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Message Scripture:  1 Chronicles 16:34-35 (NASB)

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His loving-kindness is everlasting. Then say, “Save us, O God of our salvation, And gather us and deliver us from the nations, To give thanks to Your holy name, And glory in Your praise.” — 1 Chronicles 16:34-35 (NASB)

Introduction:

Good Evening Everyone, and welcome to Thanksgiving week!  This is some what of a surprise series that the Lord just kind of showed me as I was looking for our Christmas Countdown series that will start the Saturday AFTER Thanksgiving.

We just wrapped up the series on Forgiveness, and are almost finished with our A Plan Of Thanksgiving on Facebook.  So, I wasn’t really expecting to do a Thanksgiving series.  Nevertheless, the Lord led me to this series.  It will start today and run through Saturday. Yes, that means there is actually going to be a Thanksgiving Day message this year…and this series will wrap up on Saturday just in time to start Carols: A Christmas Devotional.

So, let’s get into this 7 Days of Thanksgiving, and see what the Lord would have to say to us during this week that we take time out to celebrate with our families, and give thanks for all the things God has given us to be grateful for throughout the year.

This series is from You Version.  I’ve always liked the reading plans they have, and have been using many of them to help me write my posts.

We start with the first of seven messages in this series…

7 Days of Thanksgiving – A Funny Thing:

As I’ve begun to do with the Forgiveness series I thought I’d try to find a good song to accompany this message. I’m not sure if I’m always going to do this, but I got through this entire message, and here I am back at the top to introduce to you a song by the one and only Don Moen to listen to as you read this message.

Thanksgiving.  It really kind of is a funny thing because we spend almost all year taking our blessings for granted, and then right around this time of year (maybe it’s because the weather turns colder) we start to magically reflect upon those very things we have taken for granted throughout the year.

I have to admit I can be just as naïve sometimes, and even as the pastor of Christlike Ministries NWA I can take some of the things God has done for granted.  I’ve learned for me, however, it’s not really the obvious things I take for granted.  It’s the small day-to-day things like a good meal to eat, air conditioning when it’s 100 degrees outside, and who knows about the countless other ways throughout the day God does things without my knowing it that keep me sheltered in the might of His power.

I mean, have you ever thought about all the things God does that we DON’T know about.  Everyone knows about the Cross, everyone knows about salvation, healing for the sick, and the big things…but what about the little things.  When I think about these things I kind of find myself thinking about this conversation with God and how often I am like the person in this story complaining (much like the Footprints in the Sand).  Here’s the conversation I’m talking about:

Me: God, can I ask You a question?

God: Sure

Me: Promise You won’t get mad

God: I promise

Me: Why did You let so much stuff happen to me today?

God: What do u mean?

Me: Well, I woke up late

God: Yes

Me: My car took forever to start

God: Okay

Me: at lunch they made my sandwich wrong & I had to wait

God: Huummm

Me: On the way home, my phone went DEAD, just as I picked up a call

God: All right

Me: And on top of it all off, when I got home ~I just want to soak my feet in my new foot massager & relax. BUT it wouldn’t work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did You do that?

God: Let me see, the death angel was at your bed this morning & I had to send one of My Angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that

Me (humbled): OH

GOD: I didn’t let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.

Me: (ashamed) God: The first person who made your sandwich
today was sick & I didn’t want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn’t afford to miss work.

Me (embarrassed): okay

God: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call, I didn’t even let you talk to them so you would be covered.

Me (softly): I see God

God: Oh and that foot massager, it had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn’t think you wanted to be in the dark.

Me: I’m Sorry God

God: Don’t be sorry, just learn to Trust Me…. in All things , the Good & the bad.

Me: I will trust You.

God: And don’t doubt that My plan for your day is Always Better than your plan.

Me: I won’t God. And let me just tell you God, Thank You for Everything today.

God: You’re welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I Love looking after My Children.

I’m not exactly sure who wrote this, but the points are valid because I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been this way with God only to receive similar answers.

Thankfulness is a funny thing. It seems so easy on the surface. It’s something we teach children to do. And yet, we still struggle with the concept living a life of gratitude. And not just to each other. The person who we struggle being grateful to the most is easily the person we should be the most grateful to, God.

Isn’t that the truth.  It’s easy to say thank you to just about everyone, but the Lord.  It’s hard to live a life of gratitude especially in this day and age where everyone seems to be out for themselves and the world is full of “me first” people.  In fact, we in the church have become “me first” people, and what’s even worse is that we’ve taken what God has done for us so for granted that we have completely forgotten to thank God altogether.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find this time of year to be a reminder not only of what God’s done and to be thankful for it, but it’s also kind of time to reflect upon all those things that I took God for granted.  Like I said, it’s the little day-to-day things that are the ones that are easier taken for granted because (like the fella in this conversation with God) we tend to forget just how much of our lives God really has in His hands.

Some times it is easy to be like the Israelites and complain all along the journey, and forget how things were where we came from.  We  wind up thinking the bondage God is trying to take us out of is somehow going to be greater than the Promised Land God is taking us to…but once we stop wandering around murmuring and complaining to see the beautiful place God is trying to take us (the abundant life) we then kick ourselves for taking so long to be on the same page with God in the first place.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Cry out, “Save us, O God of our salvation! Gather and rescue us from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you.”  — 1 Chronicles 16:34-35 (NIV)

I don’t know about you, but I am thankful that God’s loving-kindness, faithful love, and mercy endure forever.  Man, have I needed every one of those things from God at one time or point or another in my life…how about you?  I’ll tell you another aspect of God’s love that I’ve been thankful for and needed many a time as well.  The part that says that He is LONG SUFFERING!

Anyone else thankful that God’s long-suffering with us?  That’s whole lot more than just being patient.  It’s being with us step by step watching us make the wrong choices, make the same mistakes, and try doing things our own disobedient way.  It’s watching helplessly as we choose to do things on our own understanding without acknowledging Him.  It’s being willing to shoulder the blame as we point our fingers at Him for the things that happen that we don’t understand (and are often our own doing).

The long-suffering of God that endures faithfully until we come to that place that we all come to as prodigal’s to realize if we would have just done it God’s way in the first place.  Or if instead of complaining we would see God’s hand in things and understand that maybe we were late to work because if we’d have been on time…something more tragic than being late for work could’ve happened.

There are so many things that we miss and don’t even know about that God does.  Most of us don’t even get into the conversation with God…we just go on assuming that it’s fate or karma or we don’t even notice those things at all.

God is trying to get me to see that the little things we take for granted are the keys to living that life of gratitude.  That was the whole point He was trying to get to when He told me to slow down, enjoy life, and adjust my priorities.  I thought I knew what He was talking about until I lost my job, and God closed every door but the one that lead to me focusing more on my ministry and being a dad…and then I began noticing that I had no idea just how much of life I was taking for granted.

I do now.

I know that this is probably crazy, but I think the thing I’m the most thankful for is that God made me sit down while He showed me just how little of life I was appreciating.

Living a life of gratitude has to start with God. He’s the one who created us. Gave us breath. Sustains us now. How can we not be grateful?

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, as always we want to thank and praise You for Your Word, and for guiding us into this series as we prepare for Thanksgiving.  Lord, please forgive us for taking the little, mundane, silly things that You do for granted.  Help us to recognize more of the work You do in our lives that we are unaware that You do.  Lord, we thank You now for all of the things You do that we take for granted and are unaware of.  In Jesus’ name. Amen

In Closing:

I agree with Don Moen.  The Bible says it’s a good thing to give thanks to the Lord.  I’ve done a lot of writing today, but I haven’t done any of it without knowing the Lord is in it.   It’s not really a Thanksgiving Countdown series…it’s more of an extension of the series I’m doing on Facebook since I haven’t done one on here for my WordPress audience.

So, I hope y’all will enjoy this series, and I am thankful for those of you who have chosen to follow me here. It’s humbling to know my posts have made it all over the world.  I never imagined the outreach this ministry would have, but I’m truly grateful to every one of you.

I’m grateful for all of the members of the Christlike Ministries NWA Family.  You have helped to make Christlike Ministries NWA what it is whether it’s on Facebook or right here on WordPress.

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers and support.

Blessings & Grace to you:

Bryan Kizer – Pastor

Christlike Ministries NWA

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