Have you ever received a gift that far exceeded what you could have expected? Something so nice that just saying “thank you” seemed inadequate?
If anything, you feel like you want to do something special for that person, to show your appreciation.
In the same way, when you consider all that Christ did for us on the cross and what He continues to do for us today, it feels so inadequate to simply tell Him, “Thank you.” He has given us eternal life when we didn’t deserve it. And if you look back at the last year, I’m sure you’ll find countless things He has done in your life.
In fact, it’s hard not to say, “Wow, God is great! How can I thank Him for everything He has done for me? What can I possibly do to show my appreciation to Him?”
Fortunately, Scripture gives us a good blueprint for some ways that we can show our thanks to God.
1. We can give Him our praise. The psalmist says in Psalm 63:3–4, “Because your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus will I bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name” (nkjv).
It’s funny that we think it’s perfectly normal for people to wear their favorite team’s jersey to a sporting event, and go wild when their team scores. But when you come to church on Sunday morning and someone is lifting up his hands during the worship time, people stare and call him a fanatic.
Is there a place for verbally praising God, for lifting our hands in worship? Yes. It is biblical to lift your hands to the Lord. It is a good thing to do. You shouldn’t be reluctant to lift your hands in praise to God.
2. I should keep my promises to God. Psalm 116:18 says, “I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all His people” (nlt).
When you prayed to receive Christ, you made a promise to God that you would turn away from your previous sinful lifestyle. You pledged to follow His commands, just as Jesus said: “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14 nkjv).
Now, of course, we are still flawed humans and we won’t always do exactly as He says, but we still need to be obedient to His will and keep that promise we made to Him.
3. We can honor the Lord by bringing our offerings to the Lord. 1 Chronicles 16:28 says, “O nations of the world, recognize the lord, recognize that the lord is glorious and strong. Give to the lord the glory He deserves! Bring your offering and come to worship Him. Worship the lord in all His holy splendor” (nlt).
When you are a child, it is hard to wrap your mind around the idea that giving is better than receiving. You’re more concerned about what people are going to give you. But as you get older and become a parent, you discover the joy of giving. You actually find more pleasure in giving a gift than in receiving one.
Jesus gives us another reason why giving is so important to Christians in Matthew 6:19–21:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (nkjv)
In other words, Jesus is saying that it is wrong to put all of our hope in earthly treasures with nothing waiting for us on the other side. Why? Because these earthly treasures simply will not last.
When you play Monopoly, it’s fun to put up hotels and collect money and try to win. But once the game is over, that Monopoly money isn’t worth anything. You can’t go down to the car dealer, pull out those orange bills, and buy a new car. Monopoly money can’t do a thing for you in the real world.
When we get to heaven, all we have on earth will have no value if we do not invest it properly. You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead. How? By investing in the work of the kingdom of God.
The two most sought-after and vulnerable targets on the ancient battlefield were the heart and the head. With our heart and other vital organs ably protected by the breastplate of righteousness, the enemy will try to strike the head. One well-placed blow to the head and the battle is over.Guided Missiles
Let’s consider our shield. The apostle Paul writes, “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16).Keep Moving
We all know people who have supposedly “fallen away” spiritually. Sometimes people make changes in their lives, start going to church, and get all excited about the Bible. Then suddenly they bail, never to return. For the most part, we say, “Oh, that is sad. They are backsliding.” However, I suggest to you that many of these people never were true believers to begin with. The true test is where they wind up.
Why does God allow the tough challenges we face in life? It’s a perplexing question. And Pastor Greg Laurie discusses that issue with Joni Eareckson Tada Monday on A NEW BEGINNING. A quadriplegic for nearly 50 years, Joni has unique encouragement about joy in the midst of pain. Tune in!All Sermons by Greg Laurie