"PRAISE and THANKSGIVING!"
Meditation Moments 55:
Today our meditation is along the line of thanksgiving, and I found a little poem by L.A. Tubbs that really took hold of my heart, it's so true! He says:
I've been countin' up my blessin's,
I've been summin' up my woes,
But I ain't got the conclusion
Some would naturally suppose.
Why I quit a-countin' troubles a'fore I had half a score,
While the more I count my blessin's I keep a-findin' more and more.
There's been things that weren't exactly as I thought they'd ought to be,
And I've often growled at Providence for not a-pettin' me.
But I hadn't stopped to reckon what the other side had been:
How much o'good an' blessin' had been thickly crowded in.
For there's been a rift of sunshine after every shower of tears,
And I've found a load of laughter scattered all along the years.
If the thorns have pricked me sometimes, I've good reason to suppose
Love has hidden often from me 'neath the rapture of the rose.
So I'm gonna still be thankful for the sunshine and the rain,
For the joy that's made me happy,
For the purgin' done by pain.
For the love of little children,
For the friends that have been true,
For the guidin' hand that's led me
Every threatenin' danger through!
-- Now I wonder if we can just have a prayer together of real thanksgiving?
Our Father God, we thank thee for all your mercies and blessings, for the strength you have given to bear the burdens of the way. We do thank Thee for faithful friends that have made life brighter, and for life itself with its wonderful opportunities for service and worship, for our material comforts, and the measure of freedom that we enjoy.
But most of all we thank Thee for the gift of Thy Son, and spiritual blessings which are ours through His sacrifice. For the joy and peace we have through fellowship with Him, for the fruits of the Spirit through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
For all this rich heritage, we offer up praise and thanksgiving! With grateful hearts we thank Thee for the privilege of prayer and sweet Communion with Thee. For all this, our hearts are grateful, Lord, in Jesus' precious Name.
I have been reading and studying some of these wonderful passages about praise, but I think that my favorite is in Psalm 50:23, "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God."
This could be rendered, "Whoso sacrificeth thanksgiving glorifieth me." -- You know, from the latter part of that verse it just seemed like David wanted to do something great for the glory of His Name, but here we see that the offering of praise glorifies the Lord!
So if you feel like you haven't been able to do something big for the Lord, why, just begin to praise Him, and that glorifies Him more than anything else! You begin to praise Him and then there comes a rift through dark clouds of difficulty and trouble that you're going through.
God's Word says that when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the enemy! If you begin praising Him, and if you have not begun before, He will begin to work wondrously in your life!
Many times the Lord can't begin to work while we keep pleading and praying, but if you'll just turn the current towards praise instead, He'll make us more than conquerors over the difficulty!
By the help of God you'll decide to take the attitude of victory and just praise Him for the victory beforehand. God is going to work! I know, because so many times I have gotten down in a hard place and pled and prayed, but when I began to praise the Lord by faith, then came the victory!
I wonder if you've been complaining and murmuring instead of having a grateful spirit and praising the Lord? Remember what happened to the children of Israel when they murmured! A man said to a friend of ours, "I stay at the clubhouse more and more because my wife goes around mumbling her complaints and I get so tired of hearing her complain!" Yet that very woman was doing certain service for the Lord in her church!
But she wasn't serving with gladness, and only joyful service is acceptable to the Lord! God's Words says,
"The joy of the Lord is our strength!" No wonder such a woman is worn out all the time: her own spirit of complaining saps the vitality! God's Word tells us:
"God hath anointed him above his fellows with the oil of gladness." Well, that same oil is for us! Does your spirit show and your face advertise that you have been thus anointed? Again God's Word tells us that He will give "beauty for ashes and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; and you shall be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified." -- Now that's a wonderful verse!
Do you have the spirit of heaviness today? God waits to give you gladness, if you'll take up the garments of praise and just begin to thank Him for what He is and what He's done for you! He begins to work for you when you begin to praise Him!
You say you don't feel like praising Him? Well, praise Him by faith alone and you'll soon feel like praising Him! God's Word says in Deuteronomy 28:47 and 48:
"Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness and with gladness of heart for the abundance of all things, therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger and in thirst and in nakedness, and in want of all things."
You'll notice that although the word praise or thanksgiving isn't mentioned, that's exactly what it's covering here, and God makes it very plain that because they had failed to serve the Lord in that manner, although He had provided all kinds of good things for them,
He'd be obliged to teach them a severe lesson and take the good things from them, because they didn't have a thankful spirit! God help us to have a truly praiseful spirit, and He'll prove to you that He's still on the Throne and prayer changes things.
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