Reasons for Our Thankfulness (Steve Higginbotham)

Let me ask you a question. How’s your memory? Do you have a good memory? Sometimes? Well, I can remember things from years ago, but two weeks ago and not so much. We kind of lose our memory sometimes, but there are certain things that I remember and I remember really well. In fact, I remember a sermon that was preached.

On February the 15th, 2015 and it was preached here. I wasn’t preaching that day. Uh, it was my turn to, or somebody else’s turn to preach and well, I don’t remember who preached, uh, it was either Justin or one of the school staff. Sorry, guys. I can’t, I can’t remember who it was and really, I don’t remember.

Whoever preached their sermon that Sunday. I’m not getting off to a good start here, but I do remember a sermon that was preached on that Sunday. See, on February the 15th nine, 19 see, I’m going back. Uh, 2015 I was sitting about where Betty Hawkins is sitting today. And, uh, Laelani was sitting in front of me and I don’t, I hope I don’t embarrass her, but it came time to pass the trade to drop our money in the collection plate.

And Laelani had 15 cents. This is four years ago, or almost four years ago, and she had 15 cents in her hand and man, she was not going to lose that money. She had her fist clenched tight and held onto that money all through the Lord’s supper. And boy, she had it. And when it came time for that tray to be passed by her, she opened up her hand and the money stuck to her.

You know, it was so clenched, it stuck to her hand and she had to pick the coins off of her hand and they dropped down into the plates. She passed the plate to the man who was collecting the trays. And she said, thank you. And I was like, wait, who should be thanking? Who here? You know, whom here?

Uh, you know, Laelani his attitude was, and that was, thank you for letting me give. And that is a sermon, or was the sermon that I left that day remembering because it’s an attitude of thankfulness. Man, we are so blessed. I don’t know if we think enough about how the fullness of our blessings and how much we ought to give thanks.

I mean, there’s never been a time in the world where the rich had what the average person has today. Do you realize how blessed you are to live at the time that you live? I mean, we could have lived a thousand years ago and really get outside of the last two centuries. And life has gone on the same way pretty much as it has since the beginning of time.

I mean, it was, it was, there were so many things that while the 20th century introduced that just changed life. I mean the richest of the Richard Solomon in the old Testament, he didn’t have the things that I have. He had some wealth, but did, did he have running water? Could, could he turn on a faucet.

Could, could he flip a switch on the wall and turn on the lights? Could he control the temperature in his house just by adjusting the thermostat on the wall? Could he get in his car and drive 30 miles down the road and take them about 15 or 20 minutes. You see all these things. Look, there are people who traveled in the old, in the Bible and we can read about their travels and see how far they went and everything.

We measure it out and Paul’s missionary journeys, and we’re talking about a lifetime and man, we can go to the West coast, to Canada, to Honduras and st Croix and Israel and all those places, and just in a matter of hours for us. Could they do that? A point is we are really, really blessed. And with those blessings come responsibilities, and one of those responsibilities is Thanksgiving.

Philippians four in verse six tells us to pray and we’re to lift up our supplications to God and our request and make them known to God and to do so with prayer. And listen, Thanksgiving. These things are to be made. We can’t just be a people who say, God, please help. We need to be a people who say, God help, or thank you.

So I just took a look up on the wall and I see that the font did do something really strange. So this may be an interesting view from the slides standpoint, but I don’t know why that happened. But anyway, the. The idea of thankfulness is expected by God. He wants us to be thankful. And so let’s, let’s look actually for the next several weeks.

If you have your Bible, open it to Psalm one Oh seven, and when you open it to Psalm one Oh seven, you might just want to put your ribbon there because we’ll be coming back to this for the next few Sundays. But I want us to look from Psalm one Oh seven at some trues about, uh. God’s word and how we should be thankful and, and what it tells us in that chapter about Thanksgiving, there are a number of things that the Psalmus enumerates for us for which we should give.

Thanks. And I just want to pick those out of this chapter and talk about them momentarily. The first one that I’d like to share with you this morning, and it comes from the very first verse, Oh, give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His mercy and doers forever. That statement is repeated in verse eight verse 15 verse 21 verse 31 of this chapter.

There are several occasions, five occasions in this chapter where he says, give thanks to the Lord for he is good. I just want to start right there. Why should we give thanks? Because the S the God we serve is a God who is good and do we take that for granted? You know, we just grown up from the time of our childhood at the singing songs about how good God is and we say prayers.

God is great, God is good, and we thank him for our food. I prayed that prayer when I was a little boy. I don’t know if you did or not. But w the this goodness of God. We’ve grown up thinking God is a good God, and he is. But what if you weren’t? What if he was a deity that didn’t have the goodness that he has?

Have you ever thought about what that would be like? What if God were not the benevolent God that he is? What if God were an antagonistic God who enjoyed inflicting pain and enjoyed that and, and did it for fun? You know, there, there, there’s an image of God. You know, the God that I serve as a God who, if you can imagine, you know, a cage bird, you open the cage and give a freedom.

That’s the God that I serve and you serve. But there’s what if you were a God who kept the door law and used a stick and prodded you all the time and poked in, aggravated ya and tormented ya all the time. We should be thankful for his goodness. If you have had a magnifying glass, maybe boys, I don’t know, maybe girls, maybe just some boys.

I don’t know. But did you ever as a child have a magnifying glass and go hunting for aunts? Did? Did you ever burn ants? You know, I think most people to say, I’ve done that. I’ve zeroed in that light and burned and. It’s not the nicest thing to do, but we’ve probably, a lot of us have done that.

What if God were that way? What if God were a God who stood in heaven and like the Zappas and he did that for fun because he’s not a good God? What if he were wicked God? See, there are things that we take for granted about God is his nature of goodness. This is something that I should, should give thanks for, and here’s what I want you to get across, and this is where I want to challenge you this week too, especially in reference to his goodness.

We had this phrase and it’s used all the time, and people have kind of a followup. One person will say part of it and other people will finish it. They’ll say, God is good, and everybody else says what? All the time God is good all the time. Any is. But let’s live as though we believe that. See, I’m good at saying, and you get on Facebook and you’ll hear people say, Oh man, I got the job I’ve been wanting.

I got the promotion I wanted. The good report from the doctor came back as I want. And God is good. And people will say all the time. And that’s right. And it’s grades. But we’re not doing justice to that concept until when we give bad news from the doctor, we say God is good all the time, and when we don’t get the job that we wanted and we don’t get the promotion that we wanted, and we stills rise up and say, God is good all the time, why do we not see when tragedy happens?

Why do we not have people, the people of God affirming God is good all the time. Yeah. I don’t like what just happened to me and it’s terrible and I’m a heartbroken, but don’t lay that at the feet of God. God is good all the time. I want us to not only invoke God and give thanks to him when things go well and when things are pleasant.

I want us to invoke God and give thanks to him when our life is falling apart because it doesn’t change his nature. God is good all the time. I want us to rise up like job. Do you remember Joe chapter one when everything that could go wrong had gone wrong? He lost all of his children. He lost his livelihood in a sense.

He’s even lost his wife who tells him, curse God and die. He lost his health. Everything is taken from job, and he says, you know, the Lord lives and the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away less. It’d be the name of the Lord in the worst season of his life. He vocalized, blessed be the name of the Lord.

Um, I’m not sure about job’s theology in terms of the Lord giving and taking away and the events. I don’t know that he understood all the characters involved in the players that were going on behind the scene, but I do recognize and acknowledge and appreciate his willingness to say, it doesn’t matter what circumstance or what season of life I may find myself in.

God is good. And he’s worthy of our praise and our Thanksgiving folks. You may be going through some tough times, and if you aren’t this week, maybe next week you will it’ll come around. Just hang around and wait a little bit and you’ll, you’ll have that season of difficulty in your life. And I just want to challenge you that when that comes, you be vocal and give thanks to God.

And lift his name up and that calls even more attention to him. I don’t want to just thank God because he’s good when things fall in my lap. I want to thank God because he’s good even when things are falling apart. Second thing that he tells us in this passage, reason to give thanks is number one, God is good, but number two.

For his mercy endures forever. That too is said over and over in this chapter. His mercy endures forever. Man, I’m so thankful for the mercy of God. Without it, I would be a mess. And so would you have you ever though felt exhausted as if you have exhausted God’s mercy. Have you ever felt as though you have forfeited any right to salvation?

That there’s no way. I mean, I should know better and I did it again. And you just feel like you’re so unworthy that I don’t even deserve, I don’t even just, God, forget about me. Well, you’re right. We don’t deserve it. But that’s where the goodness of God comes in because his mercy. Endures forever.

I knew a man who had been faithful, member of the Lord’s body, had gone away and had, uh, turned his back on God during those formative years for his children. And as they got older, they followed in their dad’s footsteps. But as his dad got older, he came to his senses and came back home. And he got his life right with God, but he couldn’t pull his kids back or not all of them.

And that weighed heavily on him. You can imagine it was his negligence that set the path and set the course for the life of his children. And he’s devastated by that. And I remember him telling me, I don’t have any hope of going to heaven. Because I had every reason to be right with God. And I turned my back on him and I knew I was brought up and I knew and I made choices that have affected my children.

And he said for that, I don’t at all expect to go to heaven. And I asked her, I said, well, why don’t you go to church? You know, if you don’t think you have a chance, why are you going to church? And his answer was, because I want my kids to be saved and I’m going to set them a good example. He was living with the idea that he was beyond the reach of God, that there’s no hope for me.

Oh, I’ll do the right things. Not for myself, but in hopes that I can by my example and influence may be save my children. Listen, he’s selling God’s shorts. He’s thinking God is not as good as he is. He’s forgotten that the mercy of God and doers forever. If you are able to bring yourself to repentance in return to God, he wants you back.

That’s an incredible thing about the God we serve. How many times does it take for you to write somebody off, man, and I’m not. Hey, I’ve learned once I’ve learned twice, Hey, I’m not making the same mistake with that person ever again, and we hold them at arm’s distance. How many times have you sinned against God?

How many chances has God given you and forgiven you and welcomed you back over and over and over again? We fail him and he doesn’t snub us. When we come back again and say, man, I’m so unworthy. I am so, I don’t even know how I even talk to you now and ask for another chance. But I, here I am, and God delights in showing us mercy.

Micah seven verse 18. Um, there’s the story. Well, if you’ll just keep your place in Psalm one Oh seven, just flip over to Psalm one 36 and be familiar with that. And maybe that’s a passage you ought to read every once in awhile. There are 26 verses in Psalm one 36. And every single verse ins with for his mercy endures forever.

Try reading that every verse for his mercy endures forever. Do you think he was trying to get a point across for his mercy endures forever. Over and over 26 times in this chapter, he reminds the people of God. His mercy endures forever. Give thanks to God for that. Where would we be if that were not true?

I think of Luke 15 where that rich man or that man gives his inheritance to his son and he goes off and if you believe the commentary of the older brother, he squanders it in riotous living. He has nothing left. He’s used up everything he had. He has no inheritance left. And when he has nothing left and his friends have abandoned him and he is so desperate that he would be willing to eat what the pigs eat.

He says, I’m coming home. This has not gone well. I’ll just throw myself at the mercy of my father. He had a plan speech to say, I’m unworthy and I’ll just come back as one of your servants. And when he came back, his father saw him afar off and he ran to meet him and he hugged him. Because he was coming home in the mercy of the father endures forever and he took him back because he was broken.

He was humble and he came back and he was received. That’s the nature of a God we serve. Should we not give thanks for that? What? What would it be like if we had to come to a God and any pouts for a year. Or two years and says, after the way you behave, no, I don’t think you’re just going to have to give me time.

I need time to deal with your, what you’ve done to me. His mercy endures forever. Look at the thief on the cross. What did he have to offer? God, he had nothing to offer God, but an apology. He can’t live, can’t redo anything, can’t offer good works, or he has nothing but an apology to say, God, please, I’m sorry.

And the mercy of God endures forever. I think we should be thankful as the Psalmus said, for the goodness of God, the fact that his mercy endures forever. And here’s the third and final point of this section. Look at verse two. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so whom he has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. God has provided redemption. That should give us cause to give thanks. Redemption means to buy back. It means that once something belongs to you, but it no longer does, and so you pay a price to get it back. And that’s the case with us. We were once gods, and then we gave way to our loss and we became Satans and God wanted us back.

And so he paid a price so that we could be his once again, and that price was high. It costs him his son, John three 16 for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. We’re not our own. We’ve been bought with a price. First Corinthians chapter one or six tells us, and here’s, here’s the thing, I can appreciate the redemption that God gave me and buying me back at such a great cost there.

There is an appreciation within me, but you know what even strengthens it for me. See, there are people in my life that I love more than my life. And I would die for them in a heartbeat. I mean, I have a wife and a daughter sitting over here. Jesus didn’t just redeem me. He redeemed my wife. He redeemed my daughter and my children.

How can I not thank and be indebted to this God? It’s not just about me, but it’s about the people that I love the most in this life. He has made it so that they can be saved. He has redeemed them and I’m obligated. I’m indebted to him for what he has done, not just for me, but for my family as well.

I remember in February of 1982 air Florida air flight 90. Had taken off out of Washington, DC and, and clipped the bridge and crashed into the Potomac river. Maybe some of you are old enough, will remember that. And, um, the water, the river was frozen, it was ice, and, and there was obviously some broken areas because of the plane crashing in it.

There were, uh, eventually there were, there was a helicopter that came and had a. A cable that they dropped and was encouraging people to grab ahold of it. And there were three people in particular that were on the top of the water. There were two women and a man, and as they dropped that rope at first came to the man and he grabbed it and handed it to the woman next to them, and she was pulled across.

The water’s so cold she couldn’t hold on. And you might remember before she made it to the safety of the shore. She couldn’t hold it on anymore. And she just fell in and a man from the shore jumped in and saved her life and pulled her the rest of the way. So the helicopter goes back and again, the, the cable falls in the hands of the man and he handed it to the other girl and she was pulled to safety and the helicopter went back to the third time and the man was gone.

He had drown. He could have saved himself. How indebted do you think those two women must feel toward that man? That maybe they were perfectly strangers. There was a man who gave his life so that he or they could live. Would that not create within them a sense of indebtedness? And if you put yourself in a situation where someone gives their life for you.

They forfeit their existence on this earth so that you can live longer. That’s, that’s compelling. I mean, you’ve got to feel indebted, and that’s precisely what God has done for us. And we were, we were lost. We were in possession of Satan, and he has bought us back and the price was his son’s life.

How can I not be thankful? How can I not live my life indebted to him? Listen, we have so much fullness in our life that we need to be thankful, and these are three of a number of items in Psalm one Oh seven I encourage you in the next through the week, as you spin this week, maybe some of your off work, open your Bibles and read the rest of the chapter.

See if you can pick out some of the things that we’ll be talking about for the next few weeks. Some of the reasons for which we should give God. Thanks. This is a season of Thanksgiving from here to the end of the year. It is really, and I want us to spend some time learning to be more thankful.

Don’t take these things for granted. In fact, God expects it’s that healing of those 10 lepers. You remember. One returns and says, Oh, Jesus, by the way, thank you. And Jesus said, where are the other guys? Where are the nine they didn’t give thanks? He expects us after what all has been done for us.

It’s just an expectation that we would be a people of Thanksgiving. And I want to encourage you to do more of that and to think more along those lines and live accordingly because we are indebted to our God. If you’re here this morning and you’re not yet a child of God, you want to say thank you to God, obey him, do what he says.

And he’s called us to repent of our sins and be baptized into Jesus Christ, and he promises to forgive us. If you haven’t done that, do that this morning, and if you’re a child of God and unfaithful, or maybe there’s something in your life that you need to just have the prayers of the church, we’ll pray with you on that toward that end, and if you need to be more faithful, we’ll pray toward that end.

Just got this Avenue of prayer. Be thankful. And use it if you need it, and we invite you to come as we stand together and say, correct.

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