As you wake up on this fine Saturday morning what are your first thoughts? Are they ones of organizing your day, satisfying your hunger, or perhaps of thanksgiving? I have trained myself to thank the Lord for each new day and the blessings it will contain before my feet hit the floor. I find it helps condition my heart in preparation for the day. But the question is, what are we thankful for?
Often I hear people expressing thanks for their family and many of their material possessions and we should. The Word tells us that every good gift is from above, so we recognize and show appreciation for our Provider, but we can't let it stay there. We can't let our relationship with Jesus be about our "good" life because if we do, if we allow it to be about possessions, then what happens when we lose those possessions? The thing I am thankful for above anything else is Jesus himself and his unfailing love. These things are mine no matter what life may bring. They will stand the test of time and outlast life itself. The psalmist wrote:
I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word. (Psalm 138:1-2)
The praise that was being offered up was for God's love and faithfulness, and for God exalting himself above all things. Oh how thankful I am that God lifts his name and word above everything, that I can call on someone greater than myself and anything in this creation; that when I read his Word I know that it is the most solid thing in all of creation. Still, there are other benefits that we should be thankful for before our feet hit the floor.
We have reduced life to what we can possess. Often our security is found in our homes, jobs and bank accounts so we give thanks to our God for these things. Yet none of these provide any security. They are here today and gone tomorrow. However, our God never leaves us and never forsakes us. He does things for us that cannot be measured by possessions:
When I called, you answered me;
you made me bold and stouthearted. (Psalm 138:3)
Often we call out for rescue when we are facing difficult things but our God is wiser than that. He recognizes the benefit of the battles in life increase our strength and bring us to greater maturity. The Word tells us if the battle is too much for us he will rescue us from it but when he knows we can face it and survive he does something different; he makes us bold and stouthearted. How can one measure the value of that in any currency?
That's probably one of the things I am most grateful for every day, that Jesus is with me to lend we strength where I need it and to protect me from anything that threatens to overwhelm me. His plan is not to destroy me but to see me increase. The psalmist felt the same way in his thanksgiving:
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes,
with your right hand you save me. (Psalm 138:7)
I am thankful for that confidence as I face every new day and I know that it is not a day without plans. Jesus knows exactly what is going to happen today and he has laid down plans to use me for the sake of others. I don't belong to myself, I have been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus and I am glad to be possessed by God. I am glad for the opportunity to serve. This is my thought no matter what I have to face today, be it pleasant or unpleasant, God has a plan and a purpose. We live much differently knowing that we have purpose:
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalm 138:8)
As my feet hit the floor this morning they do so supported by a thankful heart; thankful for Jesus and all of the benefits of my relationship with him. I am thankful for his unfailing love, for the boldness he has given me in living this day for his glory and for the purpose he has brought to my life. I live in the security of his love and the assurance of his plan. I have Jesus, what can man do to me that could ever rob that joy from me? I will tell you what - NOTHING!
I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart... (Psalm 138:1)