This sermon is offered by the CRCNA as part of our Reading Sermons series.
Scripture: Psalms 103:1-6
Author: Rev. Vernon Luchies, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Picture this scene that once occurred in a simple Christian family. There they were at the dinner table, they had prayed and they were ready to eat when suddenly young three year-old Mikey in his high chair piped up with a question. “Mom”, he asked "Why do we pray before we eat?"
"To ask God to bless our food" his Mom said.
Mikey continued "Why do we pray after we eat?"
"We want to thank God for the food He has given us!"
Mikey thought this over a while, and then asked, "Does God whisper down from heaven, 'You're welcome?'"
Mikey has something there! God may not whisper down in a voice we can hear, but His Word is clear about the fact that he is highly honored and personally pleased when we thank Him for our food and everything else! God notices.
The Bible says,"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thess.5:18
In Psalm 27:6, David says,"At His tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy! I will sing and make music to the Lord!" Ours lives should be full of thanks. The Bible speaks of a continual sacrifice of praise! "The fruit of lips" the Bible mentions, should be our daily thanksgiving like the morning and evening sacrifices in the temple of Israel thousands of years ago. A thankful way of living should follow!
Our singing this morning is a sacrifice of "the fruit of lips." But this is only the beginning! Such thanksgiving should turn into EVERYDAY THANKS LIVING for the rest of our lives! Till death do us part! Then, on throughout eternity world without end!
In Psalm 103, David takes himself in hand. "Praise the Lord, 0 my soul!” he says, “All my inmost being, praise His holy name!..Forget not all His benefits!"
By God's grace, let's also take ourselves in hand determined to praise God daily! Just how can we do that?
The first thing we must do is focus mind and heart on God! Look at the passage. David really says "Bless the Lord! 0 my soul!" His eye is fixed on his promise-keeping God! Every day he's singing, as it were, "God is so good!(3 x), He's so good to me!" Listen to him! An older translation put it this way. “All that is within me, bless His holy name!" The older word "bless, perhaps has more the idea of love in it than our word "praise." We bless the Lord by thanks living!
There are eight references to God in the first six verses of this Psalm. Let us also focus mind and heart on God!
Secondly, Forget all the bad stuff in your life! That’s not easy, and its not always possible. But think of what is implied in the phrase, "Forget not all His benefits" Sometimes our tendency is to remember all the bad stuff. There is always plenty to go around. There was plenty bad stuff in David's life! But all was forgiven and forgotten! David repented of his sin. We see that clearly in the words of Psalm 51.
Think of the Bible stories about Joseph in Egypt. When he was a young boy he was sold by his brothers into slavery. When he earned a reputation as a trustworthy slave he gained authority over his master business. Then his masters wife falsely accused him of sexual harassment. He went to prison for years for something he didn’t do. But he overlooked all that! He forgot all the envy and hatred of his brothers. He forgot the vicious slander of Potiphar's wife! After becoming Prime Minister of Egypt, he named his first son, Manasseh: which means, "Forget it!" He said, "God has made me forget all my trouble" So we also must not dwell on all the bad stuff in our lives! God moves us on! He forgives and then, forgets!
Thirdly, we must remember all God's good stuff! All the benefits! We can sometimes forget the blessings. So, David says to himself, "Don't you forget all His benefits!" God is even able to return good for evil! God worked all those benefits in David's life. He will do the same for you and me!
God did the same in Joseph's life! Joseph names his second son, Ephraim which means, "Fruitful!" For he said, "God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering!" He remembered all the good stuff! And so he lived a thankful life, pleasing his God. By God's grace, we can do the same.
What are the benefits we should remember?
The Psalm tells us. First of all we should remember forgiveness of all sin! "He forgives all our sins!" That should make us eternally grateful and always forgiving! God heard David's "broken, contrite heart." He restores to him "the joy of His salvation!" And do you know what? Sinners are converted" to God because of it! "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! His love endures forever!" EVERY DAY THANKS LIVING experiences that enduring love!
Physical and spiritual health is the next benefit for which we must give thanks. "He heals all our diseases!" Not always our way! "Father knows best!" Just remember, He is the Healer! He's always on call!
Redemption from the grave is the third benefit. "He redeems our lives from the pit!" We all fear dying and death! Hebrews 2:14, says that Jesus "shared in our humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death - that is the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death!"
David not only focuses on God, he sees way beyond death! He ends Psalm 11with the words "The upright will see His face!" He ends Psalm 16,"You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand" Thanks be to God! The grave is not the end but only the beginning!
Covered with Jesus' own love and compassion is the fourth benefit. "He crowns us with love and compassion!" Thomas Obediah Chisholm, born in 1866, wrote a song about EVERYDAY THANKS LIVING the life of Jesus:
O to be like Thee, full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind!
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wand'ring sinner to find!
O to be like Thee! 0 to be like Thee,
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art!
Come in Thy sweetness! Come in Thy fullness!
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart!
That's living every day with Jesus in control! That mindset leads you and I me imitate what David says about the Lord in eight: "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to abounding in love!" We can be like Jesus!
Complete satisfaction and contentment is the fifth benefit. "He satisfies our desires with good things!" We feel young again like the eagle's long life. In I Timothy 6:8 Paul says, "If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." In the same chapter we are told that "Godliness with contentment is great gain.”Someone has said, "My riches consist, not in the abundance of my possessions, but in the fewness of my wants!" David knew that, he wrote. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want anything!"
Relief for the Oppressed is the final benefit. "The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed!" David tell us God "upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down" Ps.145:14 God is also willing to use us to relieve the oppressed. Let us be thankful that we can be of use to Him!
EVERY DAY THANKS LIVING can only happen if we have Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Isaiah prophesies "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows" (53:4)! Jesus wants to be our burden bearer!
God says, "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Gal. 6:2 That's really THANKS LIVING EVERY DAY!
Romans 1 says a lot about the anger of God. Isn’t it interesting to notice that Gods anger is not directed first of all against immorality but against the sin of thanklessness! Listen! "Although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him" (verse 21). Everyday living without God, dishonors Him. EVERYDAY THANKS LIVING for God, honors and glorifies Him!
God help us in the days, weeks, months and years ahead to "Glorify God and enjoy Him forever!" God's smile will be upon us as He whispers from heaven, "You're welcome!"
Let all of God's people say AMEN!
Let's give thanks to God!
Thank You Father in Jesus' name for Your instruction today! Work Your compassion and graciousness in our hearts as individuals and as a community! May EVERYDAY THANKS LIVING be our lifestyle! For the sake of Your glory! The good of our community! For the blessing to our church and ourselves! May we hear Your whisper from heaven, "You're welcome!" Amen.
Call to Worship: Psalm 100
God's Greeting: "To the saints in ______, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ!"
We Greet Each Other
*Hymn: PH 432:1,2,4 "For The Beauty of The Earth"
Readings: Our World Belongs to God, art 4, and art. 7 and 14
*Hymn: PH 486 "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing"
Prayer for Illumination
Scripture Reading: Psalm 103:1-6 by member of congregation
Sermon: EVERYDAY THANKS LIVING
*Hymn: PH 454 "Now Thank We All Our God"
Benediction: Ephesians 3:20,21 and 6:23.24
*Doxology: PH 182:1 "Give Thanks to God, for Good Is He"