateful heart.
We need to
I believe what is said here “pay my vows unto the Lord” is give to Him what is His, to honor Him in how we have been instructed to.
More and more often I see this attitude and manner of living being compromised in Christians today. We need to recognize that we honor God when we tithe. We live in a generation and time where we don’t give on principle, but giving on priniciple is what has built our church and has sustained it.
Giving on priniciple means giving because we have been instruted to do so by scripture and we need to live that out in our daily lives. If we are members of the church whether officially on non officially we need to be tithing to the church. It is explicit in scripture and therefore how we should instruct our children and demonstrating it in our lives.
I am not preaching this today because I am doing so for selfish ambition, we should know one another better than that. It is my duty as your pastor to remind this assembly to be doing this. We are not to stop our giving because of anger or disagreements, the money is God’s and when you stop giving it you are robbing God!
I would never want to stand before God and have to explain why I did not make tithing my priority. I cannot think of one reason that would excuse that behavior but there are Christians who think they wil be able to explain this away. This morning we are to remember we have been told countless times to give, to give firstfruits, to give a tenth or earnings, and to do so with a grateful heart.
If you are here today as a leader I address you. If you are not giving your tithe to the church on a regular basis you should not be in leadership. What if you were to find that I was not tithing my 10th to head office? I am sure you would not be pleased that I am failing to set that example as your pastor. The same is true for leaders in our church, this is for board members, musicians, worship leaders, singers, children and youth persons, ushers, greeters. I am not giving exemption to others but leadership means you stand out, you lead, you give an example therefore this is an area of leading by example.
If this is an area of struggle, this morning when the call is given at this altar I believe we need to make matters right. We need to stop worry about what others think of us and worry how we are before God. Are we living up to our vows to the Lord?
Are we making church a priority? If we do not honor the Lord in these ways we will not have a place of worship in the furture. Do you see the level of importance on these things? It means life or death or the church.
We want to live up to the standards of scripture right?
Jesus is the most generous person who ever lived.
He left the comforts of heaven, took on human flesh, and gave his life on the cross so that we might live in him.
In response to Jesus’ generosity, we are called to be generous.
We are called to be generous with our money.
We are called to be generous with our money.
We are called to steward our possessions.
We are called to steward our possessions.
We are called to volunteer our time.
We are called to volunteer our time.
No one argues over whether Christians should be generous—it’s a hallmark of the Christian faith.
No one argues over whether Christians should be generous—it’s a hallmark of the Christian faith.
But here’s the deal: When it comes to what the Bible says about tithing, or tithes and offerings, things get … interesting. Over the years, there’s been a ton of debate over whether or not Christians should tithe.
Well today I would like to clarify:
When it comes to what the Bible says about tithing, or tithes and offerings, things get … interesting. Over the years, there’s been a ton of ink spilled over whether or not Christians should tithe.
In the Bible, a tithe is when you give 10 percent of your annual earnings, produce, or possessions.
In the Old Testament, we observe Abraham and Jacob offering a tithe to God in and 28. What is more, the Israelites were commanded to tithe from what they earned and produced during the year (; ; ; ).
Luke 12:34 NIV
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
God owns Everything
Exodus 19:5 NIV
Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,
Ex. 19:5
Job 41:11 NIV
Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.
Job 41:
Psalm 24:1 NIV
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
Money is about discipleship
Philippians 4:11–12 NIV
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Are you struggling financially? Do you have an abundance?
No matter where you are you need to honor God in this manner and give Him what is His.
Regardless of your situation, instead of asking “why” or just saying “thanks,” be sure to ask God what you can learn since there is a connection between your faith and money.
Matt.
Matthew 6:24 NLT
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
Luke 16:11–12 NLT
And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?
Luke 12:34 NLT
Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Giving is an act of worship. Instead of placing your hope in money place your hope in God. He owns everything. He will provide you with what you NEED to live your life for Him.
Luke 16
2 Corinthians 12:9–10 NIV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Philippians 4:19 NIV
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
As we honor Him in these things, we can rest assured that He will take care of us.
Psalm 50:10–13 NLT
For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it. Do I eat the meat of bulls? Do I drink the blood of goats?
We need to remember the importance of keeping our vow, living for Him in the ways we have been instructed to do so.
Psalm 50:10 NLT
For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
Psalm 50:10–11 NLT
For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine.

I will be your servant forever

Surrendered to serve. We are to humble ourselves before the Lord and honor Him.
Why is it that we have no problem saying that we honor Him but when it comes to living in through giving or even in surrending to His complete control we struggle?
We with the Psamlist need to recognize our deep blessings. As the title of this message states: Grateful, thankful, blessed, are you living this way?
God keeps us here on earth until one of two things happen. Either we realize the purpose for which he placed us here or we show Him that we have no intention of fulfilling his plans for our lives.
Perhaps this is what Paul meant in the statement in Phillippians.
Philippians 1:21 NIV
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21 NLT
For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.
Throughout this Psalm the writer recognizes the relationship between us and God. This also outlines certain benefits to God and our obligation to humble ourselves and serve Him.
The fact that God is our friend yet we are in His service is pointed out here. This relationship is very important. God walks with the psalmist and therefore he must not relax his service to God.
The highest concept of service is not that of a person working for matreial reward or slave who is owned by God, the relationship is friend to friend which is to ensue highest motivation for effective service.
The psalmist also believed that is a friend is worth having he is worth serving in the presence of others.
And this in turn should be our motivation.
This paves the way for Jesus’ statement
Matthew 10:32 NLT
“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
When we accept Christ we accept all that is involved in being a servant of the Lord and all other matters fit into place.
Conclusion:
This morning in light of these scriptures in our text we are reminded of the theme of gratitude. This should characterize our lives before God.
“The private and personal blessing we enjoy, the blessings of immunity, safeguard, liberty, and integrity, deserve thanksgiving of a whole life” - Jeremy Taylor
Gratitude is a touch of beauty added to the countenance giving an angelic loveliness to our character. - Theodore Parker
Deuteronomy 8:11 NLT
“But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today.
Deuteronomy 8:14 NLT
Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.
Gratitude is born in the hearts that take time to count up past mercies. - Charles Jefferson
Today, my desire is to remind us of the many blessing we have, to honor God in the ways we have been taught and to acknowledge how our lives are to be submitted in surrender to service before Him.
If there is anything that is stopping you from living your live in the way of complete surrender this morning now is the time to make matters right before God.
If there have been ways you have been neglecting honoring God with your finances, surrende it!
If there is a rift in a relationship with someone that you cannot get past, surrender it!
If there is sin that you cannot overcome, surrender it.
Church we want to move forward in liberty and freedom and we are blessed but if we get too big for our britches and cannot huumble ourselves and ask for forgiveness how can we expect revial?
Where sin abides He cannot. Therefore if there is sin in the camp we cannot expect forward movement. It is easy for us to sit back and fold our arms and look at other people’s lives but we need to examine ourselves before God and make matters right in us individually!
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