Beyond Thanksgiving


mount-mckinley-denali-national-park

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,

And into His courts with praise.

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)

         Thanksgiving is the key that opens the door to God’s presence. Think about this for a minute! An ungrateful person will never be able to experience God’s presence. Being ungrateful is such a tragedy. When we think about the fact that God is not hiding and that He desires to be with us, more than we will ever desire to be with HIM, it truly makes us unworthy.

         Our God is not a distant God, as a matter of fact; He wants to make residence in our hearts. But why will an ungrateful person never be able to experience God’s presence? That is because they are unable to see God’s blessings; they are incapable of appreciating all the wonderful things God has given them on a daily basis.

         I think now about my beautiful Rayette and the relationship that we have as we continue to grow in our togetherness here in Alaska; that’s a blessing! I think about my six children. They do get on my last nerves, but they are my children and I have the honor of being their father; that’s a blessing!

         I think about waking up in the morning, that’s a blessing! I think about having a car that can take me places, that’s a blessing! I think about my home: a warm place to stay, work around the yard, fix things, create, cut trees, split and stack wood; that’s a blessing!

         I think about my home church; Pastor Keith, his wife, brothers and sisters at Harvest, my home church; that’s a blessing! I think about my new friends, extended family and about my job at FRA, that’s a blessing! I think about this blog, that’s a blessing! I think about clean water, food, shelter and clothing. Should I keep going?

         But being thankful is not enough; there is something even beyond thankfulness. The Apostle Paul gave us this level in Philippians 4:11 as he states,

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: (NKJV)

         This is a place where you understand that God has given you more than enough, a place where you understand that if He stops blessing you right now, because he saved your soul, you already have more than enough. And yet, there is even a higher and deeper place. A place where you are not interesting in asking for anything, you just want to bless God.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,

And into His courts with praise.

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)

         Beloved, that is the place beyond thanksgiving and beyond contentment! This is where our heart’s desire is to be a blessing to the God we serve. Abraham gave us that example as he begged the Angel of the Lord to stay; he took care of them in Genesis 18. David gave us that example as he declared,

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. (NKJV)

 

         No one gave us a better example of this desire to bless God than Mary in John 12:3,

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. (NKJV)

 

         This action was viewed as a waste of money and resources not only by Judas, but by the rest of the disciples according to Matthew 26:8. For others, it was even scandalous. Nevertheless, this is how Jesus answered,

10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. 11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Matthew 26:10-13 (NKJV)

 

         Beloved, not that giving to the poor is wrong, it is a mandate. Not that blessing others is wrong; it is expected from us as Christians. We ought to be people that are always open to bless others. Nevertheless, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, more important for us as Christians, than to have a heart that desires to bless God.

         I don’t know about you, but I want a memorial, not for me, not for my accomplishments, but a memorial like Mary. A memorial that is focused on blessing GOD! That, my friends, is far beyond the attitude of thanksgiving and far beyond contentment. This is indeed the establishment of the first commandment’s development in our hearts; that is…to love GOD above all things!

 

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