2017-11-26 – Psalm 100 – Attitude of Gratitude

2017-11-26 – Psalm 100 – Attitude of Gratitude

Psalm 100 – A Psalm of Thanksgiving

1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.

2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come into his presence with singing.

3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he that made us, and we are his;

we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him, bless his name.

5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever,

and his faithfulness to all generations.

Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought it would be good to follow-up with a message on Gratitude. The sermon title for today is an Attitude of Gratitude.

This Psalm 100 was written by King David about a thousand years before Christ. This Psalm is simply titled, A Psalm of Thanksgiving and it is the only Psalm that bears this title. This Psalm was probably meant to be sung. It speaks of an invitation to the whole earth to know and to worship God, so I thought it would be a good starter for our message today; especially verse 4:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. Praise the Lord, one day soon we will do just that.

There was once a great British journalist and poet you may know named Rudyard Kipling, whose writings have blessed us for many years. Kipling was a very famous, and he made a great deal of money at his trade.

A newspaper reporter came up to him once and said, ”Mr. Kipling, somebody calculated that the money you make from your writings amounts to over $100 a word.” Mr. Kipling raised his eyebrows and said, ”Really, I certainly wasn’t aware of that.” The reporter cynically reached into his pocket and pulled out a $100 bill and gave it to Kipling and said, ”Here’s a $100 bill Mr. Kipling. Now you give me one of your $100 words.” Kipling looked at that $100 bill for a moment, took it and folded it up and put it in his pocket and said, ”Thanks.”

Well the word ”thanks” is certainly a $100 word. In fact, I would say it is more like a million dollar word in some situations. That is one word that is too seldom heard these days, too rarely spoken, and too often forgotten.

If any nation in the world ought to be thankful to God and grateful for its goodness, it is America. And if any people in America ought to be thankful to God and grateful for His goodness, it should be Christians. And If any group of Christians ought to be thankful to God and grateful for His goodness, it ought to be us here today. Therefore we ought to have an Attitude of Gratitude.

I got to admit that I am not the best at showing gratitude sometimes. But I remember getting a lesson on gratitude once while I was in the Army as a young soldier, I helped out this new young military family get settled into their new home. Afterwards my buddy, who was from Sicily, named Itsio Ognasantey, came to me and said in broken English “Thank you Jerry, you are a saint for helping us out this way, you are a saint”..  Well I have never been called a saint before, and I am not sure I was ever called a saint since. But it wasn’t the mere words he said that astonished me that day, but the passion behind the words. Anyway I could clearly see his thankfulness and gratitude.

Thankfulness and Gratitude are synonyms of each other, however gratitude is more of an indicator or exercise to show that you are thankful.

Gratitude or giving of thanks in the Old Testament is indicated most often by the Hebrew word todah. It’s also how people say “thank you” in modern Hebrew today. The word todah is found most often in the book of Psalms, which contains a great deal of praise and thanksgiving to God. Everyone say “todah”

So Thursday past was Thanksgiving Day. And if we are truly thankful to God, then we should be about showing it in some way. Showing an Attitude of Gratitude.

Chuck Swindoll once said, “Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitude toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it”.

Let me ask you a personal question. Do you ever have difficulty with bitterness, selfishness, self-pity, negativism, or pride? Then let me suggest that an attitude of gratitude might help change those things and maybe even transform your life.

There are generally four different levels of attitude. People in the lowest level constantly complain. These folks are generally always griping about something. Rather than being humbly grateful, they’re grumbly hateful.

The second level is just a tad higher. These are not people who are constantly complaining; however they just never give thanks for anything, and they mostly take things for granted. Can you think of anyone in your life like that?

The third level are those who thank God for the obvious blessings, when things are going good and everything is fine. But maybe not so much when the bottom falls out, when things get tough, or when the answers are not so clear.

But the fourth and highest level, are those who give thanks always for all things. This is the attitude that if you choose to accept it will change your life for the good. It will give you the most joy and you will be most content. It is also God’s will for His children. God wants you to “count it all joy”, as apostle Paul exclaims.

I read a paper written by a Psychologist named Christian Jarrett, who proposes that expressing gratitude might even change your brain. She says:

Psychologists have published some interesting findings, and one of the more robust ones is that feeling grateful is very good for you. Time and again, studies have shown that performing simple gratitude exercises, like keeping a gratitude diary or writing letters of thanks, can bring a range of benefits, such as feelings of increased well-being and reduced depression, that often linger well after the exercises are finished. https://www.thecut.com/2016/01/how-expressing-gratitude-change-your-brain.html

So in that light, let me suggest five Gratitude principles that might help in your relationship with Father God and others:
(adapted from Adrian Rogers)

 

First, Showing Gratitude Is Proper: Everything good that you have has come from God. You didn’t get it by luck, ingenuity, hard work, wit, or wisdom. So it is proper to thank God for it, and others as appropriate. Gratitude is Proper..

Second, Our Gratitude Is to Be Perpetual: You’re not just simply to be thankful one day a year. One day is not long enough to thank God for all that He’s given you. His blessings come daily so we should show gratitude daily. Psalm 68:19 says, “Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loadeth us with benefits….” Every day God has brand-new blessings for you, therefore every day you should be thanking God. Every prayer that you pray ought to be flavored with thanks.

Third, Our Gratitude Is to Be Pervasive: In everything give thanks. Not in some things, but in all things. Every thing, every area of life is to be the subject of thanksgiving. There’s so much to be thankful for. For instance:

Spiritual things — Might I suggest that even if all you had was Jesus, you would have enough to praise God for all eternity.

Simple things — You should be thankful for your families, health, food, and even a glass of water. Thank God for the simple things.

Sorrowful things — You can even be thankful for the heartaches, pains, and the sufferings. Romans 8:28 says, “…All things work together for good….” That is, the thing itself might not be considered good, but it is God who is working all things together for good. If you lost a loved one, be thankful you had a loved one. If is a bad day, be thankful for the good days. All things work together for good.

So if you want to live on the highest attitude level of life, which is God’s prescription, then cultivate an attitude of gratitude always and in all things.
I don’t care how bad, difficult, dark, or mysterious things get; take the ultimate step of faith and say, “God, You’re greater than this too, and I thank You.” Maybe you say, “Well, I just don’t feel like thanking Him all the time.” Don’t thank Him by feeling; thank Him by faith. We are not told to feel thankful but to be thankful. Nothing shows your faith in the absolute sovereignty of God more than just simply thanking God in every situation, and especially in times of sorrow.

Fouth, Our Gratitude Will Be Pleasurable. Thankful people are happy people. Maybe your thinking, “if I had something to be thankful for, I’d be happy.” Then you have missed the point! You do have something to be thankful for. You have life and you have Christ. You may say, “But my circumstance are not good.” Might I remind you that the apostle Paul was in prison when he wrote 1/3 of the New Testament, yet he was rejoicing in the Lord always. Gratefulness turned his prison cell into a palace. However ungratefulness can turn your palace into a prison. I’m telling you, an attitude of gratitude can change your life.

Fifth, Our Gratitude Is Possible. Living with gratitude is not a natural way to live — it’s supernatural. And this kind of thankfulness only comes out of a true and vital relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Additionally God gives us His Holy Spirit, through which we can do marvelous things including showing Gratitude in all things. The Holy Spirit is the substance of it, the source of it, and the strength of it. We are to be filled with the Spirit, and we are to be giving thanks.

Whether you’re in a prison, as Paul was, or enjoying your leftover Thanksgiving Day dinner, you can praise God. I’m telling you it will change your life. Bitterness, fear, self-pity, ungratefulness, and negativism will go out of your life if you will practice an Attitude of Gratitude, and let the Holy Spirit fill you and flow through you.

Growing in godliness and Christ-likeness is a lifelong pursuit. It requires intentional commitment, and willingness to regularly put in effort to positively alter our actions, thoughts, desires, and outlooks. It’s a spiritual transformation, a renewal of mind, becoming a new creation, to put off your old self and your old dead ways. God wants this for you. Are you willing to try?

Gratitude is a key to Christlikeness because it is a “parent virtue”—a virtue that helps produce other godly virtues within us. It has a transformational effect on our character. Gratitude is also widely understood to be beneficial, improving one’s health and emotional, social, and psychological well-being. Gratitude is universally considered a basic foundation for a better and happier life. Some of its benefits include making us more optimistic, spiritual resilient, relaxed, and friendly; as well as being less materialistic, self-centered, and envious; causing one to have more self-esteem, better sleep, happier memories, a better marriage, more friends, deeper relationships, and even more energy. And who wouldn’t want that?

The apostle Paul wrote: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

So how do we develop a grateful mindset? To begin with, one way to cultivate gratitude is to reflect often of the things you are thankful for. In your prayers or in your conversations take account of, and focus on your blessings. Each of us has numerous things in our daily lives that we should be thankful for, yet we rarely take time (other than Thanksgiving Day) to acknowledge them. And since we don’t acknowledge them, they don’t consciously register in our minds as blessings and as something we are grateful for. Let me give you an example:

Some of you know that I have been part of a men’s prayer breakfast for a long while now, and I find that exercise has changed my mindset for the better. Many things I am thankful for now that I’ve rarely given much thought to before. I realize that I am surrounded by blessings—food, clothes, a place to live, a loving wife, family, church, friends, work, good weather, health, etc.—and until I started that prayer group exercise, I rarely slowed down enough to notice. Even though I regularly thanked the Lord for my blessings, but I did so in quick, general terms.

If you are able to join a prayer group, I would encourage you to do so. Otherwise maybe start your own. But somehow make regular the acknowledging of God’s blessings a priority, and you will be surprised at the results you see.

Other ways we can enhance our gratitude muscle are through Fasting, Confessions, Mission-work, and Generosity. Each of these mechanisms can be a sermon on their own, but in brief I will say:

  • By Fasting, we become more appreciative and more grateful to the One who sustains us.
  • By Confessions, as it reminds us of our flaws and of His mercy. Knowing that we have been forgiven and are recipients of His gift of mercy generates feelings of thanksgiving. And confessing our sins to the Lord is part of the process of putting off the old self and putting on the new self.
  • By Mission-works, because as we consider those who have less than we do, or going through tough times, it helps keep our situations in perspective.
  • By Generosity, because when we think of God and realize His generosity in giving His Son to die for us so that we can experience forgiveness and eternal life, it makes us want to be more generous like Him. He is so generous with His grace. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. The grace of our Lord overflowed onto me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Through generosity, by giving to others in need and by giving to the church, we emulate Christ and we show an Attitude of Gratitude as well.

As Christians, we recognize that gratitude isn’t our natural state of mind, and we need to develop and exercise this character trait muscle. But as we do, as we work to cultivate gratitude in our lives, we might also be a blessing to others that God puts on our path as well, and in that HE is well pleased.

In conclusion I will suggest that having an Attitude of Gratitude is a mindset that enables us to see our circumstances through the lens of our thankfulness to God. Choose to put it on, and make a difference for yourself and to the benefit of many. And like the great poet Kipling did at the start of this message today, say “Thanks” to someone today, and be the blessing that God truly wants you to be.

[Please Stand]

Let us once more say that Psalm of Thanksgiving together as we close.

Psalm 100 – A Psalm of Thanksgiving

1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.

2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come into his presence with singing.

3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he that made us, and we are his;

we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him, bless his name.

5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever,

and his faithfulness to all generations.