giving thanks

©2020 dan bulkley |

today’s key passage:

psalm 118:19-20

“Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter.”

Thanksgiving is such a gracious command. We think that our offering of praise to God is something He needs rather than realizing it is something He has bestowed on us to give Him. This command is another gift with gloriously powerful rewards for us. I am not excluding the truth that He is pleased when we give thanks and that it glorifies Him. That should be a given in our minds. My point is that we rarely reflect on the benefits He has given us in His command to give thanks in ALL circumstances. i thessalonians 5:18

supporting scriptures:

i thessalonians 5:18

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

section 1

Many believers want to grow but lack a lot of knowledge and insight philippians 1:9-11 into their own spiritual needs. hebrews 5:12-13 hosea 4:6 They have yet to mature in practical ways ii timothy 3:15-17 james 1:12 so that their hearts can truly grow up in regards to Christ. i peter 2:1-3 ephesians 4:12-15 Many struggle to balance God’s grace with His demands. We find it hard to understand His judgment and His mercy. So we find it very hard to grow in righteousness when we struggle to see its connection to grace and faith. galatians 3:21 romans 3:7-8

my notes:

supporting scriptures:

philippians 1:9-11

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

hebrews 5:12-13

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.

hosea 4:6

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

ii timothy 3:15-17

...and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

james 1:12

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

my notes:

i peter 2:1-3

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

ephesians 4:12-15

to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

galatians 3:21

Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.

romans 3:7-8

But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

section 2

To come near to God we must be holy,
hebrews 12:14 leviticus 10:3 but to be holy we must believe that He is graciously drawing us near Himself despite our own failings. romans 4:5 In His grace we are supposed to be striving to obey ii peter 1:3-9 BECAUSE we believe His promise romans 1:5 of working in us. philippians 1:6 philippians 2:12-13 So what is the fulcrum, as it were, where grace and obedience, faith and action, suffering and joy, etc. all are balanced upon? What is the practical virtue we must cultivate in our lives so that we may enter into a deeper and more insightful relationship with our Lord? colossians 1:9-14

supporting scriptures:

hebrews 12:14

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

leviticus 10:3

Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” And Aaron held his peace.

romans 4:5

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,

ii peter 1:3-9

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

romans 1:5

...through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations.

philippians 1:6

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

philippians 2:12-13

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

colossians 1:9-14

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

section 3

It is that precious gift God has given us; He gave us the practical action of thanksgiving i thessalonians 5:18 colossians 3:15-17 which cultivates a heart of gratitude colossians 3:16 which brings so much of what seems contradictory into perfect unity. Which comes first, the heart of gratitude or the giving of thanks? Are they not both orbiting around our Lord? When we are grateful we will give thanks, but even when we are not grateful, willfully, obediently giving thanks will lead to gratitude and then back around it goes.

supporting scriptures:

i thessalonians 5:18

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

colossians 3:15-17

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

section 4

If we learn to be grateful and give thanks then so much of our confusion about work vs. grace, suffering vs. joy, faith vs. action, etc. will melt away because they are caught up in the same principle. We are grateful to our Lord for His grace to not only save us from our wickedness ephesians 2:1-10 but also from our own “goodness”. galatians 3:10-14 We give thanks in hard circumstances because this is producing wonderful things for us romans 5:3-5 ii corinthians 4:17 james 1:2-4 just as we give thanks in joyful circumstances because of the wonderment of His lavish love. i john 3:1 i timothy 6:17 romans 8:32 ecclesiastes 5:19 We praise God when He bestows on us joys we neither looked for nor worked for, john 4:38 mark 5:39-42 but we also rejoice in Him when we work with Him and see His use of us for His glory. philippians 1:25-26 ii peter 1:4 colossians 1:24-25

supporting scriptures:

ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

galatians 3:10-14

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

romans 5:3-5

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

ii corinthians 4:17

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

james 1:2-4

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

i john 3:1

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

i timothy 6:17

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

ecclesiastes 5:19

Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.

john 4:38

“I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

mark 5:39-42

And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement.

philippians 1:25-26

Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

ii peter 1:4

by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

colossians 1:24-25

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known...

my notes:

section 5

All this is accomplished by God’s grace not worldly means. ii corinthians 1:12 Do not be deceived. An attitude of gratitude is a pleasure in itself, but it is vain and pointless if it is not born from and continues to reside in Christ. psalm 127:1-2 All godly virtues interact with each other in Christ, but when one is grateful to Jesus and gives Him thanks their blessings are poured out in their time on the grateful. When we sincerely believe the Good News then we are compelled to at least give thanks and when that thankfulness produces fruit…Oh, that fruit is so joyfully wondrous. Broken hearts are healed, captives are freed from dark prisons, the poor in spirit exchange ashes for beautiful garlands, mourning is traded for an anointing of gladness, and a garment of praise replaces the spirit of despair. isaiah 61:1-3 All this to the glory of our Lord, but what a benefit we receive in Him!

ii corinthians 1:12

For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.

psalm 127:1-2

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

my notes:

isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;

3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

section 6

Our lives, our minds, our hearts are changed when we learn gratitude for our great God and Savior. romans 12:1-2 ephesians 1:17-20 philippians 1:9-11 This gratitude, this giving of thanks prepares the way for God’s salvation to be revealed to us. If you want to enjoy your life, give thanks. i timothy 4:4 If you want to grow up to be strong in Christ, be grateful. colossians 2:6-7 If you want to experience the fullness of our Lord’s power and grace, delight in His will. ii corinthians 12:9-10 If you desire sweet fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ, give Jesus thanks. ephesians 5:20 If you want to come near Him, enter His presence with thanksgiving. psalm 100:4 If you want to know Him more, praise His Holy Name. hebrews 13:12-15 No, don’t JUST do this during music on Sundays, or when everything goes well. We must learn to be grateful by giving thanks during the hardships, during the times when we can’t see Him well. isaiah 50:10 When life is hard we need to be even MORE thankful. Why?

my notes:

supporting scriptures:

romans 12:1-2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

ephesians 1:17-20

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

philippians 1:9-11

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

i timothy 4:4

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving

colossians 2:6-7

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

my notes:

ii corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

ephesians 5:20 thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

psalm 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

hebrews 13:12-15

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

isaiah 50:10

Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.

section 7

Do you want to see your God work in your life? He is ALWAYS at work, john 5:17 but without a thankful heart one is blinded and deafened to His grace. psalm 73:21-22 To see Him…in order to draw near to Him…to be like Him…we must give thanks. psalm 95:2 We must give Him thanks in all circumstances, for this IS HIS WILL for us in Christ Jesus. i thessalonians 5:18 It is through the gateway of thankfulness that we find righteousness, salvation, peace, joy, etc. It is through the gates of praise that we find the salvation of our God, Jesus Christ our Lord! May our eyes be opened and our hearts changed as we determine to take His gracious gift and be thankful and therein find our worthy Lord.

supporting scriptures:

john 5:17

But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

psalm 73:21-22

When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, 22 I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.

psalm 95:2

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;

let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

i thessalonians 5:18

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

concluding thoughts

psalm 50:23

“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!.”

May the God of peace equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever.