Happy Are Those Who Engage in Thanksgiving

I TIMOTHY 2: 1 – 4

JESUS CHRIST paused at the grave of His dear friend Lazarus and in essence prayed, “Father, I thank you for the death of My dear friend Lazarus…”

Talking to God the Father is therapeutic. With this in mind, one who walked closely with the Lord exhorted his young colleague and, through his inspired writing, us, to make it a practice to talk to the Lord. Four types of such engagement with the Lord are encouraged.

A. SUPPLICATIONS (I Timothy 2: 1a)
This means to recognize a need and ask God to meet it. It arises from a sense of inadequacy and inability to meet a need. It is a request made of God to meet the need.

B. PRAYERS (I Timothy 2: 1b)
This word means to draw near to God and pour our heart out to Him. It is a general term for worship of the God whose name is hallowed.

C. INTERCESSIONS (I Timothy 2: 1c)
The word was used to refer to the authority to enter into the King’s presence and submit a petition on someone’s behalf. It reveals we have personal access to God and personal confidence we will be received and heard.

D. THANKSGIVING (I Timothy 2: 1d)
This is an expression of gratitude not only for blessings bestowed and prayers answered, but for the very privilege of praying. It is the spirit in which all prayer should be offered and life lived.

Jesus told of ten men who were healed of the dread disease of leprosy. Only one turned back to say thanks. Would our present conduct indicate we would have been one of the nine or the one out of the nine?

We live in a society of ingrates. When was the last time you saw anyone bow and pray before a meal in a public place? Do you regularly thank God for all things?

A prominent criminal lawyer, Sam Leibowits, was responsible for sparing 78 men from the electric chair. Not one ever thanked Him. Daily our Lord spares us. Do we thank Him?

I read recently of a man who tried to stab his wife to death. Though he stabbed her several times he botched the job and then got sorry for her and took her to the hospital. Doctors waged a battle to save her life and were successful. After her release from the hospital she died from a blood clot in her lungs. The husband sued the hospital for $2.5 million.

Did you read of the two Texas Good Samaritans who came upon a wrecked car that was on fire? They managed to free one of the two occupants and drag her to safety. Bystanders estimated they had about 80 seconds to think and act. The car exploded before they could rescue the second person. She suffered serious burns and is suing the rescuers for not getting her out first.

Do some of our responses to the Lord indicate similar ingratitude?

Columnist Billy Rose wrote an unbelievable story of ingratitude during his brilliant career in the 40’s and 50’s. ”

It was a cold German night when a little German soldier walked out on the bridge. The wind sliced through his dirty uniform. He looked down into the river. The water was red, as red as the sun going down behind the Bavarian hills. “Why not?” he mumbled. “Germany is dying. Why not die with her? A car rumbled over the boards. He pressed against the guard rail as it went by. There were French soldiers in it. He started walking again. Then he stopped. Where was he going? To Munich? What was in Munich? More gray faces. More beaten people. The Oberleutnant had said, “Go home.” No papers. No train ticket. Just “Go home.” Thousands like him were on the roads. Feet wrapped in rags. Hungry. Sleeping anywhere. Stealing.

The little soldier turned and looked back. He was alone on the bridge. On the far bank the sun caught a bit of metal. Someone was fishing. Someone in a long coat. The man on the bridge closed his eyes. He rested his hands on the rail. It was cold. Then he jumped. As he hit the water, there was a great roaring in his head. A roar like a crowd shouting his name. He felt his boots carrying him down. And down. When he opened his eyes a strange face was looking down at him. “Easy.” He was in a kitchen. The strange face smiled. “Get this inside you,” it said, “You’ll feel better.”

The soldier took the cup in both hands. He saw an oven and by the oven his uniform drying on a chair. “Lucky I was on the bank when you went under,” chuckled the stranger. “You’re the only thing I caught today.” The soldier pulled the blanket up around him. “Got to be too much for you, eh?” the fisherman went on. “A lot of our men feel that way. But it’s no good. There’s too much work to be done. You look weak. Why don’t you stay here tonight?”

The soldier got up and started putting on his clothes. “If you’re going to Munich,” said the man in the kitchen, “maybe I can help you. I have a friend there. I’ll give you a letter to him. What’s your name?” The soldier handed him a damp identification card and went on dressing. Out on the road, he looked at the letter. Under the date, December 21, 1918, it read:

‘Dear Benjamin,
As a favor to me would you please give food and lodging to this young man until he can find work? His name is Corporal Adolf Hitler.
Your friend,
Israel Cohen'”

Hitler, instead of showing his thankfulness, became the dog to bite the Jewish hand that fed him. Our rejection of Jesus Christ and/or our disobedience of Him is even more reprehensible and unforgivable.

There are times our prayers go unheard. The Psalmist reminds us of this: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18).

Amos lived in an evil but religious society. During the week they practiced their injustices and other unrighteous acts. On the Sabbath they came together and made demonstrative sacrifices and sang praises to the Lord. In response God said:

“I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, Nor will I regard your fatted peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5: 21 – 24).

Their day of their sacred assemblies was very popular with the people. They regularly gathered in large numbers and went though the motions with deep feelings. However, their worship was sterile.

God would not accept their “burnt offering.” This was an offering totally consumed by fire. It was intended to be a gift to the Lord to attract God’s presence. It was rejected.

God rejected their “peace offering.” This was a fellowship offering. It was to symbolize a harmonious relationship between the people and God.

Even the harmonious songs of praise were not acceptable.

Amos used images to show the error of their popular concept of the Day of the Lord (Vss. 18 – 20).

One was of a man who ran from a lion only to run into a bear. The other was of a man who ran into his home seeking security and was bitten by a snake.

As these people sought protection, so the Israelites gathered in their sacred assemblies. Like those who sought safety only to encounter another judgment, so these faithless people seeking refuge in their assemblies were finding the judgment of God on them. Before their worship, praise, and thanksgiving could be accepted, they needed to practice two things during the week.

God requires “justice” and “righteousness” in the lives of people before their thanksgiving is acceptable. This means thanks giving must be preceded by thanks living. II. FOR WHOM WE ARE TO DO IT
If you believe the Bible when it says (1) God loves all people and (2) that Jesus died for all people THEN You should pray for ALL people == friends and opponents.

As with all elections some rejoice and others have remorse. Regardless of who wins, someone loses. Pray for both but particularly for the one who assumes authority over you.

Governmental positions of authority have their origin with God: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. ForĀ  there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1).

God uses leaders. He either uses them as a channel of blessings or as an instrument through which to judge and punish His people. God not only disciplines individuals, He does nations, also.

Take heart from Proverbs 21: 1: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

God doesn’t get voted out. He doesn’t even get voted on.

“That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (I Timothy 2:2).

In an orderly society persons must voluntarily submit themselves to authority or anarchy results.

Sometimes the people work against this. Sometimes despotic leaders work against it. That gives us all the greater reason to pray for them.

As Samuel said, “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.”

1. “There is one God” (Vs. 5a)

2. “One Mediator” (Vs. 5b)
A mediator is one who goes between two parties to restore their relationship. To do so he must be equal with both parties.

That is why there is “one” Mediator, Emmanuel, “God with us.”

3. “One ransom” (Vs. 6)
The Greek word translated “ransom” is ANTILUTRON.

“Anti” implies substitution, in place of, or instead of.

“Lutron” stresses the price to be paid for the one to be released.

The provision was universal, “for all.”

It is actually only for those who accept God’s conditions, who are described as – – – “The Son of Man came to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20: 28). The “many” is a reference to all who receive Christ.

The price is noted: “We have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of our sins” (Ephesians 1:7).