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(19 posts)

The Idolatry of Ingratitude

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks . . . Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts . . . to degrading passions . . . to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper . . . —Romans 1:21–28 Notice in the text [Romans 1:18–32] the steps or stages of (heathen) perversion. The first step of their idolatry is ingratitude: they were not thankful. So Satan showed Himself ungrateful over against His Creator before he fell. Whoever enjoys God’s gifts as though he had not graciously received them, forgotten the Donor, will soon find himself filled with self-complacency. The next step is vanity: they ‘became vain in their imaginations.’ in this stage men delight in themselves and in creatures, enjoying what is profitable to them. Thus they become vain in their imaginations, that is, in all their plans, efforts and endeavors. In and through them they seek whatever they desire; nevertheless, all their efforts remain vain since they seek only themselves: their glory, satisfaction and benefit. The third step is blindness; for, deprived of truth and steeped in vanity, man of necessity becomes blind in his whole feeling and thinking, since now he is turned entirely away from God. The fourth step or stage is man’s total departure from God, and this is the worst; for when he has lost God there remains nothing else for God to do than to give them up to all manner of shame and vice according to the will of Satan. In the same way also, man sinks into spiritual idolatry of a finer kind, which today is spread far and wide, ingratitude and love of vanity (of one’s own wisdom, of righteousness, of, as it is commonly said, of one’s ‘good intention’) prevent man so thoroughly that he refuses to be reproved, for now he thinks that his conduct is good and pleasing to God. He now imagines he is worshiping a merciful God. Whereas in reality he has none, indeed, he worships his own figment of reason more devoutly that the living God. Oh, how great an evil ingratitude is! It produces desire for vain things, and this again produces blindness; and blindness produces idolatry, and idolatry leads to a whole deluge of vices. Conversely, gratitude preserves love for God and so the heart remains attached to Him and is enlightened. Filled with light, he worships only the living God and such true worship is followed immediately by a whole host of virtues. —Martin Luther, Luther’s Commentary on Romans, trans. J. Theodore Mueller (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1954), 29–30.

Hymns of My Youth II: Praise the Savior

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. —Romans 8:28–30 Praise the Savior Praise the Savior, ye who know Him! Who can tell how much we owe Him? Gladly let us render to Him All we are and have. Jesus is the Name that charms us, He for conflict fits and arms us; Nothing moves and nothing harms us While we trust in Him. Trust in Him, ye saints, forever— He is faithful, changing never; Neither force nor guile can sever Those He loves from Him. Keep us, Lord, O keep us cleaving To Thyself, and still believing, Till the hour of our receiving Promised joys with Thee. Then we shall be where we would be, Then we shall be what we should be, Things that are not now, nor could be, Soon shall be our own. —Great Hymns of the Faith (Zondervan, 1968).

Thanksgiving with Calvin (1)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. —Philippians 4:6 As many often pray to God amiss, full of complaints or of murmurings, as though they had just ground for accusing him, while others cannot brook delay, if he does not immediately gratify their desires, Paul on this account conjoins thanksgiving with prayers. It is as though he had said, that those things which are necessary for us ought to be desired by us from the Lord in such a way, that we, nevertheless, subject our affections to his good pleasure, and give thanks while presenting petitions. And, unquestionably, gratitude will have this effect upon us—that the will of God will be the grand sum of our desires. —John Calvin, Commentary on The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians.

Thanksgiving with Calvin (2)

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; —Colossians 4:2 He [Paul] adds, thanksgiving, because God must be solicited for present necessity in such a way that, in the mean time, we do not forget favors already received. Farther, we ought not to be so importunate as to murmur, and feel offended if God does not immediately gratify our wishes, but must receive contentedly whatever he gives. Thus a twofold giving of thanks is necessary. —John Calvin, Commentary on The Epistle of Paul to the Colossians.

Thanksgiving Day, 2012

As most of you know, The American Thanksgiving Day tradition began in New England, at Plymouth Plantation, in 1622. It’s a great tradition, and I’m thankful for it. It’s a great thing to join with my fellow citizens to give thanks for the blessings of God on our land. We Christians, however, enjoy a greater privilege of joining with God’s people around the world in thanksgiving. Our tradition goes much farther back than 1622, to (at least) Leviticus 20, in which God commanded a sacrifice of thanksgiving. As far as I can remember (corrections welcome), the first official day of thanksgiving is recorded in 1 Chronicles: Then on that day David first assigned Asaph and his relatives to give thanks to the Lord. Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually. Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done, His marvels and the judgments from His mouth, O seed of Israel His servant, Sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. Remember His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. He also confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, As the portion of your inheritance.” When they were only a few in number, Very few, and strangers in it, And they wandered about from nation to nation, And from one kingdom to another people, He permitted no man to oppress them, And He reproved kings for their sakes, saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.” Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and joy are in His place. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship the Lord in holy array. Tremble before Him, all the earth; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord; For He is coming to judge the earth. O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Then say, “Save us, O God of our salvation, And gather us and deliver us from the nations, To give thanks to Your holy name, And glory in Your praise.” Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. Then all the people said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord. —1 Chronicles 16:7–36

Thanksgiving with Spurgeon

Continuing the Thanksgiving theme: Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! —Psalm 107:1 It is all we can give him, and the least we can give; therefore let us diligently render to him our thanksgiving. The psalmist is in earnest in the exhortation, hence the use of the interjection “O,” to intensify his words: let us be at all times thoroughly fervent in the praises of the Lord, both with our lips and with our lives, by thanksgiving and thanks living. Jehovah, for that is the name here used, is not to be worshipped with groans and cries, but with thanks, for he is good; and these thanks should be heartily rendered, for his is no common goodness: he is good by nature, and essence, and proven to be good in all the acts of his eternity. Compared with him there is none good, no, not one: but he is essentially, perpetually, superlatively, infinitely good. We are the perpetual partakers of his goodness, and therefore ought above all his creatures to magnify his name. Our praise should be increased by the fact that the divine goodness is not a transient thing, but in the attribute of mercy abides for ever the same, for his mercy endureth for ever. The word endureth has been properly supplied by the translators, but yet it somewhat restricts the sense, which will be better seen if we read it, “for his mercy forever.” That mercy had no beginning, and shall never know an end. Our sin required that goodness should display itself to us in the form of mercy, and it has done so, and will do so evermore; let us not be slack in praising the goodness which thus adapts itself to our fallen nature. —Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David [Read the full commentary on Psalm 107 at the Spurgeon Archive].

So That We Will Trust and Give Thanks

Why does God allow and even send suffering? For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many. —2 Corinthians 1:8–11

“He who is forgiven little, loves little”

Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.” And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:36–50 This is why depravity needs to be the cornerstone of every gospel presentation: Without a quickened awareness of our depravity, we are Pharisees at best, though most of us are far worse. The best we can approach is a religious performance that brings glory to us and leaves us looking down on everybody else, just the way many Christians today look down on the rest of society, the Pharisee gazing down on the abortion doctor and the pervert. Jesus knew Pharisees well, and He didn’t like them. Far better to Him was the sinful woman who burst in at the home of a Pharisee named Simon and threw herself at Jesus’ feet. Jesus said to him: “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. . . . Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:44, 47). Awe and gratitude drive the true Christian life and draw us joyfully to God’s grace in Christ. It is from the pit of our lost condition that we gaze up toward a God so high and perfect in His holiness. But from that vantage point we come to see fully at least one of those four dimensions of the cross that Paul would long to have us know: its height. The cross of Christ then rises up to span the full and vast distance that marks how far short we are of the glory of God, and that cross becomes exceedingly precious in our eyes. —Richard D. Phillips, What’s So Great about the Doctrines of Grace? (Reformation Trust, 2008), 31–32.

It Is Good to Give Thanks

It is good to give thanks to the Lord And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning And Your faithfulness by night, With the ten-stringed lute and with the harp, With resounding music upon the lyre. For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands. How great are Your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man has no knowledge, Nor does a stupid man understand this: That when the wicked sprouted up like grass And all who did iniquity flourished, It was only that they might be destroyed forevermore. But You, O Lord, are on high forever. For, behold, Your enemies, O Lord, For, behold, Your enemies will perish; All who do iniquity will be scattered. But You have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; I have been anointed with fresh oil. And my eye has looked exultantly upon my foes, My ears hear of the evildoers who rise up against me. The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, They will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green, To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. —Psalm 92 For Thanksgiving, Charles Spurgeon’s exposition of Psalm 92:2: “To shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning.” The day should begin with praise: no hour is too early for holy song. Loving-kindness is a most appropriate theme for those dewy hours when morn is sowing all the earth with orient pearl. Eagerly and promptly should we magnify the Lord; we leave unpleasant tasks as long as we can, but our hearts are so engrossed with the adoration of God that we would rise betimes to attend to it. There is a peculiar freshness and charm about early morning praises; the day is loveliest when it first opens its eyelids, and God himself seems then to make distribution of the day’s manna, which tastes most sweetly if gathered ere the sun is hot. It seems most meet that if our hearts and harps have been silent through the shades of night we should be eager again to take our place among the chosen choir who ceaselessly hymn the Eternal One. “And thy faithfulness every night.” No hour is too late for praise, the end of the day must not be the end of gratitude. When nature seems in silent contemplation to adore its Maker, it ill becomes the children of God to refrain their thanksgiving. Evening is the time for retrospect, memory is busy with the experience of the day, hence the appropriate theme for song is the divine faithfulness, of which another day has furnished fresh evidences. When darkness has settled down over all things, “a shade immense,” then there comes over wise men a congenial, meditative spirit, and it is most fitting that they should take an expanded view of the truth and goodness of Jehovah— “This sacred shade and solitude, what is it? ’Tis the felt presence of the Deity.” “Every night,” clouded or clear, moonlit or dark, calm or tempestuous, is alike suitable for a song upon the faithfulness of God, since in all seasons, and under all circumstances, it abides the same, and is the mainstay of the believer’s consolation. Shame on us that we are so backward in magnifying the Lord, who in the daytime scatters bounteous love, and in the night season walks his rounds of watching care. —Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David (Passmore and Alabaster, 1883), 4:264. [Read entire exposition at]

Hymns of My Youth III: For the Beauty of the Earth

He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord. —Psalm 33:5 457 For the Beauty of the Earth For the beauty of the earth For the glory of the skies, For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies. Refrain: Lord of all, to Thee we raise, This our hymn of grateful praise. For the beauty of each hour, Of the day and of the night, Hill and vale, and tree and flower, Sun and moon, and stars of light. Refrain For the joy of human love, Brother, sister, parent, child, Friends on earth and friends above, For all gentle thoughts and mild. Refrain For Thy Church, that evermore Lifteth holy hands above, Offering up on every shore Her pure sacrifice of love. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).

New Year’s Eve, 2013

Hymn XLI. Ebenezer John Newton (1725–1807) The Lord, our salvation and light, The guide and the strength of our days; Has brought us together, tonight, A new Ebenezer to raise: The year, we have now passed through, His goodness with blessings has crowned; Each morning his mercies were new, Then let our thanksgivings abound. Encompassed with dangers and snares, Temptations, and fears, and complaints; His ear he inclined to our prayers, His hand opened wide to our wants: We never besought him in vain, When burdened with sorrow or sin, He helped us again and again, Or where, before now, had we been? His gospel, throughout the long year, From Sabbath to Sabbath he gave; How oft has he met with us here, And shown himself mighty to save? His candlestick has been removed From churches once privileged thus; But, though we unworthy have proved, It still is continued to us. For so many mercies received, Alas! what returns have we made? His Spirit we often have grieved, And evil, for good, have repaid: How well it becomes us to cry, “O, who is a God like to thee? Who passest iniquities by, And plungest them deep in the sea!” To Jesus, who sits on the throne, Our best hallelujahs we bring; To thee it is owing alone, That we are permitted to sing: Assist us, we pray, to lament The sins of the year that is past; And grant that the next may be spent Far more to thy praise than the last. —Olney Hymns. Book II: On Occasional Subjects.

Hymns of My Youth III: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?” But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” —Matthew 13:24–30 509 Come, Ye Thankful People, Come Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home; All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin. God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied; Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home. All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield; Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown. First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear; Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be. For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home; From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away, Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast; But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore. Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home; Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin, There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide; Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).

Lord’s Day 11, 2014

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. —Psalm 9:1–2 Hymns of Thanksgiving Hymn XV. The General Thanksgiving in the Liturgy paraphrased. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Eternal God, the thanks receive, Which thine unworthy servants give; Father of ev’ry mercy thou, Almighty and all gracious too! In humble yet exulting songs, Thy praises issue from our tongues, For that incessant boundless love, Which we and all thy creatures prove. Fashion’d by thy creating hand, And by thy providence sustain’d, We wish our gratitude to shew, For all thy temporal blessings due. But O! for this we chiefly raise The incense of admiring praise— Thy love unspeakably we own Which sent the willing Saviour down. For him, of all thy gifts the best, Th’ exceeding gift which crowns the rest, Chiefly for him thy name we laud, And thank thee for a bleeding God. Nor should we fail our Lord to praise, For all the assisting means of grace; Th’ appointed channels which convey Strength to support us on our way. To thee let all our thanks be giv’n, For our well-grounded hope of heav’n, Our glorious trust, that we shall reign And live with him who died for man. And O! so deep a sense impress Of thy supreme, unbounded grace, That anthems in full choir may rise, And shake the earth and rend the skies Make us in deed, as well as word, Shew forth the praises of the Lord, And thank him still for what he gives Both with our lips, and in our lives! O that, by sin no more subdu’d. We might devote ourselves to God, And only breathe to tell his praise, And in his service spend our daysl Hail, Father! Hail, eternal Son! Hail, sacred Spirit, Three in One! Blessing and thanks, and pow’r divine. Thrice, holy Lord, be ever thine! —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Praise the Savior

Praise the Savior We who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:12Praise the Savior, ye who know Him! Who can tell how much we owe Him? Gladly let us render to Him All we are and have. Jesus is the Name that charms us, He for conflict fits and arms us; Nothing moves and nothing harms us While we trust in Him. Trust in Him, ye saints, forever— He is faithful, changing never; Neither force nor guile can sever Those He loves from Him. Keep us, Lord, O keep us cleaving To Thyself, and still believing, Till the hour of our receiving Promised joys with Thee. Then we shall be where we would be, Then we shall be what we should be; Things that are not now, nor could be, Soon shall be our own. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

At the Lord’s Table (3)

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. —1 Corinthians 11:26–29 The last of three parts of George Swinnock’s A good wish about the Lord’s supper: I wish that however my body be attired, my soul may by faith put on the Lord Jesus Christ at this heavenly feast; that I may not only look up to him, as the cripple to Peter and John, expecting an alms, but may receive him by believing, and so banquet on his blessed body, and bathe my soul in his precious blood, that my spirit may rejoice in God my Saviour, whilst I am assured that though the pain were his, yet the profit is mine; though the wounds were his, yet the balm issuing thence is mine; though the thorns were his, yet the crown is mine; and though the price were his, yet the purchase is mine. Oh let him be mine in possession and claim, and then he will be mine in fruition and comfort, ‘Lord, I believe; help mine unbelief!’ I wish, since love is the greatest thing my Saviour can give me, for God is love, and the greatest thing which I can give my Saviour, that his love to me may be reflected back to him again, that my chiefest love may be as a fountain sealed up to all others, and broached only for him who is altogether lovely, that I may hate father, mother, wife, child, house, and land, out of love to him; that many waters of affliction may not quench this love, but rather like snuffers make this lamp to burn the brighter. Beasts love them who feed them. Wicked men love their friends and benefactors; my very clothes warming me are warmed by me again, and shall not I love him who hath loved me, and washed me in his own blood! . . . When my soul has been thus feasted with marrow and fatness, Lord, let my mouth praise thee with joyful lips. Ah, what am I, and what is my father’s house, that when others eat the bread of violence, and drink the wine of deceit, I should eat the flesh and drink the blood of thine own Son? ‘What is man, that thou art so mindful of him, and the son of man, that thou dost thus visit him?’ I wish that I may shew my thankfulness to my God and dearest Saviour for these benefits—the worth of which men and angels can never conceive—by the love of my heart, the praises of my lips, and the exemplariness of my life. At the sacrament Christ gave his body and blood to me, and I gave my body and soul a living sacrifice to him . . . Shall I pollute that heart which was solemnly devoted to God, and profane that covenant which I have seriously contracted with the most High? . . . Oh let me never start aside from my vow like a deceitful bow! Lord, I have sworn, and will perform, that I will keep, through thy strength, thy righteous judgments. Lastly, I desire that I may not only . . . deny sin at present, but afterwards defy it; that I may not only be faithful to my oath of allegiance, but also fruitful in obedience; that as Elijah walked in the strength of one meal forty days, I may walk in the strength of that banquet, serving my Saviour and my soul all my days. In a word, I wish that I may ever after walk worthy of my birth, having royal, heavenly blood running in my veins; worthy of my breeding, being brought up in the nurture of the Lord, fed at his own table with the bread of heaven, clothed with the robes of his Son’s righteousness; and that my present deportment may be answerable to my future preferment. Oh that I might in all companies, conditions, and seasons, walk worthy of him who hath called me to his kingdom and glory! Amen. —George Swinnock, The Christian Man’s Calling, Works of George Swinnock (Banner of Truth, 1992), 1:220–222

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Now Thank We All Our God

Now Thank We All Our God Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted. Isaiah 12:4 Now thank we all our God With heart and hands and voices, Who wondrous things hath done, In whom His world rejoices; Who, from our mother’s arms, Hath blessed us on our way With countless gifts of love, And still is ours today. O may this bounteous God Thro’ all our life be near us, With ever joyful hearts And blessed peace to cheer us; And keep us in His grace, And guide us when perplexed, And free us from all ills In this world and the next. All praise and thanks to God The Father now be given, The Son, and Him Who reigns With them in highest heaven, The one eternal God, Whom earth and Heav’n adore; For thus it was, is now, And shall be evermore. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come You have crowned the year with Your bounty, And Your paths drip with fatness. Psalm 65:11 Come, ye thankful people, come— Raise the song of harvest home: All is safely gathered in Ere the winter storms begin. God our Maker doth provide For our wants to be supplied: Come to God’s own temple, come— Raise the song of harvest home. All the world is God’s own field, Fruit unto His praise to yield; Wheat and tares together sown, Unto joy or sorrow grown. First the blade and then the ear, Then the full corn shall appear: Lord of harvest, grant that we Wholesome grain and pure may be. For the Lord our God shall come And shall take His harvest home; From His field shall in that day All offenses purge away; Give His angels charge at last In the fire the tares to cast, But the fruitful ears to store In His garner evermore. Even so, Lord, quickly come, To Thy final harvest home; Gather Thou Thy people in, Free from sorrow, free from sin; There, forever purified, In Thy presence to abide: Come, with all Thine angels come— Raise the glorious harvest home. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: For the Beauty of the Earth

For the Beauty of the Earth Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! Psalm 107:8 For the beauty of the earth, For the glory of the skies, For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies: Refrain: Lord of all, to Thee we raise This our hymn of grateful praise. For the wonder of each hour Of the day and of the night, Hill and vale, and tree and flower, Sun and moon, and stars of light: Refrain For the joy of human love, Brother, sister, parent, child; Friends on earth and friends above; For all gentle thoughts and mild: Refrain For Thy Church that evermore Lifteth holy hands above, Offering up on every shore Her pure sacrifice of love: Refrain For Thyself, best gift divine, To our race so freely given; For that great, great love of Thine, Peace on earth and joy in heaven: Refrain —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

We Must Give Thanks

Ingratitude is a serious matter. The Scriptures have much to say about it. The failure to be grateful is the mark both of the pagan and the apostate. In Romans 1:21, Paul calls attention to two primary sins of the pagan. He says, “For although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.” Honor and thanksgiving may be distinguished, but not separated. God is honored by thanksgiving and dishonored by the lack of it. All that we have and all that we are we owe ultimately to the benevolence of our Creator. To slight Him by withholding appropriate gratitude is to exalt ourselves and debase Him. . . . Jesus’ encounter with the ten lepers illustrates the importance of thanksgiving. Countless sermons have been preached about the healing of the ten lepers, focusing attention on the theme of gratitude. The thrust of many of these sermons has been that Jesus healed ten lepers, but that only one of them was grateful. The only polite response to such preaching is to call it what it is—nonsense. It is inconceivable that a leper enduring the abject misery he faced daily in the ancient world would not be grateful for receiving instant healing from the dreadful disease. . . . The issue in the story is not one of gratitude but of thanksgiving. It is one thing to feel grateful; it is another thing to express it. Lepers were cut off from family and friends. Instant cleansing meant release from exile. We can imagine them deliriously happy, rushing home to embrace their wives and children, to announce their healing. Who would not be grateful? But only one of them postponed his return home and took time to give thanks. The account in Luke 17 reads: “Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan” (vv. 15–16, emphasis added). All of our prayers are to include thanksgiving. Like the leper, we must pause, turn back, and give thanks. We are so indebted to God that we can never exhaust our opportunities for expressing gratitude. —R. C. Sproul, Does Prayer Change Things? (Tyndale, 2009), 60–62.


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