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Magnify God with Thanksgiving

November 7, 2004

Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,

Itís difficult sometimes to know what pleases God. This is especially true for those of us who had parents who seemed impossible to please. I remember how happy I was to read Hebrews 13.15, 16.

By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise
to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. But to do good and to communicate
forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Wow. I figured I could do this, offer the sacrifice of praise and giving God thanks. I decided one Thanksgiving, some 30 years ago, to make a list for each person in my family, things for which I was thankful about them. I made a list for my husband, our children, my mother, and my father. But when I got to my father, I found I had a really hard time filling out the steno pad page. My father had disinherited me after I had really received Christ (I was raised in the church, but hadnít been apprehended by Jesus until 1972). I thought my father would be happy that I was now a real believer, but instead he was angry and cut me off from the family. With the fallout from this and other things, I had a hard time with this thanksgiving thing, I found out, after all.

Being thankful is the outgrowth of what we might call "level one" Christianity. It is connected with our salvation, our having made peace with God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Then comes praise, where we acknowledge God for who He is, His attributes and mighty works as Creator/Redeemer. We start leaving "Jesus loves ME" to "Jesus LOVES me" and finally find "JESUS loves me." So beyond praise comes true worship, where we come to know and appreciate the worth of the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and our spirit knows that in Jesus is life, and that life is the light of all people. We come to worship God in spirit and in truth. Sometimes to know the worth of what we have in Jesus, God takes us through something to bring us to the point of truly valuing Him and His truth, His laws and ways.

When the Bible implores us to magnify God with thanksgiving, it means for us to rightly declare God for all that He is. Most of us have God too small in our minds. We limit God in our thinking, in our praying, and so in our thankfulness and praise.

Psalm 78 reviews the life and times of Israel from slave days in Egypt to the reign of David. Itís the history channel version lest the people of God forget, lest history repeat itself, lest we keep God small and scorn His graciousness. The idea is that we give God glory for His wonders and miracles, and not begrudge Godís goodness with demands for more signs, with murmuring and unrest, and with meaningless repentance. The psalm refreshes our memory, for if we forget our so great salvation, if we forget our redemption, then faith and love will not last long. Discontent moves into disloyalty to God and to His covenant and then drifts right into blatant rebellion and idolatry, which brings the judgment of God, the glory departing. Psalm 78.40-42 says: How oft did they provoke Him in the wilderness, and grieve Him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. They remembered not His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy." Were it not for Godís persistent goodness, Israel would have perished, but God moves according to the integrity of His heart and continually guides by the skillfulness of His hands.

The verb translated "limited" is the verb "tawa" in Hebrew. It means to mark, brand, pain or wound. It reveals Godís heart, for He is grieved by unbelief, by thanklessness, by asking amiss, by faithlessness, and by willful rebellion. People at odds with God, angry people, and people who cannot be satisfied but seek to be satiated, such people suppress the truth in unrighteousness and are unthankful. (Romans 1)

Thanksgiving is a sacrifice. It is not a giving up, but a giving to. Saying "thank you" compliments and gives a boost. It pleases and expresses appreciation, acceptance, applause, and approval. It is the opposite of the desire to diminish, denigrate, denounce, and ignore. Unthankful people have nothing to give (in their eyes). Itís not in them to express any gratitude to an outside source of life and blessing because they are never satisfied and feel entitled.

Thanksgiving is giving to God the glory due His Name. It is giving to God the acknowledgement that He is Source and Supplier of all life and blessing. God is all-sufficient. He doesnít need anything from us. We donít embellish Him and magnify Him by making Him seem larger than what He is. We acknowledge Him for what He is trulyóa big God, infinite and eternal. Giving God thanks expresses our being the recipient of an unmerited favor, grace, coming from the God of all grace.

I will magnify God with Thanksgiving. I will praise the
name of God with a song. I will magnify Him with thanks-
giving. This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull
with horns and hoofs. Let the oppressed see and be glad;
you who seek God let your hearts revive! (Psalm 69.30-32)

We can understand this sacrifice of thanksgiving better by looking into the law of God in Leviticus 7. In Lev. 7.11 we find that the thanksgiving offering was part of the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings. It is offered on the basis of having made peace with God, and this peace is to rule in our hearts (Colossians 3.15). It is to be made for all things, even the worst things. Leviticus 7.12 says that multiple things were to be offered, including unleavened cakes mingled or anointed with oil. So we are to be thankful in everything, glorying in tribulations (Romans 5.3), taking pleasure in infirmities (2 Cor. 12.10), and seeing Godís good purpose when we donít see it in the temporal realm (Romans 8.28).

This offering was given freely. One out of the whole oblation was to be a heave-offering to the Lord, and it was to be the priestís that sprinkles the blood of the peace-offerings. (Lev. 7.13, 14) The priest took the offering in his hands and lifted his hands toward heaven to present it to God. It was offered with the sprinkling of the blood to typify the sacrifice of Christ on the cross (1 Peter 1.2).

The shed blood of Christ forms the foundation of all thanksgiving in a believerís life (2 Corinthians 9.15). The idea is that we express to God our gratitude to the Lord with all we have, even those things which are corrupt and leavened, for God to deal with us as He sees fit. (Psalm 139.23, 24) The leavened offering was not put upon the altar, but heaved so as to be removed by the Ruler of Heaven and Earth.

A fellowship meal with priest and people joining together was then to be enjoyed as part of the sacrifice. (Leviticus 7.15) Thus we are taught to offer thanksgiving while the benefit is still fresh and recent, while we are rejoicing in God freely and spontaneously. Our thankfulness draws us closer to God and to each other (Psalm 35.18).

Keep it fresh. Leviticus 7.16, 17 tells us that the sacrifice of the offering, whether it is a vow or voluntary, must be eaten the same day it is offered, and on the next day if there is a remainder, but if thereís still some left, it was to be burned with fire. Itís not to suffer the taint of corruption. If it is eaten at all on the third day, it would not be accepted nor imputed to the offerer, but it became an abomination, "and the soul that eats of it shall bear his iniquity." (Leviticus 7.18)

God provides a type of the offering of Christ, referring to the incorruption of Christ as Surety. On the third day God raised Him from the dead, lest corruption set in. Otherwise, there would have been no merit to the peace offering. Jesus is the peace offering and the voluntary free will offering of thanksgiving to the Father.

Thanksgiving thrives in the present. Donít hold todayís thanksgivings over for tomorrow. Offer God your freewill thankfulness today. Yesterdayís thanks doesnít carry over either. This is the day. Daily, give thanks.

Today I thank God as I remember all of you. I thank God for your prayers and support and encouragement. I thank Him for allowing us to bring His truth into your lives and to hear your testimonies of growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. And I thank you.

December 5th we will be taking a mission team to help the Mayan Mexican and Guatemalan migrant workers in Palm Beach County, Florida, as part of our Barnabas Project. They were devastated by the recent hurricanes. There is still time for you to participate in Godís desire to bless these people and break the strongholds of the curse in their lives. Will you help with your gifts? They need clothing, school supplies, non-perishable items. Remember, you can give in the form of gift cards from Target or Wal-Mart or Office Depot as well as money donations and "goods." There is a huge need here and we want to demonstrate the love of Christ and the power of the gospel to them.

For His glory,

Mary Craig

P.S. In the area? Worship with us at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. People bring people to help and hope in Jesus, and they are saved, healed, and delivered by the grace of God at Craighouse®. Visit www.craighouse.org for more!

After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude,
Which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds,
And people, and tongues, stood before the throne,
And before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms
In their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying,
Salvation to our God which sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
And all the angels stood round about the throne, and
About the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the
Throne on their faces, and worshiped God, saying,
Amen: Blessing and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and
Honor, and power, and might be unto our God forever
And ever. Amen. (Revelation 7.9-12)

Copyright © 2004 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.

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