By: Joyce Picker
November 2023 Blog
Psalm 100: 1-5 ESV
A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
The month of November is traditionally Thanksgiving month. I don’t wait for November to give thanks rather I try to give thanks every-day! There is so much to be thankful for. I am nothing without the Lord. Why should we be thankful? We are alive and breathing. The breath of God is in us. I look back on my life and reflect on so many times when I felt like I had nothing to be thankful for. Before I knew the Messiah, I could find so many reasons to be bitter and ungrateful! I didn’t make a joyful noise to the Lord but one of complaining and being very negative! The Bible has so much to say about being thankful! One of my favorite Scriptures is:
1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Messiah for you. This says it’s God’s will for us to be thankful. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be out of God’s will so I will be thankful all the time, not just some of the time.
If we are thankful to God, then we must approach Him with thankfulness. Do we only thank Him when things are going what we perceive as our way? The Scripture says we must thank Him in all circumstances. That’s what Psalm 100 is saying! When we praise Him with a thankful heart, something happens inside of us to change us and suddenly we forget our circumstances because we are approaching the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
We must thank God throughout the day, not just when we wake up and when we go to bed at night! When we thank God and communicate with Him throughout the day, we are more likely to stay in an attitude of thankfulness. There was recently a situation where someone at work went missing. I prayed every-day for three days several times a day, thanking God for this person’s return. This person was found today, and it was joyous. I thanked God again for His faithfulness. God cares about us. What kind of Father would He be if He didn’t? He will never leave us or forsake us. We don’t have to worry that He will let us down because He won’t!
How would you feel if you gave a person an extravagant gift and she didn’t thank you? You might be offended, maybe not. Think of how God feels when we forget to thank Him. He gave us the most extravagant gift in Messiah!
When Yeshua was on the cross dying, there were two men, one on each side of Him who were also being crucified. They were considered criminals. (thieves)
One trusted Him and received salvation, and the other did not. Both men mocked Yeshua. Crucifixion, by design, drains the life and energy out of a body. Matthew tells us in his account that the two thieves used the little breath they had to mock Yeshua. (Matthew 27:44). In doing so, they adopted the same behavior as the religious leaders and other onlookers who witnessed His death (see Matthew 27:39–43). Yeshua was not surprised to hear the mockery or to be crucified between two thieves (see Isaiah 53:12). Yeshua quoted and fulfilled Psalm 22 when He prayed “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). The same Psalm also says: “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; ‘He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!’” (Psalm 22:7–8). The repentant thief recognized his sinfulness. While one thief hurled insults at Yeshua, saying “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”, the repentant thief chided him: “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:39–41). What a stunning transformation. The thief no longer mocked Yeshua, now he defended Him. What changed? We don’t know when the repentant thief began to fear God, but we find clues when we look at the Scriptures and think what the thief experienced alongside Messiah. The Book of John states that Yeshua dies before the criminals did. John 19:32-34. This would mean that the repentant man was able to observe everything that happened when Yeshua was on the cross, including his last cry: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” Luke 23:34. We don’t know what the criminal thought of these words, but maybe it went something like this: “If he is willing to forgive the people who drove the spikes into his hands and feet, maybe he is willing to forgive me too?” This was after the criminal had a change of heart, a circumcised heart, then he said, “Yeshua, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42) It’s NEVER too late and no matter what you have done in your life…if you come with a transformed heart, the Scripture says: “You will be saved.” The criminal BELIEVED that Yeshua was a real King with a Kingdom! Wow. Although Kings don’t normally die on an execution stake (cross), he still believed, and I believe he not only was relieved but thankful! That is truly a circumcised heart of thanksgiving. Talk about getting saved just in time! Yeshua gave him hope when he said: “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) Think about it this way, a criminal who woke up in that morning on his way to hell, had his eternal destiny changed with a simple statement: “Yeshua, remember me!” In other words, thank you for saving me and keeping your word, King of Kings!
Because salvation is a GIFT from God, when we accept Him, how can we not be thankful, grateful, and changed in an instant? The criminal could not repay those he stole from or wronged but with the forgiveness of our King, he could have the best gift ever. He had childlike faith! The Bible says, “Salvation is a gift of God’s grace that we receive through faith and not by works!” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Also, let me remind you now that no sin is too bad to be forgiven. The criminal rightly received a death sentence for his wrongdoings. We know that the sin he committed was deserving of death. But… God! Yeshua forgave the sin in an instant. His death paid the price for all our sins! (Romans 6:23) What we need to do is acknowledge our sins, (fess up) and ask Yeshua for forgiveness.
What do I have to be thankful for was my question at the beginning of this message.
There are so many reasons that it’s impossible to list them all. Here’s a few I think are relevant. You can add your own to this list and look at it when you are having a bad day!
1. Yeshua died for me and is preparing a place for me in Eternity. I am saved by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony.
2. My sins are forgiven when I truly repent and remain in an attitude of obedience.
3. I have a Father who loves me.
4. I have a Father who hears my prayers when I pray according to His will.
5. I am victorious in Him.
6. I have greater happiness and joy in my life.
7. Thankfulness puts all of us in God’s will.
8. I have peace in Him.
9. I have faith in God.
10. I have witnessed God’s healing in others.
11. God healed me.
12. Thankfulness helps defy Satan’s lies.
13. A truly thankful heart does not envy or have jealousy towards others.
14. I am powerful in Him.
15. I am grateful for everything He has done for me.
16. I am a child of the Highest God.
17. He does battle for me.
18. I have a hope and a future.
Let us pray! Father, thank you that we have so much to be thankful for. When we awake each day, let us start the day in an attitude of thanksgiving and praise. Let us stay focused on all the wonderful gifts you have given to us everyday! Thank you for the breath of life and thank you for dying on the execution stake like a common criminal for us and our family. WE love you! Let us reflect on all these things as we sit down together as a family this Thanksgiving. Amen.
Blessings in Yeshua!
Please take a look at our other blogs on the website. We pray they minister to you wherever you are. We are coming up on the Fall Feasts of the Lord. take a look at some of the past Blog Teachings which explain what the Feasts of the Lord are and how relevant they are today.
Scripture is quoted from ESV version.