Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.
Many people think of stewardship only in terms of offerings for some worthy cause.
The principle of stewardship applies to every area of life.
“Taking the Stew out of stewardship” is the theme for next few Sunday mornings.
Today we are talking about The Stewardship of Thanks.
Psalm 118:1 (AMP)
Thanksgiving for the Lord’s Saving Goodness.
118 O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness endures forever.
Psalm 118:1-18 (AMP)
Father, we thank You for this past year that will soon be finished, however challenging it may have been and continue to be, You have richly blessed many of us.
For Your sovereign grace, Your boundless love, Your constants watching over us, we give you thanks.
For the great blessings, the wonderful things, but also for the simple, the familiar, the common, we give You thanks.
For the Bible, the privilege of fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ in Your church, Your Holy Spirit abiding in us, but most of all for Your Son, our Saviour and Lord, we give You thanks.
Bless the offerings we bring today.
Help us to remember that we give to You but You own everything we have.
Accept us Lord as we give ourselves to You, and then to Your cause according to Your will.
In Jesus name we pray.
If giving thanks was a vaccine, a good one, an anti toxin, an antiseptic, what person is there that doesn’t need protection against spiritual infection?
“He who receives a benefit with gratitude” said a Roman philosopher, “repays the first instalment on his debt.”
In our text, the psalmist revealed several things about giving thanks.
First he pointed out its object, “O give thanks to the Lord.”
As James said in James 1:17 (AMP),
17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes].
God owns all things.
Second, the psalmist showed its reasonableness, “for He is good.”
The abundance of His blessings flows naturally out of the graciousness of His character.
And third, the psalmist revealed its motivation, “For His lovingkindness endures forever.”
This is the sound of this psalm.
Gratitude is a grace, a gift from God.
Like all His gifts, we can take it or leave it.
We can use it or neglect it.
In this, as in all good things, we have a stewardship.
- Our stewardship of thanks must be constant.
It must be unvarying.
We should give thanks at all times and under all circumstances.
When you are groaning, criticising, and complaining.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (AMP)
18 in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Let me urge you that for one day, at least, let’s put Paul’s word to the test, and demonstrate its power ourselves.
Why should we not be constantly be expressing to one another everyday and always and especially to God?
- In times of prosperity we should give thanks.
By and large we are an affluent people.
The fact that we have food on our tables each day proves this.
Whether prosperity makes for good or bad depends, in part, on the spirit in which we receive.
Are we thankful?
God has given us this grace.
Are we using it?
B. In times of adversity should give thanks.
Some will say that this is the hardest of all, and it is.
But this will bless our lives as it helps us grow to be like Him.
In the Old Testament the prophet Hubakkuk is a choice example.
In the midst of utter desolation he gave thanks like this.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (AMP)
17 Though the fig tree does not blossom
And there is no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive fails
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock is cut off from the fold
And there are no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will [choose to] rejoice in the Lord;
I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation!
19 The Lord God is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army];
He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet
And makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my [a]high places [of challenge and responsibility].
That is giving thanks!
C. In times of doubt we should give thanks.
This is difficult indeed, but by God’s help we can do it.
No matter how dark the day, there are some things we know for certain.
- We know that high above the clouds the sun is shining, unhindered, and undimmed.
We know that God is there for us.
2. We know that there is One who knows the way.
In his gospel, John said that before the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus asked Philip where they were to buy bread so all the people might eat.
John added in John 6:6 (AMP)
6 But He said this to test Philip, because He knew what He was about to do
Thank God for One in this universe who knows what to do.
3. We know that there is a way that is right and true and that that way will win in the end.
Even in the darkest day, if we have ears to hear, we might hear God’s voice saying, Isaiah 30:21 (AMP)
“This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.
2. Our stewardship of giving thanks must be discerning.
When Paul wrote to the Philippians, Philippians 3:13 (AMP)
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.
He did not mean to forget everything.
He was saying that his memory was selective.
He did not want to forget such things as his experience with Christ on the Damascus road.
In fact, he told that story again and again.
He did not forget God’s help in hard places nor His guidance when he didn’t know which way to turn.
Like Paul, our giving go thanks must be discerning.
- True giving of thanks remembers the best of the past.
We can all have a long list of problems, often as ministers, a lot of what we do is listen to them, but we must not forget all His benefits.
B. Truly giving thanks see the blessings of today, the blessings of the present.
Our is a day of uncertainty and confusion, of war and trouble, of injustice and evil.
Instead of moaning about our lot, we should say, “What a day to be alive!”
Search and see.
Turbulent, volcanic times have been the creative ages of history.
What a century, God has caused us to live.
If we are not in the end times yet, we are rushing towards them quickly.
C. But even more important, truly giving thanks strengthens us for the future.
Perhaps the most remarkable of the recorded prayers of Jesus is His prayer before the tomb of Lazarus, a man who had been dead for four days.
He prayed to the Father in the past tense, as He thanked God for what God was about to do as though it was already an accomplished fact.
John 11:41-42 (AMP)
41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes [toward heaven] and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
42 I knew that You always hear Me and listen to Me; but I have said this because of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You have sent Me [and that You have made Me Your representative].”
Our faith can never compare with His, but we do have the promises of God.
We can thank God for what we know He will do for us.
In the material world, science promises us some fantastic things.
The same is true in the realm of general knowledge.
If we desire, He will so bless us in the realm of the spirit.
3. Our stewardship of thanks must be vocal.
Psalm 107:2 (AMP)
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary,
And shouldn’t we also testify of His goodness and love?
Have you been through customer when returning to Australia and asked, “Do you have anything to declare?”
This usually means “Have you got anything in your bags that you purchased overseas and need to pay customs and tax on before brining it back into Australia?”
But the question is interesting, spiritually interpreted.
“Have you anything to declare?”
Well, do you?
What is there in your mental and spiritual luggage to declare, to declare while giving thanks to God?
Not being thankful to God for everything is like walking around asleep, you miss out on so much.
Let us all give thanks for the lavish beauty of the natural world.
Let us all give thanks that we live in this heaven blessed land.
And let us give thanks that Christ is our Saviour and Lord.
Until next time
Stay in the Blessings
I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.
When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.
Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!
You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org
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2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY
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