Ways to thank God.

Points Covered: This sermon gives us three simple ways to thank God.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

INTRODUCTION: Rudyard Kipling, author of “The Jungle Book”, at one time was so popular that his writings were getting ten shillings per word (about Rs. 500/-). A few college students, however, didn’t appreciate Kipling’s writings; they facetiously sent him a letter enclosing ten shillings. It read, “Please, send us your best word.” They got back a letter from Kipling, “Thanks.” Well today is the last Sunday of 2013 and this is our thanksgiving Sunday. I can look at all our families this year and say one thing to God, “THANK YOU LORD”.

Today we are going to see three ways to thank God.

Joke: A man was lost and walking in the desert for about five days. Finally he finds a pastor’s home. Tired and weak, he crawls up to the house and collapses on the doorstep. The preacher takes him in and nurses him back to health. The pastor then offers to lend him his horse to get home and says, “However, there is a special thing about this horse. You have to say ‘Thank God’ to make it go and ’Amen’ to make it stop.”

Anxious to get home, the man says, “Sure, okay” and gets on the horse. He says, “Thank God” and the horse starts walking. A bit later he says louder, “Thank God,” and the horse starts trotting. Feeling really brave, the man say, “Thank God! Thank God!” and the horse is soon up to a full run!

About then he realizes he’s heading for a huge cliff and yells “Stop!” But the horse doesn’t even slow! It’s coming up real quick and he’s doing everything he can to make the horse stop. Finally he remembers “AMEN!!!”

The horse stops a mere two inches from the cliff’s edge, almost throwing him over its head. The man, panting and heart racing, wipes the sweat from his face and leans back in the saddle. Gasping for air he says with relief, “Thank God.”

 THREE WAYS TO THANK GOD.

1. Look upward.

A look unto God should make us thankful.
a. Thank God for his Power. An Upward Look Brings Thanks for the Power of God.
1 Chronicles 29:11-13 11Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

God is powerful. The devil tried to destroy us many times. Praise God that he was always with us in our days to day struggles this year. Unbeknownst to us God has protected us with his mighty hands. Amen!

b. Thank God for his Plans. 
Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Many times when our plans did not materialize, we felt everything was over. But when our plans failed, God had a plan for us. Many of your plans may not have worked out this year, but praise God for his plans upon your life. We still have hope and purpose in our life because of his plans are higher and greater and our plans.

c. Thank God for his Presence. 
Psalm 46:1-3 1God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

This year we have had circumstances of fear, failure, some of you just missed big accidents, some of you have gone for interview. Thank God for his unchanging presence.

Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 32:7 You are my hiding place, you protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?

2. Look Outward.

a. Thank God for his Supply. 
Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.Go home today and take an inventory of all the new things God has added to you this year. List the items one by one and pray to God with thanksgiving.

Illustration: H.A. Ironside was in a crowded restaurant: Just as Ironside was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited him to have a seat. Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, “Do you have a headache?” Ironside replied, “No, I don’t.” The other man asked, “Well, is there something wrong with your food?” Ironside replied, “No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat.” The man said, “Oh, you’re one of those, are you? … I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!” Ironside said, “Yes, you’re just like my dog. That’s what he does too!”

The key to thanksgiving for your supply is to be content. No if we are not content we can never be thankful. Am I really content? If you start comparing your life with things you do not have, you will never be content.

The secret of a happy life is not to get what you want but to live with what you’ve got. Most of us spend our lives concentrating on what we don’t have instead of thanking God for what we do have. Then we wake up, our life is over, and we missed the beauty of the present.

You do not know what you have got until it’s gone.
Our power is shut off, and suddenly we become thankful for electricity. Our garbage is not picked up, and suddenly we become thankful for the garbage collector’s weekly stop. A good friend dies, and suddenly we discover how much he meant to us. Our water becomes too polluted to drink and suddenly we appreciate having good water Thank God for your supplies.

Illustration: A little boy was given an orange by a man. The boy’s mother asked, “What do you say to the nice man?” The little boy thought and handed the orange back and said, “Peel it for me please.”

b. Thank God for his Scenery. 
How did the nature look in 2000? How does it look now? Thank God he has still sustained us in spite of urbanization. Earth is still rotating. Thank God for the sun, moon and the stars.

Job 12:7-10 7“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 8or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 9Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? 10In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.
Psalm 19:1-4 1The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.

Illustration: In regions of Mexico hot springs and cold springs are found side by side, and because of the convenience of this natural phenomenon the women often bring their laundry, boil their clothes in the hot springs, and then rinse them in the cold springs. A tourist watching this procedure commented to his Mexican guide: “They must think Mother nature is generous to freely supply such ample, clean hot and cold water.” The guide replied, “No senor, there is much grumbling because she supplies no soap.”

3. Look Inward.

a. Thank God for your Salvation. 
An Inward Look at my Heart Makes me Thankful.
Psalm 118:14 The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.
Psalm 118:21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.

There are so many sinners out there in the world, in my street, in my office but I thank God for his salvation. I thank God for my church, the fellowship, the joy I have in Jesus Christ. They are going to perish but thank God I will live even though I die. I thank God for Jesus Christ; I thank God for his sacrifice, so I thank God for my salvation.

b. Thank God for his Strength. Healing
An inward look at my health makes me thankful.
Exodus 23:25-26 25Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.
Psalm 103:1-3% 1Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

Illustration: It was Thanksgiving season in the nursing home. The small resident population was gathered about their humble Thanksgiving table, and the director asked each in turn to express one thing for which they were thankful. Thanks were expressed for a home in which to stay, families, etc. One little old lady in her turn said, ’I thank the Lord for two perfectly good teeth, one in my upper jaw and one in my lower jaw that line up so I can chew my food.’

Illustration: A 12 year old boy named David was born without an immune system. He underwent a bone marrow transplant in order to correct the deficiency. Up to that point he had spent his entire life in a plastic bubble in order to prevent exposure to common germs, bacteria, and viruses that could kill him. He lived without ever knowing human contact. When asked what he’d like to do if and when released from his protective bubble, he replied, “I want to walk barefoot on grass, and touch my mother’s hand.” We take life so much for granted.

c. Thank God for his sustenance. 
An Inward Look at my Home Makes me Thankful.
Psalm 3:5-6 5I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. 6I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.
Psalm 54:4 Surely God is my help, the Lord is the one who sustains me.
Psalm 41:3 The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from the bed of illness.

Thank God he has sustained our lives and our family in 2013.

CONCLUSION: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I am Thankful for my car loan, house loan….because it means I have a car and a house. I am thankful for the clothes that became old and tight….because it means I have enough to eat. I am thankful I found a parking lot on the other street because it means God has given me the capacity to walk. I am thankful for the dishes that pile up my sink because that means God has given me enough food. I thank God for the alarm that goes early morning because that means I am alive. I thank God for my body pain at the end of the day, that means I had worked to do, my life is productive. Thank God. We need to thank God for everything in our life

Alex Haley, the author of “Roots,” had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. It was a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When asked, “Why is that there?” Haley answered, “Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words & think that they are wonderful, & begin to feel proud of myself, I look at the turtle on top of the fence post & remember that he didn’t get there on his own. He had help.” We would never have been here to thank God unless it was God who led us in 2013. Thank God. Amen.