A Recipe for a Thanksgiving Feast of the Heart: Confess, Pray, Share

November 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Turkey, parades, football, family traditions, feasts, and the unforgettable pumpkin pie consume us this time of year.  In pausing to share our gratitude and celebrate family and friends, I would like to offer a Biblical recipe for a thanksgiving feast of the heart.  This one will not cause you to move your belt to the next notch or run to the gym, but might necessitate moving comfort zones or running hard after God’s heart in a way in which you thought only fanatical Christians, or Bible-time-believers did.  Feel free to not limit your portion sizes here, but rather feast on God’s word and the joy of unbridled obedience to the One who alone is worthy of praise.

Psalm 106 and 136

Ingredients:

1.       Heartfelt Confession:

In Psalm 106, confession for sin is made on behalf of the psalmist and of his nation and forefathers.  This Thanksgiving season we should begin with repentance and confession. Notice the specific confession versus blanket requests for forgiveness.

16 Confess your trespasses[a] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  James 5:16

2.        Powerful Prayer:

 1 Praise the LORD.[a]

  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
   his love endures forever.

2 Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD
   or fully declare his praise? Psalm 106:1-2

 Psalm 106 seems to parallel 136 in that the former showed the sin of man and the justice and mercy of God, while the later praises the eternal and enduring love of God. Both document points in Israel’s history where God led his people out of exile in Egypt and gave them victory over their enemies by miraculous signs and wonders for the glory of His Name.  In our present and past circumstances we can list the errors of our way be they times of abundance, want, blessing, or trial.  During each and every season of our life, no matter our behaviors: whether exemplarily or the antitheses of virtue, God has been good.  Read these two chapters in Psalms back to back. See how God’s hand was working good in every circumstance. Consider how God has worked good in your circumstances this year.

God’s love endures forever. Let’s pray that our spiritual eyes will see his love and goodness and that our tongues in turn would praise Him for the works He has done and our hearts would choose to trust Him even when we don’t understand His ways.

7 When our ancestors were in Egypt,
   they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
   and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. Psalm 106:7

When we neglect to remember God’s goodness we consequently neglect to praise Him and thank Him, and become more apt to forget God and go our own way. 

12 There is a way that appears to be right,
   but in the end it leads to death. -Proverbs 14:12

We are commanded to thank God multiple times in the Bible.  In Psalm 136 alone we are commanded four times and then given specifics as to what to thank Him for and why.  Use Psalm 136 as a prayer of thanksgiving to God and then add specifics relevant to your journey in 2010.  It may sound something like,

                I thank you LORD for you are good and your love endures forever.

                I thank you God of gods for your steadfast love endures forever.

                I thank you Lord of lords for your steadfast love endures forever.

                I thank you for you alone do great wonders.

                I thank you for by your understanding you made the heavens.

I read the editor’s note in the November issue of HomeLife Magazine.  He offered the suggestion of taking an hour to go through our house and thank God in prayer for the material blessings He provided.  While this seems strange to thank God for material blessings, most of us say a blanket “thank  you” to God for His blessings or we overlook these in our quest for the current carrot dangling in front of us.  Perhaps you, like me, are embarrassed by your abundance when others live in want.  We should tell God of this embarrassment and ask Him what to do in response to such feelings. But we should not be surprised if and/or when He asks us to give our abundance (or even our scarcity) away.  God still commands to “sell all we have and give to the poor” (Matthew 19:21, Mark 10:21, Luke 12:33, and Luke 18:22).  Acts 2:45 states of the first New Testament Church, “And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.”

Directions:

1.        Combine all of the above.

2.        Raise the Risk: Share the abundance of God’s goodness

3.       Enjoy!

There is an abundance of ways to give during the holiday season and all year long.  Here are some ways to raise the risk in your giving now and throughout the year on an international level. Please see raise the risk challenge number one below and post  your ideas for giving on the local and national level.

 Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! I am so blessed that God has afforded me the desire and portions of time to write this blog, and I am so thankful that He will bless that which he has commanded us to do. 

 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
   blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. -Psalm 34:8

Raise the Risk Challenge

  • Post ideas and practices that you have for local and national giving. You might inspire the actions of others!
  • Follow the “Thanksgiving Recipe for the Heart” and obey as God directs you.
  • Share the gospel with a lost family member this holiday season.  Often times it is harder to witness to people in our own family than a total stranger.  Why is that? (I would also love some posted feedback on this one.)

 



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