Thanksgiving is Praise

Have you given thanks today?

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is coriaceous, “of or like leather.” Example, “Christie showcased a capacious personality and a coriaceous hide … but presented mainly platitudes and no clear agenda.”

Today is Use Your Common Sense Day, apparently corresponding with Will Rogers’s birthday. He was the guy who said, “Common sense ain’t common.”

There really isn’t much going on (that seems to happen a lot on Wednesday mornings) around here. Christi finished up her current bowling league at work, last night. We had mac and cheese with tuna for dinner (that’s a very delicious combination, by the way), and watched the most recent episode of Major Crimes. We’re still adjusting to coming off of Daylight Saving Time, so we went to bed kind of early. That wasn’t a complaint, by the way, just a fact. I prefer not being on Daylight Saving Time, but when you force me to live on artificial time for six or seven months, it messes with my body’s rhythms.

I guess I’ll move on to the important stuff.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Continuing in the chapter, “Awe: Praising His Glory,” Tim Keller writes for a bit about thanksgiving. We tend to separate praise and thanksgiving into two different categories, but if you think about it, they are very similar. In fact, Keller calls thanksgiving “a subcategory of praise.” When we engage in thanksgiving, we are praising God for what he has done. Many people are participating in a somewhat traditional activity of giving thanks for something different each day of November. What Keller calls “praise proper” is simply adoring God for who and what he is.

Keller references Psalms 135 and 136. I’m not going to quote those, as they are both quote lengthy. However, if you look at them, there is a lot of overlapping. Psalm 135 is a psalm of praise centering around God’s deliverance of his people from Egypt. Psalm 136 centers around the lovingkindness of God. In fact, it is the one in which each verse ends with the phrase, “for his steadfast love endures forever.” When we give thanks for God’s blessings, we are naturally drawn to his attributes.

On a negative note, however, we face some obstacles in developing our praise life. If we examine other kinds of prayer, we see that they are driven by circumstances. Confession and repentance, for example, are driven by our failure to live up to God’s standards. We become burdened with guilt, so we pray for forgiveness. Likewise, intercession and supplication are driven by circumstances. We get bad news from a friend or family member about a health condition; someone is injured in an accident; someone becomes financially burdened; and so on. These are things that drive us to prayer, sometimes spontaneously.

None of these are bad things, of course. However, we would assume that when good things happen to us, we would automatically begin to praise, right? That is not so much the case, in the nature of mankind. One of the major essences of sin is identified in Romans 1:21, when Paul says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

This kind of ingratitude is “living in the illusion that you are spiritually self-sufficient.” We think we know the best way to live, and that we have the ability to keep our lives on the right track. In fact, especially in our natural state, we “hate the idea that we are utterly and completely dependent on God, because then we would be obligated to him and would not be able to live as we wish.”

Bottom line, “We are never as thankful as we should be.” The next section of this chapter delves into how to develop a habit of praise. It is a lengthy section, and will, no doubt, be broken into several days. For today, just know how important it is for us to be thankful, both for the blessings of God, as well as for his nature and attributes. Let us not think that we are okay on our own, because we most certainly are not.

Father, you have drawn my heart toward thanksgiving, to the point that I frequently give you thanks even for such seemingly insignificant events as not having to stop at a traffic light on the way to work in the morning. I pray that all of your children would give you thanks every day, for the blessings that you pour into our lives, many of which, for the most part, go unnoticed (example: I woke up this morning and am currently breathing), as well as praising you regularly for who you are and for your glorious attributes.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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