How to Have a Thankful Heart
How to Have a Thankful Heart
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 19, 2017
*Please open your Bibles to Psalm 105, as we explore how to have a thankful heart. King David possibly wrote this whole Psalm, and he certainly wrote the first 15 verses. David did that in a time of great thanksgiving for the Kingdom of Israel. For the first time in history, God's holy Ark of the Covenant was bought to stay in the City of Jerusalem.
*The Ark was built at God's command during the days of Moses. By David's time, the Ark was about 400 years old. It was a gold-covered box about 4 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet high. The Ark contained a golden pot of the miraculous food called manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the Ten Commandments written in stone by the finger of God.
*The Ark was so holy that if you improperly touched it, God would strike you dead. For 400 years, the Lord had manifested His glory over the Ark. But it had never been brought into Jerusalem. And now it was!
*Listen to part of the story from 1 Chronicles 15-16:
15:3. David gathered all Israel together at Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the Lord to its place, which he had prepared for it.
15:15. And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.
15:16. Then David spoke to the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers accompanied by instruments of music, stringed instruments, harps, and cymbals, by raising the voice with resounding joy.
16:1. So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God.
16:2. And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord.
16:3. Then he distributed to everyone of Israel, both man and woman, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins.
16:4. And he appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to commemorate, to thank, and to praise the Lord God of Israel:
16:7. And on that day David first delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the Lord.
*With this background in mind, please stand in honor of God's Word, as we read the first 5 verses of David's Song of Thanksgiving from Psalm 105. And as we read, think about how to have a thankful heart.
*It's amazing how many times we see the words "thank," "thanks" and "thanksgiving" in the Bible. In the KJV, these three words are found 128 times. Jesus certainly gave thanks to the Father, and Paul often gave thanks to God. For example, in 1 Corinthians 15:57, Paul said, "Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." And in Philippians 1:3, Paul said: "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you."
*God wants us to be thankful, and God commands us to give thanks. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to:
6. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
7. and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
*1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to:
16. Rejoice always,
17. pray without ceasing,
18. in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
*In every season and in every situation, God wants us to have thankful hearts. But how often are we truly thankful? I've got to say I am not nearly as thankful as I should be.
*Sometimes I'm really, really thankful. But other times I'm pretty ungrateful for all God has done in my life. And a lot of the time, I just sort of coast along in neutral. I know I'm not the only one. So, how can we be thankful? How can we be more thankful to the Lord?
1. Today's Scripture can help us, and first, it's by speaking.
*This is God's message for us in vs. 1-2, where David said:
1. Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.
2. Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works.
 At the beginning of vs. 1, David urges us to speak to God.
*"Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name. . ." God wants us to tell Him thanks. But also notice that He wants us to call on Him even when we're not thankful. God knows we get sad and mad. God knows we have setbacks and disappointments. He knows that we sin, and fall short of the glory of God. He knows that we have terrible tragedies in life. And God wants us to take all of our troubles to Him.
*I have often steered troubled people to Psalm 13. There David took his troubles to the Lord, but he also confirmed His trust in the Lord. And David said:
1. How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?
2. How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
3. Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4. Lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed against him''; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
5. But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6. I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
*Take your troubles to the Lord, and somehow, some way, He will help you. He can even give you the peace that passes understanding He promised in Philippians 4:7. And God's help will make you more thankful.
 David urges us to speak to God. -- He also urges us to speak to other people about God.
*At the end of vs. 1, David said: "Make known His deeds among the peoples." And at the end of vs. 2, David urges us to: "Talk of all His wondrous works." You see, the more we think about and speak about how much God has blessed us, the more thankful we will be.
*And our thankfulness can be multiplied in other people who hear. Thanksgiving is a contagious thing. And God wants us to give it to each other. Here in the rest of Psalm 105, David looked back to the blessings of God on His people, the Children of Israel. David spoke of the covenant the Lord made with Abraham. Then David went into detail about how God rescued His people from slavery in Egypt.
*The Lord has rescued His people many times, and we can see this truth in the history of our nation. In 1620, 102 devout Christians sailed for America headed to the Virginia Colony. But instead of landing in Virginia, their battered ship first sighted land far north in what is now Massachusetts. And the Pilgrims decided that rather than risk a journey to Virginia, they would set up their own government where God had blown their ship.
*Before landing at Plymouth, they signed the Mayflower Compact. Melvin Newland explained that "The hardy souls who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 fled from tyranny and oppression. And in the Mayflower Compact which they signed beneath the swinging lantern in the cabin of their ship, they proclaimed that they had come to the new world for 'the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.'" They were trusting in the Lord.
*Then on July 4th, 1776, our Declaration of Independence stated: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. . ." (1)
They were trusting in the Lord. And God has intervened many times to rescue our nation.
*In 1776, the British Empire had the most powerful army in the world. America had a rag-tag army of farmers and shop-owners. They were out-manned, out-gunned and out-financed. Without God's intervention, the colonies had no chance of winning the war against England. But God did intervene.
*For example, on Aug. 27, 1776, just weeks after the Declaration was signed, Washington's army of 8,000 men was trapped by the East River, near Brooklyn, New York. An army of 20,000 crack British soldiers were poised to attack, only waiting for their fleet.
*Washington desperately needed to evacuate his men across the mile-wide river. But their small boats could only hold a few men at a time, and Washington knew that when the sun came up the boats would be sitting ducks for the British artillery.
*How did God help the Americans? First: sudden rains and a strong wind kept the British fleet from sailing. Then, when the sun came up on the fleeing Americans, an unusual fog formed, and visibility dropped down to only 6 yards. That fog stayed put until the very last boat, carrying Washington himself, set off across the river. Then it suddenly lifted, and the British were stunned to see the empty shore. They fired their guns at Washington's boat. But by then, it was out of range. You could call it luck, but there is no such thing as luck, and the men who were there wrote in their diaries that it was the Hand of God. (2)
*There are countless examples of how God has blessed our nation in ways big and small. God has blessed us through miraculous intervention, and He has blessed us through the sacrificial service of devoted Christians. But most of all, He has blessed us through the cross of Jesus Christ! So we should speak about the gospel any way and every way we can.
*We should speak the good news about Jesus that He spoke about Himself in John 3:16-18:
16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
*Paul summed up the good news of the cross this way in Galatians 1:3-5:
3. Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,
4. who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
5. to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
*Speak to God about yourself and about other people. But also speak to people about God. "Make known His deeds among the peoples." "Talk of all His wondrous works." In vs. 5, it will help us "remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth." And the more we do, the more thankful we will be.
2. If you want to have a thankful heart, speak. -- But also sing.
*This is part of God's message for us in vs. 2, where David urges us to: "Sing to Him (Sing to the Lord), sing psalms to Him." Singing is a wonderful gift from God, and God wants us to sing to Him. The Bible talks about us singing to God over a hundred times!
1 Chronicles 16:23 commands, "Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation." "Sing unto the Lord, ALL THE EARTH." God wants us to sing to Him, and you don't have to have a good voice to do it.
*Psalm 104:33 says: "I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being." That's the spirit God wants us to have, because singing is a wonderful gift from God.
*Music takes godly words and plants them deep into our hearts and minds. And singing has an uplifting, encouraging effect on us. That's why Psalm 71:23 says, "My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed."
*Singing praise to God can help us take our hearts off our problems, and put them back on our Provider. Singing praise to God can help us shake off the blues, and begin to appreciate what God has done for us.
*It can also have a tremendous effect on the other people who hear us. That's why Ephesians 5:19-20 tell Christians to be:
19. speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20. giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
*Singing praise to God can have a tremendous effect on the people who hear us. It can even help people open their hearts to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. That's why our special Christmas Music services are vitally important, and it's important to invite people to come.
*But don't wait for Christmas! "Sing to Him (Sing to the Lord), sing psalms to Him." And the more we do, the more thankful we will be.
3. If you want to have a thankful heart, sing to the Lord. -- And seek the Lord.
*Seek the Lord! This is God's message for us in vs. 3-4, where David tells us to:
3. Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord.
4. Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore.
*Seeking the Lord is so crucial that David stressed it four times in these two verses:
-"Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord.
-Seek the Lord. . .
-And (seek) and His strength. . .
-Seek His face evermore."
*God wants us to seek Him, because He wants to have a personal relationship with us. Everyone desperately needs this kind of relationship with God, because it's the only way to live forever. And we can have this kind of relationship with God by receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
*God also wants us to seek His strength, because it's the only way we can live the way we're supposed to live. You will never be able to live the life God wants you to live in your own strength.
*Then God tells us to seek His face, because He wants us to know Him in an up-close and personal way. Sandra Carr told about rocking her son, Boyd, when he was 4-years-old. Boyd was facing his mom as they rocked, sitting on his knees.
*Suddenly, he lifted his small head, stared straight at his mother and got very still. Then he cupped her face in his hands and said, "Mommy, I'm in your eyes!" He had seen his own reflection in his mother's eyes, and this amazed him.
*In the days that followed, Boyd checked to see if his discovery was lasting. "Am I still in your eyes, mommy?" he would ask as he reached up for her. That's how close all good parents want to be to their children. And that's how close God wants us to be to Him. (3)
*We know this is true because of a wonderful Old Testament phrase: "The apple of God's eye." The word picture is just what little Boyd found in his mother's eye: For us to be so close to God, that we can look in His eyes and see our reflection.
*Deuteronomy 32:9-10 says:
9. . . The LORD's portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.
10 He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.
*In Psalm 17:8, King David prayed these words: "Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings." That's how close God wants us to be to Him! And we can be, because He is right here with us. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." And by His Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ is here right now. (4)
*In Matthew 7:7, Jesus promised that if we seek, we will find, and we surely will. But we have to seek the Lord. We have to seek His strength. We have to seek His face. And we have to seek Him with all our heart. As God said in Jeremiah 29:13: "You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with ALL your heart." We have to seek the Lord, and the more we do, the more thankful we will be.
*Are you thankful this Thanksgiving? -- If you are, thank God! But God wants us to be more thankful than ever, and we can be!
-By speaking to God.
-By speaking to people about God.
-By singing His praises.
-And by seeking the Lord with all our hearts.
*All of these things will make us more thankful to the God who has given us every good thing we have ever had. And if you have never trusted in the Lord, He wants to give you the greatest gift of all. He wants to give you eternal life, a total pardon for your sins, and an everlasting home in Heaven.
*God also wants to give you a close, personal relationship with Him. And He will, if you will receive our crucified and risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Call on the Lord to save you, as we go to God in prayer.
(1) SermonCentral.com sermon "Blessed Is the Nation Part 1" by Melvin Newland - Psalm 33:12
(2) SermonCentral sermon "Blessed Is the Nation - Part 2" by Melvin Newland - Psalm 33:12
(3) Sandra Palmer Carr in "The Upper Room" - Source: Sermons.com sermon "The Appearance of Love" by King Duncan Matthew 22:34-46
(4) Adapted from SermonCentral Sermon "Step One - Our Relationship with God" by Eddie Snipes - Psalm 36:7-10 - Also see ISBE for good explanation of Apple of the Eye