NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Being Thankful Through It All

rp_BKT-WS-TF.jpgBy Warren B. Smith

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Thankfulness is our attempt as believers to express the inexpressible—the amazing gratitude we feel for the amazing grace bestowed upon us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He not only saved us from our sins (1 John 2:2), He promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We are also assured that He who began “a good work” in us will be faithful to “perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

A day for Thanksgiving was set aside as a holiday so that we, as a nation, could collectively give thanks to God for all of His blessings—to express our gratitude for His love and protection and provision. In years past, hymns like Come Ye Thankful People Come were commonly sung in churches and classrooms as Thanksgiving day approached—young and old alike openly giving thanks to God for His abundant supply and bounty:

Come, ye thankful people come; Raise the song of harvest home,
All is safely gathered in, Ere the winter storms begin.
God, our Maker, doth provide, For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple come; Raise the song of harvest home.

God’s people are called to be a thankful people because we have so much to be thankful for. Another hymn of gratitude, Now Thank We All Our God, expresses our thanks for all the “wondrous things” God has done and for His “countless gifts of love”:

Now thank we all our God, With hearts and hands and voices,
Who, wondrous things hath done, In whom this world rejoices;
Who, from our mothers’ arms, Hath blessed us on our way,
With countless gifts of love, And still is ours today.

135 References in the KJV Bible

In the King James Bible, for example, there are 135 separate verses that refer to the act of giving thanks. Scripture makes it clear that thankfulness is pleasing to God and is part of the way we praise and worship Him (Psalm 116:12-19). We should never take things for granted because we know that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17).

Jesus stressed the importance of thankfulness when He singled out the only one of the ten healed lepers who glorified God and gave thanks for his healing:

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole. (Luke 17:15-19)

Jonah was released from the fish’s belly after praying and giving thanks to the Lord:

When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. (Jonah 2:7-10)

King David, though continually attacked by his enemies, was always thanking God for His goodness and mercy and deliverance:

He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and showeth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore. (Psalm 18:48-50)

Daniel’s response to the King Darius’ edict forbidding prayer to anyone other than the King was to continue his practice of openly praying and giving thanks to his God. Scripture records that Daniel was delivered from certain death in the lion’s den because he unashamedly “believed in his God” (Daniel 6:10;23). His refusal to compromise served as a witness not only to the King but to all those who have read this account in the Bible:

Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. (Daniel 6:9-10)

Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. (Daniel 6:23)

As already referenced, Scripture is replete with verses pertaining to giving thanks to God for His abiding presence in our lives. Much too frequently we neglect to give thanks to the One True God to Whom we have so much to be grateful for. The Bible is very specific about the many whys and wherefores of giving thanks to God.

Why We Give Thanks

Because God Gives Us Our Daily Bread

Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God. (2 Corinthians 9:10-12)

And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children. (Matthew 15:36-38)

For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (1Timothy 4:4-5)

Because God is Good

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. (1Chronicles 16:34)

And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. (Ezra 3:11)

Because Thankfulness is Good

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High. (Psalm 92:1)

Because Thankfulness is the Will of God

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1Thessalonians 5:18)

Because God is Holy

Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. (Psalm 30:4)

Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. (Psalm 97:12)

Because God’s Name is Holy

Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise. (Psalm 106:47)

And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise. (1Chronicles 16:35)

Because God’s Word is Holy

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (1Thessalonians 2:13)

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

Because of God’s Grace

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:14-15)

Because God Gave Us the Gift of Jesus Christ

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15)

Because Jesus Christ Shed His Blood For Our Sins

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)

Because God Lifts Us Above our Enemies

It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me, And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name. (2 Samuel 22:48-50)

He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. (Psalm 18:48-49)

Because God Delivered Us From the Powers of Darkness

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:10-14)

Because God Causes Us to Triumph in Christ

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Because God Gives Us the Victory Through Jesus Christ

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:55-58)

Because God’s Mercy Endures Forever

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 106:1)

O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 136:2)

O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 136:3)

O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 136:26)

How We Give Thanks

Through Jesus Christ

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. (Romans 1:8)

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1Timothy 2:5-6)

With the Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. (Psalm 107:21-22)

I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. (Psalm 116:17)

By Praising and Giving Thanks to His Name

Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (Hebrews 13:13-16)

Through Prayer

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)

Through Song

Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God. (Psalm 147:7)

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. (Psalm 69:30)

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD. (2 Chronicles 5:13)

O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. (Psalm 95:1-3)

By Walking In Love and Thankfulness

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:1-4)

By Declaring His Works

That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. (Psalm 26:7)

Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. (1 Chronicles 16:8-9)

By Thanking God For Fellow Believers

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you. (Colossians 1:1-3)

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-15)

By Thanking God For All Men

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1Timothy 2:1-4)

By Giving Thanks in Everything

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1Thessalonians 5:18)

By Giving Thanks in Whatever We Do

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:15-17)

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7)

Who Gives Thanks

The Angels

And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 7:11-12)

The 24 Elders in Heaven

And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. (Revelation 11:16-17)

All His People

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (Psalm 100:1-5)

When We Give Thanks

When We Eat or Don’t Eat

He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. (Romans 14:6)

When We Take Communion

And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. (Luke 22:17-19)

When We Have Suffered Wrongfully

For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. (1 Peter 2:19-20)

Before Trouble

Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. (Psalm 50:14-15)

After God Intervenes

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. (Luke 17:15-16)

Morning and Evening

And to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even. (1 Chronicles 23:30)

At Midnight

At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments. (Psalm 119:62)

While We Live

For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? (Psalm 6:5)

Always

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20)

Forever

Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. (Psalm 30:10-12)

So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will show forth thy praise to all generations. (Psalm 79:13)

We Praise God With Our Thankfulness

The Bible says that by offering the sacrifice of praise to God we give thanks to Him (Hebrews 13:13-16). Thus by praising God, we thank Him for his love, protection, presence, and provision. Paul and Silas gave thanks to God by praising Him—even after they were beaten and thrown in the jail (Acts 16:23-25). Pursuant to their thankful praise, the prison walls confining them were shaken. Free to escape, they witnessed to the jailer and his whole household who were all saved and baptized that same day (Acts 16:30-34).

With God’s help we can learn to give thanks in everything. There is a saying that wherever you go, there you are. The Bible tells believers that wherever they go, God is there with them. Because God is always with us, He will help us and enable us to do things that we otherwise could not do on our own—like giving thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and thanking Him for all things (Ephesians 5:20).

Prayer

Lord, I want to be thankful “in everything” because Scripture tells me that is your will for my life. But I am often unable to be thankful due to forgetfulness, selfishness, and my own shortcomings. May Your Holy Spirit remind me to be thankful in everything, now, always, and for evermore. Please help me to remember that all things work together for good to them who are called according to your purpose. Thank You for all that you have done and will continue to do in my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Being Thankful Through It All is also available in booklet form.

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