You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?
Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.
Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, when somebody says Thanksgiving, what do you think of? Ooh, I think turkey and stuffing. Yeah, so we think of Thanksgiving as an event, as a day.
As a holiday. Instead of a lifestyle. Instead of a lifestyle. Instead of a lifestyle. Well, today we'll look at insights into thankfulness.
On More Than Ink. Well, good morning. I've got my coffee.
I have mine. I'm Dorothy. And I'm Jim, and we're sitting in our dining room table, and we have coffee and the Word of God.
What else do you need? Well, exactly. And we're going to do something a little surprising to us at least today. We have not compared notes beforehand, right? No, we haven't.
No, we haven't compared notes. So what we're going to do, I challenged us to come up with, each of us, to come up with three things about Thanksgiving that maybe they're misunderstood or they're kind of insights or ahas, but they're all biblical in that particular sense. Because this Saturday that this is airing is the Saturday before Thanksgiving. So I thought, well, let's talk about Thanksgiving. Maybe there's things about the whole topic of giving thanks that we don't have quite right. Well, and when you use the term Thanksgiving, people, at least in this country, immediately think of the holiday.
The holiday, right. People gathering and having a turkey and doing all the things that they traditionally do. But biblically, giving thanks. Giving thanks. Is the central idea here. Insights into thankfulness.
Okay, into giving of thanks. That's right. Yeah, so we might have the three exactly the same things. We don't know. I don't think so.
We're going to find out right now. And by the way, this is one of the fun things about studying the Bible with someone else is you can sit down and do your own summaries and then compare notes and see where you're the same and you're the different. I mean, you just you learn great stuff from other people and other pair of eyes looking at the same passage.
Well, it doesn't even have to be a summary. But whatever has spoken to you, right? If the word of God is living, it's going to be fresh every time we bring our hearts and our minds to it.
So what is the spirit saying to you, highlighting to you from the page this time? Exactly. Yeah. So that's what it's just a great exploratory thing. I mean, it's like going to a national park alone versus going with someone else.
So you can point at the same time and say, hey, look at that. So this will be good for us because Thanksgiving is in a few days and we'll just have a chance to surprise each other with our attitudes. Well, there you go. So let's look at our three insights into thankfulness.
And you want to start? What's when you notice? This is the first thing that came to mind to me when I started thinking about, oh, I've got to come up with three ahas. Giving thanks might cost you something. Oh, because we just have finished the book of Hebrews.
Right. And toward the end of Hebrews, the writer says now through him, then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise. That is the fruit of lips that give thanks to his name. So that word sacrifice means the act of sacrificing an animal. This is the religious service, the thing that you do to make the sacrifice. So, you know, giving thanks costs you something. Well, as I was thinking about that, it occurred to me that the epistles, Ephesians and Thessalonians and Colossians, they all say always in everything you do, whatever you find yourself doing, give thanks, because that's God's will for you, Christ Jesus. To give thanks. Give thanks. In everything, right? So there is always, no matter what your circumstance, there is always a reason to give God thanks that is do Him.
And that actually connects to one of my other ones. But this whole idea that giving thanks isn't just something you do when you're feeling cheerful. Right. It is an act of the will. It costs me something.
It costs you something. I will thank you, Lord God, for what you have done. Yeah, and I think, you know, for a lot of people, it's like, well, you know, being thankful, yeah, I'm supposed to be thankful. You know, or like when I was a kid, you know, and my grandmother would give me a gift for Christmas, and my mom would say, now you need to thank her.
You need to, ah, you know, I'm supposed to thank. So it seems like something you're supposed to be compelled to do, but it's really not a compulsion. It's something that reflects something of your inner heart, your nature. Well, that's true, but we need to give thanks whether we feel like it or not. It's not something we do on the basis of our emotion.
We do it on the basis, we do it on another basis, and I'll save that. Well, it's a genuine reflection of something inside of you. Yeah, it is. Yeah, one of mine was kind of closely allied to that, which is that thanksgiving is really an act of worship. And sacrifice is part of worship then, but it's really an act of worship, but it's an act of worship that actually glorifies God.
Yeah. And so, Psalm 50 is where I got some of this from. If you read Psalm 50 in verse 14, he says, offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving. There's that same phrase.
The same idea. That's a worship thing from a Hebrew mindset and from ours. A sacrifice of thanksgiving and perform your vows to the most high. And then if you skip about nine verses after that in 23, he says, the one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me.
Isn't that interesting? The sacrifice of thanksgiving glorifies me to one who orders his way rightly. So, it's interesting is that it's part and parcel, thankfulness is part and parcel of our worship to God and our sacrifice of worship to God. And in so doing, we glorify, and glorify is just a fancy word for making large an aspect of God's nature. It glorifies who God is. And so, when I thank God for something, and I do it publicly, say like in a worship context or something like that. When I thank God, it tells anyone in the hearing of that, well, God must be your provider.
Yes. So, it says a lot about the nature of who God is. That's the glorifying part. And I would also offer that if in the common places you walk through life, if you're not constantly thanking God in the midst of all those things that you're experiencing and being blessed by or all those events. And even doing it verbally, you're missing a tremendous opportunity to glorify who God is as someone who cares for us and who provides for us and who protects us. And when you say it out loud in a worship perspective, people get to understand that God is a God who loves us and provides for us if that's actually part of your praise. So, that kind of goes along with what you were saying, sacrifice of thanksgiving. Well, I think we'll find that all of these connect together, and you used the word glorify God repeatedly.
And why did you say that? It makes God large or outshines his... Glorifies. It kind of broadcasts who he is. And I think in terms of glorifying, God is granting him the recognition that he is due, right? And that kind of connects to one of my others, which is we give thanks to God on the basis of his character and deeds, his goodness and his steadfast love. Who he is, right. Not on the basis necessarily of the stuff he's given us. Yes. Now, we might say thank you, Lord, for giving me X, Y, and Z. Because they can be good things.
Absolutely. He is the giver of all good gifts, James says. But the Psalms in particular give us models of this giving thanks to God on the basis of his character. Who he is. Yeah, and there's a couple that are favorites of mine that I just go back to repeatedly at this time of year.
One of them is Psalm 107, which begins, oh, give thanks to the Lord. Why? Because he's good. He's good. His loving kindness is everlasting, right?
His devotion, that's that Hebrew word chesed, his devoted, loyal love towards us is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Say so. Say it.
Right? So speaking that word, thank you, God, for your consistent, faithful, devoted love toward me. Yeah. You can always give him thanks for that. And that recognizes his primary characteristic of devoted love. Self-giving love. Yeah, it glorifies who he is when you do it.
Yeah. And then Psalm 136 is one that we actually as a family have used for many years as a litany that we speak at some point, either around the table or before dinner. And it is every line, every other line. It repeats over and over. It says, give thanks to the Lord for his loving kindness is everlasting.
He's good, right? So then there's, you know, this call to because he's given us creation, because of his power in creation. And then there's a list of all the great things he did in delivering Israel from Egypt, which we're going to talk about starting next week. But I love this litany where there's always give thanks to the Lord for he's good, for his loving kindness is everlasting is the refrain. Yeah, over and over.
Over and over and over. And then Psalm winds up the last couple of verses who remembered us in our lowest state for his loving kindness is everlasting. And it's a great phrase. And has rescued us from our adversaries for his loving kindness is everlasting. Who gives food to all flesh for his loving kindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the God of heaven for his loving kindness is everlasting.
Yeah. So it's really been fun over the years for us to do this. And we've done it when we've had guests here, and I will hand out cards for everybody to do our own reading. And we even had unbelievers who have read their part, and then everybody responds, give thanks to the Lord for he's good, his loving kindness is everlasting. And I remember one year in particular, when there was an unbeliever among us who, when he read his part, I looked around the room and there were tears streaming down the cheeks of his believing family as he read the Word of God aloud. And then we all responded, give thanks to the Lord, he's good.
Yeah. His loving kindness is everlasting. So, you know, the power of speaking this thankfulness aloud is so important on the basis of God's character and who he is. It glorifies who he is. Thanksgiving glorifies who he is, it kind of states out loud what your relationship with him is, and his desire to give to us. Yeah, this is the same as one of my points, too.
I knew we were going to overlap on this one. Because, you know, our Thanksgiving ought to be motivated by who he is and not what he gives. Right, right. And, you know, as a child, you know, when you get gifts at Christmas or birthdays or something like that, I was going to say Thanksgiving. I never got presents at Thanksgiving. But when you get those presents, you are so consumed with the present, you know. It's like, oh, you're just overwhelmed.
And that's all you can think about is the present. And then you're so overwhelmed by it, your parents have to remind you to thank somebody for those things. But, you know, now as a parent ourselves, I look at the gifts I give to my children and I realize, you know, I want them to understand my heart through what I give them. I don't want them to become so obsessed on the thing I gave them that they miss the point that it communicates something about my heart for them. It would be such a tragedy to just be stuck on the things that you give your children. They get stuck on that and they don't care about you.
They don't see the other part of it. And so that's why in Psalm 136, he does list the gifts. There's a lot of things God gives to us. And he's not overlooking those. But what he comes back to over and over again, he says, this confirms my point that we need to give thanks to the Lord. Why? Because he's good.
Because he's good. And his steadfast love, his chesed for us, just doesn't stop. It just keeps going. It's new every morning, as Jeremiah said.
Exactly. And that all by itself, even if your life is a train wreck, circumstantially, you know, maybe your car's on fire in the driveway or you lost your job or something like that. You can say, I have nothing to be thankful for right now.
Well, but you do have something to be thankful for because you have a God who loves you. Whose loving kindness hasn't stopped, even though your dip in circumstances might tempt you to believe that he doesn't love you anymore. So that's why he goes through and says, no, but his love doesn't stop. It's a devoted, a devoted kind of loyal love. And so when I've always translated this steadfast love, I always translate it in my own mind as being devoted. Because when you think of a couple that's devoted, you know that come thick or thin, their love's not going to be busted.
They're devoted to one another. Because that devotion is focused in a particular direction. That's kind of the idea of being devoted to something.
Exactly. And so this God is devoted to us. And you know what he's devoted to? He's devoted to bringing good to us. He's devoted to bringing good to us. So give thanks to the Lord because he's good and he's not going to stop at being good for us.
I mean that should be plenty right there. See, even if your circumstances stink at the moment, which is what we talked about before, giving thanks might cost you something. It's an act of faith when your circumstances are horrific.
It is. Or you look like everything's going to hell in a hand basket. And you're like, God, how can I thank you in the midst of this? And the scripture says, now in everything give thanks because this is the will of God for you. Yeah, in everything give thanks.
And if you really run out of things to be thankful for. And you can't, you know, I just flashed back to when Jesus sent off the guys to go evangelizing. Right. And they cast out demons and they came back all jazzed about the fact. They were crowing in. You know, even the demons. And Jesus said, hey, just back off. You know, you need to be happy about the fact that your names are written in heaven.
That's a big deal. So even as things go up and down in life, you know, don't equate the downs with the fact that God has somehow stopped being loving kindness. He's stopped being enduring in love towards you because he hasn't. He hasn't. And then Paul even tells us in Romans that in ways that we can't always understand, even the down times God is using for good with us.
Because he's committed to our good. Even though we can't piece those puzzle pieces together. Okay, this connects to something I thought. And this actually isn't one of my three ahas, but it's something else. I don't know if we can talk about it then.
So I'm kind of exploring. Do you know, the Lord Jesus gave thanks in public vocally, out loud. And one of those times when he did was standing at the grave of Lazarus. Yeah, that's right.
So since you were just talking about being in down circumstances. And he was standing at the grave of Lazarus right after the scripture records that he wept. And then he says, Father, I thank you that you always hear me. Yeah, yeah.
Talk about bad circumstances. Oh, yes. And he knew he was going to raise Lazarus, but still he stood there and wept and said, thank you, Father, that you always hear me.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So don't be like a little child to get so focused on the gifts or the absence of gifts that moderates your thankfulness. You need to have your thankfulness anchored in the fact of who God is and that he's for you and he's dedicated to your good. And there's nothing you can do to shake his love. He's devoted to you.
So that ought to be the core of all of our thanksgiving. So every time, in fact, every time something extraordinarily good comes into your life, don't get focused on that extraordinarily good thing. Say, you know, God is really good. He's brought this to me and I don't deserve this. And move past the gift. I mean, look at what the gift says as a communication.
But then go past that and say, this tells me and reinforces for me that God really is very good. He's dedicated. You know, his love for me won't be thwarted.
It's not going to be stopped. So it's kind of like his love is sovereign. His love always wins. A love always wins.
God's love always wins. Always gets you there. Yeah. Well, do you got a third one? I do.
And, yeah. Okay, so I'll just plop it out here. Plop it out there. Because mine's kind of weird, too. Not giving thanks. Oh, mine goes that way. Has consequences.
My last one is about not giving thanks. Oh, are you in Romans 1, too? No. Well, yes. Yes, yes. Romans 1, 21.
Romans 1, 20 and 21. So let me read it. Yeah. Because this is like, oh, here we want this sweet, flowery discussion about giving thanks. This is interesting. But this is a really important connection for us.
It is. When Paul says, I'm going to start reading verse 20. For since the creation of the world, God's invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen being understood through what's been made. So they are without excuse. Then they here are those who suppress the truth about God, as he said a couple of verses before. People who won't admit He exists even. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing to become wise, they became fools. So their not giving thanks leads to an emptiness and a lack of understanding. And it's interesting that thankfulness would be a component of that.
Isn't that interesting? Or actually not just a component, a core of it. No, it's a core cause. Because he says they wouldn't honor Him and they wouldn't thank Him. Which, it sort of makes sense when you reflect on it for a second. Because, you know, we said that thanksgiving, this giving thanks, it really defines your relationship with God in a public way. So if I'm not enjoying and dependent upon God's love and good toward me, if that's broken, then thankfulness is an indicator that my relationship with God is busted.
A lack of thankfulness. So not only do they not honor who God is, which means you admit He's there. Back in the Old Testament it says a fool will say there is no God.
A fool does that. I mean it's just crazy talk. And in the rest of Romans 1, Paul says they're without excuse. They've seen enough of creation to know that God exists. So to sit there and say God doesn't exist. But you're saying God doesn't exist and as a result then I'm not going to honor Him and I'm not going to thank Him.
Which is just astonishing. Which, you know, that is a trading of God's position as creator and sovereign master of all that is for substituting myself. Oh, I'm governor of my own. I'm captain of my own ship.
I decide what happens. I don't have to depend on God for anything. I'm a self-made person. So why thank Him?
And boy, that's a big time topic in our present culture. You know, you rely on science or you rely on the government or you rely on yourself or you rely on something else. But heavens, I'm not relying on God for anything. So why should I have to thank Him?
What's He given to me? And yet anything that's good that you didn't self-generate came from God. I mean really. And that constant refusal to acknowledge God or give Him thanks, this passage says, yields an emptiness, a futility, a uselessness of thought, a foolishness that says God's not relevant. Yeah.
I'm the only one who's in charge here. And it's also progressive. Their foolish hearts were darkened. They became even darker. Right, it gets worse and worse. Worse and worse and worse. Yeah. Worse and worse and worse. Well, and if you go on to read the rest of Romans 1, it gets horrifyingly worse. Yeah.
But this is where it starts. Yeah. Refusing to acknowledge God or give Him thanks. Or give Him thanks.
Acknowledge, honor Him, give Him thanks. It's kind of like the inside out, backside of the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Yeah. Yeah, that's really true. I mean, as human beings, we're defined by our relationship with God.
Mm-hmm. And that relationship ought to be, number one, we acknowledge and honor Him. And number two, we're thankful because He gives to us and there's evidence of Him giving to us.
He's trying to get our attention through the good things we experience. I mean, if you've ever sat and watched a sunset, knowing that you did not generate it, and you say, wow, this is really a great delight to me. I wonder where this came from. Well, it's just an accident of creation. The molecule's in the air and the sun's setting. You go, no, I think someone's blessing me because I feel blessed.
Where did this come from? So God sprinkles those all around us. Even right now as we're coming onto snow season. I love snow.
We were just talking about that earlier. Every time I see a snowflake, I think, you know, God could have made winter precipitation an ugly, dark, gray thing, but He made something like a snowflake. I mean, that's a delight. I'm delighted by that. That came from God. That delights my heart.
He's giving good in even trivial ways because He's good to us. Did you have a question? Well, I was just, as we've been talking about this, Lamentations 3 came to mind. Oh, yes.
Right? Because in the midst of the destruction of Jerusalem, right, the city coming down around the years, Jeremiah writes, remember how miserable I am, right? This is verse 19 of chapter 3. Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and the bitterness. My soul remembers and is bowed down within me.
And then he turns. But this I recall to my mind. Therefore, I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. Great is Thy faithfulness.
They're renewed every morning. The Lord is my portion, says my soul. Therefore, I have hope in Him. Yeah.
Right? So then he begins to turn toward thankfulness and says that this is good. Verse 25, the Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.
It is good that He waits silently for the salvation of the Lord. Yeah. Yeah.
Right? And Jeremiah is seeing devastation while he's writing this. He is seeing the city devastated, but he has turned his mind and said, but I will remember that God is faithful and His devotion never ceases.
Now, Jeremiah knew that God had promised to bring them back, that he wouldn't take the city down, but he would bring them back. Yeah. But he's caught in the emotion of his horrific circumstances. He says, my hope is gone, but I have to consciously turn my mind to remember this. The Lord is good.
Yeah. And this is where he says this I recall in my mind. And so I have hope now. I have hope now. And bad circumstances tend to shout at us so loudly that we forget about the larger real reality about the nature of God.
And the nature of God is that He has a loving kindness toward you, a devotion toward you that can't be thwarted. And we're headed for another place. Yeah. If this world comes down around our ears, this is not all there is, right? We just finished talking about Hebrews last week, and that's really the message of Hebrews from 11 into 12 is we're passing through. This is not our permanent home. This is not the end. We are heading for another place. Yeah.
Come Lord Jesus. Yep. Yep.
If Joshua had given him rest, he wouldn't talk about another one. That's right. Yeah.
So that's still coming. You know what I entitled this one, because I have the same kind of a thing, is that the absence of thanksgiving, the absence of thankfulness is atheism. If you're not constantly thankful, you're acting like God's not involved at all.
Not at all. And so now I say, that's a little tongue-in-cheek, but I mean there are times... Oh, I don't think so. There are times in which we experience good things and don't acknowledge God by it, and we sort of go atheist. We sort of disconnect from God. Whereas God all along is giving us these great wrapped presents, and we're not realizing that he's there. We just say, well, I've got this present.
I don't know where it came from. Well, I think I used that term last week when we were talking, and I said practical atheism. Practical atheism, yeah. And we can say in our minds, oh yes, I believe that, and give some sort of mental assent to God.
But in our daily practice, we act like he's not relevant. That is what I mean by practical atheism. So when things are good and you don't thank him, that's atheism.
When things are bad and you fear, that's atheism, because you're thinking God's not in the picture at all. So all of these things tend to sort of telegraph the fact that you're disconnected from God in a relationship, either for your good or when bad things happen. So that's the defining relationship, and the defining words of our lips in relationship with God ought to be thankfulness, and ought to be at the core of everything, at the core of everything, because that defines, because God says, I love you, I want to take care of you, I want to live with you, I want to provide for you, I want to protect you. All these things, I want to bring good to you. So the defining relationship is one of God being a lover of us and us being thankful for that.
So friends, as this Thanksgiving week unfolds, no matter what's ahead for you, if you're gathering at a warm, beautiful table with people that you love, or if you're alone in a hotel room, or you are sick and isolated, give thanks to the Lord because he's good. He's good. His love and kindness never fails.
He's good. Right. And in the melody of our friend Mark Spolstra, give thanks to the Lord for he is good.
For his loving kindness is everlasting. You remember. I do remember. Excellent.
That's old. Well, hey, come back and join us next week. We're going to start a great adventure into Exodus, and it will be a blast. So I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy. And we're glad you're joining us here on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content.
To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org. Ooh, I think turkey. And eating too much. And stuffing and cranberries.
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