4 Links Between Grace and Thanksgiving

I love grace, and grace loves me back. Actually, that should go the other way, Grace love me, and I love grace back. Yeah, that’s better.  If you’ve read my blog much or have listened to my sermons, you already know grace is my central theme. On this Thanksgiving week, I thought it would be fun to explore the linkages between God’s amazing grace, and our attitude of thankfulness. I’m just trying to dig underneath Thanksgiving to see what it’s really about.

Here are four links I can think of… in the comments you can add some more.

1. The Linguistic Link

Language stores up the accumulated wisdom of a culture — and the words for thankfulness reveal the conceptual link between grace and giving thanks.

When my Greek friends  say thank you, it sounds like this: ev-kar-ees-TOE. They are actually saying eucharisto in their own, beautifully Greek way. That term, Eucharist, has come to refer to the Lord’s Supper, or communion — that symbolic meal in which we remember the Lord’s death and give him thanks. It simply means thank you, and is translated Thanksgiving in Scripture.

What you might not know is that the word itself has two parts. The prefix eu– means good, valuable, or pleasant. The word charis is the main Greek word for grace. The word for grace is literally at the heart of thanksgiving.

The English language joins the club with the words gratitude and grateful, preserving the Latin word gratia, at the core. Gratia means grace in Latin just as charis means grace in Greek.

To be grateful is to recognize yourself as having been filled with grace. Even our words retain the distant memories of the linkage between thanksgiving and grace.

2. The Theological Link

To say thank you is to recognize an act as an undeserved favor. You don’t write a thank you card for your paycheck; you earned that thing. When you work hard and earn an A in a class, you don’t fall on your knees and thank your teacher for the A. No, your teacher owed you that A — you earned it. You’d be angry if you didn’t get it, just as you’d be angry if your boss withheld your paycheck.

The Bible recognizes this: “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.” (Romans 4:4, NKJV).

But when that birthday present lands in your lap, or when you find your surprise iPad hidden in your spouse’s secret hiding place — when a gift is given freely without regard to what you earn or deserve, then it is a true grace, and the only decent thing to do is say THANK YOU. Especially when someone else paid the price.

To say “thank you” is to acknowledge the receipt of grace.

In our relationship with God, EVERYTHING is grace. He never owes you, never is in your debt. If even a droplet of goodness has dripped in your direction from the divine hand, you owe God a great big thank you. “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15, NKJV).

3. The Psychological Link

Sometimes we sever the link between thanksgiving and grace. This happens when we delude ourselves into an entitlement mentality. God owes me. The world owes me. My parents owe me. Society owes me. “The Man” owes me. Karma owes me. Whatever. This little bit of unreality is brought to you by your own lunacy. “What do you have that you did not receive [by grace]?” (1 Corinthians 4:7, NKJV).

To be unthankful is to refuse to acknowledge the grace in your life.

The beginning of entitlement is the end of grace and the death of a thankful spirit. Such ingratitude amazed Jesus. After he healed ten lepers only one returned to give thanks, and he was a Samaritan. Where were the other nine? “Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:18, NKJV).

Where were the other nine? I don’t know. Look around the room you’re in; you just may see one. To be pouty, whiny, unthankful, or bitter… to complain about what you don’t have… to simply neglect giving thanks… is to sever your emotional life from the MOUNTAINS OF GRACE God is ready to pour out upon you.

Big mistake. I can think of nothing more miserable than a graceless existence. It is a psychologically damaging way to live.

If you need help being thankful, here’s a tip: start with your shoes and work your way up. Giving thanks produces thankfulness.

4. The Mystical Link

You are not alone if you have Jesus. He is closer to you thank you realize. If you are a Christian, he indwells you.

Why? To make you into the kind of person he was on planet earth. This doesn’t mean he sucks the personality out of you and makes you a Christlette Clone. No. He makes you yourself with all the color added, with all his character and virtue infused.

What kind of person was Jesus? HE WAS A THANKFUL PERSON. (John 11:41; Matt 11:25; Mark 14:23).

This means that every day, 24/7, the power of Christ works within you to bubble up with thanksgiving, gratitude, and praise. If you hold that in, you’ll crack. Jesus is inside you, creating a thankful heart… and he doesn’t come with an off-switch. To be unthankful, or to neglect being thankful (different things), is to act AGAINST YOUR NEW NATURE IN CHRIST.

Are you thankful? Christ put that in you. Did you have a grateful spirit? Christ did that. In the end, even the thank you’s that flow from your lips are generated by the power of God, based on the work of God through Christ within.

Even your thank you’s flow from grace. To God be all the praise.

Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15, NKJV).
  • But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57, NKJV).
  • Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. (2 Corinthians 2:14, NKJV).

What other links do you see between thanksgiving and grace? What are you especially thankful for this season? 

Thanksgiving Repeat

turkey1

Happy Thanksgiving. We’re having a houseful today. We’re making 2 smallish turkeys (14 and 15 lbs each) instead of one big one. Life’s easier that way. Last night we did an “Thank you, God, for…” prayer and the kids were BEAUTIFUL.  Twenty-six people today.  We’re ready!!! Well, we’re gonna be ready. Have a beautiful day!

Here’s a repeat of last year’s post on being thankful… a brief Bible study on thankfulness… (hey, I did my best!  It’s a busy day… 🙂

WORDS:

  • Words for being thankful occur around 138 times in the Bible.
  • In the Old Testament (Hebrew) the main word is yadah which comes from the root for “hand.” It means to lift the hand toward a person in praise and blessing. Think about it. When the Chicago Bears (or insert your team here or you kid’s team) score a touchdown, what happens to your hands? It’s instinctive. They go UP in excitement, gratitude and praise. To be thankful is to overflow with pleasurable excitement at another person’s performance.
  • In the New Testament (Greek) the main word is eucharisteo, pronounced ev-car-ee-STOW. It comes from the root word charis which means grace. To be thankful means to acknowledge the good graces of another. It means to recognize that someone gave you something which you didn’t earn and don’t deserve. Thankfulness, like humility, is another expression of grace-orientation.

JESUS:

  • Jesus is thankful. He is our example of living in an ocean of grace.
  • Mt 11:25* At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.
  • Mt 26:27* Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.
  • Joh 11:41* Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
  • This makes me think that if Jesus, whose whole career was downwardly mobile, was thankful, can’t I work up a little thankfulness too?

ANGELS:

  • It’s very cool to me that angels are thankful. I’ll say why after the verses:
  • Re 4:9* Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
  • Re 7:11, 12 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
  • Re 11:16,17 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
  • The angels’ thankfulness is cool because they’re with God face to face. They understand by sight what we must take by faith: that all good gifts flow freely and undeservedly from God’s bountiful, benificent, beautiful hand.

THE BIG “THANK”

  • 2 Co 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
  • Need I say more?

GOT THANKS? (this list comes from Nave’s Topical Bible)

  • For Christ’s power and reign Re 11:17
  • For the reception and effectual working of the word of God in others 1Th 2:13
  • For deliverance from indwelling sin, through Christ Ro 7:23-25
  • For victory over death and the grave 1Co 15:57
  • For wisdom and might Da 2:23
  • For the triumph of the gospel 2Co 2:14
  • For the conversion of others Ro 6:17
  • For faith exhibited by others Ro 1:8; 2Th 1:3
  • For love exhibited by others 2Th 1:3
  • For the grace bestowed on others 1Co 1:4; Php 1:3-5; Col 1:3-6
  • For the zeal exhibited by others 2Co 8:16
  • For the nearness of God’s presence Ps 75:1
  • For appointment to spiritual service 1Ti 1:12
  • For willingness to offer our property for God’s service 1Ch 29:6-14
  • For the supply of our bodily needs Ro 14:6,7; 1Ti 4:3,4
  • For all people 1Ti 2:1
  • For all things 2Co 9:11; Eph 5:20
  • giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 5:20, NKJV).

IF YOU KNEW GOD…

  • If we really knew him or just saw him, I think the thanksgiving would just bubble up from us. We couldn’t help it…
  • I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving. (Psalms 69:30, NKJV).
  • I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the LORD. (Psalms 116:17, NKJV).
  • Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (Psalms 100:4, NKJV).

CHAMPION THANKERS

  • DANIEL: Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. (Daniel 6:10, NKJV).
  • DAVID: And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. (2 Samuel 6:13-15, NKJV). “Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name. (1 Chronicles 29:13, NKJV).
  • ANNA: (upon seeing the baby Jesus in the temple) And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:38, NKJV).
  • JOSEPH: Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: “For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.” And the name of the second he called Ephraim: “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41:51, 52, NKJV).
  • KING JEHOSHAPHAT’S ARMY: Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them, to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them rejoice over their enemies. So they came to Jerusalem, with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets, to the house of the LORD. (2 Chronicles 20:27, 28, NKJV).
  • THE ONE LEPER: As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, their leprosy disappeared. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God, I’m healed!” He fell face down on the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Does only this foreigner return to give glory to God?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:12-19, NLT).

WHEN AND WHERE TO GIVE THANKS

  • in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NKJV).

pilgrims1

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, GOD, FOR MY LIFE AND MY DESTINY! THANK YOU FOR JESUS. THANK YOU FOR THE CROSS. THANK YOU FOR SO GREAT A SALVATION. THANK YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE AND ALL YOU’VE DONE. THANK YOU… WHO AM I THAT YOU SHOULD BE THIS GOOD TO ME. THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU.

Thank you, maxgrace.com reader, for your encouragement and love. You are a blessing to me.

Thanksgiving

 

turkey1

Happy Thanksgiving.  We’re having a houseful today.  We’re making 2 smallish turkeys (12 lbs each) instead of one big one.  Life’s easier that way.  Last night we did the dinner-time, “I’m thankful for…” conversation, and it was fun to hear my kids be so eager to be thankful.  It helped that we made it a race, “Who can be thankful first?”  “Me! Me! Me!”

Here’s a little Bible Study on being thankful.

WORDS:

  • Words for being thankful occur around 138 times in the Bible.
  • In the Old Testament (Hebrew) the main word is yadah which comes from the root for “hand.”  It means to lift the hand toward a person in praise and blessing.  Think about it.  When the Chicago Bears (or insert your team here or you kid’s team) score a touchdown, what happens to your hands?  It’s instinctive.  They go UP in excitement, gratitude and praise.  To be thankful is to overflow with pleasurable excitement at another person’s performance.
  • In the New Testament (Greek) the main word is eucharisteo, pronounced ev-car-ee-STOW.  It comes from the root word charis which means grace.  To be thankful means to acknowledge the good graces of another.  It means to recognize that someone gave you something which you didn’t earn and don’t deserve.  Thankfulness, like humility, is another expression of grace-orientation.

JESUS:

  • Jesus is thankful.  He is our example of living in an ocean of grace.
  • Mt 11:25* At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.
  • Mt 26:27* Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.
  • Joh 11:41* Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
  • This makes me think that if Jesus,  whose whole career was downwardly mobile, was thankful, can’t I work up a little thankfulness too?

ANGELS:

  • It’s very cool to me that angels are thankful.  I’ll say why after the verses:
  • Re 4:9* Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
  • Re 7:11* All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
  • Re 7:12* saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
  • Re 11:16* And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God,
  • Re 11:17* saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
  • The angels’ thankfulness is cool because they’re with God face to face.  They understand by sight what we must take by faith: that all good gifts flow freely and undeservedly from God’s bountiful, benificent, beautiful hand.  

THE BIG “THANK”

 

  • 2 Co 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!  
  • Need I say more?

GOT THANKS?  (this list comes from Nave’s Topical Bible)

 

 

  • For Christ’s power and reign Re 11:17
  • For the reception and effectual working of the word of God in others 1Th 2:13 
  • For deliverance from indwelling sin, through Christ Ro 7:23-25 
  • For victory over death and the grave 1Co 15:57 
  • For wisdom and might Da 2:23  
  • For the triumph of the gospel 2Co 2:14
  • For the conversion of others Ro 6:17 
  • For faith exhibited by others Ro 1:8; 2Th 1:3 
  • For love exhibited by others 2Th 1:3  
  • For the grace bestowed on others 1Co 1:4; Php 1:3-5; Col 1:3-6
  • For the zeal exhibited by others 2Co 8:16 
  • For the nearness of God’s presence Ps 75:1 
  • For appointment to spiritual service 1Ti 1:12 
  • For willingness to offer our property for God’s service 1Ch 29:6-14 
  • For the supply of our bodily needs Ro 14:6,7; 1Ti 4:3,4
  • For all people 1Ti 2:1 
  • For all things 2Co 9:11; Eph 5:20
  • giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 5:20, NKJV).

IF YOU KNEW GOD…

  • If we really knew him or just saw him, I think the thanksgiving would just bubble up from us.  We couldn’t help it… 
  • I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving. (Psalms 69:30, NKJV).
  • I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the LORD. (Psalms 116:17, NKJV).
  • Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (Psalms 100:4, NKJV).

CHAMPION THANKERS

  • DANIEL:  Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. (Daniel 6:10, NKJV).
  • DAVID:  And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. (2 Samuel 6:13-15, NKJV).  “Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name. (1 Chronicles 29:13, NKJV).
  • ANNA:  (upon seeing the baby Jesus in the temple)  And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:38, NKJV).
  • JOSEPH:  Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: “For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.” And the name of the second he called Ephraim: “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41:51, 52, NKJV).
  • KING JEHOSHAPHAT’S ARMY:  Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them, to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them rejoice over their enemies. So they came to Jerusalem, with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets, to the house of the LORD. (2 Chronicles 20:27, 28, NKJV).
  • THE ONE LEPER:  As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, their leprosy disappeared. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God, I’m healed!” He fell face down on the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Does only this foreigner return to give glory to God?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:12-19, NLT).

WHEN AND WHERE TO GIVE THANKS

  • in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NKJV).

pilgrims1

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, GOD, FOR MY LIFE AND MY DESTINY!  THANK YOU FOR JESUS.  THANK YOU FOR THE CROSS.  THANK YOU FOR SO GREAT A SALVATION.  THANK YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE AND ALL YOU’VE DONE.  THANK YOU… WHO AM I THAT YOU SHOULD BE THIS GOOD TO ME.  THANK YOU!  I LOVE YOU.

Thank you, maxgrace.com reader, for your encouragement and love.  You are a blessing to me.

Thanksgivings

eatham.jpegAbe Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. Continue reading

From “Hey Thanks” To “Thank you! Thank you! I WORSHIP YOU!”

Don’t click the “read the rest of this entry” link until you’ve read this first part and answered the questions… it will make the “reveal” so much more special!

crash1.jpg

Take a good look a this picture. The driver of the white pickup was traveling from right to left. He crossed lanes, broke through the guardrail, flipped end over end after bouncing on the flat part of the culvert, and landed facing the opposite direction.

Can you imagine that moment of breaking thru the guard rail? How would you feel if you were the driver?

And now can you imagine the moment when the car stopped and you were okay? What would you say to God at that moment?

Now, go ahead and click and view the same scene from a bigger perspective.

Continue reading