Thanksgiving and Praise
by Teirrah McNair
Lesson 1: Rejoicing Because God made the day.
I woke up this morning thanking God. Actually, I was just about bursting with thanksgiving and praise.
I was so thankful that if you had been in the room with me you might have thought I had won the lottery or had overcome a giant issue like unforgiveness or had been healed from a terminal disease. That river of living water that was promised to me in John 7:38,39 was gushing out and everything in me was praising my God. The scripture in my mind was "this is the day that the Lord hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24)
I began to think first about God making the day and what my life would be like if there was no day. I flashed back to Genesis 1:1-2 and began to think---I could have awakened in a place that was without form, that was void and full of darkness. Not so, thank God.
There was a bed underneath my body and the walls and floor were separated like water from the dry land. Everywhere I looked I could see shadows that told me that light and dark were separated and I thanked God for it. I remember a few years back being in Alaska in February and waking up in the dark, going to school in the dark, teaching first, second and third periods in the dark. I remember the feeling on that first day of work when the clock said 10:45 A.M. and the sun began to shine. It probably didn’t mean much to those Alaskan children, but something leaped inside of me when light charged in and made itself at home in that classroom.
Those Alaskan folks took real good care of this California native. They gave me authentic Alaskan boots for my feet and a taste of smoked reindeer for my chewing pleasure, but nothing could top the joy I felt when the sun shined that morning. God made that day and he made this day and I will rejoice and be glad in it.
All that thinking about sunshine caused me to think about His light and His Word and how the entrance of His Word gives light. Psalm 119:130 says "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." I could not help but remember what my life was like before Jesus the light of the world came and settled in my heart.
I remember many a day waking up not wanting to face the cares of the day and then habitually turning to one I believed could give me relief. I called him 'bud' at the time, short for Budweiser and I would drink until I could care less about dark, light or anything other than where’s the nearest toilet or somebody make a run before the store closes. Those were dark days, darker even than an Alaskan morning in February.
God did the same thing for me one Monday night 17 years ago that he did on that Alaskan morning. He sent the light of His word so gorgeously wrapped in truth and love that I could not help but embrace it. Like the psalmist said, He gave understanding unto the simple. The dark ---and all its relatives—sin, shame, frustration et all---was not working for me and I had a simple choice to make. Light or Dark? I thank God I chose Jesus, the living Word, (John 1:1,14) and the light. I could not have made that choice if God had not made that day. So, I thank the Lord for that
day and I will rejoice and be glad in it.
As a matter of fact I have leftover thanksgiving and praise from that day.
Every time I think about where I could have been, I rejoice in my Lord and Savior. That leftover rejoicing from that day plus the joys from the 6,105 other days since he saved me, adds up. I did the math.
In Philippians 4: 4 the writer Paul says "rejoice and again I say rejoice." I understand why he said rejoice twice. There is always something in the now to rejoice in and there is always something God has done in the past to rejoice in.
I dare you to rejoice and again I say rejoice...
Rejoice, remembering that he could have left this world in a state of void with no form and full of darkness, but He didn't. He could have left us
in a state of void, chaos, confusion and darkness. He could have left us 'tore up from the floor up and full of self stuff' —but He didn't.
He loves us too much and He gave us just the measure of faith (Romans 12:3) we needed to choose Jesus and bring in the light.
Let me leave you with a prayer to pray and a few questions that will cause you to seek the Lord and his Word until the next lesson.Pray This Prayer to the Lord...
Dear Lord. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for giving me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that I might know you better. Thank you for enlightening the eyes of my heart so that I might know the hope to which you have called me, the riches of your glorious inheritance in the saints and your unlimited great power for us who believe. In Jesus name I pray, Amen (Prayer based on Ephesians 1:17-19)
Questions to stir you until the next lesson.
- What does the Word in 1 Corinthians 14:33 say about confusion?
- If God is not the author, should we be on that page called confusion?
- What does Psalm 34:10 say about lack or void?
- According to Webster, seek means, search for or try to reach. How can you search for or try to reach God on a daily basis?
- What does the psalmist in Psalm 40:16 say about seeking the Lord?
- Now turn to 1 Peter 2:9.
- How does the writer describe God’s people in this verse?
- What are we called out of?
- What are we called into?
- What should we be showing because of what God has done for us?
- What does the verse 'rejoice and again I say rejoice' mean to you? Make a list daily of those things you can rejoice in and don’t forget to thank Him for the light.
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